The Changing Role of CMPs

By Bruce Fears President, ARAMARK Harrison Lodging | October 28, 2008

Planning and executing a valuable meeting while adhering to a reasonable budget is the goal of every meeting planner. To accomplish this, many turn to Complete Meeting Packages (CMP), the conference center's niche total pricing structure which allows clients to budget an event with confidence, while offering options ranging from budget to upscale. Simply put, the CMP simplifies the planning process and lets organizers know exactly what the meeting and total package will cost at the conference center.

However, today's meeting planners are savvier and striving to find unique venues or add-ins, such as an out-of-the-box team-building activity, when planning their upcoming events. In order to remain relevant and to address client's growing needs, hotels and conference centers have been creating customized packages to meet the demands of this growing trend that CMPs traditionally do not address. Which lends to the question: Is the CMP obsolete?

CMPs aren't out of style yet

The majority of meeting planners are trying to be more strategic and effective with limited funds. Additionally, meeting planners are finding the best deals through emerging Web sites and third party online booking companies. These third party entities don't allow for CMP pricing, adding another challenge to the piece of the CMP puzzle for conference centers.

Additionally, CMPs are used exclusively by conference centers and for the most part are a foreign entity for hotels, which can make it a challenge for the novice meeting planner or executive trying to book a meeting as well as for the conference center.

Generally, meeting planners will select a desirable location that offers agreeable meals and activities, but not go over the top. Therefore, the long emphasized "location, location, location" still rings true, as planners will usually determine an attractive locale first and then find the best CMP that fits the group.

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