< PrevNext > 2021 Business Travel Buyer's Handbook Getting Started with Meetings Management Meetings management proved itself again during Covid-19 pandemic. By Donna M. Airoldi / June 17, 2021 / Contact Reporter Share Download ChapterWhen the covid-19 pandemic hit last year, companies with meetings management programs in place were in a better position than those without one. They were quicker to locate their employees traveling for group events and quicker to get them back to their home base, ensuring duty of care. Meetings management allowed companies to see which future meetings and events were on the books and needed to be cancelled or postponed. Plus, they had more leverage when it came to mitigating or reducing fees or penalties paid. When it was time to reschedule these gatherings, they were able to negotiate with identified volume across their enterprise. Further, meetings programs also allow meetings managers to see if they can substitute another meeting or event into a contracted space should there be a need to cancel or postpone a future event. Additional benefits beyond risk mitigation—regardless of whether there is a crisis at hand—include visibility into spend, cost savings and control, centralized contracts with improved terms, use of approved vendors and better reporting. Well documented in the past 15 monhts, digital meetings and events took over for face-to-face gatherings with varying success. Now with the wider distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and the reduction of government restrictions, in-person meetings and events are starting to return—many with a hybrid component. Digital aspects of meetings and events can benefit from meetings management as much as face-to-face ones. The stakeholders that should be involved with virtual and hybrid events now should include at a minimum, if they didn’t already for in-person meetings and events, the IT and security departments since venues and vendors need to be vetted to make sure the platforms being deployed meet a company’s security standards. (For more on virtual and hybrid meetings and events, see this chapter’s addendum on page 64.) One benefit that came out of the pandemic? More companies are starting meetings management programs, or enhancing those already in place.