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Operational Business Intelligence: Using Group Commissions Data to Drive Business

mayo 28, 2024
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Meeting and event (M&E) teams are often challenged by a lack of staff and human resources, and burnout continues to be a real risk. Despite the abundance of resources to measure event success, much less attention is paid to evaluation of processes behind the scenes.

The prevailing focus on event logistics and attendee experience within the event tech stack has led to under-investment in automation for project management, budgeting, and reconciliation, leaving event teams ill-equipped to analyze and derive actionable insights to improve business performance.

When it comes to this type of operational intelligence, many find themselves asking “What am I looking for?” In this article, we’ll share how operational data – including on group commissions – can help event agencies and hotels not only work more efficiently but make better, more profitable decisions about how to run their businesses.

Clean Data Produces Accuracy and Efficiency

One significant way that attention to back-of-house data can drive business outcomes is by improving efficiency and accuracy. Data is often entered through error-prone manual processes or in a standalone excel spreadsheet, which can produce low-quality information riddled with errors and duplications.

“There’s a lot of money left on the table when it comes to data quality,” shared Akshath Dhar, manager, Business Data Analytics at Onyx CenterSource. “Bad quality data can get filtered out or make it difficult to match correct hotels with their transactions, which translates into payment delays and more time spent making claims and chasing payments.”

Look for every opportunity to control and audit the quality of your data. Investing in back-of-house payment technology, such as GroupPay by Onyx CenterSource, can economize these processes more efficiently and often at a lower cost. For example, GroupPay flags inconsistencies when they arise, automatically matching identical records or identifying attendees not in the final pickup report vs. the housing list.

With cleaner, higher quality data comes faster and more accurate payment processing, which increases revenue for event agencies and makes hotels and venues more competitive in vying for event business. When these issues are not dealt with as they arise, they often result in commissions going underpaid or unpaid, duplicate payments, and unreliable forecasting. This is a frustration for event agencies and a reputational liability for hotel properties, resulting in lost business for both parties.

Leveraging Back-of-House Data

Back-of-house data offers a wealth of insights that drive business outcomes. Leaders must be able to leverage these insights to improve everything from standard operating procedures to partner management.

For instance, final spend and group commissions data can help event agencies assess contract to actual consumption, forecast revenue, evaluate partner performance, and shape sourcing strategies. In addition, analytics on commission earnings and collection can aid project-level profitability analysis and inform pricing model refinements when responding to customer RFPs.


Forecasting based on group commissions data can help event agencies accurately project their cash flow and model changes over time. In many cases, a direct correlation between work completed and revenue will not align in a defined reporting period, placing additional pressure on cash flow.

Improving operational data and creating enterprise visibility on project status, including group commissions, can have a material business impact, including:

  • Highlighting periods of revenue/cash and expense mismatch;
  • Flagging aged events that have not closed, including commissions received or final invoices completed for escalation and/or intervention;
  • Supporting contingency planning if a gap or risk exists, by:
    • Modifying staffing models to manage both workload and cash consumption
    • Adjusting accounts payable and/or discretionary expense commitments
  • Providing monthly (or quarterly) forecast analysis for company finance leaders, including proactive identification of positive or negative variances;
  • Helping event agencies more effectively deal with economic highs and lows, or the ebb and flow of their revenue.

Managing Partner Performance

Performance trends viewed per property and at a chain level can work in tandem with other criteria to influence destination and venue selection processes, as well as preferred partnerships between agencies and hotels. Evaluating partner performance against spending patterns and behavioral factors can help guide decisions about which partners to continue working with, on what terms, and perhaps where to place discretionary business to achieve in-year revenue targets.

Here are some ways commission data can impact performance:

  • Informing a sourcing strategy – operational data can help identify vendors to include on an RFP. Speed to payment is one piece of that puzzle.
  • Negotiation levers – back-of-house platforms that track spend and give context with payment information significantly expedite the negotiation process. The resulting full-picture view of how much revenue an agency represents for a hotel partner provides context for every pricing request or inquiry.
  • Industry benchmarks – commission data lends itself to answering how reliable and responsive a given partner is. Onyx helps agencies benchmark these metrics to determine if they align with industry standards, or if these additional data points can be leveraged in supplier negotiations.

Measuring the success of meetings and events will always be important, but don’t forget to also analyze your operational data behind the scenes to make better, more profitable decisions on how to run your business. This is data everyone has access to, so be sure to use it to improve efficiency and accuracy, forecast cash flow and model changes and manage partner performance.


Sara Meyer joined Onyx in 2021 as VP, Product Management focused on Meetings & Events. She has 20+ years of travel & meetings experience focused on developing new product offerings, streamlining complex global ops and managing organizational change.