Typically, there are five phases to creating and implementing an SMM programme. However, that roadmap can be distilled into four distinct stages.
Engaging with key meeting stakeholders as early in the SMM process as possible is essential. Meetings can be an emotive topic, so any SMM programme needs to create advocates as quickly as possible. That means considering questions such as: -
How are meetings booked?
What the challenges do the business and meetings planners face?
Is there a company-wide meetings policy in place?
Where does non-compliance exist with company meetings policy?
What local agreements exist?
Are any third-party suppliers being used?
Many processes are implemented as part of a Strategic Meetings Management programme. Typically, they are introduced in a phased manner based on selecting the processes most appropriate to organisational culture, these include;
Launching a new policy for meetings including virtual meetings (e.g. skype), internal meeting rooms and the booking of external space.
Channel spend through one preferred supplier who in turn pays the venue on your behalf.
Introducing approval levels headed by manager approval prior to a meeting being confirmed and spend threshold triggers above which further approval is required
Capturing meeting reasons to support data analysis around why meetings are taking place
Limiting the number of meeting planners or channelling enquiries through a central booking team/s
Introducing a venue enquiry form or system to capture all meeting data
Introducing rate caps within major cities or regular booked locations
Implementing a venue programme with maximum hotel programme alignment
Capturing additional data through the booking process, such as why the cheapest option wasn’t taken and confirming internal rooms were not available.
Removing the checking and signing of venue contracts and terms either internally or through a venue booking agent.
Streamlining the billing process through either a venue booking agent or payment by lodge card.
An SMM programme should generate value throughout all aspects of the meeting process. Technology removes inefficiencies, supports online content and enables end-to-end management of internal to external meeting planning.
NYS’ meetingsPro system has automated the external venue booking process, providing online visibility of: preferred venues, user feedback, policy guidelines, past and future committed expenditure and real-time reporting in one tool.
Our Internal Meetings Manager enables internal meeting rooms availability to be checked, booked, amended or cancelled, and in-room facilities and technology to be reviewed. This enables in-house inventory to be optimised, and un-necessary external venue spend avoided.
ROI and Reporting
In order to set tangible and measurable goals, it is essential to understand meeting objectives and what Return on Investment (ROI) means to each stakeholder and organisation.
From a specific meeting, to achieving positive feedback from delegates, to driving performance as a result of an incentive trip, ROI definitions vary.
Savings can be quantified by efficiency savings, cost avoidance or cost savings. Reductions in average meeting spend, promotion and use of internal meetings rooms should all be measured as part of an ROI model.
Data can also deliver valuable insight throughout the meeting cycle. For example, through NYS’ delegatePro tool, delegates can engage and interact, whilst providing meeting planners with visibility of spend, demand management tools
and internal meetings space analytics.
Platforms like meetingsPro and delegatePro are an integral part of the SMM journey as they enable the results of every initiative to be measured and reported upon.
Want to know more about Strategic Meetings Management? Download our White paper here!