PCMA’s Meeting/Incentive Planner Salary Survey Tells an Interesting Story

June 11, 2019 aichotelgroup

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In late May, Professional Convention Management Association released its 2019 salary survey of more than 550 meeting and incentive-program planners. Some of the more interesting results include:

  • Seven out of ten planners are satisfied with their jobs, and eight out of ten are happy the with being in the meetings and events industry.
  • 72% of planners got a raise in pay in 2019, about the same percentage as last year.
  • On the other hand, only half of respondents are happy with their present salary, while more than a third of respondents are dissatisfied with their total compensation (salary, benefits, bonuses, and incentives.)
  • Overall, the average salary for meeting professionals went down just over one percent, from $83,782 to $82,769. Corporate planners came in at an average of $84,298, while association planners came in at $70,100 and independent planners came in at $89,490.
  • Planners with 1-3 years of experience average $52,986; planners with 4-5 years of experience average $65,042; planners with 6-8 years of experience average $66,802; planners with 9-10 years of experience average $75,156; planners with 10+ years of experience average $94,284.
  • On average, planners work 46 hours per week—but 16 percent work more than 55 hours per week.

Lastly, one responding planner commented that “being involved in the educational content presented at a meeting makes the job much more interesting in the long term.”

From all this, three relevant observations come to my mind. First, it seems to me that planners might understand the value of incentive travel to sales reps even better than the management teams they work with as the create such programs, given that planners work so hard for pay that only half of them find satisfactory. So I wonder if management teams listen to planners’ ideas for incentive program destinations and components as much as they should.

Second, planners should make sure to give themselves opportunities to enjoy the incentive programs they plan for sales reps, distributors, dealers, or agents, rather than just fly in, execute the program, and fly home. After all, you’re already there in a wonderful destination—why not spend an extra day or two and take advantage of what our resorts have to offer? We at AIC Hotel Group are happy to work with you to make it very affordable and very worthwhile for you.

Third, the idea that planners who are more involved in content creation and delivery are more satisfied with their jobs is one that we at AIC Hotel Group agree with, and can actually help with. How? Well, as most planners know, not all of the valuable education from a meeting or incentive is learned within formal meeting rooms. Instead, it is at networking receptions and at off-site tours providing local flavor and history where people learn interesting things that actually reinforce the learning they get during the formal program. Especially as attendees share these experiences with their colleagues, they form strong memories that last over many years.

In other words, the destination experience improves attendee learning. We at AIC Hotel Group would love to help planners leverage the local resources in and around our properties to create meetings and incentive programs that keep participants satisfied with their total compensation package and at your company a good long time.


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