Canada East Chapter

November 19 2012

Is Your Meeting Worth a $750 Cab Ride?

David McMillin

By now, you've read the stories of meeting cancellations due to Superstorm Sandy, but a recent story from Sarah Schweitzer at The Boston Globe brought a case of some serious attendee loyalty into the spotlight. While many meeting planners in the Northeast postponed their meetings, the show went on for the American Society of Clinical Pathology's Annual Meeting at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. However, travel was severely impacted throughout the week, forcing attendees like Dr. Sujatha Balija to find an alternative to make the trip to New England.

Originally from London, Dr. Bajila had flown into Philadelphia earlier in the week and planned to take a train to Boston for the opening session on October 31. When Amtrak cancelled all service in the Northeast, Dr. Bajila did not call off her trip. Instead, she called a cab. The final fare clocked in at the eye-popping price of $750. Add that to registration fees, hotel reservations and additional travel, and Dr. Bajila was looking at quite the bill for her attendance.

Making Your Meeting Worth it – No Matter How Much it Costs

Dr. Bajila's story may be an extreme case, but getting to and from a face-to-face event can mean plenty of hiccups along the way.

All planners hope that their attendees will arrive safely and smoothly, but the story reinforces the need for organizations to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience once those attendees show up on-site. How can you do it? Hands-on educational sessions that bring learning to life. Never-before-seen technologies in exhibit booths. Networking receptions that do more than put people in a room – they facilitate meaningful connections with new colleagues.

If you can send your attendees home with lessons and connections that they can't find online, you've taken the most important step toward ensuring that they'll keep coming back for more at your meeting the following year - - no matter how challenging their travel might be.