Albert Einstein said it best: "In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity." While, to a large extent, business travel and in-person meetings and events remain on hold, many companies are recognizing that this is a great time to establish – or fine-tune – their Strategic Meetings Management programs.
Strategic Meetings Management (SMM), as the name suggests, is a disciplined approach to managing meetings and events across an organization. It can help businesses achieve many objectives, from managing costs to mitigating risk and creating a better experience for meeting organizers and attendees.
You may already be familiar with the SMM Wheel, created by the Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) Meetings & Events Committee, representing the best-in-class standard for managing an enterprise-wide meetings and events program. While the wheel's 11 components are essential to building an effective SMM program, there is a question that remains: can these components alone help you reach your goals? Over the years, many M&E leaders and practitioners have discovered gaps despite using the wheel as the foundation for their SMM programs. These gaps can include difficulty building a business case with senior leadership, gaining stakeholder buy-in, and ultimately driving adoption for the program across the organization.
With more organizations taking the necessary steps to centralize their meetings and events, I would argue that now is an excellent time for us to start "thinking outside the wheel." The wheel provides an excellent framework, and we don't necessarily want to reinvent it – but we need to find ways to make it smarter, to reach its full potential. We have narrowed this down to three guiding principles:
Including these guiding principles alongside the SMM wheel's components will establish what is needed to set a clear path forward and help your SMM program quickly gain momentum towards full adoption.
What's more, this approach can (and should) be applied to all meetings across your organization. There is a perception that SMM only includes certain meeting types. Very often, small, virtual, hybrid, executive, and sponsorship meetings, as well as congresses and healthcare professional (HCP) meetings in the life sciences sector, are left out of SMM programs. SMM is evolving to include the totality of all meetings and events activity. At CWT Meetings & Events, we see this evolution as what we refer to as Total Meetings Management (TMM). TMM is the future of SMM. Want to hear more? Look for our next blog, where we will explore TMM in more detail.
New to SMM and want to learn more, have an existing SMM program but don't have the adoption you were hoping for, or maybe you are looking to expand into new markets? We can help! Contact our SMM Consulting Solutions Team for more information.
Blog author: Monica Dickenson, Senior Director, SMM Center of Excellence, CWT Meetings & Events