NBTA Plans Industry's First SMMP Certification

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) has announced that it is developing the corporate travel industry's first certification in strategic meetings management programs (SMMPs). Details of the certification, which will set professional SMMP standards for the corporate meetings industry, are currently being developed under the direction of a special task force made up of thought leaders within the SMMP field.

"Since forming the Groups & Meetings Committee in 2003, NBTA has proudly led the charge to help businesses develop strategic meetings management programs," NBTA President and CEO Kevin Maguire, CCTE, GLP, said in a statement. "The business community has enthusiastically adopted the practice, and now we will again advance strategic meetings management by developing a professional certification program to codify and teach its core competencies and best practices."

Strategic meetings management—the focus of which is planning meetings with an eye toward measuring costs and improving ROI—has been a key focus area for NBTA since 2004, when its Groups & Meetings Committee began publishing whitepapers on the topic as part of its Framework for Success: Strategic Meetings Management Programs series. The most recent, Models of Success: Profiles in Strategic Meetings Management, was published in June 2008 and contains three case studies of successful SMMPs.

NBTA culled the idea of an SMMP certification from its membership, which expressed the need for SMMP education and professional development. In response, the association created its 25-member task force this year, which met at the 2008 NBTA International Convention & Exposition in Los Angeles this July. The group is currently identifying a subset of approximately a dozen task force members who will collaborate over the course of the next year in order to develop details of the SMMP certification. It's planning to debut the program by the end of 2009.