by Loren G. Edelstein | June 01, 2012

How advanced are corporate meetings management programs today? Just 36 percent of respondents to a new study conducted by M&C and sister publication Business Travel News say their firms practice strategic meetings management in the United States. In fact, of the 295 respondents, whose companies spent an average of $10.7 million on meetings last year, 51 percent do not have a designated meetings manager or a meetings department.

These are among key findings of the first Strategic Meetings Management and Consolidation Study, which polled professionals in meetings, travel and other senior management positions about their meetings spend, policies, consolidation efforts and more. The study was conducted by M&C, BTN and Equation Research, with co-sponsors Active Network/StarCite and Carlson Wagonlit Travel Meetings and Events. Results were cross-tabulated by industry (aerospace/defense, communications/entertainment, consulting/accounting, financial/insurance, technology, manufacturing, medical/pharmaceutical and chemical/petroleum) as well as by meetings spend. Following are highlights.

Spending on the rise illustrationSpending On the Rise
On average, corporations spent $10.7 million annually on meetings in 2011. The biggest spenders by industry were aerospace/
defense firms ($14.6 million) and consulting/
accounting companies ($15.4 million).
Transient travel spending graph
In 2011 vs. the previous year, 40 percent saw total meeting expenditures rise, while 24 percent said spending decreased and 36 percent reported no change.

For this year, 53 percent expect year-over-year meetings spend to grow again; in fact, those who anticipate an increase believe they will spend, on average, nearly 11 percent more on meetings this year than last.

The majority of respondents (54 percent) believe cost per attendee will be higher this year than in 2011. Another 31 percent expect attendee costs to be flat, with 15 percent predicting a decrease in expenses per participant.

Spending Profile pie chart

  Meetings spend by industry bar chart

U.S. meeting attendee data chart