Should my association outsource its meeting planning?

The days of you believing that your meeting is too small to outsource to a meeting planning firm should be over. Meeting planning firms have evolved to meet the needs of association staffs’ increased workloads, reduced staff and tighter budgets. Firms are using their combination of experience, creativity and expertise to help produce outstanding association meetings – without increasing the cost of the event. How can a meeting planning company provide these services without increasing your cost? 

There are two answers: negotiated savings and efficiency. Negotiated savings come from the meeting company’s volume, vendor network and experience. It’s simple – they produce far more meetings per year than most inpidual associations and can leverage that volume for lower prices. Efficiency comes from both experience and shared resources. While you may be a meeting planner with 10 years of experience, many association meeting planners are not. As those of you who do have that experience know, it can make a significant difference in your efficiency.

In addition, any fixed costs associated with meeting planning can be spread over many more events in a meeting planning company, resulting in a lower cost per event. For example, consider meeting planning software – in most cases, there is one cost regardless of the number of meetings. Just as important as cost savings is overall success. A good meeting planning firm should have the experience and expertise to improve your association meeting’s outcomes by identifying clear objectives, strategies and tactics based on past successes.

Does that mean that association staff meeting planners should disappear? Of course not. Meeting planners on the association staff are still integral to the process, particularly at the strategic level. In that sense, hiring a meeting planning company should cause your job as an association meeting planner to transition to more of a managerial role. So is it right for you and your association to outsource still? Consider these benefits:

– Outsourcing provides a wealth of valuable knowledge. Prior meeting experiences will save you and your staff time, stress and money.

– Outsourcing boosts project efficiencies by managing your meeting efficiently and accurately.

– Outsourcing gives you access to the creativity of seasoned meeting professionals who are filled with great ideas.

Outsourcing will never completely replace staff association planners. However, they can be an integral part of your team, reduce your administrative workload and help ensure the success of your association meeting.

Has your association had a great success with a meeting management firm? Or are you still looking for the perfect match for your association?

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