by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 01, 2005

Tammi Krone

HelmsBriscoe’s Tammi Krone
says procurement departments
make great partners for
placing meetings.

rocurement. The very word seems to have taken on a life of its own. Even as some planners grouse about procurement professionals’ increasing importance in the meetings business, suppliers have come to embrace them, arguing they are unfairly mistrusted players in the industry, whose role is largely misunderstood. 
    That is certainly the way Tammi Krone sees it. A regional director for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based site selection firm HelmsBriscoe, she counts among her top clients a billion-dollar national wholesale corporation. Over the past four years, the Duluth, Minn.-based Krone has worked with several different divisions within the company, helping place more than 50 meetings annually worth millions of dollars. She says she owes her success in large part to the client’s procurement department, with which she has developed a solid working relationship.
    “It has been a huge benefit to have procurement behind me,” says Krone, herself one of the client company’s preferred vendors. “I think they do their work incredibly well when they go out to bid, getting all the hotels where they need them and working on preferred rates. So, when I’m looking to place a meeting for a department, it makes sense for me to partner with procurement and reference the preferred vendor list first.”
    And if Krone initially cannot find the right hotel match, procurement is willing to listen to her property suggestions, simply because she has proven she’s on their side. “At first their guard was up, but over time they’ve come to see the value I bring to the company,” says Krone. “Now they give my name to other divisions that need to book a meeting. Even when I place a meeting with a preferred vendor, the hotel will give procurement the negotiated rate and still pay me my commission.”