Groundbreaking research findings from the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) at Leeds Met has been presented by Dr Eliza Hixson at the IMEX America in Las Vegas this week.

The Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) project has formed part of a larger project undertaken by ICRETH colleagues and commissioned by Meeting professionals International (MPI). The project also included the UK Economic Impact study which concluded in July this year.

The goal of the research was to gain a deeper understanding of SMM as a disciplined approach to managing enterprise-wide meeting and event activities, processes, suppliers and data. Specifically, the researchers evaluated how SMM has evolved as well as the implications and opportunities for future applications.


The SMM concept was first introduced more than a decade ago as businesses strove to manage costs and mitigate risk. That need grew throughout the recent recession a few years ago. However, as SMM programs matured, businesses found that they also proved useful in designing events that meet organization-wide goals and for improving the delegate and stakeholder experience.


Including examples from Tesco's SMM programme - which led to cost savings and consolidation of events suppliers from 100 to six - the new research evaluates opportunities for future benefits.

The report found that successful SMM can engage attendees before, during and after the meeting is over, but must be backed up by support from throughout a business.

It also found that creating and nurturing business partnerships is an increasingly important aspect to SMM in helping to reduce risk, garner better service and improve negotiating power.

Dr Eliza Hixson at ICRETH commented: "Many larger organisations are moving towards mature SMM programmes. We can see benefits expanding from simply cost consolidation to one more focused on the participant experience."

To access the research report and additional SMM resources, visit