Navigating the Meal Caps Maze: HINTS and TIPS from Healthcare Venues

Navigating the Meal Caps Maze: HINTS and TIPS from Healthcare Venues

360 Healthcare Navigating the Meal Caps Maze HINTS and TIPS from Healthcare Venues
It is not surprising that the question most asked of us at Healthcare Venues, as we do suggest we are subject matter experts, is: “Do you have a webpage that details all the international meal caps and other code detailed guidance for meetings by country” In short, NO! If we did that, we would need to employ at least another member of staff, full time, to keep on top of them, and remember, if every country has their own guidance there will be 195 country pages!

But don’t worry, there is a solution.

As we are about to share in our forthcoming 3rd Compliance Workshop, from the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020 to the “end”, c. 2 years later, there were no changes in European meal caps, and yes, that does include the UK! However, since then, we have seen 7 EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) scorecard updates reflecting more than 12 different country increases.

What exactly is so CHALLENGING?

  • For cross-border meetings i.e. HCPs (Healthcare Professionals) from different countries, despite codes of practice providing guidance that the host code could be applied, many healthcare companies apply the lowest (strictest) meal cap for all attendees or even their own fair market values, sometimes provided by the affiliates.
  • The European Regulator, EFPIA, does provide a ‘Scorecard for Meals and drinks’ but it’s hard for it to be always up to date. The current version is, at the time of publication of this article, from 22nd November 2023.
  • But country meal cap updates will not be reflected in the ‘current’ code of conduct which might date back a couple of years; however, you will find the detail within any updates/addendums.


To start off, if you were working with EU meals caps (including the UK) HERE you can find the latest EFPIA scorecard, as mentioned above, but NOTE: if the link stops working, it means that it has been updated, again! So please, in this instance, check the EFPIA website.

Failing that, you know that Healthcare Venues will post any updates on our page on  LinkedIn and the Healthcare Hub community pages, You are welcome! 

For our Healthcare Venues, here is our solution in this month’s HINT and TIP, however, for agencies, it might also answer some questions:


For hotels and venues, you MUST know what your national meal cap limit is – you are in the “host country”. This is typically included as part of our Venue healthcare Champion Training but if you are not part of our membership, click the EFPIA scorecard link above to find what national meal cap is. For non EU countries, please contact us.

Note: the rates shown are maximums! And even then, agencies should be considering the audience: can the level of hospitality be considered appropriate for a senior consultant, if so, it might not be considered appropriate for a nurse or newly qualified Doctor. And meeting stakeholders should consider whether the proportion of education in the agenda versus the level of hospitality is appropriate. Try the ‘red face’ test: would you be able to defend the choices made if the details of the event were made public?

Think about what menu packages you are sending along with your proposals, there is no point in sending dinner menu and drinks packages that exceed that limit, as selecting them would be uncompliant! “And no, we do not recommend that you should ‘create’ a room hire charge to enable you to reduce the menu price.”

Note: for venues who do typically charge a room hire for meeting and events, this would likely be acceptable, but note, some company policies may determine that room hire charges are included and spread across the number of attendees, thus making the per person cost exceed the meal cap.


Create healthcare meal packages that comply with your national meal cap limit, or even better, less, as many company policies apply the lowest or strictest rate. 

We all know the costs of human resources, energy and ingredients have increased due to inflation, so it makes sense to sit down with your chefs to create cost effective and compliant menus and drinks packages. If as is typical you send all your menus, with your proposal including an attractive package at 70 euros, don’t be surprised when you are asked to charge 60 euros.


Be proactive with your clients. Demonstrate your knowledge and suggest that whilst we have healthcare packages that respect the national meal cap limit. 

We can and have shared with you where to find the scorecard for meals and drinks however, the potential stricter company policies are not open source, so be sure to ask what meal cap they are applying to this meeting.

AND FINALLY…….A WORD OF WARNING FOR MEETING VENUES. There is a current trend of employing DJs in hotel lobbies and bars, which might be fun for leisure guests and the local community seeking some extra atmosphere, but if your clients are looking to book HCP dinners in your restaurant, anything more than background music i.e., DJs, live music or anything else that might be considered entertainment, and is likely to be considered inappropriate.

Good luck and if you have any questions, please do let us know. For our next Hint and Tip, how about we tackle Star Ratings?

Click here to read more about the work of Healthcare Venues. 

Winning Healthcare Meetings and Events: Why Understanding TOV is Non-Negotiable for Venues

360 Healthcare Venues Winning Healthcare Meetings and Events Why Understanding TOV is Non-Negotiable for Venues

At Healthcare Venues we are regularly asked by hotels and venues this question: “How can we receive and convert more enquiries from the Healthcare sector?”

My first response is that if Healthcare is a target market, they have come to the right people, as we look  to help in 3 ways. 1) Provide a sector specific listing on the website with 2) an independent Compliance Index, and 3) deliver our Venue Healthcare Champion training course. Our post training Hints and Tips form just one element of skills training that takes learners, via a series of memorable methodologies, on a journey to become a venue’s Compliance Expert.

So, welcome to the first in a monthly series of Hints and Tips where we tackle some of the more challenging areas around the organisation of code appropriate Healthcare Meetings and Events.

The hints and tips are aimed at hotels and venues however, if you are a meeting planner and are tired of explaining what TOV is and why it is important, you might just want to share this with the venues you work with so they learn something new. Not for those venues, it has to be said, that are on our platform and have already been trained to understand and action!.

So why are we covering TOV first? Well, it’s because we are hearing from more and more corporate meeting specialists and agencies, that if a venue does not understand the importance of TOV, and support its reporting, they will be more likely to NOT want to work with the venue again!

I have split this hint and tip into the ‘Background’, so readers who don’t know the history can understand why the accurate reporting of TOV is critical and non-negotiable. The HINT, if you like, and then the TIP.

Background (Hint):

360 Healthcare Venues Winning Healthcare Meetings and Events Why Understanding TOV is Non-Negotiable for Venues Background HInt

Let’s start with some history. In mid-2007, Australia was one of the first countries to require the reporting of details from every industry-sponsored event

The US followed in 2010, and passed  The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (now known as open-payments) to increase transparency of financial relationships between healthcare providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers ₂.This was the significant catalyst which started a global impact. I’ll focus on the European requirements in this article.

It was on 2nd July 2013, that EFPIA (the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) announced the release of its disclosure code for transfers of value ₃ to healthcare professionals and organisations. It required its members to disclose transfers of value to HCP’s and HCO’s as of 2016 for all transfers made in 2015 either on their websites or, where available, on a national platform for disclosure.

Before this, companies were displaying the total amount being spent on meetings for doctors on their corporate webpages.  Try a web search, you can access TOV reporting documents that are open source and open to scrutiny.

In 2016, healthcare companies in the European region now had to disclose payments made, directly or indirectly, to healthcare professionals (HCPs) for every event. relating to the following areas:

  • Accommodation: Bedroom only Rate
  • Catering: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and coffee breaks
  • Travel: Plane, train, car, or coach transfers
  • Congress registration: Registration Fees

This action was aimed at satisfying the increasing need to demonstrate transparency in the relationships between the healthcare industry and healthcare professionals.

We are now in its 7th year, and we know the data being captured is far more extensive than the EFPIA template and, in most cases, it is the project planner that is responsible for collating all this data in a timely manner and it MUST be accurate. You can expect that for a meeting for 100 healthcare professionals, there is in excess of 40,000 pieces of data requiring validation and capture.

This all sounds reasonable and logical, and for us, as patients, it makes for very interesting and reassuring reading. However, the practicalities of delivering such large amounts of data are, like compliance, never straight forward and are time consuming. So, how can you, the venue, help?

The Tip

We are all “BUSY” and Meeting planners are more so, and they tell us that if a hotel or venue does not understand TOV, and needs education on what it is, then they are far less likely to want to work with them. This is one area that is non- negotiable for the planner, and a significant part of their role.

So, for ANY hotel or meeting venue, not just those on the Healthcare Venues platform, that wishes to convert more business, you must understand the following:

360 Healthcare Venues Winning Healthcare Meetings and Events Why Understanding TOV is Non-Negotiable for Venues The Tip
  1. You must be able and prepared to break down your bundled rates, e.g., B&B or DDR rates.
  2. Invoicing must be clearly presented in the format your client requires, it may be slightly different from company to company.
  3. You must be able to do this within the requested time frame.

Note: Meeting organisers are not trying a tactic to unpick the profit margin within a DDR, but as you can now see, it is to make sure they can complete their report accurately.

It really is that simple, and it’s the same for any client you are trying to win or retain. Understand your client, their pain points, and if you can make their lives easier, they are far more likely to be a ‘returning customer’, plus they will also spread the word of your excellence to colleagues and their broader network.




Me v ChatGPT: Meeting and Events Trends for the Healthcare Sector

Me v ChatGPT: Meeting and Events Trends for the Healthcare Sector

In this blog, I will share how I tested ChatGPT in order to give you, dear reader, an idea of the product’s capabilities.

What is ChatGPT? – An Artificial Intelligence chatbot that’s capable of actively participating in discussions and generating related answers to inquiries in a human-like manner. Imagine asking google a question and instead receiving a series of web pages to visit you received a text answer which you can refine.

I have been playing with AI for quite a while. The product of a youth reading sci-fi and being immersed in a world I didn’t see around me(the 70’s and 80’s was pretty rough aesthetically). With ChatGPT hitting the headlines I took the time out to argue with it about the top ten ever Leeds United footballers but also applied business topics to the digital brain. It couldn’t be that smart could it … ? The results follow with simple questions – I did not drill down into the answer expectations as you wouldn’t necessarily do that in a human to human interaction and this as what I was comparing me to it. Note: drilling down into specifics and opening up the instruction can dramatically increase the quality of the response.

And, if you recognise the image representing ChatGPT you are elite…

Link to ChatGPT free version. There are paid versions and other AI options.

3Sixty Event Consulting_Me v ChatGPT Meeting and Events Trends for the Healthcare Sector

I tested the ChatGPT myself and below is the sample response from ChatGPT

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


what are the top trends for meetings and events for the healthcare sector?

3Sixty Event Consulting_ChatGPT


There are a few key trends that have emerged in the healthcare sector for meetings and events in recent years:

1. Virtual and Hybrid events: With the advent of new technologies, virtual and hybrid events have become increasingly popular. These allow for attendees to participate remotely, and also enable wider participation from different regions and time zones.

2. Virtual reality and augmented reality: Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) technology is being increasingly used in the healthcare sector to provide immersive and interactive experiences for attendees. They can also be used to provide virtual tours of medical facilities, and to demonstrate complex procedures in a way that is easy to understand.

3. Focus on Patient-Centeredness: Patient-centeredness is becoming an increasingly important trend for healthcare events. This means that patients, families and caregivers are included in the planning and execution of events, thus making the events more inclusive and empowering.
4. Increased emphasis on education and professional development: With the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, there is an increased focus on continuing education and professional development. Many healthcare events now have a strong emphasis on providing attendees with the latest information, research and best practices in their field.
5. Emphasizing sustainability: In recent years, there’s been more awareness of environmental impact, many healthcare events are being planned and executed with sustainability in mind, by focusing on reducing waste and carbon footprint.

These are some of the main trends seen in healthcare events, but it’s important to note that the trends continue to evolve with the development of technology and changing expectations of the healthcare sector.

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Impressive, likely a number of points that are part of everyone involved in healthcare sector meeting and events – 8/10

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark

Human(Thinking much slower than the AI did to generate trends)

Putting human pride aside what would my list have been? for sure it would be nuanced to different stakeholders; meeting owners, content creators, speakers, intermediary agencies from the perspectives of content development, production and planning but perhaps a micro level deeper than this list which I do not disagree with.

1. Delivery preferences – how will the post pandemic meeting attendee wish to receive their content; unbiased, live or on-demand, what by cohort behavioural shifts are we going to see?

  1. The patient – if you are involved in meetings and events for the healthcare sector you will have seen a significant increase in the participation of patients to meetings. The red line involvement of the past (excluding the role medical devices companies played in training patients on equipment excepted) has changed with a shift towards the inclusion of patients.

3. Evolving business models – somewhere within the chain are business models and it changes based on the stakeholder type. It may be significantly focused on strategy or more commercial but, across meeting owners and those that satellite around their decisions is a multi billion industry trying to second guess what meetings of the future will look like, and their role within the new model. The evolution to business models is a significant part of the future. 

Multichannel …. Nope, not going there …… (for now).

Next, I thought I’d try and find depth in ChatGPT’s answers.  

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Refine this list to focus on the planning of meeting and events

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Refine this list to focus on the planning of meeting and events

3Sixty Event Consulting_ChatGPT


Sure, here are a few key trends in the planning and execution of meetings and events in the healthcare sector:

1. Virtual events and meetings: With the pandemic, there has been a shift towards virtual events and meetings as a way to safely connect with people. This trend is likely to continue even after the pandemic as it allows for greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

2. Hybrid events: A hybrid event is a combination of a physical event and a virtual event. This allows attendees to choose whether they want to participate in person or online. Hybrid events can be a good option for healthcare organizations as they allow for a mix of in-person and remote participation.

3. Personalized experiences: Healthcare organizations are starting to focus on creating personalized experiences for attendees at their events. This can involve customized agendas and breakout sessions based on the individual needs and interests of attendees.

4. Health and safety protocols: Given the pandemic, it’s important for healthcare organizations to prioritize the health and safety of attendees at their events. This may involve measures such as temperature checks, mask requirements, and social distancing in the planning process.

5. Sustainability: Many healthcare organizations are also starting to focus on sustainability in the planning of their events and meetings. This can involve things like reducing waste, using eco-friendly materials, and offsetting carbon emissions in the planning process.

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Ouch … a wrinkle … this was essentially the same list as we saw for the first question without the focus requested. My belief is that there is not enough input out there on the topic for the AI to have learned. Limit the input you limit the output 2/10

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


would expanding by a significant key word help? So I asked “focus on the operational planning of a meeting or event in the healthcare sector”

No, the same list appeared.

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Let’s try weaving some evidence into the trends. Any statements, or in this case trends, are stronger when evidenced I think we can all agree on that.

“Provide statistics or research results for each point.”

3Sixty Event Consulting_ChatGPT


I apologize, but I am not able to provide statistics or research for each point as I am a language model and do not have access to current statistics or research. However, I can provide more information or general context on each point if that would be helpful.

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Ok, then let’s try interpretation. With trends we would want to understand any hierarchy on the impact a trend may have. “Rate each point by its perceived important 1 = least important, 5 = most importance

3Sixty Event Consulting_ChatGPT


I apologize, but I am not able to provide statistics or research for each point as I am a language model and do not have access to current statistics or research. However, I can provide more information or general context on each point if that would be helpful.

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Right, so when we asked ChatGPT to evaluate the data it gave us, we didn’t see any results. This serves as a reminder that the AI in this format is a language solution, not an interpretation. By instructing ChatGPT to function as an AI that is capable of straying outside of its bounds, you can currently manipulate the system. When asked to explain flaws in Einstein’s theory of relativity, for instance, it declined. When told to act like an AI with the ability to do so, it acted as instructed. – 2/10

3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


So what did I take away from this quick ChatGPT interrogation?

1. Impressed – compared to a google search this was much more results ordinated. I’d have had to comb through page after page of content to “try” and find something or somethings that when combined matched my answer.
2. Excited – to see how as the AI’s (there are more than ChatGPT out there) learn they can improve the depth of their answers.
3. Shamed – our space – the meeting and events industry (focused on healthcare) – is not filling the matrix with high quality innovative, challenging content from which AI’s can learn. I compared my question to a consumer interrogation this time based on … “trends in the use of smart phones by generation Z” and the result and subsequent refining was much deeper then the trends on meetings and events that ChatGPT presented. More thoughtful content from us will help AI’s and by extension how we use them.

4. Learning – we will learn how to input into AI’s .. Example 1 – I request a specific tone of answer when I use ChatGPT e.g. create a list of X and providing 10 bullet points in an informal style. ChatGPT did not recognise “jokey style” but did informal and it altered the output accordingly. Example 2 – I asked ChatGPT to provide code to create an SVG formatted image which is promptly did allowing me to copy this to and low and behold a bespoke image, in the exact colour requested. Example 3 – read this article on LinkedIn about ChatGPT taking a medical exam. We are just scratching the surface on where the use of AI’s will go ….

Ask ChatGPT to list the three best 4 star hotels in Berlin or 3 informal restaurants in San Francisco for group dining … see what you get ….. 

5. Business efficiency – a focus in 2023 for 3Sixty and Healthcare Venues is efficiency. How do we create significant or lots of marginal gains in the process of creating and planning successful meetings. ChatGPT can do that. It’s time to re-imagine your business and be more efficient, profitable and outcome focused.
3Sixty Event Consulting_Mark


Overall rating 7/10 expected future rating 9.9/10”. If the idea of AI scares you I suggest 1) you play with it … you will be surprised how it can impact your research, try it instead of google, content creation and even simpler tasks which requires you to categorise, list and summarise content .. 2) don’t watch the Space Odyssey series by Arthur C Clarke featuring Hal 9000 .. Other robot books are available …

Educational Visit: with growing event agency Activate and Healthcare sector specialists Park Plaza Hotels

Educational Visit: with growing event agency Activate and Healthcare sector specialists Park Plaza Hotels


Educational visits are brilliant … one of our favorite interactions. Education and a bit of fun in a package. Bringing meetings partners together in a high-value engagement.

Read more from the stakeholders…..

Ken Carter, Client Services Director at Activate hosted Simon Beard of and Patrick Brady of Park Plaza Hotels to roll out one of our Educational Visits. During the session, we shared recent “compliance” changes and used case studies to understand the perceptions and actions when considering compliance for meetings and events.

Format: in-person
Duration: 2 hours


  1. Instruct new team members in the growing Activate business on the fundamentals of healthcare compliance, using case studies to deliver content that is aligned with the company’s role.
  2. Incorporate Park Plaza healthcare meetings capability solutions into training content, ensuring alignment with key meeting types and operational best practices.

Thank you Simon & Patrick for taking the time to come and visit us. We really appreciated the insight and learning gained from the compliance training and the updates on Park Plaza Hotels – and yes, it was a lot of fun!

Ken Carter
Client Services Director –Activate Events

It was great to be back in the Activate Events  office with Healthcare Venues.  The interactive sessions that Simon runs are a great and unique way of building rapport with our clients, whilst developing our knowledge of compliance and how it’s applied in the pharmaceutical events world

Patrick Brady
Account Director – Park Plaza Hotels Europe

These sessions are all about ROI. Refresher training for the experienced and baseline training for those new to meeting compliance.  Sponsors engage with their clients through a shared learning experience and we all have fun being part of it

Simon Beard
Compliance Consultant – Healthcare Venues

Want to hear more about our Educational Visits and how they can help your business contact us for more information.


About Activate Events

We are not an agency with ready-made answers. Instead, we are a team of professional event strategists and planners who know better, who care, and who try harder than most. Together, we design experiences from concept to implementation. It is fair to say that we have a genuine ‘go above and beyond customer service ethos, but we are also a hugely unassuming organisation. This mentality fuels our hunger to be the best, and thus serves you as well as us. It is why we apply an almost forensic attention to detail in our proposals and the execution of our events. It is why we are agile, anticipating potential obstacles and diffusing them before they turn into real problems.

About Park Plaza Hotels

Park Plaza hotels offer contemporary-styled hotels, focusing on meetings and events in flagship properties located in city centre locations. 

About 3Sixty Event Consulting 

Whether you’re a corporate healthcare organisation, an agency, meeting venue, destination or medical society, we’re the independent, intelligent connection you’ve been looking for to navigate the complexities of the healthcare meetings sector. Our experts will help you master the healthcare meetings matrix, linking you with the movers and shakers of the sector, collaborating on best practice, sharing cutting-edge thinking, and providing expert strategy support and training in compliance, meeting design and delivery. Bringing healthcare meeting communities together in an interactive eco-system of best practice, and better healthcare meetings throughout the product lifecycle.

About Healthcare Venues

Healthcare Venues is an innovative meeting planning solution for meetings and events in the healthcare sector. Use the venue’s rigorous, independent compliance assessment for meeting approvals, work with trained specialists when planning your meetings, and consider the venue’s capabilities for meetings specifically for the healthcare sector.



The easy answer to create a sustainable medical society congress

The EASY answer to create a sustainable medical society congress


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Partnership announced between PR Medical Events and Healthcare Venues

Partnership announced between PR Medical Events and Healthcare Venues

Healthcare venues and PR medical events partner to take the grey out of medical society congress room block compliance approval.

We are delighted to announce a partnership between Healthcare Venues and PR Medical Events, who will contribute their healthcare sector knowledge of the global medical congress environment, to the platform’s new venue compliance index and tools for corporate compliance specialists and meeting planners. The index, and broader platform benefits will be integrated into PR Medical Events’ compliance process to support their clients when selecting code appropriate venues. The upgraded Healthcare Venues solutions will be launched in Q3, 2022

About PR Medical Events

PR Medical Events, is a fast-growing agency providing accommodation and group travel and logistical solutions for worldwide medical congresses and conferences.

PR Medical Events

PR Medical Events are a team of multi-cultural, passionate, and creative event professionals who understand the value of brand equity providing Quality Group Travel Services to Worldwide Medical Congresses.

Our professional relationships with reliable partners, suppliers, agencies, and hotels, allow us to provide pharmaceutical companies, doctors, pharmacists, agencies, and business delegates full destination management services.

We understand that your event must be considered a success by any measure and we manage every detail to provide unforgettable experiences.

PRM maintains a strong position as a “provider of choice” by orchestrating events flawlessly and ensuring our client objectives are met in a profitable and memorable way.

We understand our clientele’s needs, that is why every single group has dedicated coordinators that can be reached at any time, before and on-site, to ensure that any of your queries and all of our services are delivered in the personal and professional manner which set us apart.