• Strategic meetings management: Our ‘a-ha’ moments

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    The panelists took questions from attendees and finished with their final thoughts.

    Nikki McLain
    My CWT Meetings & Events colleagues and I recently hosted a discussion about strategic meetings management (SMM) at the World Education Congress in Minneapolis.

    There were some great ideas shared about SMM in the room based on questions from our attendees! Here are some of the highlights:

    There have been great advances in technology in our business, which has been fabulous for hotels. But it is still a business of relationships and there is still a tremendous amount of human interaction from the hotel side. There is a perception that the technology has enabled us to just auto-respond and that’s really not the case across most hotel brands. Opportunities are still put through a daily business review and we preach to our hotel that if they’re waiting to receive the RFP to start working on the relationship then they’re too late. – Kaaren Hamilton, Carlson Rezidor

    I saw the evolution in my own company of people realizing that it doesn’t just take one supplier partner anymore, but more of a hybrid approach depending on the scope of your meeting or your program or what you want from your program. In the past three to five years, people have started using a lot of different partners for a lot of different things. – Donna Patrick, United Health Group

    In the healthcare sector, compliance is a significant issue. But even if you’re not part of that sector, it really doesn’t matter – every company needs to be compliant to something. Whether it’s healthcare guidelines or just providing your C-level with better visibility to your spend, everyone wants to learn more about what they’re doing around meetings. An SMM program can certainly help you understand and stay compliant to your company guidelines. – Katy Petersen, Boston Scientific

    Technology doesn’t need to be complicated. You can start really simple, with registering meetings, doing sourcing. The term SMM has a bad rap for being complex and daunting and it doesn’t need to be. You can start simple and get a lot of value from technology. – Allison Hamil, Cvent

    It’s one thing to analyze the cost and the sourcing of a meeting. But how much was learned? How much information will you take back to your company? How much of an impact will you have? Can we tell that side of the story in SMM? It would be great but we still need to research it. – Christian Savelli, MPI

    We are also creating a LinkedIn group dedicated to discussing SMM topics, so connect with me on LinkedIn if you want to be invited. If you have questions about SMM, post a comment below or follow the #smmsmarts hashtag on Twitter.

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