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What defines an excellent corporate MICE policy?

It’s a tricky question because many businesses do not have a policy, and if they do, few people know about it, as it usually sits on a procurement hard drive somewhere. So when one asks about policy rules, and more so, MICE policy compliance, responses are generally as clear as mud.

Enterprise businesses have lengthy ‘code of ethics, conduct and policy rule’ documents with lofty statements like ‘all personnel will follow policy rules without exception’ or else… or else what? When staff plan and procure meetings & events, policy rules sit way down on their list compared to which rock band is playing at the event, the location, or does the hotel have a spa.

Communication is Key

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out, but the first issue is how can companies identify who books meetings, incentives, conferences and events? A sales director may be launching a new mobile phone model and is heavily invested in the product launch, but their designation does not make them an event planner. So to control the policy, companies need to identify the organisers. Also, easier said than done, but often a barrier to compliance. It’s rather like South African drivers with roundabouts or highway fast lanes; if you don’t know the rule, you cannot be compliant. Most travel managers would love to see policies applied and monitored; the issue is…

Top 5 Recommended Policy Rules

These are MiceMaster recommendations; we frequently track and monitor planner behaviour and expenditure.

Budget vs Actual.

 Unless a travel manager, authoriser or department head has full sight of the budget and procurement process from start to finish, actual event costs will only be identified post-event when the supplier invoices arrive.

Preferred Partner Support

Suppose your business wants to implement a MICE procurement strategy (like corporate travel has had for decades). In that case, expenditure needs to be, where possible, directed toward preferred suppliers who are vetted, deliver, and add value.

Number of Quotes

 A lack of quotes is usually the one rule that planners are aware of but often disregarded. Under the guise of busy and last-minute planning, a single RFQ is pushed through to authorisers who do not know better.

Negotiate

 Planning is not akin to a flea market, where haggling is the norm, but planners are responsible for negotiating. Again, planners are time poor and reengaging with the supply chain falls by the wayside.

Book Direct or via a Professional Conference Organiser

 If an international event has hundreds if not thousands of delegates, a PCO is invaluable. But many events are more straightforward, which could quickly be booked directly with the hotel, caterer, AV, or guest speaker, saving PCO management fees.

99% of Travel Managers Are Trying to Implement New Policies

In a recent survey* they reported that they also expect to face new challenges in the next 12 months. The top one is communicating and ensuring compliance with new and revised travel policies. With cost-containment also the primary focus post-pandemic, companies will be missing the most critical cost-saving strategy without an efficient policy and either the staff or technology to enforce it.

While MICE policy compliance in South Africa is often a challenge best ignored, Internationally MICE policies are part of everyday business, as are corporate travel policies for executives.

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