John Folks spoke at our PCMA Heartland Chapter meeting last night in
Kansas City, and he was telling us about
how Generation Y will change the face
of our meetings. A few of the key issues
we face are decreased attention spans —
a lot of information we used to get from
fams and industry meetings is now easily available online — and the demand
for customized/individualized products
and services. It occurred to me that a lot
of what he was saying to us as planners
would also apply to our CVB and hotel
partners as they put together fams.
I’ve attended a number of fams over
the years. The best ones have been me,
the CVB rep(s), and a customized list of
hotels and venues specific to my needs
and interests. As a third-party planner,
I have clients in both the corporate and
association worlds, so their needs can
vary quite a bit.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time
visiting hotels, restaurants, or other
venues that aren’t a good fit for my
clients. More customization/choices
is ideal. And please limit the mandatory fun (unless it’s a spa treatment,
of course!). I need some downtime to
catch up on emails, exercise, eat, rest,
etc. The back-to-back schedules that
many fams require are rigorous, and I
can’t justify that much time away if it
isn’t going to help me and my clients.
I especially love fams or industry
meetings where you can bring along
your spouse, family, or significant other.
Obviously we don’t expect our hosts to
foot their bill, but it’s great when you
have the option of getting a larger room
or suite if you’d like to bring the kids
along. I’m happy to pay extra for the
privilege, of course.
Fams are a great way to combine
business with pleasure — but with
the rapid change we are seeing in our
industry and society, we need to make
sure they are still meeting our needs.
Kerry Kerr, Director, Global Accounts,
I have appreciated all the conversation
between planners and suppliers on
the “fam” topic. I have a few follow-ups and suggestions:
› Each destination is trying to be
respectful of the planners’ time out
of the office. [For an upcoming fam,]
we will bring people into the city by
noon on Day 1 and have them heading
home by noon on Day 2. If you need
additional time in the city to visit more
hotels, the convention center, or off-site venues, make sure you communicate that with your city representative.
Additionally, while I will show you the
“heart” of the destination with a great
city tour, I will not bring you to every
hotel, museum, and restaurant. We
will showcase our three largest hotels
with a progressive theme — not a
› Suppliers, ask the planners to be
respectful in terms of bringing guests.
While we would all love to have your
spouse, child, or BFF attend, some of
the events have expensive or limited-availability tickets. Suppliers are people
pleasers, and it places us in an awkward
situation to have to say “no” to your
request. If a destination is accepting
guests for a fam, they should indicate
that on the invitation.
› Fams are a great way for planners
to see the city outside of a site visit. If
you do not normally attend fam trips
but will do a site visit for an upcoming meeting, plan your site visit the
day before the fam. This will give you
the opportunity to get your business
completed while taking in the city in a
whole new light.
Geralyn Krist, CMP, CTA, National Account
Manager, Kansas City Convention & Visitors
Music Licensing for
A Convene article in the July issue, “Pay
to Play,” about changes to music-licensing
fees, motivated Andrea Bauerfeind, director of event strategic services at Aether-Quest Solutions, to ask PCMA LinkedIn
group members for guidance on how laws
apply to third-party planners, particularly
on the question of relying on a production
company to handle music licensing:
Please don’t make this mistake. It’s one
I made early in my career, and it got me
into a lot of hot water: Licensing music
for a meeting is the responsibility of the
organization producing the event — not
the venue. If you have been hired to
handle all responsibilities of the event,
this falls on you to inform your client
of their responsibility. We license the
music for our clients on an annual basis
through both ASCAP (American Society
of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)
and BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.).
Karen Brown, Association and Event
Manager, Members Inc.
I received a tip about royalty-free music
downloads — I guess all is safe if you are
sticking to those?
As for royalty-free music downloads — it
is a route you may try, but it is very
hard to maintain. You will also need
to communicate to all presenters and
exhibitors that they will not be allowed
to play any licensed music during the
event. The responsibility for policing
this will fall on you. Also — how to put
this nicely? — royalty-free music sucks.
Correction: The photographer credit for the cover of the August Directory was
inadvertently omitted. The photographer is Miguel Navarro.