With the number of events in North America holding steady while more meeting space is available, cities have to work harder than ever to attract conventions by renovating their venues, offering incentives, and building hotels—even at a time when other priorities are raiding their marketing budgets.
At CEIR Predict, an event hosted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research at the Waldorf-Astoria in September that looked at the future of the exhibition industry, the mayors of four big convention destinations—Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, and Orange County, Florida—talked about the importance of meetings and conventions to their cities and how they are trying to win business in a competitive market. Dave Whitney, president of Destination Meetings Online and former president and C.E.O. of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, moderated the panel, and the mayors also answered questions at a press conference.
“It is a buyer’s market now,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker said. “We are all very competitive with each other.” Sometimes that means offering incentives to lure big conventions, but she said not every event will merit concessions.
“No business can stay in business if you give away your product for free every time,” Parker said. “For a convention or conference of such magnitude that it will significantly increase the revenues of the overall city, we of course will sweeten the pot. You have to do that with some of the major sporting events, and we coordinate with the state of Texas to decide whether it is of sufficient magnitude to do it.”
Wichita State Gives Fans Look at Recent Improvements at Koch Arena
– The Wichita Eagle
The floor in Wichita State’s renovated locker room is highlighted by the 2013 Final Four logo and a picture of the West Regional trophy in the center of the room.
It’s important to know, David Munroe says, that it’s not permanent. Munroe, who works for The Image Resources Group, designed the locker room and lockers. He is already dreaming about a new look for the carpeted floor.
“It’s just taped in there,” Munroe said. “When I’ve been down there working, I keep telling the players that we can peel that out and put a national championship one in real easy.”
Convention centers, particularly in Europe, are expecting a slower growth rate in 2013 than in past years, primarily because of economic recovery stagnation.
That’s just one of the findings from a recent survey conducted by AIPC – the International Association of Congress Centres. Convention venues in 54 countries participated in the survey, which also identified international competition and government policies toward meetings and events as top concerns.
“Growing competition amongst centres worldwide has been an issue for some years, but this very real spike in concern about government attitudes toward business events is a disturbing new development,” said AIPC President Geoff Donaghy in a statement. “At a time when economic growth and stabilization is a big priority amongst governments all over the world, we would have hoped they would have made the connection this has with business and professional interactions, but our member experiences are suggesting otherwise. This shows we need to work even harder on making sure our value proposition is better understood and appreciated by policy makers.”
Survey participants say that corporate event business is driving growth, but that conventions and exhibitions remain stagnant. Many venues are also seeking alternate revenue opportunities, such as “event creation, sponsorship and advertising, and enhanced services.” To encourage more business, the venues are open to increased risk sharing with clients.
A rapid change in event formats and growth in technology and connectivity demands were other areas of concern.
“Overall, what this tells us is that there is no instant business upswing in the cards for centres in the near future,” Donaghy said. “As in many other sectors in today’s economy, success in ours will have to be based on innovation, flexibility, and an ability to be competitive in a highly contested market.”
What steps are you taking to stay flexible and competitive? Please share your answers in the comments.
(Image of the Dublin National Convention Centre via Flickr: Greg Clarke/Creative Commons)
Meetings & Conventions (M&C) magazine recently surveyed 161 meeting professionals about their views on venues and green efforts. Let’s check out some of the questions and results.
Are green certifications a factor in your venue selection?
How important are green policies and procedures?
Let’s consider how venue managers answered similar questions in the “2012 IAVM Sustainability Survey.”
When asked how important that a facility be environmentally friendly or green, 96 percent of venues who have implemented sustainable programs say it’s very important or somewhat important. That number drops to 42 percent for venues that have not implemented a sustainable program.
Furthermore, 62 percent of those surveyed say that implementation of an environmental strategy is valuable to customers or suppliers. Compare that to the 58 percent of planners in the M&C survey who believe that sustainable efforts are very or somewhat important to their meeting attendees.
If sustainable efforts are viewed as important by both sides, then why isn’t the effort practiced more often? That’s easy. It comes down to a different type of green.
For meeting professionals, 74 percent rarely or never implement green meeting procedures that require added costs. For venues, 84 percent cite costs as the deterrent to implementing sustainable practices at a facility.
No matter how much we talk about sustainability, until we can find ways to reduce costs, it’ll never be easy being green.
We are thrilled to announce that the fine people at The Expo Group have named Christy Jacobs, Director of Marketplace Sales at IAVM, 2013 Show Manager of the Year! Christy works tirelessly to provide the best marketplace possible for the IAVM community, whether through her execution of the trade show and other marketplace programs or through her investment and care toward each and every client relationship.
Christy’s most recent success was IAVM’s new pilot project, DirectConnect. The soft-launched appointment program connected qualified buyers with participating exhibitors in targeted meetings as a supplement to the conference trade show. Implementing this new program took months of planning and immense leadership from Christy, and the unanimous responses from our early adopters confirmed that she had not only delivered a good program, but that she had crafted a new experience that resonated with the unique needs and dynamics of the evolving IAVM marketplace.
Christopher Kucsma, National Service Sales Manager at Hussey Seating and an Allied member, had warm praise for Christy’s work.
“From an allied perspective, I see Christy continuously bridging the gap and working to ensure that the meetings and trade shows have that unique synergy for the entire membership,” he said. “Christy’s way of doing things is extremely valuable in today’s world where you have to get the most value from, every dollar spent.”
We all need an advisor, a guide, a sounding board – a mentor involved in our professional lives. IAVM’s Mentoring Task Force is dedicated to helping venue managers build their support systems. We spoke with Terry Genovese, CFE, chair of the mentoring task force and Joe Durr, Event Services Manager at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts and a mentoring task force member about the program. “We want members to first and foremost recognize that there are no stereotypes in mentoring. Mentors are not always old and wise and mentees are not always young and inexperienced. We all need mentors. We all can benefit,” said Genovese. IAVM members join the Mentor Connector program for a variety of reasons. all participants find mentoring to be beneficial. Terry shared some of the most common factors for seeking a mentor: