Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 24 2014

Initiate a Successful Strategic Meeting Management Program

By Lindsay Faria, Demand Generation Specialist for Lanyon

There is so much conversation in the meetings and events industry on Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) these days, but what does it really mean to you and your organization? Find out what’s in it for you.

SMM is the discipline of controlling and leveraging meeting and event spend on an enterprise‑wide basis. When you implement an SMM program (SMMP), you increase organization-wide visibility into meeting spend, reduce costs, mitigate risk, and improve efficiencies.

When deployed, the foundation of most SMMPs is a centralized registration system, as well as centralized sourcing and negotiation of hotel contracts.

When implementing an SMMP, some planners may be reluctant to support the program because they feel an enriching, interesting part of their work might be eliminated. In reality, the cumbersome negotiation process is reduced, but the decision‑making and planning process remains in their hands. They are able to enjoy less hassle and more creativity.

Many travel managers want to deploy an SMMP in their companies because they know this is a large area of unmanaged spend. Lanyon research shows that companies save a range of 10% to 25% on annual meeting spend once an SMMP is in place. .

Once the centralized process is in place, the company begins to understand – on an enterprise level – the volume of meetings and events, as well as patterns of spend with various suppliers. Additional benefits of the centralized negotiating and contracting, or “sourcing” of meetings, is that there is significant mitigation of risk. People adept at discussing business terms for meetings and contract terms and conditions (Ts & Cs) for your company are the ones doing the negotiation. You in turn avoids terms that are unfavorable for your company and ensures valuable concessions from the supplier.

What is the first step in putting together a SMMP?

Start by finding an executive champion, someone who understands the value of SMM and has influence within the organization to drive strategic change.

Break through the resistance with an informed overview of the benefits.

“We already have control over that spend,” might be one response. Or, “Our meetings volume is too low for an SMMP,” could be another objection. There is little debate that an SMMP is sound business practice, and companies of all sizes derive benefits from it. So, it is important to make sure that all of the stakeholders have a solid understanding of “what’s in it” for them when it comes to an SMMP.

Begin with an emphasis on the key benefits. Make sure to demonstrate that adoption of an SMMP will deliver improved visibility and perspective into industry trends, increased negotiating opportunities with suppliers, risk mitigation, policy compliance, and savings.

Join us for an upcoming webinar  Strategic Meeting Management Best Practices.

The presentation will cover:

  • Securing an executive champion for your program
  • Communicating what’s in it for all stakeholders – in order to drive adoption
  • Delivering valuable perspective, more complete business intelligence, integrity validations tracking, and consistent spend optimization.
See you on September 24, at 1PM Central.

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