In many corporates the authorisation of MICE orders and venue contracts are completely out of control- employees are signing hotel contracts to secure room inventory with little or no understanding of the legal ramifications. Management cancel conferences with no understanding that a 100% cancellation fee is now due to the hotel. ‘Hundreds of thousands of Rands are paid out for services not rendered’ says MiceMaster. The system combats this by pushing the quote essentials through to the authorised personnel who are able to make an educated decision before an order is issued. This allows authorisers to question why a non-preferred PCO is being used or why a more expensive quote for the same venue is being procured.
At our system demonstration, MiceMaster revealed a live quote where three preferred partner PCO’s had quoted on the same properties with exactly the same detailed brief. The variable between the highest and lowest quote was 39% and these were PCO’s with contractual mark-ups agreed with the client!
Adding further compliance to corporate policy, the ERP or procurement/order numbers and codes can be inputted as orders are issued aiding reconciliations. ‘Complete ERP integration is high on our future development plans’ says MiceMaster.
MiceMaster users eat conference organising for breakfast
As opposed to dying of email and administrative overload, a MiceMaster corporate user, even if inexperienced, becomes a formidable, fast, detailed, efficient and valuable commodity in any business. In minutes a complex, detailed brief is constructed from scratch using the system’s user-friendly 10-step prompt interface. If any of the event details change: dates, number of delegates, city etc. as they so often do, the user does not waste time starting the re-brief process. He/she is able to open/edit and resend the updated brief to the same or new venues and PCO’s. The user can request quotes from venues directly, PCO’s or both.
When the detailed brief arrives at the venue for quoting, the recipient simply accesses MiceMaster via a unique hyperlink and completes the structured quote template that auto-calculates costs driving transparency and detail in the quote structure. If a venue wants to hide AV costs behind a sub-total and not be specific, it will easily be picked up by the organiser. If the venue’s room rate has been marked-up by a PCO in order to hide margin that contractually they are not entitled to, MiceMaster will help the corporate planner identify where the double-dipping is taking place.
The user also selects a date field by which they require the quotes to be submitted so that venues know how and when to react. As the quotes are received, MiceMaster alerts the users who are able to easily compare apples with apples because MiceMaster supplies identical quote formats in the system. When sufficient quotes have been received, users will trigger the authorisation process that will lead to an order which is also placed via the system.
As MiceMaster says this is not a glorified hotel directory that triggers an email to a venue to quote, of which there are several globally, this is a complete procurement tool designed to save monies and give business to suppliers who deserve the business.
Building Budgets and Pricing Intelligence
As MiceMaster goes about the process of sourcing quotes and issuing orders, it is continuously building a library of critical reports. The system auto-calculates what they call a ‘CFD’ or Cost per Delegate on every conference. This benchmarks what companies should be paying for standard conferencing models i.e. a one night, one day, facilities, food, drink and conference. This data will trigger ‘spend abuse notifications’, shutting down rogue expenditure further.
Average CFD rates are continuously tracked and over time a company can easily build a picture as to where value lies and where abuse is taking place. All this MIS consolidates to create a barrage of data that will assist in achieving procurement negotiation goals.
Corporate Cost Savings
MiceMaster functionality offers companies numerous opportunities to save on MICE costs. Managing maverick behaviour and rogue suppliers is near-on impossible without a system and the grid below indicates the various ways in which MiceMaster claim they can create saving opportunities. It makes sense in so far as if you tighten-up the preferred partner strategy and authorisation process and then show transparency in supplier quotes, you are a long way ahead. Just making secretaries, PAs and travel arrangers far more efficient results in substantial savings (note: these are MiceMaster’s estimations of savings).
MiceMaster says the PCO vs PCO image below is a true reflection of the contracted PCO’s competing with the same detailed brief on the same property. Identifying 40% savings must appeal to many a Chief Procurement Officer.
MiceMaster Future Development
Plans are in place to further develop the system to indicate to suppliers which aspects of their quotes are competitive and which are not. ‘We had a scenario recently where the PCO quote was astronomically high; unbeknown to the company it was the flight component the PCO had sourced that was precluding them from receiving the order’ says MiceMaster. The plan is to identify where pricing issues lie and allow the supplier to have another crack at the quote. Currently the supplier can easily override their previous quote but the functionality will be refined.
MiceMaster reports that a client has also requested ‘Reverse Auction’ functionality which, while commonplace in other procurement areas, has certainly never been available in the MICE space so that venues can bid on conference business.