Study: Over Half of Companies Now Have a Strategic Meetings Management Program

Strategic meetings management (SMM) programs continue to grow in popularity, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which today released the results of a new study showing that over half (52 percent) of U.S. and Canadian meeting professionals now work for companies that have an SMM program either in place or under development.

The study, “The State of Strategic Meetings Management 2013,” is based on a survey of 335 meeting professionals, 76 percent of who say SMM programs have helped their organizations increase their control over cost savings and streamline their meetings and event processes. Another 67 percent say they’ve helped their organizations better allocate resources and savings.

“Meetings require a large investment for many companies, which is why SMM programs have been deployed,” says Kari Wendel, senior director of SMM Strategy + Solutions at CWT Meetings & Events, which sponsored the GBTA study.

In fact, among respondents whose employers don’t already have one, 41 percent believe their company will implement an SMM program within the next three years. This underscores the expansion of SMM programs in North America, according to GBTA, which cites global SMM as an area of further opportunity: Despite increasing SMM adoption, it found, only 37 percent of surveyed meeting professionals say their programs are being used to manage events globally.

Additional findings:

Executive buy-in is key: Fifty-eight percent of respondents said their SMM programs would fail without executive buy-in; among those without SMM programs, 59 percent of respondents said initiatives could not be established without support from senior leadership.

Data collection supports SMM: Seventy percent of companies with an SMM program in place use technology to gather data that helps them manage their program; top uses of data include registering meetings (79 percent), registering attendees (75 percent), providing detailed reporting (72 percent), budgeting purposes (69 percent) and sourcing venues (60 percent).

Concludes Wendel, “Technology enables the capture of important data and analytics, but it’s up to the meetings professionals to make informed, actionable decisions based on the story that the data is telling, and to communicate the value of the overall program to the C-level to ensure support.”

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