I was in Baltimore last week, where I was the opening keynote speaker for the 2010 Passkey Corporate Housing Forum.
Passkey is a company that provides software for the corporate and association event management industry; in attendance were meeting planners, executive who manage corporate functions for hotels, and a lot of folks from various convention and visitors bureaus. My goal was to speak about the trends impacting the meetings and events industry, such as found in my recent article, Does Your Future Suck?
I ran a quick text message poll at the start to find out what these folks see as the big challenges they are faced with.
There are some obvious issues : budget cutbacks, organizations beginning to explore more virtual event technologies, or challenges with delegates bypassing conference facilities and booking on their own (‘booking outside the room block’).
But what is most fascinating is that fully 1/3 of those in the room felt that the biggest challenge / trend that they are seeing is that more organizations — particularly corporations — are organizing more strategic meetings at the last moment, of a smaller scale than before.
That’s certainly what I’ve been seeing: I continue to get bookings for a significant number of small, CEO or senior management level strategic planning meetings. These folks want to bring their team together to discuss innovation, future trends and key strategies for exploring growth opportunities.
I’ve framed many of these talks around the theme of What Do World Class Innovators Do That Other Organizations Don’t Do?, which is a theme that has been quite popular since January of this year.
In my talk for PassKey, I noted two key statistics from Dana Communications, a company that specializes in the events industry:
- only 17% of meeting planners have “meeting planner” in their job titles
- less than 20% of meeting planners spend over 50% of their work time planning meetings
This echoes my experience: many of the calls that I get exploring my services are from a senior executive, or the executive assistant to an executive.
Clearly, organizations are of a mindset that is focused on taking them out of a recession, and into a world of exploring future opportunities. The fact that event planners, CVB’s and hotel event managers are seeing the same trend is a significant sign that the economy continues to bounce back.