Deciding Which Countries to Include in a Meetings Management Program

One question I am often asked by clients during the design phase of a Strategic Meetings Management program is how to decide which countries to include in the program, given that the effort to implement and operate an SMM program in a country could well exceed the annual spend in the countries with the lowest meeting spend.


So how to decide which countries to include in your meetings program? There are two primary considerations: (1) the amount of meeting spend, and (2) the potential for regulatory noncompliance in each country.


By regulatory noncompliance I am referring to a number of general regulations that must be complied with, as well as any unique regulations specific to your organization’s industrial sector. The primary types of regulations to be concerned with are anti-bribery regulations, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the UK Anti-Bribery Act, and industry-specific regulations such as the U.S. Physician Payments Sunshine Act. For an extended discussion of regulatory compliance, see my earlier article here.


Countries with high levels of corruption are particularly susceptible to regulatory violations, and they tend to rank high on the Corruption Perceptions Index, (see following grid) developed by the respected organization Transparency International. As they note on their website, “Based on expert opinion from around the world, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide.”

CPI 2014 List

I recommend the following decision rule for which countries to concentrate on in a strategic meetings management program:


Implement first those countries with the highest CPI and the greatest amount of meeting spend, as these are the countries that generate the greatest regulatory exposure.


In my consulting practice I use the following grid, which lists both a country’s CPI and the amount of meeting spend the country has, sorting first by CPI, and then by spend, to arrive at a final schedule for implementation.


CPI and Spend Grid


Feel free to download the Country Ranking Chart and use it to create an implementation schedule for your own strategic meetings management program, and please let me know if you have any questions or feedback.


Thanks and see you next time!


  1. GREAT post, Shimon!!


  2. Thanks Debi. Many organizations focus on the potential savings an SMM program can generate, but I think it is important to take risk potential into consideration as well.