The Alliance of Meeting Management Companies, a national alliance of owners and managers of independent planning companies, has upgraded its membership requirements and expanded its offerings.

“We are raising the bar so we have a more professional group,” says Judy Franzblau, CMP, vice president of AMMC and president of Los Angeles, Calif.-based Global Events. “We want … meeting managers who have been in business a long time and who take their business very seriously. We want to concentrate on marketing our businesses, growing our businesses, not on the cups of coffee needed for a coffee break.”

Kathryn Jurgensen, CMP, president of AMMC, explains that the organization is returning to its roots. “We started five years ago as a group for advanced, experienced independent meeting planners. We loosened up in the hopes of growing our membership and brought in members who were very new in the industry, people who didn't even know what an RFP is. We have now decided to raise the bar back to where it was.”

Jurgensen, who is CEO and president of Irvine, Calif.-based Premier Meetings, says AMMC will begin a series of intense, one-day forums aimed at independents with a great deal of experience, a group whose educational needs, she says, have been ignored until now. The first, “The Matrix: Marketing Plans for High-Tech Success,” was planned for early August in San Francisco, with a focus on ways to reach new customers and markets, strategies to improve efficiencies in the sales process, creative marketing techniques, and online marketing and direct response advertising.

AMMC has 22 members, and hopes to double that in the next year. “We think that will happen with these high-quality business forums,” says Jurgensen. The forums will be made available first to members and then, if space is available, to nonmembers. Since the sessions are intense and hands-on, they will all be limited to 30 attendees.

For more information, visit the association online at www.ammc.org, or call (800) 200-2774.