A survey conducted during February and March of European event planners, procurement officials, and event agencies conducted for the European chapter of Meeting Professionals International shows striking differences between meetings and procurement professionals when it comes to sizing up suppliers. The survey, introduced in April at MPI’s Professional Education Conference-Europe, queried a total of 40 event planners, procurement officials, and event agencies in four industry sectors across Europe.

Here’s how they differ: Procurement folks say return on investment is the most important factor when inviting a supplier to bid. Personal relationships are considered the least important. Event planners say just the opposite: ROI is least important, while personal relationships are most important.

Also, budget control and negotiations are the two qualities that procurement people feel they bring to the meeting buying process, while event planners say they contribute experience and understanding of events.

The most frustrating part of working with procurement, planners say, is lengthy processes and poor communication. Procurement officials say lack of adequate leadtime is one of the most frustrating aspects of working with event planners and agencies.

But they’re on the same page with some of their priorities Swhen it comes to making supplier decisions. For example, consider these other findings:

  • 82 percent of procurement professionals and 86 percent of planners currently use a preferred- supplier list.
  • 100 percent of agencies surveyed are on at least one preferred-supplier list.
  • 89 percent of procurement professionals, 67 percent of planners, and 93 percent of agencies know of instances where event services were provided by an organization not on the preferred-supplier list.
  • 100 percent of procurement professionals, 83 percent of event planners, and 73 percent of agencies say preferred-supplier lists make their jobs easier.
  • 85 percent of those who say it’s a team decision have event planners and procurement professionals on the team.