Carlson Wagonlit Travel's (CWT) meetings & events division, CWT Meetings & Events, recently partnered with JTB Communication Design Co. Ltd. (JCD), the meeting & events arm of the JTB Group, to provide Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) services to companies in Japan.
In short, SMM is the enterprise-wide management of meetings and events. It allows travel managers to have a better overview of everything from spending and costs to risks and compliance. And because JCD brings with it an in-depth understanding of Japan's MICE industry, the SMM solutions are specially tailored to the country's unique transportation, accommodation, venue management and regulatory environment.
This partnership is particularly crucial for CWT and JCD, considering the fact that Asia Pacific remains amongst the least mature region when it comes to SMM adoption. Part of the reason is because processes tend to be highly manual, and SMM programmes that work elsewhere in European and American companies tend not to work here due to local market nuances.
With that said, Japan is one country that is slowly catching on. "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 to this market." Wendel also added that the new partnership is pivotal for both JCD and C