Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 27 2015

4 Reasons Why Meeting Professionals Should Be Scared

By David McMillin

The season of witches, ghosts and goblins is upon us. As the haunt of Halloween fills the autumn air, it’s time to address some of the monsters hiding in the dark, waiting to wreak havoc on meet-ing professionals. Here are four reasons why meeting professionals should be scared — plus links to information that will make sure those monsters are laid to rest.

1) Failing to update your forecast for F&B costs.

There is some scary news hiding under the bed: food and beverage expenses are going to in-crease in 2016. According to the most recent Global Business Travel Association Price Outlook, North American meeting professionals will see a 4.5 percent cost per attendee per day increase next year, and F&B pressures will play a major role in that uptick. From gluten-free to locally-sourced to organic, meeting professionals must continue to accommodate attendee diet re-strictions and appetite preferences while keeping a close eye on what those ingredients mean for the bottom line.

Haven’t given serious thought to how to make your menu more budget-friendly? Check out “9 Creative And Cost-Effective Conference Menu Ideas.”

2) Asking the wrong questions.

The post-event survey is one of the prime places to find out what attendees really think of the experience. However, some meeting professionals may be tricking themselves and their organi-zations if they’re not digging for real feedback. The truth can hurt, but it can also be a treat that paves the way toward identifying which pieces of the program need to be altered or eliminated altogether.

Want some inspiration to help you craft a more meaningful set of survey questions? Be sure to read “This Is The One Question You Need To Start Asking In Your Post-Event Surveys.”

3) Using a stale approach to sponsorship.

Sponsorship dollars: a meeting can’t live without them. However, securing sponsors doesn’t au-tomatically translate to success. Meeting professionals face the big challenge of helping spon-sors achieve the ROI they need while making sure that attendees aren’t turned off by too many brand messages. It’s a tough balancing act, but the days of hanging signage and offering some program advertisements are over. Meeting professionals must be more creative in their ap-proaches to developing sponsorship opportunities that help brands create more authentic con-nections with attendees.

Look outside the convention industry to find compelling examples of effective sponsorships. Read “A Lesson From Stephen Colbert To Help Your Meeting’s Sponsors Matter More.”

4) Ignoring the room block revolution.

As a new generation of attendees registers for conferences, the audience is arriving with a dif-ferent definition of “accommodations.” Rather than racking up hotel rewards points and enjoying time in the lobby bar, many attendees are counting on the sharing economy for a more unique experience. With a recent valuation of more than $25 billion, Airbnb is the biggest player in the alternative lodging game. As more attendees share their sharing economy experiences with their fellow conference-goers, meeting professionals must consider the impact it will have on filling rooms at headquarter hotels.

Prepare yourself for the changes in lodging preferences by reading “Why It’s Time To Start Thinking About Airbnb’s Impact On Your Room Block.”

What are some other scary signs for the meetings industry? Share your comments below and tell us what you think could cause trouble for your colleagues.

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