Government Connections - Winter 2010 - (Page 6)

SGMP NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2009-2011 PRESIDENT’S LETTER The Government Planner and Per Diem President Melody Kebe, CMP, CGMP Defense Information Systems Agency First Vice President Rob Coffman, CGMP U.S. Department of Treasury By Melody Kebe, CMP, CGMP National President GOVERNMENT MEETING PLANNERS, in particular, stand to benefit when per diems have achieved a higher industry ADR. It makes the RFP process and the meeting more attractive, plus the planner has the opportunity to place meetings in cities or locations that would have been declined when the per diem was deemed too low. Having seen a good steady pace of growth in lodging rates, to include the federal per diem, we are now dealing with the recent lowering of per diem in 310 of the non-standard lodging areas. This makes planning meetings around government per diem a daunting task. Or does it? Second Vice President Carolyn C. Barrett, CHSP, CHSC The Whitney, A Wyndham Historic Hotel Secretary Kim Blanding, CGMP Oregon Judicial Department Treasurer Michael Trillo IHG-San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Director Claudette Ferris, CPS, CAP, CGMP CO Dept of Public Health & Environment Director Kelly P. Roche, CGMP Irving TX CVB Director Jim Zukowski, CGMP Consultant/Contract Planner In my experience, it has not been hard to get a room as an individual government traveler or when placing meetings at prevailing government per diem. But try to plan a meeting and book 50 rooms at the government per diem rate when a hotel is 80 percent occupied; you may start to see some push back. As a federal planner, it is important to have those connections to place meetings regardless of the business climate. That’s why SGMP focuses on networking and relationshipbuilding as part of our business culture. You can compare it to a friendly game of baseball: you may not be picked first, but the plan is to at least get picked to round out your team with the resources available. The same stands true for hotel bookings. You will always want to draw from the pool of resources to make your numbers. As a planner, I can tell you we remember when we are picked and not picked. Not to say government planners want to ruin the bottom line of a hotel; we just want to be part of your team and resource mix. Often, hotels with two- and threeDiamond ratings lack the space and staff to host meetings and meet all RFP criteria and needs. So it is important that hotel venues of all types make themselves available to bid on government business. Per diem is the legal amount of funds that can be spent while conducting and contracting federal meetings and travel. Government planners can ask their agency directors to authorize up to 150 percent of per diem. However, getting officials to approve such increases is not always easy. Meeting travel is, to some extent, discretionary. Agency directors may be willing to authorize higher expenses for mission-driven travel, but they expect meeting planners to shop around for a better deal. No matter how the government determines per diem rates in the future, the intent behind them will remain the same. The concern is that per diem rates compensate travelers fairly and protect the interest of the taxpayers. Remember SGMP’s role is to keep the dialogue open for planners and suppliers. We also build relationships through our partnership with GSA and other federal agencies that can affect policy making for government meetings. We are all on the same team, so let’s use every resource available to us as we conduct business and look to a stronger, growing economy. Immediate Past President Donna Carey, CGMP CA Dept of General Services SGMP Executive Director & CEO Ex-Officio Member Charles Sadler, CGMP, CHSP, CHSC 6 GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS | WINTER 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Winter 2010

Government Connections - Winter 2010
Table of Contents
President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going Places
Education Edge
That’s Technology
Supplier Strategy
Plan Green
Travel Tips and Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
The Per Diem Pendulum
Contact Sport vs. Meeting Professionals
Raining Cats & Dogs
Are You Planning to Fail?
7 Deadly Sins of Small Meetings
Meeting Follow-Up is Key to Success
SGMP Nation
Membership News
Conference Connection
Advertisers’ Index
The Meeting Minute

Government Connections - Winter 2010