September 12, 2018

With time for busy HCPs at such a premium, getting on their calendar early is a top priority when it comes to Life Sciences educational programming. But in today’s hectic healthcare market, managers of...

Read More

With time for busy HCPs at such a premium, getting on their calendar early is a top priority when it comes to Life Sciences educational programming. But in today’s hectic healthcare market, managers of promotional speaker programs and the like shouldn’t necessarily view a short lead time as a deal-breaker. According to new research from AHM, there’s more to it than just the conventional wisdom that longer lead time generates higher attendance.

Programs with lead times of three weeks or more have become better-attended over the past five years: AHM data found that average attendance when the lead time was 21-plus days was 10.2 in 2017, up from 8.2 in 2013.

Taking a closer look at the different types of programs reveals some nuances: Venue-based events benefit the most from longer lead times, due to the logistics, time and expense of travel. In 2017, venue-based programs with three-plus weeks of lead time had an average attendance of 12, a significant increase over the 7.8 average for venue-based programs booked inside of a week.

But a Life Sciences speaker program manager faced with a lead time of between one and two weeks might want to consider seizing that opportunity, because the average number of attendees at venue-based events last year jumped from 7.8 to 9.2 for a seven-to-14-day lead time, but then rose more moderately to an average of 10.1 when the lead time is between two and three weeks.

Tele- and office-based programs also have higher attendance when lead times are longer, but the variations aren’t as large: Tele-based programs booked inside of a week in 2017 drew an average of 2.9 participating HCPs, while those with more than three weeks’ lead time had an average attendance of four. Office-based programs with less than seven days’ lead time had an average attendance of 6.1, versus eight for programs with more than three weeks.

When it comes to virtual meetings, though, the on-demand nature of online correspondence and transactions turns the conventional wisdom about lead times on its head. Virtual programs scheduled with 21-plus days of lead time had an average attendance of 5.9; however, those scheduled within seven days drew an average attendance of 3.7, while those with a lead time of one to two weeks had an average attendance of 3.6.

For Life Sciences program organizers facing a tight turnaround time to launch a program, this is a valuable insight: With less than a week, consider virtual programming. And while venue-based programs benefit from a good head start, a one- to two-week window might be enough to yield a good return on investment.

For an in-depth analysis on benchmarks and trends affecting HCP meetings and engagements, download AHM’s latest white paper here.

 

Contributed by:

Frank C. Castora, Sr. Director, Global Solutions Management

Frank joined AHM in 2007 and has been delivering compliance solutions to the Life Science industry for more than 10 years. He has delivered solutions for compliance-based Interactions Management and provided expertise on data integration and exchange needs for Aggregate Spend and Disclosure Reporting. Frank is currently responsible for the strategy and product management of AHM’s Global Compliance Solutions platform, CentrisDirect™, and new business intelligence and data analytics solution, CentrisIQ™.

August 22, 2018

A steady stream of new and improved webinar and videoconferencing technology has given Life Sciences companies a powerful new tool for engaging with HCPs.  Although these technological advancements have not lead to a decline...

Read More

A steady stream of new and improved webinar and videoconferencing technology has given Life Sciences companies a powerful new tool for engaging with HCPs.  Although these technological advancements have not lead to a decline in face-to-face promotional educational programs—as the personal connection at meetings is of the utmost value—when used correctly, virtual programs can maximize investments in KOL relationship-building.

A 7% increase in virtual programming over the past year (among AHM’s diverse client base) makes it clear that Life Sciences companies are utilizing their Speaker Bureau resources to enhance the reach and the value of their educational programming.

Life Sciences companies have a number of ways they can incorporate virtual meetings into their program mix. The advantage of having an end-to-end solution that incorporates both turnkey Strategic Meetings Management for face-to-face and virtual programming, is that virtual events can be overlaid on an existing program. This does away with ROI-eroding redundancy or other inefficiencies, leveraging economies of scale while remaining within a compliance-centered framework.

Virtual programming can enhance a client’s HCP knowledge-base in a number of ways, depending on how the programs themselves are structured. A flexible framework allows initiation from reps or from marketing, and each of these programs are managed differently:

  • Rep-initiated programs are managed locally, with local speakers and sales representatives participating. This type of programming can be a good solution when representatives have significant territory to cover and face logistical or geographic challenges gathering their HCP base in a centralized location.
  • Regional-initiated programs, which are overseen by managers or directors with a larger geographic scope, use higher-level regional speakers and out-of-office venues. Having HCPs gather at a single location helps achieve economies of scale and offers a value-added benefit of networking among the HCP audience.
  • Marketing-initiated virtual programs tend to be national in scope and more extensive in duration—say, a set series of programs with a longer duration. The greater footprint of these programs not only offers the opportunity for economies of scale, but also consolidates the administrative and managerial functions at the national marketing level, freeing up the human capital of the sales representatives who oversee lower-level virtual programs. These programs are often deployed for more intensive educational needs, such as new product launches or significant updates about the client’s or a competitor’s therapeutic offerings.

Programs can be live-broadcast or web-based. Web-based programming has the flexibility of allowing for remote attendance, both on the part of attendees as well as the speakers. Web-based programming also can be conducted at an out-of-office venue. The greater scope of live-broadcast programming, during which the speaker is in a studio setting and content is disseminated to multiple HCP groups, is almost always conducted via out-of-office venues.

There is no one type of meeting or engagement that will fit every client, or every educational need, for that matter. But with an end-to-end system for disseminating this kind of information in a manner that is accessible for HCPs and simple for speakers and other KOLs, Life Sciences companies will ensure that their compliance-centric messaging is reaching all of the right people.

 

Contributed by:


Matthew Derner, Global Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.

August 9, 2018

By Guest Writer, Sandra Graham-Mason, Eisai New research shows that investment in a venue-based promotional speaker program, particularly one featuring speakers at the national level, can pay off in terms of increasing audience size...

Read More

By Guest Writer, Sandra Graham-Mason, Eisai

New research shows that investment in a venue-based promotional speaker program, particularly one featuring speakers at the national level, can pay off in terms of increasing audience size and economies of scale. But that’s not all: There also are new augmented-communication tools that will help you extend a program’s influence beyond the event itself, via mobile location-based targeting.

The concept of geofencing — that is, targeting prospects via the location-based functions on their mobile devices — has been around for a while, but new advances in technology as well as new methods of targeting, that enhance privacy and security, make it easier to target HCPs both on-site as well as after an event, creating a continuous chain of communication between promotional education programs and sales rep interactions.

Pioneering companies that are partnering with Life Sciences companies have the ability to break down this digital “geo-fence” into a grid of hundreds or even thousands of “cells” smaller than an average office elevator (think just 2’x6’, in some cases). Using KPIs determined by the program organizer, these partners can then turn these cells on or off based on whether or not the users within them are responding to the messaging. This both extends the impressions your program can deliver and focuses your resources only on communications that perform well.

To assuage any privacy concerns, this targeting is anonymized in a very sophisticated manner: Attendees can be targeted by business name or category, audience segment, demographic, IP address and other traits that make sure your messaging is delivered only to the intended group without compromising their anonymity.

This method of segmenting attendees gives a program organizer the ability to send enhanced messages to participating HCPs, KOLs or other conference attendees, so that both during and after the program, you can encourage deeper engagement with ads like branded banners. The granularity of using IP addresses gives you a great conduit for post-event communication.

A program of ad delivery managed with augmented communication can keep your brand literally in the palm of their hand, helping it remain top of mind even after they return to their offices and resume patient interactions.

 

Contributed by:


Sandra Graham- Mason, Associate Director, Marketing, Eisai

Sandra Graham-Mason joined Eisai, Inc. in 2013, and is responsible for overall HALAVEN® HCP Strategy. Previously, Sandra helped lead the evolution of the FYCOMPA® Speakers’ Bureau, KOL engagement and Direct-To-Patient promotional strategy. With more than 20 years of industry experience, Sandra began her pharmaceutical career in sales, and has held roles with increasing responsibility in Sales, Sales Training and Product Marketing at several companies including Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Sunovion Pharmaceutical.

July 27, 2018

Are You Taking Your KOLs for Granted? A Life Sciences promotional education program is only as good as the insights and energy its speakers can deliver. The industry depends on those knowledgeable to educate...

Read More

Are You Taking Your KOLs for Granted?

A Life Sciences promotional education program is only as good as the insights and energy its speakers can deliver. The industry depends on those knowledgeable to educate its audience of Health Care Professionals (HCPs) through promotional speaker programs and related events.

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are physicians with a professional reputation for far-reaching and high-quality expertise. They are on the cutting edge and, as such, their opinions are highly regarded and their knowledge sought-after by their peers in the healthcare industry. They participate in every stage of the therapeutic product life cycle, from the critical early research and development phase—during which Life Sciences companies consult with them to design clinical trials—to the market access portion, where KOLs can articulate and inform the broader HCP community of the value proposition a new therapy brings to today’s patient-centric care model.

New data analysis of promotional speaker program research, to be featured in an upcoming AHM white paper, shows that the highest level of KOLs, those whose expertise is sought not just among members of a local or regional community but across the country, can deliver powerful benefits and significant cost savings to Life Sciences companies managing these programs.

This new data details how these most sought-after KOLs— even those with fees that are nominally higher—bring to the table larger spheres of influence, and therefore can command larger audiences. The high demand for the knowledge these top-tier KOLs confer in educational programs, means the organizer can benefit from economies of scale that deliver measurable cost savings.

It stands to reason, then, that Life Sciences companies have a vested interest in nurturing their KOL relationships and making sure these pivotal figures are motivated to work with them. There are a few key tactics experts recommend for cultivating positive KOL relationships:

  • These busy medical professionals need access to an efficient data portal that will let them manage their program participation in a seamless and compliance-centric manner.
  • KOLs are eager to be on the cutting edge of research and industry developments. Life Sciences companies can provide this education via participation in clinical trials and scientific discussions, as well as access to the newest unpublished research that will make them a more valuable resource to their fellow HCPs.
  • Sponsorship opportunities allow these busy professionals to continue making meaningful contributions to HCP education, and industry research, and provide “fair market value” compensation for the time this takes away from their work with patients.
  • Peer-to-peer recognition programs give KOLs the opportunity to be recognized for their contributions to industry innovations, and development, by both other physicians as well as the industry at large. A robust HCP portal can include opportunities for feedback and analytics that KOLs value.

Utilizing a mutual and compliance-centric platform of support for KOLs, will go a long way in improving the effectiveness and return on investment that Life Sciences companies make in their therapeutic product life cycles.

Contributed by:


Melissa Bobal, Director, Global Solutions Management, AHM

Melissa joined AHM in 2001 and has more than 15 years of experience in providing services and solutions to the Life Sciences industry.  In her tenure, Melissa has held a number of different operational roles with subject matter expertise in business process design/improvement, event compliance, customer implementations, and designing creative and strategic solutions.  Melissa currently supports AHM’s Global Solutions product management team with a focus on event management service technology and solutions.

July 16, 2018

The meeting might be over, but as the organizer, your job isn’t: A post-event debriefing can be one of the most valuable tools in your toolbox when it comes to building and refining best...

Read More

The meeting might be over, but as the organizer, your job isn’t: A post-event debriefing can be one of the most valuable tools in your toolbox when it comes to building and refining best practices. As part of a broader Strategic Meetings Management Plan, the steps you take after a conference or other education series will put you on the right foot for starting out next time.


What to Ask, Who to Ask

Determining which key stakeholders you will need to report to is a key first step in any process that defines and measures performance, according to Betsey Bondurant, who will be moderating a panel at the CBI Pharma Forum 2018 next month about how to streamline SMMP to build and demonstrate value.

After you’ve determined who, you’ll need to list the top goals, KPIs or other metrics each group needs. There may be some overlap in what your sponsors, executive leaders and managers want to see, but some of the information they need is likely to be unique to that particular stakeholder cohort, and you don’t want to overlook it.

There are two main groups of people from whom you’ll need to gather and evaluate feedback, says Bethany Smith at Event Manager blog: The ones who helped make it happen, and the ones who experienced the end result. In the first bucket should be the venue, their in-house suppliers, your own vendors partners, and of course, your own team. The second group consists of your attendees or any other target audience groups (say, sponsors or exhibitors).

 

The Team Huddle

Meeting with your team, the venue and other parties in that first category should take place as soon after the event as possible. An in-person sit-down before departing the property is the most effective way to conduct this, since having all parties in the room at once eliminates any communication glitches that might have presented a challenge.

Once you reconcile the master folio and other associated costs, you can circle back with the benefits of your notes from that first meeting and identify any areas where management or spending can be streamlined for the next time.

 

Asking Your Audience

Ideally, gathering feedback from your HCP attendees can begin during the event itself via app-based live polling and surveys. Follow up with a post-event survey that includes the opportunity for them to write in answers — a task that will be easier when they’re in front of a desktop computer in their office. Collecting this quantitative information is more labor-intensive, but it’s valuable as a window into what your target audience really thinks — and it also provides potential material for testimonials you can share with your management or board to augment more quantitative ROI data.

 

Other Information Sources

Don’t forget to review your on-site notes and incorporate those observations, says Allison Magyar, CEO of event management software firm Hubb. This will give you some qualitative context that will be helpful interpreting any data pertaining to your key performance indicators collected during the event.

It’s highly likely that your eventual ROI determination will include metrics that won’t be available right away. For results such as sales conversions, contracts signed or prescriber behavior, scheduling a quarterly or year-end check-in should be a part of your debriefing process.

 

Address Compliance

Bondurant recommends that life sciences meeting planners add an additional step to this evaluation process: Build compliance metrics into your SMMP, and use your post-event debriefing to determine how well you achieved those metrics. This is an especially important priority as planners, HCPs and life sciences all adjust to the practical impact of the new GDPR regulation out of the E.U.

It’s understandable that after completing a big program, the prospect of more work is probably daunting. But building a comprehensive debriefing practice will go a long way towards achieving your goals and proving your value to your higher-ups.

 

Contributed by:

Matthew Derner, Global Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.

March 9, 2018

In these hectic times, any event host knows the frustration of trying to get invitees to RSVP in a timely manner — and to actually show up. For organizers of medical education programming, the...

Read More
Disclaimer

In these hectic times, any event host knows the frustration of trying to get invitees to RSVP in a timely manner — and to actually show up. For organizers of medical education programming, the stakes are higher: Planning for a certain number and only have a fraction of the anticipated turnout wastes time and resources, and program costs can look artificially high, which can be a challenge for compliance management.
Managing the HCP invitation and response process is one part art, one part science: Program managers need to be attuned to the preferences and predilections of their target audience and gauge their correspondence accordingly.
The first element is making sure that the timing of your events is set to avoid potential conflicts. While HCP populations vary greatly in terms of their time commitments and schedules, there are a couple rules of thumb that can be useful to guide programming timelines:
The beginning and the end of the week tends to bring more unforeseen circumstances that can force cancellations, so aim for midweek — Tuesday through Thursday — to minimize potential conflicts.
When sending an invitation, you need to hit what we refer to as a “Goldilocks” moment — not so early as to get buried in the recipient’s schedule and subsequently forgotten, not so late that your attendee pool will already have plans.
By paying attention to the response patterns — an event-management tool that can consolidate and present attendee responses for programming over time is an invaluable tool here — you can find the pattern that best suits your target audience. As a general rule of thumb, the “just right” moment is around five to six weeks before you plan to hold your educational event.
When and how you follow up that initial invitation is equally important; schedule reminders into your preparation schedule to make sure you remain on your HCPs’ radar. After the invitation is extended, best practice is to follow up in person with those who respond “yes.”
The gold standard is to have this touchpoint occur within a day or two of the event itself. This keeps the reminder at top-of-mind for HCPs, and the personal touch reinforces the commitment. Think of your own social life and how much easier is it to say, “Oh, I won’t be able to make that, after all,” via email instead of to someone’s face. The same principle applies here.
If you use these insights, you’ll set the foundation for well-attended and interactive programming.


Contributed by:


Claire Rizza, VP, Account Management, AHM

Claire joined AHM in 2006 as a Service Delivery, Senior Director. After launching one of AHM’s flagship accounts she was promoted to VP of Account Management where she has been responsible for multiple large accounts. Prior to AHM Claire spent ten years at a Medical Education Company, she also spent 15 years at Parke-Davis. In total Claire has over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and 25 years in speakers bureau.

February 20, 2018

Good communication is an often-overlooked but critical element of professional success. After all, we’ve known how to talk since we were toddlers, and we’ve been supplementing face-to-face conversations with phone, email and messaging platforms...

Read More
Disclaimer


Good communication is an often-overlooked but critical element of professional success. After all, we’ve known how to talk since we were toddlers, and we’ve been supplementing face-to-face conversations with phone, email and messaging platforms for decades — if not our entire lives.
But if communication is effortless, good communication takes an investment of time and discipline to achieve.
At CBI’s PharmaForum 2018 next month, creator and host of the chatty “Talk Stoop” TV show Cat Greenleaf will give a keynote presentation dedicated to honing your communication skills.
One thing to remember in our visually-oriented landscape is the importance of being able to tell a story. In fact, notable thinkers Steve Jobs and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg famously banned PowerPoint presentations, the idea being that visual aids can turn into a crutch that replaces verbal messaging.
“Most productive meetings are a time for discussion and working things out, not simply going through a bunch of slides,” Presentation Zen author Garr Reynolds advises.
Whatever your message, you need to deliver it clearly and concisely — a concept that’s easy to grasp, but sometimes hard to execute. Especially in business communication, it can be all too easy to hide behind buzzwords and industry jargon. If you find it hard to step away from these verbal crutches, imagine that you were explaining the topic at hand to a friend or family member in an entirely different line of work.
“It is indeed a very noisy world, and it’s getting noisier seemingly by the day. It is those… who do the hard work to clarify and simplify that will be the ones who are able to rise above the noise,” Reynolds says.
Along the same lines, experts say the best communication isn’t one-sided; dialogues are more fruitful and forge more meaningful bonds than monologues.
To achieve this, ask questions and solicit your audience’s input. “If you regularly solicit feedback, others will help you to discover areas for improvement that you might have otherwise overlooked,” Deep Patel, author of A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, writes in Entrepreneur. In addition, use verbal as well as non-verbal cues (eye contact, leaning forward, not playing with your phone) to convey interest in your audience’s response. “The majority of what you say is communicated not through words, but through physical cues,” Patel writes.
Above all, you have to engage your audience to keep their attention, whether you’re giving a speech to thousands, discussing a tricky work project over coffee with a colleague, or just meeting someone at an industry confab.
“I think good conversation can happen anywhere,” Greenleaf told New York Family magazine in an interview. That’s a good insight to take into the workplace, as well.


Contributed by:


Susan Hill, SVP, Global Products & Solutions, AHM

Susan joined AHM in June of 2013 and is responsible for the oversight and management of AHM’s Global Business Development and Solutions and Marketing team. With over nineteen years of experience in the Life Science industry, Susan brings experience in business development, product marketing, and new technology investment and optimization.

February 8, 2018

On January 16, a New Jersey law titled “Limitations on and Obligations Associated with Acceptance of Compensation from Pharmaceutical Manufacturers by Prescribers” went into effect. It sets a cap of $15 per prescriber, per...

Read More
Disclaimer


On January 16, a New Jersey law titled “Limitations on and Obligations Associated with Acceptance of Compensation from Pharmaceutical Manufacturers by Prescribers” went into effect. It sets a cap of $15 per prescriber, per meal on breakfasts, lunches and dinners served at promotional events, and it bars physicians from earning more than $10,000 per year — in aggregate — from speaking fees, advisory board participation and consulting related to promotional activities, with the prescriber responsible for documentation and reporting.
The new law’s $15 meal cap is problematic as it effectively eliminates physician-led educational events hosted in off-site venues. Although considered promotional, these types of programs have a long track record of positive outcomes. They provide medical value and advance patient care. This kind of industry education has been widely adopted precisely because the medical industry recognizes the unique benefits it provides.
The stated intent of the law is to “minimize the potential for conflicts of interest between prescribers and pharmaceutical manufacturers.” As it is written, though, it upsets the formula — a compliance-centric practice, it should be noted — that has functioned well for many years, and creates an undue burden on medical professionals as they seek to further their and their peers’ education. The constraints are substantially below what has been nationally generally accepted as standards for reasonable meal costs and compensation caps.
The prevalence of such events, as well as increased participation, shows how much healthcare providers value them. These professionals readily travel to offsite venues — on their own time, no less — to confer with peers and acquire knowledge in an appropriate, distraction-free setting appointed with tools and technology conducive to educational instruction. Removing these attributes that allow them to be more productive and learn more, runs counter to both the spirit and practice of improving the health of ordinary Americans.
An even greater challenge is the reporting mechanism for the $10,000 annual cap — which mandates that prescribers themselves document their compliance. The New Jersey law imposes a de facto new regulatory requirement on healthcare professionals by shifting this administrative burden from Life Sciences firms, which are well-equipped to handle this function thanks to decades of observing compliance regulations, to these individuals.
As a result, it is not unlikely that many New Jersey-licensed prescribers who currently act as speakers, advisors, and consultants will limit their participation to a single pharmaceutical firm, or will opt to curtail their engagement with these programs altogether. This would be a great loss to medical progress. This dynamic industry absolutely needs to keep prescribers apprised of the latest discoveries and innovations in pharmaceutical development. The peer-to-peer dialogue that takes place at these well-regarded forums is invaluable in this regard.
By cracking down on “boondoggles” that don’t exist, we fear this new law will impact doctors’ ability and willingness to share their insights, doing a disservice not only to these medical professionals but to the patient populations who depend on them for care.


Written by:


Christine Croft, CEO, AHM

Christine is AHM’s CEO and is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the Company, sales and business development, organizational effectiveness and operational excellence. She was AHM’s SVP & CFO for three years prior to this and was responsible for financial management, human resources, information technology, facilities and contracts. She also has nineteen years of financial management experience within technology and service industries, including twelve years within Life Sciences.

January 18, 2018

As we head into 2018 and take a look at game changers facing the Life Sciences industry, the next inflection point we see is how the industry increasingly uses data to drive business decision-making...

Read More
Disclaimer


As we head into 2018 and take a look at game changers facing the Life Sciences industry, the next inflection point we see is how the industry increasingly uses data to drive business decision-making via advanced analytics.
The amount of data we have at our fingertips would be unimaginable as recently as five years ago; while collecting and reporting all kinds of data points remains important, businesses are increasingly realizing that these amassed statistics hold deeper value. The goal now is not to utilize this mass of data to guide the business but rather to specifically direct the business.
In Life Sciences, a big driver for the development of platforms to collect and manage all this data was the evolution of regulatory requirements — a complex and constantly changing landscape that has, at times, challenged the industry.
The welcome silver lining is that these requirements have given firms that work with robust, scalable engagement-management platforms an unprecedented wealth of data that can be turned into actionable strategies. A platform designed to introduce controls and processes in order to manage compliance-centric meetings produces a veritable treasure trove of data on HCPs, KOL’s, and engagement activities.
To date much of the marketing and promotions in Life Sciences remains very subjective, relying on relationships and individuals to direct business tactics — though the industry has access to detailed data about HCPs that Life Sciences companies can access to help them make objective decisions. The data available now offers the tantalizing ability to reveal which of a Life Sciences company’s activities, practices and procedures drive the biggest bang for the promotional buck. They are the code to unlocking a deeper understanding of ROI, and we are on the cusp of the technological advancements that can turn that code into real discoveries.
Ultimately, the promise is that Life Sciences companies will be able to use these insights to predict an HCP’s response to interactions and invitations based on their past habits, creating marketing efficiencies as well as more compliant meetings management — bringing that visibility all the way to the level of prescribing behavior.
The promise is that HCP engagement data becomes more than just a box to check, figuratively speaking, for compliance purposes. Instead, it becomes a valuable organizational tool that supports the goals of multiple stakeholders across business units.


Contributed by:


Susan Hill, SVP, Global Products & Solutions, AHM

Susan joined AHM in June of 2013 and is responsible for the oversight and management of AHM’s Global Business Development and Solutions and Marketing team. With over nineteen years of experience in the Life Science industry, Susan brings experience in business development, product marketing, and new technology investment and optimization.

January 10, 2018

The results are in: The hotel industry is starting 2018 off with a bang. Forecasts from hospitality consultancies STR, PwC and CBRE all predict increases in both average daily room rates, or ADRs, as...

Read More
Disclaimer


The results are in: The hotel industry is starting 2018 off with a bang. Forecasts from hospitality consultancies STR, PwC and CBRE all predict increases in both average daily room rates, or ADRs, as well as revenue per available room, or RevPAR, as demand outstrips the new supply growth coming online throughout the United States. CBRE, the most bullish of the three, predicts that the first quarter of 2018 will see an increase of 3.7% in RevPAR, coupled with a 3.2% increase in ADR over that same time period.
For planners of pharmaceutical meetings and HCP education programs, this is an escalation of the perennial challenge posed by room and meal rate caps. While rising rates make it more difficult to stay within compliance parameters, it is by no means impossible, provided that the planner make use of all their resources.

  • Relationships: In this industry, much is made of the need to forge mutually beneficial relationships with hotel directors of sales and group sales managers. These vendor relationships can go a long way towards success in negotiating for compliance-centric rates. With PwC and CBRE both predicting increases in occupancy, you will need partners willing to work with you.
  • Flexibility: A good Director of Sales will help a planner take advantage of small windows of opportunity, which can offset the rate constraints you bring them. In fact, one bright spot in recent consultancy predictions comes from STR, which projects slightly lower occupancy for the first quarter. If there are gaps in a hotel’s booking calendar, it is likely that they will be amenable to lower rates just to get “heads in beds.” The nature of HCP educational programming is such that shoulder or off-season bookings and shorter lead times give you the flexibility to take advantage of compliance-centric rates.
  • Data analytics: One of the most valuable assets planners of HCP programming have — or should have — at their disposal is a comprehensive view of spend with a particular hotel brand. This data has two uses: It can come in handy if negotiations hit a sticking point by helping the hotel to see a fuller picture of the value your groups bring to them. A big-picture look at spending patterns will also help you identify where your spend is concentrated and if there are opportunities for consolidating spending further in order to enhance the value of your business. Hotel stays are a perishable commodity; an unsold room is lost revenue. If your programs have enough volume, you are likely to find hotels willing to be more flexible in exchange for a guaranteed stream of business.

Trying to meet the needs of both marketing and compliance leadership is undoubtedly a balancing act, but an ambitious program manager armed with robust analytics can find ways to make the numbers work to everyone’s benefit.
Source:
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/264536/Q1-2018-Forecasting-US-hotel-industry-performance


Contributed by:


Matthew Derner, Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.