According to the research, the key benefits of an SMM programme are greater transparency of spend, cost reductions, improved compliance, risk mitigation and, ultimately, improved effectiveness of their meetings and events.
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Driving Success in Strategic Meetings Management, which is based on both quantitative and qualitative research, also shows that there is further room for growth and development, with more than 70% of respondents looking to expand their programmes. More than half of respondents said they had made 10% savings from their SMM programme, with a further 17% of respondents claiming they were saving more than 15%.
Kari Wendel, senior director of Global SMM Strategy & Solutions at CWT Meetings & Events, said: "What we found is that practically everyone who runs a strategic meetings management programme defines it as successful.
"All the experts agreed that a SMM programme doesn’t have to be complicated and the returns can come very quickly. The advice that emerged from our research is that if you’re starting out, it’s a question of keeping it simple and focusing on strategy: tactical implementation will follow quickly.
"Don’t be too ambitious to begin with, demonstrate value and then grow. And the absolute key is to identify your stakeholders early on and get their buy-in."
More than 60% of the survey respondents outsource an element of their SMM programme, be it tactical support or consulting services for example, which also helps simplify the path to success.
Cindy Fisher, vice president of CWT Meetings & Events, added: "We also looked to the future and found that there will be integration of SMM programmes with marketing and events programmes. Continuing industry consolidation is also going to have an impact.
"Bigger hotel groups, for example, will make it harder for companies without a strategic approach to negotiate good rates, or even perhaps secure space. What is abundantly clear is that an SMM programme is rapidly becoming a necessity."
CWT and The BTN Group interviewed with more than 20 travel and meetings management experts and SMM professionals. In addition, 246 meeting planning professionals, from multiple regions of the world, completed an online survey.
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