Strategic meetings management has been on the corporate radar for well over a decade, but most companies are still grappling with whether and how to implement a formalized program. The investment is significant: To achieve true SMM not only takes human resources but also requires a spine of technology upon which to build policies and processes. It requires a marketing and training effort, and perhaps the hardest of all challenges is to drive change management throughout the organization.
According to BTN’s 2015 Strategic Meetings Management Survey, however, more companies are bringing SMM concepts to bear on their meetings business. Eighty-five percent of respondents had at least some aspect of SMM in place in their companies, and it may be time to think about how to implement more. Click here for charted results of BTN's research.
In the past two years, meetings have experienced a surge in activity, particularly in the United States. As the seller’s market reasserts itself, negotiating rates and beneficial contract terms is only getting harder for planners. Supporting meeting organizers via defined policies and processes, particularly around sourcing and contracting, can help keep them afloat while protecting the organization from unnecessary risks. The BTN study showed companies putting a clear focus on these areas, as well as many more companies enlisting the help of procurement to drive this part of the planning process.
But sourcing and contracting support are just the beginning steps for SMM. Significantly fewer companies reported a serious investment in SMM technology to drive a formalized program, but gateway technologies were widely used, which may portend future tech investment.
More mature programs reported deeper initiatives on the horizon, pointing to globalization efforts, technology integrations and more granular data capture to drive that elusive metric of a meeting’s return on investment.
Written by Elizabeth West.
This article was originally published on Business Travel News and can be read in full here.