Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 22 2013

Post-Marathon Meetings: A View from Boston

By David McMillin, Staff Writer


As eyes around the country remained glued to breaking news updates from Boston last week, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association was preparing to host its annual meeting at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center. Scheduled to be held April 17 - April 20, the future of ASCA 2013 was in question following the bombings on April 15.

“ASCA communicated with the Hynes Convention Center staff, which was in constant contact with law enforcement,” Kay Tucker, Director of Communications, ASCA, says. “Once on site, ASCA CEO William Prentice and meetings staff met with the convention center staff throughout the day.”

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While members of the ASCA meetings team were determining the best plan of action, they were also working to keep approximately 2,000 attendees and exhibitors informed via hourly emails and website updates. Click here for a full synopsis of the updates on ASCA 2013.

“We tried to be as transparent as possible and anticipate the questions that our attendees wanted answered,” Tucker says.

Nonetheless, Tucker says that she recognized that communication would be challenging due to the ongoing investigation and the manhunt that eventually began unfolding during the meeting.

“We operated under the assumption that we couldn’t communicate too much and worked to convey our messages with a calm tone, rather than alarm,” Tucker adds.

The majority of the meeting proceeded as planned, but the organization was forced to cancel its off-site social event on the Friday evening of the meeting due to the city’s shelter in place order. However, Tucker says that staff at the Hynes Convention Center worked to provide a substitute spur-of-the-moment reception.

Despite the unfortunate events that surrounded ASCA 2013, the collaboration between the meetings team, the staff at the Hynes Convention Center and Boston security officials, the meeting managed to look and feel similar to the experience that loyal ASCA participants typically enjoy.

“Registrations for this year’s meeting were even higher than [our typical numbers],” Tucker says. “Even with the cancellations we received, we had similar attendance this year. Sessions were well-attended, and this year’s meeting looked much like our annual meetings in the past.”

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