Strange Bedfellows –
The conference industry is booming, expanding more or less in parallel with the Internet. The very way information is exchanged is evolving, different now than in pre-Internet days when events were less plugged-in and interactive, more limited to the so-called sage on a stage.
Even as everyone predicted the rise of digital would do away with face to face, precisely the opposite is happening, as the value of in-person meetings and conventions rises. And the need’s only getting bigger, much to the delight of the travel industry and CVBs. – Rafat Ali
The more that people are connected electronically, the more hunger there is to meet face to face, says Michelle Russell, editor of Convene magazine.
Because of the incredible spread of information that‘s circulating around the world, people are better informed, in general, about what’s going on away from their own narrow fields. And if they’re not better informed, they want to be. There’s a sense of the unsettled nature of the world and a feeling of necessity about getting together to discuss solutions. – Michael L. Klowden, CEO of the nonprofit Milken Institute.
Topics like renewable energy, atmospheric warming, the plundering of the seas, investment in Africa, smart grid systems, electric cars, mental illness, cloud computing, mathematics, farming methods, human longevity, and even computer hacking are discussed at conferences around the world.
Fevered interest in the latest thing creates a fear of missing out among people deciding if they want to attend a conference.
According to the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics, conventions and events are expected to expand by 44% from 2010 to 2020, far beyond the average projected growth of other industries. Because the conference industry’s many ups and downs included a boom during the easy-money 1990s, a bad period after 9/11, and another dip during the recent recession, naysayers keep predicting a decline. Face-to-face marketing, however, remains a major budget category.
The Role of Meeting Planners
Successful conference planners today can achieve 30 percent profit margins, yet the risks are substantial. Conferences are expensive to arrange and require many months of planning for a jackpot that lasts less than a week.
The role of the professional meeting planner has become central to the success of the conference boom. The elements that make a conference successful are both complex and subtle. Meeting planners are trained and experienced in aligning these diverse elements for maximum impact on attendance, registration, execution, and feedback.
In addition to their more traditional prosaic function, professional meeting planners are expert at:
- Coordinating pre-conference promotional programs.
- Advising on the implementation of high-tech registration systems.
- Refining the theme of the conference to assure maximum attendance.
- Screening speakers to assure they will make a positive contribution.
- Selecting a venue appropriate for the theme of the conference.
- Designing the ambiance of the conference space for comfort, beauty, and ease of communication.
- Collecting post-conference feedback.
At Premiere Meeting Services our planners specialize in putting the finishing success touches on conferences, meetings, and events.