When it comes to registration numbers, location matters. According to Phase 1 of The Decision to Attend Study from PCMA, IAEE and The Experience Institute, 82 percent of prospective attendees consider a meeting’s destination when they’re weighing whether or not to participate in a meeting or convention. It makes sense — if you’re planning to dedicate time and money to travel, you’re going to want to land somewhere worth the investment with places, flavors and attractions to discover.
However, the process of discovery doesn’t have to solely rely on the typical components of destination experience during a conference such as off-site networking events and discounts for popular entertainment spots. These traditional offerings are important, but they tend to occur outside the most important piece of the program: the education.
“Getting a feel for the destination doesn’t have to wait until the end of a day of programming,” Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA, says. “Instead, organizations can use the unique attributes of each destination in session development. By leveraging entrepreneurs and academics from the local community in the speaker selection process, meeting professionals can better integrate the host city into the fabric of the experience.”
At PCMA, the events and education team is embracing this design-driven-by-destination approach in the preparation for Convening Leaders 2017 in Austin. From renowned medical experts at the new Dell Medical School at the University of Texas to emerging superstars in the city’s booming tech startup scene, the Convening Leaders program will include some of the brightest voices in Austin.
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“The local knowledge economy in Austin is extremely vibrant,” Carrie Johnson, Senior Program Manager, PCMA, says. “So we’ll tap into all of these resources for speakers, content ideas and learning formats that can really enhance the level of education we offer at Convening Leaders.”
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Finding all these resources isn’t easy, though, and PCMA is working closely with the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Austin Convention Center to identify the best members of the community to bring to Convening Leaders. To get a glimpse of how PCMA is leveraging the destination, check out the latest installment in the “Designing ColLABoration: The Road to Convening Leaders” webisode series below, and be sure to follow along for helpful questions to consider when you’re working with the host destination of your next meeting or event.
Click here for previous webisodes