The Shift: From Logistics To Strategic Planning
By Tim Brown Chief Executive Officer, Meeting Sites Resource | November 25, 2012
In 1991, Meeting Professionals International introduced the concept of Meeting ROI to their membership, with the goal to elevate "meetings as investments", including metrics to define and measure success. Well, here we are 20 plus years later and corporate and association planning teams are just starting to pay attention and take ROI seriously. What took so long, you ask? Meeting planners typically are buried in the day to day planning and execution of meetings & events, thus, are totally focused on a myriad of logistical details. Plus, there has been little pressure from the top to increase accountability and performance.
Strategic Meetings Management & ROI History
The meetings industry ROI and metrics model is complicated, which is another reason why planners have been unsuccessful with this initiative. The industry ROI definition is: "Total meeting benefits minus total costs to get a net benefit, divided by cost of the meeting, multiply this number by 100 to obtain a percentage value." A complicated model, for sure.
In 2004, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) launched Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP), however, this initiative did not pick up speed until the great recession, which heightened senior management's expectations for improved planner productivity and ROI. By GBTA's standards, SMMP is defined as "Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) is a disciplined approach to managing enterprise-wide meeting & event activities, processes, suppliers & strategic goals / vision, & delivers value in the form of quantitative savings, risk mitigation & service quality."
Meeting and procurement teams are scrambling to implement SMM components that assure (and report) added meeting value and measurable results. When you look at GBTA's SMMP graphic, you will see Change Management, Strategy, Policy and Stakeholder Management, framed by seven specific components (Technology, Approval, Sourcing / Procurement, Registration of Meeting / Event, Planning / Execution, Data Analysis / Reporting, Payment / Expense Reconciliation). To achieve SMMP, all seven components must be implemented.
The industry at large adopts a more a simplified approach, Strategic Meetings Management (SMM), which is a customized process to integrate key SMM component in phases, based on your organizations changing and evolving needs. Like SMMP, the focus is to drive meeting value, quality and measurable results.