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American Express Meetings & Events, a full-service global meetings and events management provider, has announced the availability of Meetings Expert, a program that provides expert planning and sourcing resources for those meetings that may be planned outside of a managed, centralized meetings and events program.

Many departments within an organization have the need to plan meetings. Meetings Expert was created with those professionals in mind who may not be trained meeting planners but are tasked with the responsibility.

“As companies direct more of their attention toward meeting and expense consolidation, Meetings Expert offers solutions for those who continue to plan meetings on an ad hoc basis,” said Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events. “Even for companies only requiring meetings sourcing support intermittently, implementing structure around the process is important. We expect that the Meetings Expert experience will demonstrate the value of managing meetings and associated expenses – one of the largest categories of uncontrolled spend for most companies.”

Companies who choose to use Meetings Expert can have the benefit of cost control with a focus on planning meetings that are compliant to standard meeting policy and employ leading sourcing practices. This service connects companies with experts to negotiate all aspects of a meeting contract including conference rooms, sleeping rooms, food and beverage, and ancillary spending for events with a minimum of 10 rooms per night.

Meetings Expert was piloted this year with companies in North America and is now broadly available in the United Kingdom. Continued roll-out is expected across Europe and Australia. For those clients using the services, they have achieved an on average savings of 28percent* per meeting.

*Figure is based upon Meetings & Events closed business through end of June 2011.

American Express Meetings & Events has also announced two new exclusive agreements in Europe. The collaborations with Le Public Système, a France-based integrated communication agency skilled in public relations, events, marketing and digital communications and WRG Creative Communication, a leading United Kingdom-based integrated marketing and event production agency, will provide companies in these respective markets streamlined access to all areas of meeting and event management, creative communication and production along with budgeting, compliance and expense management expertise from American Express.

“The meetings and events industry is at an inflection point,” said Jouaneh. “External regulations, compliance, and budget considerations are intersecting with the recognized value of producing creatively appealing and effective meetings. The exclusive agreements in France and the United Kingdom allow us to enhance the creative and production capabilities available to corporations through an integrated approach with our planning and sourcing optimization, expense management and industry compliance knowledge and expertise.”

Through these exclusive agreements, businesses will have access to a comprehensive range of meetings and events services that are typically handled as separate and at many times fragmented components. This approach will simplify supplier management for clients and ensure communication strategy, creative content development and production is all part of the strategic management of their meetings and events. All delivered with a clear objective of transparency into budgeting and spending, return on investment and attendee experience.

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