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by Michael J. Shapiro | January 25, 2012

Tackling meetings and events will be a priority for 2012, according to more than one-fifth (22 percent) of international travel managers responding to a Carlson Wagonlit Travel survey. The travel management company published its Travel Management Priorities study yesterday, based on the survey of 290 travel managers around the globe. While this focus on meetings and events ranked 10th out of a list of 11 priorities, CWT nevertheless considered the figure significant, notably because meetings responsibilities typically are dispersed throughout organizations rather than being the sole responsibility of travel management. (The top three priorities are more typically associated with travel management: driving air- and ground-transportation savings, improving traveler compliance and optimizing hotel spend.) Many more companies will implement a strategic approach to meetings management in the coming year, predicts the report, while using technology to enhance planning and content. Specifically, enterprisewide consolidation is gaining traction, particularly in sourcing. Companies are reducing the number of third-party suppliers with whom they work, as well as consolidating meetings policy -- leading to the use of preferred suppliers, standardized contracts and more complete reporting.