In the past few years, the white papers of the Groups and Meetings Committee of the National Business Travel Association, Alexandria, Va., have taken the lead in exploring and defining the concept of aprogram. The organization now plans to take its leadership a step further by creating an SMMP certification.
A multi-day task force meeting during NBTA's 40th Annual International Convention and Exposition in Los Angeles in July brought together approximately 25 senior meeting and travel executives for a discussion of the objectives, content, and structure of the proposed SMMP designation.
Given the alphabet soup of certifications already available to meetings and travel industry professionals, the goals of the meeting were to ask, “Is the new designation a good idea? What would it look like? Whom would it benefit?” according to Lisa E. English, CMP, CMM, director of operations for Concepts Worldwide Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., a co-facilitator of the event with Kari Knoll Kesler, global manager, Honeywell Meeting Solutions, Global Travel & Meeting Management, Honeywell International Inc.
Among the group's decisions:
The certification is needed.
It will be open to non-NBTA members as well as suppliers, but it will take an end-user perspective.
Key knowledge areas for SMMP
certification will include risk management, application integration, getting the most out of your SMMP program, trend analysis, and strategic management.
From the task force meeting, an advisory board was set up to work with NBTA over the next year to further develop the program. It will be chaired by English, Knoll Kesler, and Janet Sperstad, CMP, program director, Meeting and Event Management Program, Madison [Wis.] Area Technical College. The association plans to roll out the program and announce the first course dates at next summer's annual meeting in San Diego.
“It's exciting,” said English. “This is the first and only coursework/certification designed specifically for those charged with SMMP implementation and will speak to the particular skills and abilities required to do that with expertise.”
New Meeting/Procurement Event
Corporate meeting and travel professionals need to work closely with their procurement departments in today's business environment, and a new conference has been created to help advance that relationship.
The National Business Travel Association and the Institute for Supply Management have partnered to produce the first-ever ISM-NBTA Summit on Travel and Meetings: Supply Management's Critical Role. The meeting is set for January 27-28 at the Westin Charlotte (N.C.), and will be aimed at senior travel and meetings management professionals who report to their companies' procurement operation — and the senior purchasing professionals they report to. Visit http://www.ism-nbta.org to see the agenda or register.