Business Travel News reporter Chris Davis wrote a story last week about how the Active Network -- which acquired StarCite® -- plans to integrate StarCite's strategic meetings management cloud-based technology with Active Network's attendee (DDD) software.
I was happy to see quotes from Active CEO Dave Alberga complimenting the StarCite technology and talking about how well both companies' technologies will ultimately fit together. He said the acquisition is a "key step we're taking to evolve the meetings industry from one that focuses on meeting logistics and spend management to one that includes continuous community engagement, enabling organizations to build lifetime value with their customers and employees."
That echoes my comments I made in this blog on Jan. 5, when I said that, at most corporations there's currently a "chasm" between SMMPs and Marketing/Sales organizations, and they end up having to purchase separate technology solutions, manage multiple suppliers and, often times, have separate internal managers to manage the spend.
No one has ever said that SMM is easy, and it can be challenging to implement SMM and gain adoption, especially in a large, complex global organization. But in the past decade, SMM has gained a huge foothold in the U.S. – with more than than 50 percent of the top travel buyers named by BTN using StarCite |Active Network technology. And, meetings management is now poised to take off in Europe – as evidenced by how much of the Business Travel Show programme taking place in London next month is focused on meetings management.
One of the major barriers to adoption has been the division between those who are focused on managing the spend/risks versus those who are focused on reaching new customers and thus driving new revenues. Now, through technology and the expertise within the new Business Solutions division we’ll be able to better link the management of meetings to the experience of meetings, ensuring they create value -- which is going to expand the scope and evolution of SMM. Here is an opportunity to bridge this chasm I spoke of, and I and others in the industry are excited about the possibilities. The end goal: to help companies generate revenue, boost market share through expertly planned meetings and events --– whether they’re in-person, mobile, remote or via some combination.
But don’t just take it from me. Christopher Dwyer, Senior Research Analyst at Aberdeen Group, who studies and analyzes this SMM space for a living said it the best: "...This comprehensive technology offering will help bridge the divide between marketing meeting spend and procurement/sourcing for both small and large meetings and conferences, and I am excited to see where the evolved event lifecycle will go in the coming months."