Meeting and Event Planners Cite Customer Service, Financial Value as Deciding Factors for Bookings in 2009
“The economic downturn, in part, is motivating meeting planners to focus on best practices that promote efficiency in their own operations and to seek out venues that offer tremendous value to their clients and, most importantly, deliver guest experiences with ‘staying power’ – that is, venues that spotlight customer service,” said Dr. James Houran, President of 20|20 Assessment.
Planners said that hotels and resorts (70.4 percent) are one of the top five vendors they will be seeking at Affordable Meetings® Mid-America. Others are in need of alternate venues (60.3 percent), promotional items (53.4 percent), CVB’s (42.9 percent) and event planning software (42.3 percent).
“Planners are trying to get more for the money spent,” said one respondent. “We have to make a bigger impact on a meeting with a smaller budget compared to past years. Everyone is much more cost-conscious.”
The majority of respondents cite the economy as the culprit for smaller budgets and anticipate moderate event sizes between 100 and 1,000 for 2009. Technology will continue to be a top priority in 2009 with 70 percent of planners reporting an increase in technology use in meetings management and marketing.
The Ninth Annual Affordable Meetings® Mid-America features an “Event Technology Expo” Preview in the exhibit hall and incorporates ETE educational sessions into the conference program. The conference program is also expanded this year with topics relevant to today’s meeting planner. A new session, called “Meetings Mean Business: How Meetings Can Help Your Organization Thrive in a Recession,” will provide planners with the resources to promote and defend the value of face-to-face meetings.
More than 1,000 attendees, representing meeting and event planners from a variety of organizations, with a majority representing corporate, association and independent sectors and the balance from government, non-profit, education, religious and medical/health care organizations, trade show management and the military, are expected to visit HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® Mid-America 2009 show. Attendance at HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® Mid-America is free-of-charge for qualified meeting planners.
Booth space is still available at the Mid-America Show and can be obtained by contacting Craig Baker, account manager, J. Spargo & Associates, Inc. (703) 679-3942, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other shows for 2009 include: HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® West, June 10-11, 2009, San Jose McEnery Convention Center – San Jose, CA and HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® National and Event Technology Expo, Sept. 9-10, 2009, Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Washington, D.C. In addition, HSMAI will host its third annual Hotel Sales Strategy Conference, March 31 in Chicago, in conjunction with Affordable Meetings® Mid-America.
Attendee information for HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® Mid-America is available by calling 800-564-4220. For additional information and a complete program schedule, visit .
About HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® Mid-America | HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® Mid-America will once again offer attendees the opportunity to meet and do business with more than 250 exhibiting companies during a unique exposition that will showcase venues, products and services to help produce various types of meetings and events. Year-after-year, the highly-acclaimed trade exposition is a main attraction for attendees looking to meet and network with knowledgeable suppliers who are determined to help produce valuable meetings and assist with purchasing decisions. Exhibitors represent hotels and resorts, university conference centers, unique meeting sites, convention and visitor bureaus, transportation companies, trade publications, software and audio/visual businesses, and other meeting and convention suppliers. HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® is owned and presented by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Americas region and managed by J. Spargo & Associates, Inc. Visit for more information.
About HSMAI | HSMAI is the hospitality industry source for knowledge, community, and recognition for leaders committed to professional development, sales growth, revenue optimization, marketing, and branding. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, and bringing together customers and members at annual events, including HSMAI's Affordable Meetings®. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. For more information on HSMAI, contact the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, Va. 22102; (703) 506-3280; fax (703) 506-3266, or visit the website at .
About 20|20 Assessment™ | 20|20 Assessment™ – a service of HVS – is the leader in talent management and organizational development tools and solutions for the service-hospitality industry. Founded in 1998 on the principles of superior science, service and specialization, the company’s research has since been featured by a myriad of media including the BBC, Wilson Quarterly, USA Today, New Scientist, Psychology Today, Forbes.com, CNN, Court TV and Rolling Stone. To find out more about, please visit .
Phone: +1 404-832-7711