@MPIGNY - Spring 2014 - (Page 20)

#feature DELTA FORCE BY SCOTT WAYNE T his year, Delta Airlines became the first airline to have the guts to tell customers as it is: We've been rewarding people for using our services, not for the revenue they generate. And that needs to change. Beginning in 2015, Delta will no longer reward travelers with miles based on how far they travel, but on how much they spend. For example, a bargain $800 ticket from Atlanta to London currently earns you approximately 8,500 miles. But in 2015, it will be worth less than half those miles. However, if you spend $1,000 on a ticket from Atlanta to New York, although you'll only be traveling 1500 actual miles, you'll rack-up 5,000 Delta miles. The ramifications for the airline industry are huge, but this also has an impact on the meetings industry. First, corporate procurement departments are going to look even deeper into travel and offsite meeting budgets. The Delta move inherently incentivizes business travelers to spend more for their tickets, charging to the corporate card while reaping the personal mileage benefits. Chief Procurement Officers will start zoning-in on systems to stop this activity. This increased focus on general business travel will draw attention to expenditures on meetings travel and accommodations. So what can you as a meetings professional expect? Since we advise various Fortune 500 procurement departments and know the mindset well, we have some insight. No longer is the focus of corporations on cost-reduction, but value creation. It's not whether you're the cheapest hotel, venue, supplier or even meeting planner, but whether you deliver the most value. The value-focus stems from the fact that during the great recession, Fortune 500s reduced headcount dramatically, but 20 @MPIGNY SPRING 2014 during the recovery they have not recruited and replaced those job losses. Translation: Fewer people are doing more work. So as it relates to meetings, the key issue is: Can our people meet, strategize, bond, collaborate and innovate as effectively as possible. That doesn't mean cheap hotel rooms, function space, meals and professional planning fees. What it does mean is delivering enormous value for money. The real cost to a company is not the hotel room or the meeting planner's fees, but the cost of taking their people away from their frontline roles. So value means high intensity content. The space needs to be part of the content, the journey needs to be part of the content, and the meeting planner needs to be a curator as well as a producer. We recently delivered a program where the hotel was part of the program (we studied the Autograph Collection of Marriott as a case study for corporate executives). Meal times were learning opportunities, interacting with chefs and kitchen staff learning about collaboration techniques. Transportation between venues was by Uber and Citibike - as learning and discussion points around innovation. It was an expensive three-day executive meeting, but the content-tocost ratio was high, so the procurement department was satisfied with the value delivery and approved future programs. So what matters? Not room cost, fees or transportation, but value (output divided by cost). And how do you lean into this value-creation world? It's time to shift sales language and meeting design approaches. When talking to clients, move away from cost competition to value creation. As a property sales manager, instead of "We're 10 percent cheaper than the competition," "Our property is designed to drive 20 percent more productivity from your people than the competition." As a speaker agent, instead of "She's our most popular entertaining keynote," it should be "This speaker will teach techniques that will transform the effectiveness of your people when they return to the office." As a meeting planner, actively seek to create content opportunities at every step of meeting design. Can you create content for the plane journey or the airport transfer? Can the hotel be part of the program? Can we use meeting venues that provide inspiration or content? Are meal times just for calories or can they be configured for content? Capture it all. Ensure when your invoice goes to the Fortune 500 client, you're listing every benefit that the participants experienced and make clear the "value ratio" of benefits relative to costs. If you do that, you'll be an ally of not only your client, but of their procurement department as well. You can thank Delta for making them more value aware. @ Scott Wayne is the founder of The Frontier Project, an innovation firm that disrupts and reinvents industries on behalf of Fortune 500 clients.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY - Spring 2014

Ask the Board
President’s Message
Speaking the Language of Sustainability
11 Delivering the ‘green’ at AIBTM 2014
IMEX America’s Sustainability Efforts: Greenhouses, Gardens and Growing Commitments
A CSR Preview of MPI’S WEC 2014
Greening Trends: Meeting Planners ‘go Local’ to Drive Down Costs
Sustainability at Caneel Bay Resort
Let’s Get Physical: Team Building for the Active Attendee
Delta Force
Mpigny’s Engaging Evening
Legal Review
Member Spotlight
Fitness Focus
Notes From the Field
Asheville CVB Injects Unique Destination Flare Into Meetings
History Comes Alive in Boston
New Members
Advertiser’s Index

@MPIGNY - Spring 2014