Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 01 2014

The Most Memorable Quotes From The Meetings Industry This Year

By David McMillin

Before 2014 comes to a close, here’s a recap of some of the most notable quotes from the past year.

“This is the end of events as we know them.”

Bob Priest-Heck, President and COO, Freeman

Think the evolution of the meetings and events industry is over? Not so fast. Priest-Heck believes new pricing models, new attendee expectations and new technologies will create major changes in the near future.

SEE ALSO: This Is The End Of Meetings And Events As We Know Them

“You can’t let technology get in the way of the message you’re trying to get across to virtual audiences.”

Donny Neufuss, Senior Account Manager, Mediasite Event Services, Sonic Foundry

With so many new bells, whistles and tools, it can be tempting to integrate every new innovation into a meeting. However, Neufuss highlights that more doesn’t necessarily mean better. As meeting professionals offer hybrid experiences to remote audiences, he stresses the importance of focusing on the two most essential pieces of the meeting: the speaker and the educational content.

SEE ALSO: 3 Key Takeaways From Apple’s Product Launch Struggles

“Our industry as a whole could benefit from slowing down and focusing solely on what the ROI for the attendee will be. Technological innovation is always exciting, but the best attendee experience isn’t always about delivering what’s new.”

Brian Scott, CIO, Experient

Technology can get in the way in the face-to-face setting, too. Scott recommends that trade show organizers and meeting planners approach new technology with caution. While iBeacons, RFID and location-based mobile tools represent exciting possibilities, be sure to answer one question: how do they help attendees?

SEE ALSO: The New Technology That Can Transform The Trade Show Experience

“I believe that the pageantry associated with a great meeting or a great event inspires people to achieve goals and aspirations they could have never dreamt of in an email or some internal boring conference call.”

Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP

As the meetings industry continues to showcase its true economic impact, McDermott has emerged as a champion for the power of face-to-face. In an interview at IMEX America, he articulated how SAP’s event, Sapphire Now, unites 25,000 customers and 250,000 virtual attendees to move the company forward.

SEE ALSO: Calculating The Real Value Of The Meetings Industry

“More international visitors equals more jobs.”

Jeffrey Zients, Director, National Economic Council

Meeting professionals are getting some serious help in making it easier for global attendees to learn and network in the US. Zients is President Obama’s top economic adviser, and the White House took big steps toward improving the entry process for international travelers and conference attendees.

LEARN: Marketing Strategies To Boost International Attendance

“If you’re really leading disruptive change for the conference industry, it should be a very uncomfortable process.”

Luke Williams, Adjunct Professor of Innovation, NY Stern School of Business

If you want to lead your organization and your attendees in a new direction, Williams believes you’re going to need to be willing to feel a bit scared.

SEE ALSO: Why You Can Stop Worrying So Much About Big Data

“I think anyone who is regularly negotiating room blocks needs to be aware of the likely impact of Airbnb in the near future on filling quotas.”

Adrian Segar, Author, Innovator and Speaker

PCMA editors have been paying close attention to the rise of Airbnb throughout 2014, and so has Segar, one of the most respected voices in the conference industry. After an article covering the peer-to-peer rental company’s impact on hotels, Segar commented on the fact that attendees are already booking outside the block and inside the lodging alternative.

SEE ALSO: Adrian Segar’s “Will Airbnb Impact Traditional Meeting Room Blocks?”

As the meetings industry rounds the curve into 2015, stay tuned to the conversation at PCMA.org.

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