If you think the trend of corporate purchasing departments getting involved in meetings will go away once the economy improves, think again. "Strategic sourcing"--buying travel and hotel space for corporate travel and meetings companywide--is here to stay, according to an audioconference sponsored by Meeting Professionals International entitled "Procurement: Why Me, Why Now?" held last Tuesday.

Speaker Christine Duffy, president & COO, MaritzMcGettigan, said that every major pharmaceutical company client now includes procurement people in buying decisions. Craig Ardis, director, global special events, Amway, who co-led the audioconference, said his company got its purchasing people involved a couple of years ago when the economy slowed.

What planners need to do, both speakers suggested, is create their own sourcing strategy and bring it to their company's procurement people. "The more you can do before your company brings in consultants to make recommendations, the better your department is positioned," said Duffy. "Work with the corporate travel department and other meeting planners to find ways to leverage spending within your company, rather than just focusing on the individual meetings you manage."

For more on the subject, see Corporate Meetings & Incentives' September and November cover stories. CMI editor Barbara Scofidio will lead a panel on the topic at The Special Event Show on January 7 in Las Vegas. For more, visit thespecialeventshow.com.