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Need a New Approach for Your Next Association Conference? Try SMM

Associations looking for a better way to organize and execute their next conference should consider giving strategic meetings management (SMM) a go.

According to CVENT, SMM is “management of enterprise-wide meeting-related processes, spend, volume, standards, suppliers and data in order to achieve measurable business objectives that align with the organization’s strategic goals/vision, and deliver value in the form of quantitative savings, risk mitigation and service quality1.” It means considering more than simply the meeting itself, but also the context, the needs of meeting attendees, and how every aspect of the meeting aligns with a client’s strategy.

Getting Strategic About Meeting Planning
Good association meetings don’t happen on accident. They’re the byproduct of careful consideration of agenda, time, and venue, among other factors. At AVAIL, we’ve integrated SMM into our meetings planning efforts for years. For example, when we consider a venue, we think about more than simply the number of attendees and things like A/V needs. We collect data on where the attendees will be coming from and choose locations with the convenience of all attendees in mind. Additionally, we consider even the menu items as it relates to the subject of the meeting. For example, we obviously wouldn’t include beef or chicken in the menu at a vegetarian association meeting. These are the sorts of things we need to consider to make our meeting planning efforts more strategic.

The Elements of SMM
Good SMM execution requires a comprehensive approach. Below are the elements you need to consider2.

  • Registration: When approaching registration using SMM, you can do it in such a way as to provide visibility into all the meetings or events planned throughout the organization. No meeting lives in a silo with SMM.
  • Approval: SMM workflows generate a meticulous audit trail to ensure compliance with federal and industry regulations as well as corporate policies.
  • Planning and Execution: SMM utilizes automation to ensure consistency in planning, promoting, and delivering meetings and events. Powerful automated applications can synthesize information across platforms generating incredible efficiency and insights.
  • Procurement: SMM can enable better rates and spur the use of preferred suppliers. This will save money and result in higher quality and more consistent meetings.
  • Payment and Expense Reconciliation: With SMM, your expense reporting and payment processes can be fully integrated with your organization’s financial systems and you will track spending against meetings budgets.
  • Data Analysis/Reporting: Applying the principles of SMM, you can create a central reporting database and dashboard for real-time visibility across the organization.

The Benefits of SMM
There are immense benefits for associations looking to use SMM for their next conference. The first is risk mitigation—by automating your processes and using data to generate insights to improve upon each successive meeting, the likelihood of fatal or even minor errors goes down. But beyond just preventing errors, SMM makes your meetings even better through a rigorous attention to detail and allows for control and integration of all those meetings details. In addition to preventing errors, boosting quality, and allowing for more control, SMM can save you money by limiting process waste and using data analysis to identify the best prices during the procurement process. Overall, we at AVAIL believe that an approach rooted in SMM is best way to ensure quality and compliance at your next association conference.

Looking for a new approach to your next association conference? 

Contact us today.