August 20, 2019
By Julie Haddix

When you’re running hundreds of events each year, you need a way to manage and organize your events to optimize the outcomes of these meetings. Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) programs help companies manage their meetings and events through streamlined planning processes, preferred vendors, and meetings data.

SMM programs help companies align their meetings and business objectives to deliver value by saving on operational costs, mitigating risks and improving how events are managed. Companies streamline meetings management by centralizing visibility into planning, sourcing, contracting and reporting functions.  Meetings management programs can be introduced in phases or deployed company-wide.

Program Components

Meetings management programs generally feature the following components:

  • Meeting/Event Registration: Provides visibility into all meetings or events planned throughout an organization or department.
  • Approval: Workflow to generate an audit trail to comply with federal and industry regulations, and corporate policies.
  • Sourcing/Procurement: Enables better-negotiated rates and encourages the use of preferred suppliers.
  • Planning/Execution: Creating consistency in planning, promoting and delivering meetings and events with automation.
  • Payment/Expense Reconciliation: Track spending against meetings budgets and allows integration with financial systems.
  • Data Analysis/Reporting: Offers a central reporting database and dashboard for real-time visibility enterprise-wide.

Benefits of a Meetings Management Program

Cost Savings

A meetings management program can save your company’s total meeting costs by 10 to 25 percent by centralizing time-intensive functions such as venue sourcing and attendee registration.

Operational Control

You can set pre-determined controls and approvals to prevent out-of-policy spending by planning personnel. Comprehensive reporting tools allow you to monitor spending levels to enforce policies.

Mitigating Risk

The program offers 24/7 access to data to quickly locate and bring home attendees should an emergency occur. It also enables you to create standard terms and conditions for hotel contracts to protect from onerous cancellation and attrition fees.

Where to Begin

A meetings management starter kit from Cvent provides you with the materials you need to develop a business case, secure executive approval, and launch a successful meetings program.

The process begins with an overview of meetings management as a discipline and its benefits. The kit allows you to calculate meetings spend and travel costs, and then determine potential savings. It helps you make the business case for gaining executive buy-in including templates for presentation and ROI documentation. And finally, the kit provides a framework for developing a communications plan, setting benchmarks, shaping meeting policies and establishing a project timetable.

For more information, take a look at our Meetings Management Starter Kit.

Julie Haddix Headshot

Julie Haddix

Julie Haddix is the Senior Director, Industry Solutions for Cvent, Inc. She has worked for Cvent for over 13 years and helped to build the company’s Enterprise sales and marketing divisions, including its approach to Strategic Meetings Management. Julie has also been a part of the planning team for Cvent CONNECT, Cvent’s annual user conference, leading the event marketing and content development efforts. In her current role, she oversees strategic content direction for the event marketing and management platform. Julie graduated from the McIntire School of Business at the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Commerce and concentrations in Marketing and Management. She lives in Westchester County, NY with her husband and 2-year-old son.

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