< PrevNext > 2018 Business Travel Buyer's Handbook Getting Started with Meetings Management Share Download ChapterStrategic meetings management provides direction for companies to guide the strategy, operations and tactical activities of meetings and events to improve business processes, quality and ROI and to reduce costs, risks and inefficiencies. The meeting or event type does not matter. SMM covers training, marketing, sales, client events, onsite meetings, leadership events and conferences, as well as virtual and digital delivery of meetings. All spend, risks, benefits, and service should be considered when building an SMM program. The strategy should include policy; stakeholder alignment; change management; objective mapping and participant experience; sourcing; planning; execution; payment strategies; numerous suppliers; technologies like meetings technology, mobile apps, and virtual/digital; and data analysis and reporting. Many companies have deployed certain aspects of meetings management, e.g., sourcing consolidation, meetings technologies or the creation of a policy, which can govern supplier usage and contract-signing authority. Starting an SMM program may be time consuming, calling on many stakeholders and disparate data streams a. Reduced commissions structures among major hotel brands may drive new program funding strategies in an industry that has been somewhat reliant on “hidden” revenue streams. On the bright side, technologies focused on “simple meetings” may reduce barriers to entry for SMM programs and ease adoption challenges, particularly when a centralized meetings department is either not possible for the organization or when tiered workflows are more strategic due to high meetings volume. I. Why Meetings Management Is Important Value to the business: An SMM Program, designed with several business leaders, will impact the company’s goals of improved revenue, education, motivation and communication. Because meetings, conferences and events are one channel of content delivery, it is critical to use the money, time, and resources efficiently to drive the most successful outcomes possible. The company will begin to recognize the face-to-face channel as a critical component to a multi-pronged communication strategy, which also may include social media, advertising, training, etc.Value and impact for the meeting stakeholders and participants: Cllaborate and partner with those stakeholders initiating a meeting to design key performance indicators to measure the meeting’s impact, sometimes known as the ROI, return on objective or return on engagement. The participant experience is critical—e.g., educating, motivating or communicating—and an SMM program can measure and report on all these drivers consistently across meeting types. Service and operations improvement: Operationally, companies often source and plan meetings and events without the right organizational and supplier structure in place. As such, there is significant duplication of effort across meeting types, divisions and regions. Successful meetings management streamlines workflows and prioritizes end-user experience. Savings and reinvestment opportunities: Spend optimization is a major driver for many Companies to manage meetings. Those with minimal existing process can reduce costs by as much as 20 percent. Many companies calculate these savings as reduction to bottom-line budgets, but some reinvest or optimize meeting spend. For example, if an organization spends $25,000 on a meeting, how can that organization get more for the $25,000 than the last time it held that meeting? How can the spend be optimized for better use? Savings come from a variety of initiatives in an SMM program; this is the SMM program ROI: • 1.5 percent to 8 percent: Policy modification and compliance, including demand management, e.g., preferred supplier usage, spend thresholds, moving to a hybrid or virtual meetings model. • 4 percent to 12 percent: Rationalizing the supplier base, strategic sourcing and logistic planning savings, including leveraging the travel management company for group travel. • 3 percent to 6 percent: Process automation for end-to-end meeting tasks and group online booking to reduce high-touch spend. • 2 percent to 4 percent: Payment and recovery, including rebates, commissions and fee collection. • 3 percent to 5 percent: Resource management, including reuse of materials and reducing duplicative resources. Delivering a quality meeting with the right branding and content in the right environment and without distractions from mishandled or arduous logistics contributes to individual meeting ROI. A fully established meetings management program may also integrate with training, HR and customer relationship management capability to track longer-term outcomes for meetings ROI. Risk reduction: Meetings management will reduce risk exposure in seven areas. Often it is a “risk” that an organization has experienced that drives leaders towards an SMM program.Contractual/legal/regulatory: Drive a consistent approach to strategic sourcing, document retention, insurance riders and regulatory requirements, e.g. financial and data privacy. Meetings management provides the pre-event visibility needed to ensure compliance. In many companies, planners rely on personal relationships or sign binding contracts without seeking approval from a purchasing or legal department. This could lead to lawsuits. In addition to contractual and legal, there are new privacy requirements in many countries. The General Data Protection Regulation requirements have an extraterritoriality approach so it is critical to understand what is allowable when collecting speaker and participant data, developing contracts and taking action on participant requests to change or remove data.Financial: Use results-based financial data on meetings and events spend, volume and impact to drive decisions on the company’s omnichannel and multichannel goals.Business operations: Develop efficient and cost-effective operational plans to support meetings, conferences and events. Ensure that duty of care and crisis management are at the forefront for SMM and that a proactive plan is in place for every meeting or event. Collaborate with security, HR, travel, procurement and any other team to develop the right approach for duty of care. These efforts also will support SMM program adoption.Reputational: Ensure integrity-based sourcing and planning for meetings and events to avoid poor public perception.Automation and data integrity: Enable end-to-end business processes with meeting technologies that provide participant experience and engagement along with back-end sourcing and planning efficiency.Market: Ensure that participant experiences are exceptional and the time spent was valuable to them and aligned with corporate goals, mission and vision. Use benchmarking and industry competitive analyses to drive continuous improvement to avoid meetings and events that may not impact business goals.Strategy: Drive governance through a senior stakeholder community that supports meeting policy and adherence.