The convergence of travel and meetings management is not an entirely new concept, but it’s one that has more relevancy than ever. Confronted by such factors as the ongoing global pandemic and a leaner, more scattered workforce, companies are finding that a siloed approach to travel and meetings, along with other areas such as HR, training, and expense management, is woefully inadequate to meet the challenges of a new and unpredictable environment.
It’s abundantly clear that once disparate departments need to work together to ensure safety, compliance, cost savings and duty of care. Ensuring the well-being of a workforce in an era of Covid variants, rising costs, and labor shortages will require more thoughtful and efficient overall solutions integrated across all departments.
Travel managers, faced with keeping employees unstressed, healthy, and productive while on the road in a changing world, are especially in need of this. According to a recent report, some 91 percent of travel managers feel that business travel is stressful. In comparison, only 39 percent believe their companies have taken steps to adequately improve the well-being of traveling employees.
Mitigating the stress factors of business travel needs to be a top priority at organizations, one that will require the involvement of HR as well as travel managers. Organizations will need to consider how travel and HR teams can collaborate to mitigate the stress factors for travelers before, during and after the trip.
Having a good travel policy and the technology to enable it isn’t just a short-term decision – it has much wider effects on the business itself. Looking after traveling employees is a great piece in the puzzle if you’re looking to mark yourself out as an employer of choice.
From travel and meetings management to procurement and HR, all stakeholders within an organization share the same goals:
- Compliance & policy enforcement
- Risk management
- Duty of Care
- Cost containment
- Supplier and 3rd party collaboration
- Streamlined and centralized processes
- Seamless experiences
Ushering in the digital transformation
The pandemic has accelerated the need for companies to bring in technology to better control meetings management, often the largest area of unmanaged spend in a company. Over the years, disparate systems offered by legacy platforms have created digital silos of activity and company information that made it incredibly difficult for leadership to effectively oversee and manage departments. Essentially, each department had its own applications and processes to handle events, meetings, and travels on their own, without the centralized visibility offered by a more comprehensive platform. Without a centralized system in place, employees have often struggled to establish details for an event or meeting, send invites, set budgets, look for hotel spaces, venue spaces, book flights with ease.
Reducing business travel inefficiencies, complexities and stress are just some of the many key areas addressed by Groupize, which centralizes all aspects of meeting planning and, unlike most other such solutions, can be used by a variety of departments within an organization.
The platform provides visibility into travelers’ whereabouts, enabling companies to act quickly if needed to ensure their employees and guests are healthy and safe. Other features include attendee experience, compliance controls, and spend governance with reporting and analytics dashboards that track and review cross-event spend, logistics, reports, and data. It can also capture event spend, resulting in more accurate budgeting and savings from supplier negotiations. Maybe more relevant in today’s environment, the ability to event type from in person to hybrid to virtual and back again in a simple click – keeping all data in one place and providing a consistent attendee experience.
Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” We all know, on some level, that change is an inevitable demand of life.
Right now, the meetings and events industry finds itself in need of meaningful change in the form of digital transformation. A sector that has historically been known for the slow adoption of emerging technology and digital efficiency is finally waking up and looking to adapt. As travel and meeting departments converge, the core processes left to manual efforts, fragmented solutions, or costly legacy systems are ready to be transformed. Organizations are under increasing pressure to centralize and automate business and group travel, expense management, and event and meeting management. Efficiency, cost control, visibility flexibility, and elevated attendee experiences are becoming a priority across all departments and stakeholders.
The writing is on the wall: digital transformation is happening in the meetings and events industry, and the time to optimize your technology stack and shift to an all-in-one events and meetings management platform is now.
So what are you waiting for?