by Michael J. Shapiro | October 01, 2012
Carlson Wagonlit Travel reorganized its Meetings & Events unit last spring, creating a global leadership post for the group and naming Floyd Widener the senior vice president of CWT Meetings & Events Worldwide. Recently, the Paris-based Widener shared with M&C his global perspective on the industry.  

M&C: Why was it important for CWT to realign its global meetings business?
Widener: CWT has long provided M&E expertise to our clients, but we now see a growing demand for the service model to evolve globally. This global alignment allows us to serve our clients even better around the world, and it enables us to better assist them with the advancement of their strategic meetings management programs and other enterprise-wide initiatives. But it's also important to remember that each region has its own cultural nuances and business requirements that must be considered.

M&C: What's a particular challenge for your clients?
Widener: Technology. Organizations need tools that can serve them consistently throughout the world as they look to standardize their programs. The technology must also be flexible enough to allow customization for local relevancy so buyers can refine the tools to meet local needs.

M&C: What industry trends do you anticipate for 2013?
For most organizations, the biggest opportunity lies in the foundational exercise of understanding your meetings volume -- who is doing what and where. Also, M&E will become a systematic part of the procurement process for most organizations. Hybrid meetings will be of increased interest as well.