Shimon Avish of Shimon Avish Consulting LLC is our strategic meetings management maven, part of MeetingsNet’s IdeaXchange panel of contributors. Send your queries and quandaries about designing and implementing SMMPs programs to, then check back here for answers! Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Dear Strategic Meetings Management Maven,
I am a corporate travel manager, and I’ve been asked by my company to manage the meetings program too. I don’t know anything about meetings. Can you tell me what I need to know so I won’t fall flat on my face?

Nervous in New York

Dear Nervous,
Fear not! You already know a lot of the basics needed to manage a strategic meetings management program, because there is a lot of overlap between your current role and that of corporate meetings manager. Of course, there are differences as well. Let’s look at both.

Responsibilities common to travel management and meeting management:

1. policy development and administration

2. program design; corporate social responsibility

3. technology selection and deployment

4. data management and reporting

5. supplier management

6. compliance management

7. payment program

8. change management

Areas of differentiation between travel management and meeting management:

1. risk management

2. resistance to change

3. benchmarking

4. key stakeholders

5. hotel contracting

6. the booking process

Some of the divergence is due to differences in the subject matter, and some of it stems from the number and kinds of risks associated with meetings. Generally there are more risks associated with corporate meetings and events than travel, so there is an increased focus on regulatory and duty-of-care compliance issues in the meetings space.

Here’s more on how these six areas differ between travel and meetings management.