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No, that's not a typo! The term “glocal” indicates the blend of global and local culture, values, and customs that are critical to SMM success.

It’s rare that I work with a company that has just one office in one country. Most organizations are multi-level and multinational, meaning they have a variety of offices, plants, and facilities in many countries and regions across the globe. For example, there may be global headquarters in Europe, with regional headquarters in North America, South America, and Asia-Pacific, and within those regions, there are local country, provincial, and/or state facilities and offices.  When a multinational organization is designing a strategic meetings management program, it is critical to clearly define how the various global locations will be incorporated into the program.

I like the glocal approach because it provides an alternative to the “all or nothing” thought process. Some people feel that if you use more than one supplier globally, you do not have a truly global SMMP. However, when thinking glocally, global programs can be successful when designed regionally, which addresses the needs and cultural nuances of the various countries involved. So while there may be a few preferred meeting logistics companies servicing Europe, the Americas, and APAC, the program can still be global in nature. A secret to success is having the meeting data aggregated enterprise-wide, using one common currency and language.

Many companies see this regionalized approach as the best option for their business rather than trying to force all entities into one global format. I have found that progressive companies will define their own regional or “theater” approach based on what alignment makes the most sense for their international footprint. The next step is frequently a phased approached, bringing in one region at a time, until the entire program has been rolled out globally. Below are some tips for glocal SMMP success:

Probe Variances. I have found that the organizations that seek to understand the cultural issues that drive variances in business processes from country to country or region to region are the most successful.

Partner with Hotels. Do your best to create strong relationships with your regional counterparts so that you can be an effective advocate for your clients globally. This will also help when you need advice on various locations and specific properties. 

Connect Companywide. If you work for a multinational company, be sure to reach out to the local offices throughout the world for their ideas, concerns, and buy-in.

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