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GBTA Study Examines State of SMM Programmes

A new report issued by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has evaluated the state of strategic meetings management (SMM) programmes across North America. The report, The State of Strategic Meetings Management 2013, surveyed meeting professionals to evaluate the growing use of SMM programmes and the benefits and challenges corporations are dealing with as they put these programmes into place.

The study found that SMM programmes are increasingly being used by corporations. Over half (52%) of respondents work for companies with an SMM programme in place or in development. Most of these respondents felt their company’s SMM programmes have benefited their organisations, enabling them to:

  • Increase their control over cost savings (76%);
  • Streamline meetings and event processes (76%);
  • And help better allocate resources and savings (67%).

Of respondents without an SMM programme, 41% believe a programme will be implemented by their company within the next three years, underscoring the expansion of SMM programmes in North America. However, despite the growing acceptance of SMM programmes, only 37% of respondents indicated that their programmes were being used to manage events globally. This represents a potential area of opportunity for SMM, particularly for multinational organisations.

The study found that support for SMM from company executives is essential, with 58% of respondents noting that without executive buy-in, SMM programmes would not succeed. Three in five respondents (59%) from companies currently operating without SMM programmes said they would need initiatives led by senior leadership to establish them.

“Meetings professionals need to demonstrate the value of SMM programmes to corporate leadership. Leaders who understand how SMM programmes can help companies get the most out of their meetings and events budgets are more likely to champion and develop these programmes,”said Joseph Bates, vice president of research at GBTA.

To help illustrate the benefits of SMM to corporate executives and improve meetings programmes, meeting professionals are increasingly using data and analytics to manage meetings. Seventy percent of companies with an SMM programme in place use technology to gather data in order to manage their programmes, in some cases developing proprietary technology of their own. Top uses of data collection include:

  • Registering meetings (79%)
  • Registering attendees (75%)
  • Providing detailed reporting (72%)
  • Budgeting purposes (69%)
  • Sourcing venues (60%)

GBTA surveyed 335 meetings professionals in the U.S. and Canada from March-April.