CWT Meetings & Events, JTB join forces SMM adoption

CWT Meetings & Events, Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s meeting & events division, has partnered with JTB Communication Design, the meeting & events arm of the JTB Group, to provide Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) services to companies in Japan.

The partnership will create SMM solutions tailored to Japan’s unique transportation, accommodation, venue management and regulatory environment.

From left: JTB Communication Design’s Tadashi Machida; and CWT Meetings & Events’ Kari Wendel

Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) is the enterprise-wide management of meetings and events. It’s a strategic approach to managing a company’s meetings and event processes, suppliers and data to create substantial efficiencies. The benefits include greater transparency of spend, cost reductions, improved compliance, risk mitigation and improved effectiveness of the company’s meetings and events.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest from our clients to include their operations in Japan as part of their global SMM programmes,” said Kari Wendel, vice president, global SMM strategy & solutions, CWT Meetings & Events. “However, the nuances of Japan’s meetings and events landscape mean that SMM solutions which work well in other parts of the world can’t be applied wholesale in this market.”

“We have created, for the first time, a real centre of excellence for enterprise meeting strategies within the Japanese market. The partnership will support the continued advancement of our global capabilities as well as our clients’ strategies,” added Wendel.

The implementation of SMM programmes by European and American companies with global operations in sectors such as IT, pharmaceutical, energy, and insurance has accelerated in recent years.

Asia-Pacific remains among the least mature regions when it comes to SMM adoption, primarily because processes tend to be highly manual. This is a result of local market nuances which may not fit a global framework on which most technology is engineered. Still, Japan is one of the markets in the region where interest in SMM programmes is quickly gaining traction.

In a 2016 study by CWT, more than half of meeting and event planning professionals surveyed said their companies had achieved savings of 10 per cent from their SMM programme, with a further 17 per cent of respondents saying they had saved more than 15 per cent.

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