You might ask yourself what Strategic Meetings Management is. After all, every business requires meetings. Some of those meetings require travel in order to reach them. So, where’s the strategy?
In this article, we’ll define what a strategic meetings management program (SMMP) is and how it affects your business objectives, cost savings, duty-of-care and other important elements of your travel program.
What is Strategic Meetings Management (SMM)?
The Global Business Travel AssociationBusiness Travel Association defines SMM as “the disciplined approach to managing enterprise-wide meeting and event related processes, activities, metrics, standards and supplier strategies to achieve business objectives, quantitative cost savings, risk mitigation, and optimal service levels.”
In other words, it covers everything that goes into preparing for a meeting and ensuring your employees are able to maximize their attendance. Whether a large, company-wide event or a small meeting with only a couple of key members of your team, a SMMP affects them.
The 360-Degree Impact of SMM
SMM affects your travelers from the way they book a trip and get approval for it, to which vendors they use while they’re traveling. It impacts how productive they are while on the road, how prepared they are in case of an emergency and how they reconcile their receipts when they get back.
SMM covers the entire process and if you’re like many travel managers, you’re using a hodgepodge of legacy travel policies with no clear workflow. Old school processes don’t help you reduce costs or protect your employees in case of an emergency on the road. In fact, when you take a hard look at them, many policies don’t really meet your needs in today’s world.
According to CVent, “Best-In-Class companies use key technologies to measure ROI, gain real time visibility into event spend and SMM data, and track revenue tied to events.”
That data ties decisions to outcomes so you can make informed decisions. A Travel Management Company (TMC) can help you gather this data and give you important insight.
According to the analysts at the Aberdeen group, the need to reduce meeting costs is a major driving force for improved SMM. This probably comes as no surprise to you, since T&E is a large part of your budget and the most controllable - if you have the right data.
A TMC can help you gather this data and put it into context. It can also streamline processes, source better vendor rates, reduce your legal risks and give you visibility into the true costs of travel.
The reason they can do all of this is simple, TMCs are in the business of travel. They have the expertise that can only come from being on the inside and helping hundreds of companies create travel policies that address today’s business challenges and helps meet objectives and support company culture.
5 SMM Myths
- Too Expensive - As you know, T&E is the second largest line item on many budgets. It’s also one of the most controllable if you have visibility into the entire process. A TMC can help you craft a well-thought out travel policy that addresses cost-containment.
- Too Hard to Implement - A TMC can guide you through defining your objectives and prioritizing them by offering you the big picture view all the way down to the granular level of choosing technology that best meets your needs.
- Only Meant for Enterprise - Businesses of all sizes benefit from a travel policy that truly addresses risk mitigation and duty-of-care concerns for your business travelers. We’ve worked with organizations of all sizes.
- All You Need is Technology - With over 13 travel management related technologies currently available and impacting today’s business travel, it’s hard to know what works best for meeting your business objectives and any current systems you use. A TMC can give you an overview and help you make a strategic decision in less time.
- That it’s “One and Done” - In the past decade, business travel has changed and there have been major technology advances. In order to keep up, many companies must modernize their travel policies and then continue to make refinements.
You can then use that information to craft a strategic meetings management (SMM) program that offers your organization a standardized process in line with your business objectives. This means you can activate proven change management processes to save more, improve compliance and reduce risk.
How are you addressing today’s travel reality in your travel policy? What do you find is working well?
Find out more about how a TMC can help your company develop an effective SMM please download: