Knowledge Now, More Successful Meetings Later

How one meetings-industry association is helping its members understand and communicate how global trends will affect future events and conventions in their destinations.

Earlier this week on the Membership Blog, Joe Rominiecki talked about the importance of spreading the wealth of member contact among your employees. The benefits of doing so could be significant: better understanding of member needs and frustrations, which leads to the development of better products and services to address them, which leads to greater member satisfaction in the end.

Arming members with this type of knowledge will not only benefit the meetings executives and destinations but also the association involved in terms of member engagement and satisfaction.

This got me thinking about how fortunate I am to have the ability to interact with members regularly. Yes, it’s mostly done over the phone in the form of interviews, but these conversations often lead to more story ideas. And as an editorial team, we are lucky in that we often receive unsolicited feedback from members, which gives us the ability to rethink and tweak our approach to not only how we cover articles and topics but also how we design our digital and print products. All of this, of course, is done in hopes that we’ll attract more readers or make our current ones a bit happier.

All this got me curious about the meetings industry: What are related associations doing to share their knowledge to not only help their meeting-planner members execute successful events but also to help their destination and supplier members attract business to their cities and venues?

I quickly came across a press release from the Professional Convention Management Association. Late last month, PCMA announced it would be launching, with support from its Education Foundation, the “Industry Business Forum for Local Leaders” series. The idea for the series came from PCMA’s 2012 CEO Summit, where leaders in destination and facility management discussed industry needs and information gaps.

According to the release, “the invitation-only program is designed for global convention center and direct marketing organization (DMO) executives and their local board members and policy makers, with programming focused on how strategic industry business issues impact their organizations and local communities.”

In other words, PCMA is reaching out to this group of its members in two ways. One is to help them understand how global meeting trends will affect their venues and destinations. The second is to help them communicate these trends back to their local community leaders, who may not understand the value of meetings and conventions, and show them potential revenue implications for their destinations. How important is this? One word: very.

According to the 2011 study “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy,”  annual spending on goods and services resulting from meetings and events in the United States totals $263 billion. The majority of direct spending—$151 billion—is related to meeting planning and production, venue rental, and other non-travel and tourism-related commodities, while $113 billion is spent each year on lodging, food service, transportation, and other travel and tourism commodities. Arming members with this type of knowledge that they can bring back to local leaders will not only benefit the meetings executives and destinations but also the association involved in terms of member engagement and satisfaction.

Have you heard of other meetings-related groups taking a similar approach? Please share examples in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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