10 Tips for Strategic Meeting Management

Although Strategic Meeting Management (SMM) was officially launched in 2004, this initiative really picked up momentum during the recent global recession, which clearly increased senior management’s awareness of meetings and events and the need for improved meeting productivity, cost savings, risk reduction and ROI.

SMM is not just a knee jerk reaction to the recession, but a strategic game changer and now, there is no turning back. The shift from “Logistics to Strategic” is validated by compelling industry statistics:

  • Over 50% of CEO’s feel their organization is not getting maximum ROI from their meetings and events

  • Over 40% of CFO’s are not satisfied with their company’s travel / meetings spend management

  • 49% of planners feel pressure to enhance meeting results, measurable metrics and ROI

  • 43% of planners implementing SMMP do not feel they are getting maximum results / leveraging spend.

SMM Top 10 HOT Tips:

  1. Build your business acumen and understand “how your organization works” (what are products / services, primary marketplace, what drives profitability, key departments generating meetings). Evaluate your organization’s website, mission statement and any announced strategic initiatives.

  2. Conduct your own meeting needs assessment and evaluate the size and scope of meeting and event activity (number of meetings, locations, meeting stakeholders, budgets, meeting spend, etc.). Determine how meetings and events can help achieve stated goals and objectives.

  3. Learn about all facets of Strategic Meeting Management (SMM) and prioritize specific components of this new “value and accountability” initiative that can benefit your organization.

  4. Create an Action Plan that features SMM benefits, including increased team productivity, added meeting value, cost savings, risk reduction, attendee experience / learning, etc., and outline your recommendations for an SMM plan.

  5. Design a master company hotel contract, ready for signature, that addresses all contract components, value added concessions, hotel fees & surcharges (eliminate or reduce), performance clauses (based on lost profit, not revenue) and company legal / liability language.

  6. Generate a “cost savings / risk reduction / cost containment” report, for each meeting, (from final negotiations / countersigned contract).

  7. Evaluate and select the “best of class” Preferred Suppliers, by category, that compliment in-house resources and take advantage of specialized services and volume buying.

  8. Review specific metrics to define, measure, benchmark and report results to senior management (at least quarterly). The big picture goal is on-going validation of real meeting value and planning team results.

  9. Stakeholder management is a big part of your job description, so focus on their specific meeting goals, objectives and vision and build your “strategic brand.”

  10. 10. Incorporate SMM technology that provides 24/7 access to all current and past meeting activity, including management and financial reports.

On the topic of technology, immediate access to quality data is essential in driving an effective SMMP. Technology can also integrate many other meeting functions, including meeting registration / housing, attendee communications, meeting budgets and more. It is important to understand what technology tools are currently being utilized and what technology capabilities are required to deliver strategic outcomes and robust data reporting.

A carefully planned and implemented SMM plan can save an organization 14% - 24% annually, which is clearly a good way to get senior management’s attention and buy-in. Participating as a driver of this essential business initiative can have a big impact on your organization…and career!

Jennifer W. Brown, CMP
President
Meeting Sites Resource
949-250-7483 x 315
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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