Lead Forensics

Great Vibes from a Gathering of Meeting & Incentive Planners

January 21, 2020 Kevin Edmunds


From January 5-8, more than 3,000 meeting, convention, and incentive planners descended on San Francisco for the Professional Convention Management Association’s annual Convening Leaders conference. Although I did not attend, one of our reps did go—and he says that the level of optimism among the many planners he talked to was very high for their 2020 meetings, incentives, and other business events.

Granted, there’s little to no increase in budgets for most 2020 events, but that’s the case just about every year. And the economy is still strong in some areas but slowing in a few others, which makes sense given how long this economic expansion has gone on. But the most important thing our rep heard from planners is this: Their executives understand that in-person events serve a specific purpose that cannot be fully achieved in any other way.

From training sales teams on new product features and selling strategies, to helping them learn from their colleagues’ experiences in small-group sessions, to camaraderie-building and personal bonding that comes from combined meeting/incentive programs, it’s clear to planners and to their bosses that in-person meetings are the tools to make those things happen.

In addition to those planner sentiments, our rep was exposed to some cool event-design and production ideas at the conference—ideas that we at AIC Hotel Group might try out at our all-inclusive properties on the eastern and western coasts of Mexico, in the Dominican Republic, and in Miami. The top idea: A general session featuring a main stage plus a few remote stages set throughout the audience along with large video screens overhead. This set-up allows session segments to move along with no downtime, while allowing all attendees to feel close to the action. Even better, this is something we could easily do for a meeting/incentive program in the main ballroom at any of our properties.

As for me, the next big planner conference I’m going to is the IMEX show in Las Vegas in September. When I’m there, I’ll spend time on the show floor with a couple hundred planners just like you, to hear their needs and desires for their upcoming meetings and incentives. I hope to meet up with you there!

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