by Art Pfenning | April 01, 2005

chartWhile everyone can use a little help now and then, most of the 430 meeting planners answering a recent online survey conducted by M&C don’t turn to third-party planners. Indeed, three in five (62 percent) do not hire independent planners.
    The reason given most often for not using outside help (cited by 45 percent of respondents) was that, as in-house planners,  they already have plenty of staff. About a  quarter (23 percent) cited an insufficient budget. Among the 28 percent who chose “other,” one planner admitted not handing over any responsibilities because “I’m a control freak.”
     The 163 respondents who do use third-party planners hire them an average of 3.8 times per year, and a majority  of that group (62 percent) said the number of times remained the same from 2003 to 2004.
     Third-party planners provide a wide range of services and were cited by respondents as planning entertainment, social functions and sports tournaments (51 percent); conducting facility research and selection (51 percent); negotiating with facilities (50 percent); providing on-site staff (49 percent); conducting destination research and selection (48 percent), and making transportation arrangements (40 percent).
    Most of the third-party users (55 percent) said they pay a negotiated project fee for the services, but a sizable number (31 percent) allow hotels to foot the bill through commissions.
    Third-party users hire an average of two different outside firms, found mostly through colleague recommendations (49 percent).

Art Pfenning is director of M&C Research (apfenning@ntmllc.com).

 

chart
 

chart

chart

chart