Under an organized data system, attrition deadlines can be set close to the meeting date, allowing for last-minute changes.
Similarly, re-booking dates can be negotiated for a longer period of time than hotels normally allow (18 months compared with
the typical 12 months or less). A centralized contracting operation also allows companies to monitor compliance to its policies.
Much of the detail in meeting planning is delegated down—it's not unusual for administrative assistants to sign hotel contracts
without being advised by corporate policies or obtaining legal oversight. Built-in legal reviews that require a company officer
to sign off on contracts ensures compliance with company policies.
In this era of growing regulatory concern over pharma companies and their relationships with physicians, companies can extend
their meetings consolidation program to include risk management. That allows them to collect data that gives them a running
total of the amount of money they spend on each healthcare provider. Aside from keeping companies PhRMA code-compliant—ensuring
that they adhere to caps on how much they can spend per physician on food and beverage, educational gifts, and hotels—the
data can reveal the spend per physician for participation in advisory boards, investigator meetings, and promotional dinners.
Speaker contract terms and the amount of speaker fees that a physician earned for the year can also be tracked.
A consolidation program can centrally monitor this activity. It can track the average spend on food, beverage and entertainment,
and prevent booking events at certain chains.
Determining ROI The success of a meeting can be measured in two significant ways: attendee satisfaction and ROI. How can you tell if your
meeting was a success with attendees? Companies almost always survey participants about the content of the meeting, but rarely
do they monitor the effectiveness of the planning. Online survey tools can increase participation, automatically tally results,
and set metrics and benchmarks. This information is invaluable for addressing questions about future programs: Should we return
to a property? Is money being well-spent on receptions and off-site activities? Would a lower-end property have sufficed?
To measure ROI, advanced pharma companies use data to target attendees. A physician database usually is ranked by most desirable
attendees, based on specialty and sales territory. By linking attendance to spend data, basic analysis can determine if the
right audiences are attending meetings. The data also can be used to reallocate marketing resources. If a specific territory
successfully targets top physicians and sales appear to be increasing, the marketing and sales departments may choose to hold
more meetings there. Companies may also shift resources to support a specific drug or type of meeting that is proving to be
a successful draw.
These marketing decisions are not possible if meeting data is scattered throughout the organization or placed in department
People Cadent Medical Communications made several additions to its staff. Chris Brown was named senior meeting planner. Three others—Kimberly Rozsypal, Valerie Wamsley, and Summer Wingard—were named project coordinators. " Advanced Health Media promoted Rebecca Wheeler from senior project supervisor to operations manager.
Launches In response to the growing interest in spas from meeting planners,The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel will open
the Mandara Spa this summer.
Cindy D'Aoust is a
senior vice president at Maritz McGettigan. She can be reached at