8 PCMA CONVENE OCTOBER 2017 PCMACONVENE.ORG
I have worked with two groups that met over
Halloween. The median age of an attendee for
both groups was about 55 years old, so there was
very minimal negative feedback. Most had adult
children, so were not directly impacted by being
away from home on this holiday. One group did a
costume party during the meeting, and the other
held their opening reception in the exhibit hall
and incorporated themed décor and food and
beverage. It turned out quite well for both groups,
from both the attendee perspective as well as
exhibitors/sponsors. But I have also worked with
other groups that typically hold their meeting
in October or November and are adamant about
avoiding this holiday.
I think the key is to ensure that hosting a meeting over this holiday won’t impact your specific
group’s demographics. If it will, the deal is likely
not worth the risk. If not, go for it and embrace the
holiday in your planning if it’s appropriate for your
group. Could you float the idea of meeting over
Halloween by influential association volunteers
and longtime exhibitors/key sponsors for their
Tiffany Melton, CMP, Vice President of Strategic Meetings
Management, Spargo Inc.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I loved the Giving Back story in your August issue
(“First to Last”)! One of the things I always did with
clients was to leave a legacy in the city we were in.
We found something that matched the client — like
a golf association we worked with. The city of Windsor, Ontario, held a golf tournament each year for
underserved children. We did a simple raising of
funds through raffles and donations at the trade
show. We raised enough to cover, if memory serves
me right, about 75 percent of the annual cost for
that tournament for the kids. At no cost to the client,
we went to local retailers and got products donated,
and the local sports media picked it up. Every group
should do a legacy project!
Sandy Biback, CMP Emeritus, CMM, Founding Member,
Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking
Boo on Halloween
Meetings for Xers and
We sent Lisa Simpson’s question about what effect scheduling a
meeting on Halloween might have on attendees from different
generations to Amy Lynch, a generations researcher, keynote
speaker, and consultant based in Nashville.
Generational differences come into play in a big way on this one. Back when conferences were full of Boom- ers, you might have planned a meeting on Halloween
without much pushback. As a generation, Boomers always
put work first and family second.
But that’s not true of Generation X. Honestly, Xers never
got the time and attention they wanted from their Boomer
parents. Many grew up in two-income families — can you
say “latchkey kid”? — or were children of divorce. So Xers
began their careers and their families with a distinct about-face from what their parents had done, and put family first.
A meeting on Halloween? The Xers will be at home, handing
And Millennials are likely to react in the same way.
About 30 percent are parents already, and they are parenting closely. It’s hard to imagine that Millennial parents
would skip Halloween with their kids. (No Instagram shots
of adorable costumes?)
Furthermore, younger Millennials are awfully attached to
home. When Millennials who are traveling meet, they don’t
ask, “What do you do?” They ask, “Where are you from?” Gen
Xers do the same. In other words, they put place, community,
and lifestyle above work.
I’d stay away from holidays unless you’re creating family-friendly events. .
Xers put family
first. A meeting on
Halloween? The Xers
will be home, handing
out candy. And
Milennials are likely to
react in the same way.