12 PCMA CONVENE MARCH 2015 PCMA.ORG
President & CEO
At Convene, we are
always looking ahead
for the next big thing
on the horizon, and
this issue is no exception. Join us as we
peek into the future
to explore how 3D
printing may gain a
foothold at meetings
(p. 44), and whether
Cuba is ready to become a viable meeting
destination (p. 17).
Convene’s annual Meetings Market Survey paints a comprehensive picture of the state of the meetings industry. In the survey’s 24-year history, our industry has had its
share of ups and downs. But this year,
the news continues to be positive.
Attendance is up almost 5 percent and
the total number of exhibitors is up 2. 3
percent. What’s even better:
Projections call for continued growth
on both fronts this year.
Yet despite the improving economy,
meeting professionals are still being
asked to cut expenses. In particular, 74
percent of you said food and beverage
expenses are on the chopping block.
And when asked about your top challenges and concerns, raising the profile
of meeting professionals and promoting the value of face-to-face meetings
were frequently mentioned. Complete
survey results start on p. 53.
While current numbers are positive, we must continue to look ahead
— to push ourselves to reinvent our
meeting experiences, to attract new
audiences, and to promote the value
of face-to-face meetings. That’s why
PCMA partnered with The EXPERIENCE Institute and the International
Association of Exhibitions and Events
(IAEE) to bring you another important
study — The Decision to Attend Study.
As a result of in-depth research with
more than 7, 100 prospective or cur-
rent attendees, we have gathered new
insights into attendees as consumers
and what motivates them to attend
face-to-face meetings. As the year goes
on, our goal is to work with meeting
professionals and destination manage-
ment organizations to develop new
industry strategies to maximize atten-
dance. After all, when attendance is up
and attendees enjoy a positive destina-
tion experience, everyone wins.
You can read more about Phase One
results, beginning on p. 22. What is
especially valuable is how the research
shows the importance of the destination experience, the extent to which
attendees play the role of consumer
travelers when attending a meeting,
and how strongly face-to-face meetings
are valued, even by Millennials.
Phase Two of the study will gather
information from meeting and exhibition professionals, as well as DMOs.
Ultimately, we aim to lead a change
in the way we define the attendee as
“the customer,” to provide feedback to
destination leaders in terms of shaping
their overall experience, and to develop
best practices and strategies to maximize attendance.
I hope you take advantage of this
important opportunity to shape the
future of the meetings industry. Please
be sure to take a few minutes to participate in a short survey at decisiontoattend
.com. We’ll share more results in the
year ahead. .
It was a good year for meetings, but
how can we maximize attendance in