Meetings and Events Fall Short on Risk Management: iJET Survey

Most meetings and events organizations aren't meeting minimum standards of risk-managment protocols for attendees, according to a survey conducted by iJET International and GoldSpring Consulting. The report, "Achilles Heel: Meetings & Events Risk Managment Lags Corporate Travel Programs," concluded that because plans for meetings and events often fall outside of corporate-travel programs and processes, the risk-management component of travel programs simply doesn't apply to meetings. The results were based on survey responses from more than 400 meeting and event planners and decision makers.

More than half of the respondents require further training in applying risk-managment best practices to meet industry standards, according to the report. The contrast between management of business travel vs. meetings and events is stark: While nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) had a business-travel risk-management policy in place, only 29 percent of those cases included standalone programs that directly supported meetings and events. A mere 16 percent had policies in place that specifically covered both business travel and meetings, while more than half (55 percent) had policies that strictly applied only to business travel.

Much of the problem comes from a limited understanding of exactly who should be shouldering the risk-management responsibility. More than six in 10 of survey respondents (61 percent) deflected ownership of such policies, and 42 percent believed the responsibility rests with suppliers outside the company, including meetings-management and travel-management companies. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) indicated that a meetings risk-management policy was currently in development.

The results reinforce an important opportunity for meeting planning departments to develop sound, relevant risk-management policies and take a more strategic organizational role, the report concluded. "In defense of planners and organizers," the report indicated, "individuals have been asked to mainly focus on attendee experience and flawlessly executed program logistics. Planning departments have often assumed that the safety and security for their attendees would be supported from the corporate travel department, or other departments such as security or HR… By taking a leadership role for risk management in relation to meetings and events, planners can fill a critical gap for their organizations."

The report, which can be downloaded for free, offers best practices for getting started with effective risk management and includes a variety of resources.