The National Business Travel Association, Alexandria, Va., has recently been in talks with two industry associations: Meeting Professionals International and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives.

NBTA leaders recently approached ACTE officials to craft a proposal on how the groups might cooperate to “leverage their relative strengths,” according to an NBTA spokesperson. In an ensuing statement that made the discussion sound more like merger talks, ACTE said it had "decided to remain a stand-alone organization to best guarantee the integrity of its programs and the quality of deliverables to its global members.”

NBTA has also approached MPI President Bruce MacMillan about education around strategic meetings management programs. With NBTA about to kick off the first-ever certification for SMMP (known as SMMC), it wants to work with MPI and others to ensure that SMMP is branded consistently in the industry.

There is also the possibility of MPI offering some of the core courses in the SMMC curriculum at its future meetings, though that discussion is “still in the works,” says Kari Kesler, chief strategist, KK Strategic Solutions, Minneapolis, who is spearheading the SMMC effort.

NBTA and its regional affiliates—NBTA Asia Pacific, the Brazilian Business Travel Association (ABGEV), NBTA Canada, NBTA Mexico, and NBTA USA—serve a network of more than 15,000 business travel professionals, with more than 4,000 members in 30 nations.