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C h a p t e r 12

Meetings, Conventions, and expositions

L E A r N i N G o B J E C T i V E S

after reading and studying this chapter, you should be able to:

• List the major players in the convention industry.

• Describe destination management companies.

• Describe the different aspects of being a meeting planner.

• explain the different types of meetings, conventions, and expositions.

• List the various venues for meetings, conventions, and expositions.

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520 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

Development of the Meetings, Conventions, and expositions Industry people have gathered to attend meetings, conventions, and expositions since ancient times, mainly for social, sporting, political, or religious pur- poses. as cities became regional centers, the size and frequency of such activities increased, and various groups and associations set up regular expositions.

Associations go back many centuries to the Middle ages and earlier. the guilds in europe were created during the Middle ages to secure proper wages and maintain work standards. In the United States, associations began at the beginning of the eighteenth century, when rhode Island candle mak- ers organized themselves.

Meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) represent a segment of the tourism industry that has grown in recent years. the MICe segment of the tourism industry is very profitable. Industry statistics point to the fact that the average MICe tourist spends about twice the amount of money that other tourists spend.

Size and Scope of the Industry according to the american Society of association executives (aSae), as of 2009, there were more than 90,908 trade and professional associations.1 the association business is big business. associations spend billions holding thousands of meetings and conventions that attract millions of attendees.

the hospitality and tourism industries consist of a number of associa- tions, including the following:

• american hotel & Lodging association (ah&La)

• National restaurant association (Nra)

• american Culinary Federation (aCF)

• Destination Marketing association International (DMaI)

• hospitality Sales & Marketing association International (hSMaI)

• association of Meeting professionals (aMps)

• Club Managers association of america (CMaa)

• professional Convention Management association (pCMa)

associations are the main independent political force for industries such as hospitality, offering the following benefits:

• a voice in government/politics

• Marketing avenues

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 521

• education

• Member services

• Networking

thousands of associations hold annual conventions at various locations across North america and throughout the rest of the world. Some associa- tions alternate their venues from east to central to west; others meet at fixed locations, such as the Nra show in Chicago or the ah&La convention and show in New York City.

associations have an elected board of directors and an elected president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. additional officers, such as a liaison person or a public relations (pr) person, may be elected according to the association’s constitution.

Key players in the Industry the need to hold face-to-face meetings and attend conventions has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. Many major and some smaller cities have convention centers with nearby hotels and restaurants.

the major players in the convention industry are convention and visi- tors bureaus (CVBs), corporations, associations, meeting planners and their clients, convention centers, specialized services, and exhibitions. the wheel diagram in Figure 12–1 shows the types of clients that use convention cen- ters by percentage utilization.

11% Government/ Social Service

Convention Center Utilization by Market Sector

5% Exposition Trade Shows

8% Educational

7% Fraternal and Social

5% Religious 19% Others

45% Professional and Trade Shows

Figure 12–1 • Convention Center Clientele.

LearNINg ObjeCtIve 1 List the major players in the convention industry.

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522 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

Cvbs are major participants in the meetings, conventions, and exposi- tions market. Cvbs comprise a number of visitor industry organizations rep- resenting the various industry sectors:

• transportation

• hotels and motels

• restaurants

• attractions

• Suppliers

the bureau represents these local businesses by acting as the sales team for the city. a bureau has five primary responsibilities:

1. to enhance the image of tourism in the local/city area

2. to market the area and encourage people to visit and stay longer

3. to target and encourage selected associations and others to hold meet- ings, conventions, and expositions in the city

4. to assist associations and others with convention preparations and to give support during the convention

5. to encourage tourists to partake of the historic, cultural, and recre- ational opportunities the city or area has to offer

the outcome of these five responsibilities is for the city’s tourist industry to increase revenues. bureaus compete for business at trade shows, where interested visitor industry groups gather to do business. For example, a tour wholesaler who is promoting a tour will need to link up with hotels, restaurants, and attractions to package a vacation. Similarly, meeting plan- ners are able to consider several locations and hotels by visiting a trade show. bureaus generate leads (prospective clients) from a variety of sources. associations have national and international offices in Washington, D.C. (so that they can lobby the government), and Chicago.

a number of bureaus have offices or representatives in these cities or a sales team who will make follow-up visits to the leads generated at trade shows. alternatively, they will make cold calls to potential prospects, such as major associations, corporations, and incentive houses. the sales manager will invite the meeting, convention, or exposition organizer to make a familiarization (FAM) trip for a site inspection. the bureau assesses the needs of the client and organizes transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and attractions accordingly. the bureau then lets the individual properties and other organizations make their own proposals to the client. Figure 12–2 shows the average expenditure per delegate per stay by convention type.

business and association conventions and Meetings publicly held corporations are required by law to have an annual share- holders’ meeting. Most also have sales meetings, incentive trips (all-expense paid trips for groups of employees that meet or exceed goals set for them),

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 523

product launches, focus groups, executive retreats, seminars and training sessions, and management meetings.

Corporations are big spenders, in part because they receive tax deduc- tions on their meeting expenditures. When a corporation decides to hold a gathering, it determines what the budget will be, where the gathering will be held, and who will attend. Since the corporation typically pays for all expenses associated with attendance at the meeting, hotels, resorts, and convention centers compete for this lucrative business. In the United States, almost 1.3 million corporate events are held annually, with a total atten- dance of 107 million.2 Corporations also arrange incentive trips—paying all expenses for a special vacation for the employee or customer and a signifi- cant other at a hotel, at a resort, or on a cruise ship.

associations represent the interests of their members and gather at the state, regional, national, and international levels for professional industry- related reasons; for annual congresses, conventions, and conferences; and for scientific, educational, and training meetings.

Conventions are a major source of income for associations, as they charge attendees a registration fee and charge vendors for booth space (this gives vendors a chance to sell their products to attendees). association conven- tions and meetings attract crowds ranging from hundreds to over 100,000, which only the larger convention facilities like New York, Orlando, Las vegas, San Francisco, and Chicago can handle. the next level of convention

Veteran $775

Average length of stay is 3.5 days.

Governmental $695

Social Services $723

Military $498

Religious $587

Medical, Legal, Insurance, Computer


Trade Show $1,248

Educational $875

Social $864

Figure 12–2 • Average Expenditure per Delegate per Stay by Convention Type. The Significance of These Amounts Is That Given an Attendance of Several Hundreds to Thousands of Guests, the Economic Impact Quickly Adds Up and Benefits the Community in a Variety of Ways.

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524 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

facilities includes cities like Washington, D.C., San Diego, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, boston, and phoenix/Scottsdale.

the larger associations book their dates several years ahead, some in the same place at the same time of year; others move around the country. For example, the ah&La holds its annual convention during the second week of November in New York City at the javits Center, and the Nra holds its annual convention during the third week of May in Chicago at McCormick place.

▶ check Your Knowledge

1. according to the american Society of association executives (aSae), how many associations operate at the national level in the United States?

2. What are the five primary responsibilities of a bureau?

3. What is the purpose of a familiarization (FaM) trip?

Destination Management companies (DMcs) a DMC is a service organization within the visitor industry that offers a host of programs and services to meet clients’ needs. Initially, a destination man- agement sales manager concentrates on selling the destination to meeting planners and performance improvement companies (incentive houses).

the needs of such groups may be as simple as an airport pickup or as involved as an international sales convention with theme parties. DMCs work closely with hotels; sometimes a DMC books rooms, and another time a hotel might request the DMC’s expertise on organizing theme parties. patricia roscoe, chairperson of patti roscoe and associates (pra), says that meeting planners often have a choice of several destinations and might ask, “Why should I pick your destination?” the answer is that a DMC does every- thing, including airport greetings, transportation to the hotel, vIp check-in, arranging theme parties, sponsoring programs, organizing competitive sports events, and so on, depending on budget. Sales managers associated with DMCs obtain leads, which are potential clients, from the following sources:

• hotels

• trade shows

• Cvbs

• Cold calls

• Incentive houses

• Meeting planners

each sales manager has a staff or team, which can include the following:

• a special events manager, who will have expertise in sound, lighting, staging, and so on

LearNINg ObjeCtIve 2 Describe destination management companies.

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 525

• an accounts manager, who is an assistant to the sales manager

• a theme-events creative director

• an audiovisual specialist

• an operations manager, who coordinates everything, especially on-site arrangements, to ensure that what is sold actually happens

For example, patti roscoe’s DMC organized meetings, accommodations, meals, beverages, and theme parties for 2,000 Ford Motor Company dealers in nine groups over three days for each group.

roscoe also works closely with incentive houses, such as Carlson Marketing and Maritz travel. these incentive houses approach a company and offer to set up incentive plans for companies’ employees, including whatever it takes to motivate them. Once approved, Carlson contacts a DMC and asks for a program.

Meeting Planners Meeting planners may be independent contractors who contract out their services to both associations and corporations as the need arises or they may be full-time employees of corporations or associations. In either case, meeting planners have interesting careers. according to the professional Convention Management association (pCMa), about 212,000 full- and part- time meeting planners work in the United States.

the professional meeting planner not only makes hotel and meeting bookings but also plans the meeting down to the last minute, always remem- bering to check to ensure that the services that have been contracted have been delivered. In recent years, the technical aspects of audiovisual and simultaneous translation equipment have added to the complexity of meet- ing planning. the meeting planner’s role varies from meeting to meeting, but may include some or all of the following activities:

Premeeting activities • estimate attendance

• plan meeting agenda

• establish meeting objectives

• Set meeting budget

• Select city location and hotel/con- vention site

• Negotiate contracts

• plan exhibition

• prepare exhibitor correspondence and packet

• Create marketing plan

• plan travel to and from site

LearNINg ObjeCtIve 3 Describe the different aspects of being a meeting planner.

A meeting planner explains to clients how a meeting will take place.

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526 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

• arrange ground transportation

• Organize shipping

• Organize audiovisual needs

On-site activities • Conduct pre-event briefings

• prepare vIp plan

• Facilitate people movement

• approve expenditures

Postmeeting activities • Debrief

• evaluate

• give recognition and appreciation

• plan for next year

as you can see, this is quite a long list of activities that meeting planners handle for clients.

service contractors Service contractors, exposition service contractors, general contractors, and decorators are all terms that have at one time or another referred to the individual responsible for providing all of the services needed to run the facilities for a trade show. just as a meeting planner is able to multitask and satisfy all the demands in meeting planning, a general exposition contractor must be multitalented and equipped to serve all exhibit requirements and creative ideas.

the service contractor is hired by the exposition show manager or asso- ciation meeting planner. the service contractor is a part of the facilities management team, and, to use the facility, the sponsor must use its service contractor. In other situations, the facility may have an exclusive contract with an outside contractor, and it may require all conventions and exposi- tions to deal with this contractor. today, there are Internet service companies that can take reservations, prepare lists, and provide all kinds of services via the Internet for meeting planners.

▶ check Your Knowledge

1. Describe destination management companies.

2. What are the primary responsibilities of professional meeting planners?

3. List the major players in the convention industry.

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c O r P O r a t e P r O F i L e

hawai’i Convention Center

The Hawai’i Convention Center (HCC) and Hawaii is consistently recognized by meeting plan- ners and conventioneers as the world’s most desirable convention and meeting destination and has built its reputation around being a facility “where business and aloha meet.”

Since Hawaiian hospitality values are recognized as the most sophisticated and genuine in the world HCC offers each employee training in the Hawaii Institute of Hospitality, a pro- gram of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA). The seminar, headed by the Hawaii Institute of Hospitality, is just one element of a series of Na Mea Ho’okipa (Hawaiian Hospitality) training for the staff at the center. More than teaching hospitality, ho’okipa advo- cates a personal behavior system based on Hawaiian values and a heightened “sense of place.”

“Ho’okipa is about understanding who we are and how we fit into this place, and the Hawai’i Convention Center has always had a fundamental sense of how it, as a viable economic powerhouse and ultimate host, fits successfully within Hawaii’s cultural envi- ronment,” said Peter Apo, director of NaHHA.

Implementing the ideology of the program surpasses initial training workshops. The Convention Center and NaHHA have created a comprehensive handbook that codifies a

prescription for the practice of aloha and further explores the concept of a “Hawaiian sense of place.” The hope is that it will become a tool used not exclusively for work purposes, but one for all interpersonal relationships.

Ho’okipa training also includes a novel approach to orienting staff to the concept of place, the most integral element of the visitor experience. A walking tour through historic Waikiki reiterates that it is not merely high rises and hotels, but one of the most sacred, culturally important places in Hawaii.

In addition to innovative employee training, HCC also unveils powerful marketing initiatives such as The Hawai’i Advantage: a strategy to position the Convention Center and Hawaii as the world’s most desirable convention and meeting destination. This advantage is channeled through various facets, each one an instrumental consideration for meeting planners. The premise is that Hawaii as a destination expounds on aspects including, but not exclusive to, location, productivity, competitive shipping, value of facility, destination appeal, industry support, and customer ser- vice in a way that no other destination can. And, of course, no other destination offers “business with aloha.”

“The Hawai’i Advantage is a powerful concept that works on several levels; it distinguishes the Hawai’i Convention Center from other venues and is an initiative rooted in testimonials of past convention attendees,” said Joe Davis, SMG general manager of the Hawai’i Convention Center from 2000 to 2013. “The Convention Center and Hawaii offers conventioneers an unmatched experience. Once we get them here for the first time, we know they will rebook,” says Davis.

Hawai’i Convention Center highlights:

• One million square feet of meeting facilities, including an exhibit hall, theaters, and expansive conference rooms • Convention Television (CTV)—an exclusive service with the capability to broadcast convention information

in 28,000 hotel rooms in Waikiki, as well as on screens within the Center. CTV is an expedient way for orga- nizations to reach out to conventioneers with its message, as well as showcase sponsors, VIPs, and trade- show participants.

• Designed with a “Hawaiian Sense of Place”—the Center captures the essence of the Hawaiian environment with a soaring, glass-front entry; a 70-foot misting waterfall; and mature palm trees.

• The facility also houses a $2 million Hawaiian art collection of unique pieces commissioned for specific locations within the building and features a rooftop outdoor function space complete with a tropical garden of native flora.

• The Center’s state-of-the-art technical features include fiber-optic cabling, multilingual translation stations, satellite and microwave broadcast capability, and videoconferencing.

• Marketed and managed by SMG, a company that operates 98 percent of the publicly owned exhibition space operated by private companies in North America

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528 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

Courtesy of James McManemon, M.S., University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee

Mobile technology is strongly developing in many hospitality industries. There are two types of mobile apps for events—a web-based program that may be accessed through the Internet on a mobile device, or a software program that must be downloaded to a specific device. These meeting apps allow planners to enter into web- based meeting platforms for free or for a charge. The new platforms and software are being built specifically to accommodate smartphones and tablets.

One of the market leaders of this segment is Delphi by Newmarket International. Some of the features of this software include the following:

• Providing forecast values that better estimate guestroom pickup, ensuring the desired mix between group and transient business

• Responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) from the software • The ability to flag and determine which accounts should track transient production from the property man-

agement system • Enhanced suite logic that enables guestroom configurations of suites for more accurate inventory reporting • Customized guestroom security that lets you move guestrooms in and out of inventory for a specified period of time • Configurable security settings that limit changes on key booking information • Guestroom overblock controls that allow for specific room types to be overblocked while restricting other

room types • Simplified guestroom rate fields that drastically reduce time-consuming data entry

Similarly, there are online solutions for managing meetings. RegOnline offers online event management, registration, and planning software. This software allows anyone to create an event web site and allows registrants to self-register for the event. Additionally, it generates nametags and attendee lists.

t e c h n O L O g Y s P O t L i g h t

Meeting, Convention, and exposition technology

The Hawai’i Convention Center’s recent list of awards includes:

• Prime Site Award from Facilities & Destinations magazine (1998 to present) • Planners Choice Award—Recognition for Excellence in the Hospitality Industry—Meeting News Magazine (2005) • Ranked as North America’s most attractive convention center in the METROPOLL X study, Gerard Murphy &

Associates (2004) • Best Use of Nature in Design—Tradeshow Week Magazine (2003)

The Hawai’i Convention Center’s Web site at offers the following information:

• Meeting planner testimonials • Floor plans and facility services • News and media kit • 12–month event calendar

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 529

types of Meetings, Conventions, and expositions Meetings Meetings are conferences, workshops, seminars, or other events designed to bring people together for the purpose of exchanging information. Meetings can take any one of the following forms:

• Clinic. a workshop-type educational experience in which attendees learn by doing. a clinic usually involves small groups interacting with each other on an individual basis.

• Forum. an assembly for the discussion of common concerns. Usually, experts in a given field take opposite sides of an issue in a panel discus- sion, with liberal opportunity for audience participation.

• Seminar. a lecture and a dialogue that allow participants to share expe- riences in a particular field. a seminar is guided by an expert discussion leader, and usually 30 or fewer persons participate.

• Symposium. an event at which a particular subject is discussed by experts and opinions are gathered.

• Workshop. a small group led by a facilitator or trainer. It gener- ally includes exercises to enhance skills or develop knowledge in a specific topic.

LearNINg ObjeCtIve 4 Explain the different types of meetings, conventions, and expositions.

With the advance of smartphones, a lot of conference and event-management applications were introduced for mobile phones such as the iPhone and Droid devices. Some examples are as follows:

• QuickMobile—Features include full conference schedule; personal agenda building; area guide; search capabilities for attendees, speakers, and exhibitors; integration with social media including Twitter, Face- book, and Pathable; and messaging. QuickMobile builds apps for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, and mobile web, providing greater ease of use than companies that provide only mobile web versions.

• FollowMe from Core-apps, LLC—FollowMe was the mobile app for the 2010 Consumer Electronic Show, one of the largest shows in the tradeshow industry. Features include a full conference schedule; personal agenda builder; maps; exhibit hallway finding (you are a dot on the map); course notes and literature pickup; session alerts; Twitter integration; and sponsorship revenue sharing.

• Snipp2U from Snipp—This application allows meeting planners to send text messages (SMS) to attendees. It is a low-cost, fast communication channel.

• Foursquare—A location-aware mobile application that allows people to check in anywhere to network with others and to share with friends. Although originally used in restaurants, bars, and so forth, these applica- tions are starting to be used for events.

Some trends in the areas of meetings and conventions involve technologies for both virtual and physical events. These hybrid events mix face-to-face encounters with virtual encounters. The SlideKlowd platform is targeted to professors and students, but can be used by businesses for training or professional courses. The interactive elements allow presenters to set up polls or surveys, ask questions, or make comments during a presentation. Presentations become more effective and engaging for learning.

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530 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

the reason for having a meeting can range from the presentation of a new sales plan to a total quality management workshop. the purpose of meetings is to affect behavior. For example, as a result of attending a meet- ing, a person should be well informed and capable of acting upon that information. Some outcomes are very specific; others may be less so. For instance, if a meeting were called to brainstorm new ideas, the outcome might be less concrete than for other types of meetings. the number of people attending a meeting can vary. Successful meetings require a great deal of careful planning and organization. Figure 12–3 shows convention delegates’ spending in a convention city.

Meetings are set up according to the wishes of the client. the three main types of meeting setups are theater style, classroom style, and boardroom style.

• theater style generally is intended for a large audience that does not need to make a lot of notes or refer to documents. this style usually consists of a raised platform and a lectern from which a presenter addresses the audience.

• Classroom setups are used when the meeting format is more instruc- tional and participants need to take detailed notes or refer to docu- ments. a workshop-type meeting often uses this format.

• boardroom setups are made for small numbers of people. the meeting takes place around one rectangular table.

440 $











0 All

Visitors Staying

in Hotels/ Motels


$119.50 $143.90





Visitors Staying

with Friends/ Relatives

Visitors Staying

Elsewhere in the Area

Area Residents

On Day Trips

Convention Delegates Staying in

Hotels/ Motels

Spending by Individuals

Additional Pro Data Convention Sponsor Spending

Additional Pro Data Exhibition Spending

Figure 12–3 • Convention Delegates’ Spending in a Convention City (San Francisco). Source: J. R. Schrock.

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 531

h O w t O P L a n a s Y M P O s i u M e v e n t

Courtesy of James McManemon, M.S., University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee

For planning a typical symposium, you need a group of panelists to discuss the topic, a moderator to facilitate the discussion, a venue to host the event, event sponsors, and attendees. After recently speaking with Glenn Booth, an event planner who is planning a symposium on “Regional Tourism,” I understood that the first step in the plan- ning process is ensuring that the topic of the symposium is firm and not too broad, for example, “Sports” or merely “Tourism.” Glenn’s chosen topic is an example of how to narrow the topic range and still be informative.

Once the topic was chosen, Glenn’s second task as an event planner was to send invitation e-mails to the appropriate panel of potential participants and moderator, that is, those who are experts/specialists working in the tourism industry. Some of the potential panelists Glenn was considering included the director of the local convention and visitors bureau, the director of the local chamber of commerce, and the regional vice president of a local hotel chain.

With the panelists and moderator confirmed, Glenn arranged a venue for hosting the event, which, in this case, needed to accommodate the number of attendees desired (100), as well as the appropriate amenities (food and beverage, tables, podium, audio/visual equipment) for the event.

For a larger-scale symposium, it is necessary to line up event sponsors with local companies and organiza- tions willing to assist in funding the event. For this particular event, Glenn’s event sponsors included the local city’s airport, a local luxury hotel chain, and a local independent bank.

Next, Glenn created a budget for expenses and determined the appropriate price to charge attendees. Finally, he created a marketing plan to market and promote the event to attract attendees. Marketing plans vary, but Glen’s included the following:

• Creating an event web site or event page on Facebook (or a similar social media platform); this site should include information about the event, plus headshots and brief biographies of the panelists and moderator

• Creating a news release for the event with information including purpose, topic, location date and time, panelist and moderator information, price, and amenities included

• Advertising in at least one local media outlet (newspaper, magazine, digital publication, radio, or television), as well as with the local chamber of commerce or CVB who are sponsoring the event

With each step in place, Glenn felt confident that this event would be successful.

association Meetings every year there are thousands of associations that spend millions of dol- lars sponsoring many types of meetings, including regional, special inter- est, education, and board meetings. the things that top the list of what an association meeting planner looks for when choosing a meeting destination include the availability of hotels and facilities, ease of transportation, dis- tance from attendees, transportation costs, and food and beverage. Members attend association meetings voluntarily, so the hotel should work with meet- ing planners to make the destination seem as appealing as possible.

associations used to be viewed as groups that held annual meetings and conventions with speeches, entertainment, an educational program, and social events. they have changed in activity and perception.

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532 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

conventions and expositions Conventions are generally larger meetings with some form of exposition or trade show included. a number of associations have one or more conven- tions per year. these conventions raise a large part of the association’s bud- get. a typical convention follows a format like the following:

1. Welcome/registration

2. Introduction of the president

3. president’s welcome speech, opening the convention

4. First keynote address by a featured speaker

5. exposition booths open (equipment manufacturers and trade suppliers)

6. Several workshops or presentations on specific topics

7. Luncheon

8. More workshops and presentations

9. Demonstrations of special topics (e.g., culinary arts for a hospitality convention)

10. vendors’ private receptions

11. Dinner

12. Convention center closes

Figure 12–4 shows a convention event profile for a trade show. the pro- file shows brief details for all departments to see how the event will affect them. the event statistics give estimated details of check-in times and days, the space to be occupied, attendance, and food and beverage sales. the cli- ent information gives details of the billing arrangements. event locations show the exact move in and out times, which can be critical in a fast-paced convention center.

Conventions are not always held in convention centers; in fact, the majority are held in large hotels over a three- to five-day period. the head- quarters hotel is usually the one in which most of the activity takes place. Function space is allocated for registration, the convention, expositions, meals, and so on.

expositions are events that bring together sellers of products and ser- vices at a location (usually a convention center) where they can show their products and services to a group of attendees at a convention or trade show. exhibitors are an essential component of the industry because they pay to exhibit their products to the attendees. exhibitors interact with attendees with the intention of making sales or establishing contacts and leads for follow-up. expositions can take up several hundred thousand square feet of space, divided into booths for individual manufacturers or their representa- tives. In the hospitality industry, the two largest expositions are the ah&La’s conference, held in conjunction with the International hotel, Motel + restaurant Show (IhMrS) annually in November at the javits Center in New York, and the Nra’s annual exposition held every May in Chicago. both events are well worth attending.

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 533

San Diego Convention Center Corporation





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Contact Name: Ms. Leslie Cloud, Sales and Marketing Coord. 1011 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92108 Telephone Number: (619) 297-1000 Fax Number: (619) 294-4510 Alternate Number: (619) 294-4510

Company: San Diego Apartment Assn, a non-prot Corporation Alt Contact Name: Ms. Pamela A. Trimble, Finance & Operations Director

1011 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 200, San Diego, 92108 Telephone Number: (619) 297-1000 Fax Number: (619) 297-4510

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San Diego Apartment Association Trade Show Joy Peacock Trish A. Stiles

LT Local Trade Show 60 San Diego Convention Center 41 Association 91 LOCAL D Denite III Public Show, Meetings and Location No 1 F Facility (SDCCC) /6/Apartment Assn Rent - 6,060.00 Equip – 8/20/05 in: Comment Maintenance

Page: 1 9506059

F O O D S E R V I C E S ROOM There are No Food Services booked for this event


Figure 12–4 • Convention Event Profile for a Trade Show. (Courtesy San Diego Convention Center.)

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534 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

types of associations an association is an organized body that exhibits some variety of volun- teer leadership structure, which may employ an activity or purpose that the leadership shares in common. the association is generally organized to promote and enhance that common interest, activity, or purpose. the asso- ciation industry is significant in many respects—total employees, payroll, and membership— but in one area, it is the undisputed leader: It’s the big spender when it comes to conventions and meetings. the following sections discuss different types of associations that participate in meetings, conven- tions, and expositions.

In my life, there is no typical day. As the owner of a special event company, I provide a variety of services to corporate, nonprofit, and social clients. I must be able to communicate success- fully with a client at one moment, a vendor at the next, and a prospect at another. My job also involves managing the growth of my company, hiring the right staff and vendors for projects, and getting each job done from start to finish in a professional and timely manner.

As a business owner, I am required to keep my eye on many facets of the company almost daily. Some areas are a must to attend to such as billing, scheduling, and marketing. The squeaki- est wheel that gets the most grease, though, is the actual ongoing projects. Once a project is secured, the contracting, planning, and execution stages quickly follow after the initial hand- shake. These components of meeting and event planning can be time and energy consuming as the details are planned out and put into motion. Event details may involve researching, attend-

ing meetings, generating event documents, developing creative concepts and themes, securing vendors to sat- isfy event details, or executing an event. In the planning of any given event or conference, I may be required to attend off-site visits with vendors, venues, or clients as well as use the computer or telephone to facilitate the planning process. Visits to art supply, furniture, fabric stores, or storerooms of linen or décor vendors are also key elements as theme and design elements are worked on. Review of entertainment or speakers, planning of room layouts or trade show and exhibition space, or discussion with graphic artists also fits into the necessary details covered during the planning phase of an event.

A typical day may involve early computer time to work on production schedules, time lines, e-mails to vendors or clients, follow-up on contracts, or focused time spent on a new proposal. I find early morning (before 9 a.m.) or evening (after 8 p.m.) to be the best time for these activities. This is when I get the least telephone interruptions, and it is before or after scheduled appointments that would require my time out of the office. During the typical business day, phone calls, planning activities, and appointments occupy most of the day. If I am working on an international project, there is more flexibility with this because of the time differences.

While the execution phase of projects and events keeps me busy moment to moment, the strategic plan- ning and business management of my company also demand attention. The challenge for me as the owner of a small business is to carve out time for the marketing and sales arm of the business—to take time to prospect for new business at the same time that I am in the execution phase of events, so that when one project comes to an end, another will be waiting in the wings. I do this by developing fresh marketing materials using photos

i n t r O D u c i n g j i L L M O r a n , c s e P

principal and Owner, jS Moran, Special event planning & Management

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historical associations today’s associations find their roots in historical times. ancient roman and asian craftsmen formed associations for the betterment of their trade. the Middle ages found associations in the form of guilds, which were created to ensure proper wages were received and to maintain work standards.

types of historical associations trade associations a trade association is an industry trade group that is generally a public rela- tions organization founded and funded by corporations that operate in a specific industry. Its purpose is generally to promote that industry through pr activities such as advertising, education, political donation, political pres- sure, publishing, and astroturfing.3

Professional associations a professional association is a professional body or organization, usually nonprofit, that exists to further a particular profession and to protect both the public interest and the interests of professionals.4

Medical and scientific associations these associations are professional organizations for medical and scientific professionals. they are based on specific specialties and are usually national, often with subnational or regional affiliates. these associations usually offer conferences and continuing education. they serve in capacities similar to trade unions and often take public policy stances on these issues.

or components of recent meetings and events; creating video or DVD-style materials to post on my web site or to send to clients; making calls to colleagues, prospects, or venues to say “hello” or touch base; and attending luncheons or visits with past clients to keep in touch. I also try to spend time getting a pulse on new markets to explore or niche areas to develop in my business. I typically subscribe to a wide variety of industry and profes- sional magazines and try to end my day flipping through and tearing out articles that may be useful.

Sometimes I feel I eat, sleep, and live special events, and in many ways, I do. But work doesn’t take up every moment of my life. As a mother and wife, I still try to create a fun, loving home for my family by cooking dinner almost every night and by walking daily with my husband and two dogs. These breaks during the day give me downtime and a chance to regroup. I am also active in the music ministry at my local church as a youth choir director, which offers me spiritual and community involvement. I also belong to a book group, which I often attend without finishing the book. There are only so many hours in the day, and I seem to use them up very quickly. But at the end of each day, I am always looking forward to the next!

Source: Courtesy of Jill Moran.

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religious Organizations religious organizations include those groups of individuals who are part of churches, mosques, synagogues, and other spiritual or religious congregations. religion has taken many forms in various cultures and individuals. these groups may come together in meeting places to further develop their faith, to become more aware of others who have the same faith, to organize and plan activities, to recognize their leaders, for fundraising, and for a number of other reasons.

government Organizations there are thousands of government organizations in the United States made up of numerous public bodies and agencies. these types of organizations can range from federal, state, and local organizations. there are five basic types of local governments. three of these are general-purpose governments; the remaining two include special-purpose local governments that fall into the category of school district governments and special district governments.

types of Meetings there are different types of meetings and different purposes for having a meeting. Some of the types of meetings are annual meetings that are held by private or public companies, board and committee meetings, fundraisers, and professional and technical meetings. the following sections describe some of the more popular types of meetings:

annual Meetings annual meetings are meetings that are generally held every year by cor- porations or associations to inform their members of previous and future activities. In organizations run by volunteers or a paid committee, the annual meeting is generally the forum for the election of officers or representatives for the organization.

board Meetings, committee Meetings, seminars and workshops, Professional and technical Meetings board meetings for corporations must be held annually, and most corpo- rations hold meetings monthly or four times a year. Of course, not all are held in hotels, but some are, and that brings in additional revenue at the hotel. Committee meetings are generally held at the place of business and only occasionally are held in hotels. Seminars are frequently held in hotels, as are workshops and technical meetings. to meet these needs, hotels and convention centers have convention and meeting managers who go over the requirements and prepare proposals and event orders and budgets.

corporate Meetings, conventions, and expositions Meetings are mostly held by either the corporate or nonprofit industries. both association and corporate meeting expenditures are in the billions of dollars each year. Corporations in various industries hold lots of meetings mostly for reasons of educating, training, decision making, research, sales,

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team building, the introduction of a new product, organization or reorganization, problem solving, and strategic planning. Corporate meetings may be held for the employees or for the general public. For employees of a company, a corporate meeting is a command performance. the major objective of corporate meeting planners is to ensure that the meetings are successful.

sMerF (social, military, educational, reli- gious, and fraternal) groups Many participants in meetings, including asso- ciations and corporations, are organized and fall within this category. Often, these groups are price conscious, because of the fact that the majority of the functions sponsored by these organizations are paid for by the individual, and sometimes the fees are not tax deductible. however, SMerF groups are flexible to ensure that their spending falls within the limits of their budgets; they are a good filler business during off-peak times.

incentive Meetings the incentive market of MICe continues to experience rapid growth as meeting planners and travel agents organize incentive travel programs for corporate employees to reward them for reaching specific targets. Incentive trips generally vary from three to six days in length and can range from a moderate trip to an extremely lavish vacation for the employee and his or her partner. the most popular destination for incentive trips is europe, followed closely by the Caribbean, hawaii, Florida, and California. because incentive travel serves as the reward for a unique subset of corporate group business, participants must perceive the destination and the hotel as something special. Climate, recreational facilities, and sightseeing opportunities are high on an incentive meeting planner’s list of attributes for which to look.

▶ check Your Knowledge

1. What are three different types of meetings described in this chapter and what is their purpose?

2. What is SMerF?

Meeting Planning Meeting planning includes not only the planning but also the successful holding of the meeting and the postmeeting evaluations. as the following sections discuss, there are a number of topics and lots of details to consider. (See Figure 12–5.)

The show floor of the Environmental Quality Trade Fair and Conference.

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538 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management





Under moderate direction from the services manager, plans, directs, and supervises assigned events and represents services manager on assigned shifts.



Plans, coordinates, and supervises all phases of the events to include set ups, move ins and outs, and the activities themselves Prepares and disseminates set-up information to the proper departments well in advance of the activity, and ensures complete readiness of the facilities Responsible for arranging for all services needed by the tenant Coordinates facility sta�ng needs with appropriate departments Acts as a consultant to tenants and the liaison between in-house contractors and tenants Preserves facility’s physical plant and ensures a safe environment by reviewing tenants plans; requests and makes certain they comply with facility, state, county, and city rules and regulations Prepares accounting paperwork of tenant charges, approves final billings, and assists with collection of same Resolves complaints, including operational problems and di�culties Assists in conducting surveys, gathering statistical information, and working on special projects as assigned by services manager Conducts tours of the facilities

Bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, business, or recreational management from a fully accredited university or college, plus two (2) years of experience in coordinating major conventions and trade shows Combination of related education/training and additional experience may substitute for bachelor's degree An excellent ability to manage both fiscal and human resources Knowledge in public relations; oral and written communications Experienced with audiovisual equipment

• • • •

• •

• • •

225 Broadway, Suite 710 • San Diego, CA 92102 • (619) 239-1989 FAX (619) 239-2030

Operated by the San Diego Convention Center Corporation

Figure 12–5 • An Event Manager’s Job Description.

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needs analysis before a meeting planner can start planning a meeting, a needs analysis is done to determine the purpose and desired outcome of a meeting. Once the necessity of the meeting has been established, the meeting planner can then work with the party to maximize the productivity of the meeting. the key to a productive meeting is a meeting agenda. the meeting agenda may not always fall under the responsibility of the meeting planner, but it is essen- tial for the meeting planner to be closely involved with the written agenda and also with the core purpose of the agenda, which may be different from what is stated. For example, a nonprofit organization may hold a function to promote awareness of its objectives through a fun activity, but its hidden agenda is to raise funds for the organization.

the meeting agenda provides the framework for making meeting objec- tives. the meeting planner must know what the organization is trying to accomplish so as to be successful in the management of the meeting or conference. It is helpful for the meeting planner, regardless of what role he or she plays, to plan the meeting with the meeting objectives in mind. the meeting’s objectives provide the framework from which the meeting planner will set the budget, select the site and facility, and plan the overall meeting or convention.

a D aY i n t h e L i F e O F a L e x a n D r a s t O u t

professional Meeting planner

In most careers, organization and communication are two of the most important qualities to have. As a professional meeting planner, organization and communication define what needs to be done on a daily basis. I work with different clients every day. No client is the same, and no client will have the same request as another, so being able to listen effectively to the wants and needs of an individual or group of individuals is what I focus on first. The second step is understanding the purpose the client has for their meeting or conference and organizing the details to carry out that purpose.

When I initially meet with a client, some know exactly what they need, and others only have an idea of what they need, which is often a challenge. For the clients who only have an idea, I must cover all aspects of their meeting by asking them what message they want to

send. Once I reveal that message, I can ask additional questions that will assist in creating a successful meeting. For example, will there be guest speakers, food and/or beverages, accommodations, printed material, or special audiovisual equipment?

Company A is hosting three guest speakers at its annual conference. Who will be greeting the guests on the day of the meeting? Where will they be staying? How will they be arriving at the venue?

Clients that host larger meetings or conferences often have more detailed requests, as it is not a reoccurring event. Organizations like Company A that will have guest speakers attend will also have larger requests such as catered meals, blocked hotel rooms in the area or at the venue for the duration of the conference, and transpor- tation to and from the airport and the venue location. Other organizations have monthly or bimonthly meetings, and their needs are the same from week to week.


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budget Understanding clients and knowing their needs are both extremely impor- tant; however, the budget carries the most weight. Setting the budget for the meeting is more successful if the meeting planner is involved in the budget planning throughout and before making a finalized decision on how much to spend in each area. Setting the budget for the meeting is not a simple task. Knowing how much there is available to spend will help the meet- ing planner to better guide clients with parameters by which the event is designed. budgets are planned for various activities and the amount of the budget needed fluctuates for different sites. therefore, a working budget is necessary to be used as a guideline for making decisions for necessary changes. When changes in the budget are made, it is wise to communicate with the meeting planner these decisions so that the planning of activities is within budgetary constraints. revenue and expenditure estimates must be accurate and be as thorough as possible to make certain that all possible expenditures are included in the budget prior to the event.

Income for a meeting, convention, or exposition comes from grants or contributions, event sponsor contributions, registration fees, exhibitor fees, company or organization sponsoring, advertising, and the sale of educational materials.

expenses for a meeting, a convention, or an exposition could include, but are not limited to, rental fees; meeting planner fees; marketing expenses; printing and copying expenses; support supplies, such as office supplies and mailing; on-site and support staff; audiovisual equipment; speakers; signage; entertainment and recreational expenses; mementos for guests and attend- ees; tours; ground transportation; spousal programs; food and beverage; and on-site personnel.

Company B plans on presenting a PowerPoint presentation during its monthly regional sales meeting. It will need a projector, screen, and appropriate audio and visual elements, as well as coffee and pitchers of water for its employees. Company B also asks for an assortment of fruit and breakfast pastries to be displayed by the coffee and water. Since Company B has its sales meeting on a monthly basis, its requests from month to month rarely change.

More recently, virtual meetings have been increasing in popularity. This option not only makes travel less demanding for members of an organization but also is more cost effective. “Go to” meetings allow a high vol- ume of individuals to join a virtual conference through their computers. With a telephone, computer microphone, and speakers, everyone can communicate with one another, share ideas, and present information just the same as a conventional meeting.

By first listening and determining the purpose and impression the client wants to communicate to another organization, its own, or a group of individuals, I am then able to organize that message into a plan. Clients always have a message they want to get across; whether it be motivation to boost employee morale within a company or to make a lasting impression on a group of potential customers for a given product for sale, a meeting always has a purpose, and my job is to create and fulfill that request from start to finish.

a D aY i n t h e L i F e O F a L e x a n D r a s t O u t (Continued)

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request for Proposal and site inspection and selection No matter how large or small a meeting, it is essential that clear meeting specifications are developed in the form of a written request for proposal/ quote (RFP/Q), rather than contacting hotels by telephone to get a quote. Many larger hotels and convention centers now have online submission forms available.

Several factors are evaluated when selecting a meeting site, including location and level of service, accessibility, hotel room availability, confer- ence room availability, price, city, restaurant service and quality, personal safety, and local attractions. Convention centers and hotels provide meet- ing space and accommodations as well as food and beverage facilities and service. the convention center and a hotel team from each hotel capable of handling the meeting will attempt to impress the meeting planner. the hotel sales executive will send particulars of the hotel’s meeting space and a selection of banquet menus and invite the meeting planner for a site inspec- tion. During the site inspection, the meeting planner is shown all facets of the hotel, including the meeting rooms, guest sleeping rooms, the food and beverage outlets, and any special facility that may interest the planner or the client.

negotiation with the convention center or hotel the meeting planner has several critical interactions with hotels, including negotiating the room blocks and rates. escorting clients on site inspections gives the hotel an opportunity to show its level of facilities and service. the most important interaction is typically with the catering/banquet/conference department associates, especially the services manager, maître d’, and cap- tains; these frontline associates can make or break a meeting. For example, meeting planners often send boxes of meeting materials to hotels expect- ing the hotel to automatically know for which meeting they are intended. On more than one occasion, they have ended up in the hotel’s main store- room, much to the consternation of the meeting planner. Fortunately for most meeting planners, once they have taken care of a meeting one year, subsequent years typically are very similar.

contracts Once the meeting planner and the hotel or conference facility have agreed on all the requirements and costs, a contract is prepared and signed by the planner, the organization, and the hotel or convention center. the contract is a legal document that binds two or more parties. In the case of meetings, conventions, and expositions, a contract binds an association or organiza- tion and the hotel or convention center. the components that make up an enforceable contract include the following:

1. An offer: the offer simply states, in as precise a manner as possible, exactly what the offering party is willing to do, and what he or she expects in return. the offer may include specific instructions for how, where, when, and to whom the offer is made.

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542 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

2. Consideration: the payment exchanged for the promise(s) contained in a contract. For a contract to be valid, consideration must flow both ways. For example, the consideration is for a convention center to provide services and use of its facilities in exchange for a consideration of a stated amount to be paid by the organization or host.

3. Acceptance: the unconditional agreement to the precise terms and conditions of an offer. the acceptance must mirror exactly the terms of the offer for the acceptance to make the contract valid. the best way to indicate acceptance of an offer is by agreeing to the offer in writing.5

Most important to be considered legally enforceable, a contract must be made by parties who are legally able to contract, and the activities speci- fied in the contract must not be in violation of the law. Contracts should include clauses on “attrition and performance,” meaning that the contract has a clause to protect the hotel or convention facility in the event that the organizer’s numbers drop below an acceptable level. because the space reserved is supposed to produce a certain amount of money, if the num- bers drop, so does the money; unless there is a clause that says something like “there will be a guaranteed revenue of $$$ for the use of the room/ space.” the performance part of the clause means that a certain amount of food and beverage revenue will be charged for regardless of whether it is consumed.

Organizing and Preconference Meetings the average lead time required for organizing a small meeting is about three to six months; larger meetings and conferences take much longer and are booked years in advance. Some meetings and conventions choose the same location each year and others move from city to city, usually from the east Coast to the Midwest or West Coast.

conference event Order a conference event order has all the information necessary for all depart- ment employees to be able to refer to for details of the setup (times and lay- out) and the conference itself (arrival, meal times, what food and beverages are to be served, and the cost of items so that the billing can be done). an example of a conference event order is given in Figure 12–6.

Postevent Meeting a postevent meeting is held to evaluate the event—what went well and what should be improved for next time. Larger conferences have staff from the hotel or convention center where the event will be held the following year so that they can better prepare for the event when it is held at their facility.

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S A N D I E G O I N T E R N AT I O N A L B O AT S H O W M onday, Januar y 4 , 2016–Monday, Januar y 11, 2016

Combined Exhibit Halls AB, Hall A - How Manager's Oce, Box Oce by Hall A, Hall B – Show Manager's Oce, Mezzanine Room 12, Mezzanine Room 13, Mezzanine Rooms 14 A&B, AND Mezzanine Rooms 15 A&B

Mr. Je‰ Hancock National Marine Manufacturers Association, Inc. 4901 Morena Blvd. Suite 901 San Diego, CA 92117 Telephone Number: (619) 274-9924 Fax Number: (619) 274-6760 Decorator Co.: Greyhound Exposition Services Sales Person: Denise Simenstad Event Manager: Jane Krause Event Tech.: Sylvia A. Harrison




Sunday, January 3, 2016 5:00 am–6:00 pm Combined Exhibit Halls AB Service contractor move in GES, Andy Quintena

Monday, January 4, 2016 8:00 am–6:00 pm Combined Exhibit Halls AB Service contractor move in GES, Andy Quintena 12:00 pm–6:00 pm Combined Exhibit Halls AB Exhibitor move in

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 8:00 am–6:00 pm Combined Exhibit Halls AB Exhibitor move in Est. attendance: 300

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:00 am–12:00 pm Combined Exhibit Halls AB Exhibitor Ÿnal move in 11:30 am–8:30 pm Box Oce by Hall A OPEN: Ticket prices, Adults $6, Children 12 & under $3

Figure 12–6 • Conference Event Document. (Courtesy of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation.)

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544 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

F O c u s O n M a r K e t i n g

Meetings and Conventions Information Search

amanda alexander, ph.D.

The meeting and conventions industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism and hospitality field, with expenditures in the billions of dollars and annual revenue growth. An event planner is responsible for organizing convention personnel and securing accommo- dations, transportation, guest speakers, food service, or equipment needs for the organization and production of an event. An event planner can act as a gatekeeper of information to his or her client, and therefore it is important that information is disseminated to the event planner and then the client. Understanding how event planners obtain their information is vital for the meeting and convention businesses.

Event planners can obtain information through various mediums including print, TV, radio, Internet, and word of mouth. The continuing advancement of Internet capabilities has allowed businesses to showcase their product or services in ways that have not been possible before, for example, through virtual tours of a property. Social media sites have changed how information is presented and how users can interact with other users to get personal experiences (virtual word of mouth) and reviews of a business. Applications on phones have allowed individuals to check in when they arrive at locations and then post this information on social media sites; this can create awareness of a business that otherwise may have not occurred. While many social media sites are driven by consumers, a business should monitor the site to ensure that negative com- ments are handled from a customer service perspective.

Even though the Internet offers many strategic opportunities, the medium that has been shown to be trusted and deemed most reliable by event planners is word of mouth. Word of mouth occurs when information is passed from one person to another. An individual will give attention to a source (another person) if the source is considered to be significant in making a decision. So how does a business ensure that event planners are receiving information via word of mouth? The following are a few tactics that will encourage word-of-mouth marketing to reach event planners:

• Making convention and visitors bureaus and destination management companies aware of your services and products through site visits and trials

• Having a sales member make cold calls to event planners and be available to meet one on one with event planners

• Creating a presence within organizations/associations such as the International Special Event Society (ISES) during meetings and annual conventions

• Following up after an event planner has used your business to find out what could have made the expe- rience more positive (this will be an indication of what event planners are saying to others about your business)

Working in the meeting and conventions industry can be very exciting and rewarding, but to achieve success, whether an event planner or a business that offers services or products, knowing where and how to present information that leads to a decision is vital. As with all marketing tactics and strategies, the goal is to gain atten- tion by the target market and create awareness of a product/service that is needed by the target market.

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venues for Meetings, Conventions, and expositions Most of the time, meetings and functions are held in hotels, convention centers, city centers, conference centers, universities, corporate offices, or resorts, but more and more, meetings are housed in unique venues such as cruise ships and historical sites.

city centers City centers are good venues for some conferences because they are con- venient to reach by air and ground transportation. there is plenty of action in a major city center; attractions range from cultural to scenic beauty. Most cities have a convention center and several hotels to accommodate guests.

convention centers Convention centers throughout the world compete to host the largest exhibitions, which can be responsible for adding several million dollars in revenue to the local economy. Convention centers are huge facilities with parking, information services, business centers, and food and beverage facil- ities included.

Usually, convention centers are corporations owned by county, city, or state governments and are operated by a board of appointed representatives from the various groups having a vested interest in the successful operation of the center. the board appoints a president or general manager to run the center according to a pre- determined mission, goals, and objectives.

Convention centers have a variety of expositions and meet- ing rooms to accommodate both large and small events. the cen- ters generate revenue from the rental of space, which frequently is divided into booths (one booth is about 100 square feet). Large exhibits may take several booths’ space. additional revenue is gen- erated by the sale of food and beverages, concession stand rentals, and vending machines. Many centers also have their own

LearNINg ObjeCtIve 5 List the various venues for meetings, conventions, and expositions.

Denver, Colorado Convention Center.

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subcontractors to handle staging, construction, lighting, audiovisual, electri- cal, and communications.

In addition to the megaconvention centers, a number of prominent centers also contribute to the local, state, and national economies. One good example is the rhode Island Convention Center. the $82 million center, representing the second largest public works project in the state’s history, is located in the heart of downtown providence, connected by sky- bridge to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. the center offers a 100,000-square- foot main exhibit hall, a 20,000-square-foot ballroom, 23 meeting rooms, and a full-service kitchen. the exhibit hall divides into four separate halls, and the facility features its own telephone system, allowing individualized billing. a special rotunda function room at the front of the building fea- tures glass walls that offer a panoramic view of downtown providence for receptions of up to 350 people. extensive use of glass on the façade of the center provides ample natural light throughout the entrance and prefunc- tion areas.

conference centers a conference center is a specially designed learning environment dedi- cated to hosting and supporting small- to medium-sized meetings, typi- cally between 20 and 50 people.6 the nature of a conference meeting is to promote a distraction-free learning environment. Conference centers are designed to encourage sharing of information in an inviting, comfortable atmosphere, and to focus sharply on meetings and what makes them effec- tive. although the groups that hold meetings in conference centers are typi- cally small in terms of attendees, there are thousands of small meetings held every month. Increasingly, hotels are now going after executive meetings where expense is not a major issue.

hotels and resorts hotels and resorts offer a variety of locations from city center to destination resorts. Many hotels have ballrooms and other meeting rooms designed to accommodate groups of various sizes. today, they all have web sites and offer meeting planners to help with the planning and organizing of con- ferences and meetings. Once the word gets out that a meeting planner is seeking a venue for a conference, there is plenty of competition among the hotels to get the business.

cruise ships Meeting in a nontraditional facility can provide a unique and memorable experience for the meeting attendee. however, many of the challenges faced in traditional venues such as hotels and convention centers are also appli- cable to these facilities. In some cases, planning must begin much earlier

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for alternative meeting environments than with traditional facilities. a thor- ough understanding of goals and objectives, budget, and attendee profile of the meeting is essential to negotiate the best package possible. a cruise ship meeting is a uniquely different meeting setting and offers a number of advantages to the attendees such as discounts, complimentary meals, less outside distraction while at sea, entertainment, and visiting more than one destination while unpacking only once!7

colleges and universities More and more, alternative venues for meeting places include facilities such as colleges, universities, and their campuses. the paramount consideration in contemplating use of campus-based facilities is to know the nature of the target audience.8 a certain knowledge and evaluation of the participants are inevitable and invaluable because, most of the time, the relative cost of campus-based meetings is less expensive than a medium-priced hotel.

▶ check Your Knowledge

1. List the various venues for meetings, conventions, and expositions.

Sustainable Meetings, Conventions, and expositions the meetings industry is becoming more responsible in its environmental stewardship, and it makes economic sense to do so. Companies that choose to do so are reporting higher gross margins, higher return on sales, higher return on assets, and a stronger cash flow within its own organization. although there are some upfront costs with going green, the end result is generally a significant savings.9

taking small steps to go green can make an enormous difference in a company’s bottom line, as well as in the environment. Simply switching from bottled water to pitchers of water for attendees saved Oracle $1.5 million at its Open World event in San Francisco. reusing name-badge holders saved another $500 in just one year. In addition to monetary savings to these groups, the amount of waste deposited into a landfill was dramatically reduced, just by making these small changes.

Convention centers are going green by reducing the heat, light, and power consumption. LeeD (Leadership in energy and environmental Design) buildings require far less energy to air-condition the building, less electric lighting due to increased natural lighting, and less water consump- tion because of low-flow toilets and faucets that supply water when a sensor is triggered.

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548 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

In an effort to encourage and support sustainability, various indus- try certifications have been introduced, including the Sustainable event professional Certificate (SepC) program and certifications to aStM stan- dards. additionally, there are carbon footprint calculators.

Career Information the MICe segment offers a broad range of career paths. Successful meet- ing planners are detail-oriented, organized people who not only plan and arrange meetings, but also negotiate hotel rooms and meeting spaces in hotels and convention centers.

Incentive travel careers include aspects of organizing high-end travel, hotels, restaurants, attractions, and entertainment. With big budgets, this can be an exciting career for those interested in a combination of travel and hotels in exotic locations.

Conventions and convention centers offer several career paths, from assistants to event managers to sales managers for a special type of account (e.g., associations) or territory. Senior sales managers are expected to book large conventions and expositions—yes, everyone has their quota. event managers plan and organize the function/event with the client once the con- tract has been signed. Salaries range from $35,000 to $70,000 for both assis- tants on rise to sales or event managers. Careers are also possible in the companies that service the MICe segment.

Someone has to equip the convention center, get it ready for an expo- sition, and supply all the food and beverage items. Off-premise catering for special events also offers careers for creative people who like to come up with concepts and themes around which an event or function may be planned.

For all career paths, it is critical to gain experience in the areas of your interest. ask people you respect to be your mentor. ask questions! When you show enthusiasm, people will respond with more help and advice. Figure 12–7 illustrates a career path to becoming a meeting planner.

Figure 12–8 shows an event manager’s job description at a convention center.

Coordinator Senior Meeting Manager

Entry-level Planner

Meeting Manager

Executive Director

President of the Company

Figure 12–7 • A Career Path to Becoming a Top-Level Event Manager.

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 549





Under moderate direction from the services manager, plans, directs, and supervises assigned events and represents services manager on assigned shifts.



Plans, coordinates, and supervises all phases of the events to include set-ups, move ins and outs, and the activities themselves Prepares and disseminates set-up information to the proper departments well in advance of the activity, and ensures complete readiness of the facilities Responsible for arranging for all services needed by the tenant Coordinates facility staffing needs with appropriate departments Acts as a consultant to tenants and the liaison between in-house contractors and tenants Preserves facility’s physical plant and ensures a safe environment by reviewing tenants' plans; requests and makes certain they comply with facility, state, county, and city rules and regulations Prepares accounting paperwork of tenant charges, approves final billings, and assists with collection of same Resolves complaints, including operational problems and difficulties Assists in conducting surveys, gathering statistical information, and working on special projects as assigned by services manager Conducts tours of the facilities

Bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, business, or recreational management from a fully accredited university or college, plus two (2) years of experience in coordinating major conventions and trade shows Combination of related education/training and additional experience may substitute for bachelor's degree An excellent ability to manage both fiscal and human resources Knowledge in public relations; oral and written communications Experienced with audiovisual equipment

• • • •

• •

• • •

225 Broadway, Suite 710 • San Diego, CA 92102 • (619) 239-1989 FAX (619) 239-2030

Operated by the San Diego Convention Center Corporation

Figure 12–8 • Event Manager’s Job Description.

trends in Meetings, Conventions, and expositions Courtesy of Dr. greg Dunn, Senior Lecturer & Managing Director, University of Florida, eric Friedheim tourism Institute

• New Technologies. technology allows meeting planners the ability to identify and manage key markets for attracting attendees. Meeting plan- ners will also have the ability to plan smarter and reduce costs.10 Some event planners have taken technology to a whole new level by adding

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550 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

special geo-locating features to their apps to tailor the experience to the individuals. Other planners are developing apps that provide a much richer and better conference experience than a paper program guide could do, including polling, customizable agendas, gaming, video, contact exchange, social media integration, analytics, and much more. Future meetings will also incorporate and enable wearable (or every- where) computing. New mobile technologies such as google glass and a range of smart watches and smart bracelets will assist meeting par- ticipants with navigation, networking, and augmented reality. although part of a larger societal trend, this will impact events and trade shows in the next few years as attendees literally embody these devices to assist them at events.

• Increased Use of Smartphones. Smartphones are used by a large percent of the population, which allows meeting planners to increase audience engagement by providing them with the ability to interact directly, track activities, connect with contacts and vendors, and share their experi- ences with others via social media outlets.11 this allows the organizers to listen to attendees and make some changes during the event itself to provide more value.

• Connectivity and Lightning Speed. the need for faster network speeds, or bandwidth, has been growing so quickly that these speeds are now estimated to double every three years. Fast and effective Wi-Fi will continue to be one of the major challenges facing meeting planning professionals and delegates. as people increasingly add new mobile devices to accomplish their computing tasks, the need for more band- width will continue to soar. Many conference attendees now come with up to three wireless devices, so greater bandwidth is crucial. planners expect great Wi-Fi access to keep meeting guests connected and engaged.

• Demand for Unique Meeting Experiences. More and more meeting delegates are demanding out of the ordinary experiences for meeting agendas and destination decisions. For instance, some planners have partnered with unique venues such as wineries, craft breweries, attractions, museums, aquariums, and historical places and buildings to provide a memorable setting and meeting experience for their attendees. Other planners are hosting “sessions unplugged” that do not require a formal powerpoint presentation or other audio visual equipment outdoors. Finally, some planners are creating special vIp lounges for strategic sets of attendees with special access passes and upgraded snacks, drinks, massage station, business center, and more.

• Making Meetings Personal. planners are also making meetings and conferences more personal by setting up unique backdrops for attendees to be photographed, enabling attendees to share their

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 551

experiences via social media or a custom event postcard. Some meet- ing planners are also inviting artists to sketch or paint delegates and conduct step-by-step painting classes during networking events, while others are personalizing attendee name badges with something that is interesting and unique to the attendee (e.g., baseball fanatic or yoga girl).

• Keeping It Healthy. Meeting planners and facilities are keeping the health and wellness of attendees in mind when developing meeting and conference agendas and functions. For instance, some planners are organizing mini-wellness programs during a conference that may include a local personal trainer for morning workouts or afternoon fitness and yoga sessions. Others recognize that several days of meet- ings and functions can be hazardous for those who diet, and there- fore host a nutritionist to help develop menus as well encourage attendees to choose diet-friendly snacks such as granola bars, mixed fruits, and fresh vegetables. Meeting planners are starting to introduce family-style menus or sample menus that allow attendees to pick and choose what they would like to eat. Locally sourced ingredients are also becoming popular, with hometown coffee bars, local brewer- ies or pubs, and dim sum-style cart service with cuisines specific to an area.

• Going Greener. the meetings industry continues to find unique ways to conduct meetings in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly man- ner. More planners are looking to cut a meeting’s carbon footprint and reduce the negative impact that conventions and conferences can have on host communities. Convention bureaus, hotels, exposition facilities, and other vendors that service the convention industry have stepped up their sustainability efforts in recent years in response to customer demand. Most hotel chains and conference centers now have some sort of green initiative like a linen or towel reuse program, and some even offer financial incentives for groups that agree to adopt sustainability practices like creating less trash, using less energy, and incorporating locally sourced foods into menus. Many convention centers are increas- ingly utilizing the latest technologies in energy usage, water conserva- tion, and waste reduction. In addition, today’s attendees are wired and therefore need to constantly power their mobile devices. While some planners are adding charging stations, others are making it more fun and greener by using unique self-powered generating stations such as riding bicycles. Not only do attendees power devices by riding bikes for a period of time, they also enjoy themselves, get a little exercise, make conversation, and network. Other planners are choosing attendee giveaways or gifts that are made from recycled materials such as t-shirts, water bottles, and bags.

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552 Part iv assemblies, events, attractions, Leadership, and Management

The convention bureau in a large and popular convention destination has jurisdiction over the convention center. A seasoned convention sales manager, who has worked for the bu- reau for seven years and produces more sales than any other sales manager, has rebooked a 2,000-person group for a three-day exposition in the convention center. The exposition is to take place two years from the booking date.

The client has a 15-year history of holding conventions, meetings, and expositions in this convention center and has always used the bureau to contract all space and services. In fact, the sales manager handling the account has worked with the client for seven of the 15 years. The bureau considers this client a preferred customer.

The convention center group meeting planner also appeared in a magazine ad giving a tes- timony of praise for the convention bureau, this particular sales manager, and the city as a destination for conventions.

Shortly after the group meeting planner confirms the rebooking of the three-day exposi- tion for two years hence, the bureau changes sales administration personnel not once but three times. This creates a challenge for the sales manager in terms of producing contracts, client files, and event profiles, and in the recording and distribution of information. The pre- ferred customer who rebooked has a contract, purchase orders for vendor services, a move-in and setup agenda, and an event profile, all supplied by the sales manager. The sales manager has copies of these documents as well. The two hotels where the group will be staying also have contracts for the VIP group.

As is the nature of this particular bureau, other sales managers have been booking and contracting space for the same time period as the preferred customer that rebooked. In fact, the exhibit hall has been double-booked, as have the breakout rooms for seminars, work- shops, and food and beverage service. The groups that contracted later with the convention bureau are all first-time users of the convention center facilities.

This situation remains undetected until 10 days prior to the groups’ arrival. It is brought to the attention of the bureau and the convention center only when the sales manager distrib- utes a memo to schedule a preconvention meeting with the meeting planner and all conven- tion center staff.

Because of the administrative personnel changes, necessary information was not dissemi- nated to key departments and key personnel. The convention center was never notified that space had been contracted for the preferred customer. The preferred customer has been told about this potentially catastrophic situation. Now there is a major problem to rectify.

Discussion Questions 1. Ultimately, who is responsible for decision making with regard to this situation? 2. What steps should be taken to remedy this situation? 3. Are there fair and ethical procedures to follow to provide space for the preferred

customer? If so, what are they?

c a s e s t u D Y


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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 553

4. What measures, if any, should be taken in handling the seasoned sales manager? 5. What leverage does the meeting planner have to secure this and future business with the

bureau? 6. What might the preferred customer do if it is denied space and usage of the convention

center? 7. How can this situation be avoided in the future?


1. Conventions, meetings, and expositions serve social, political, sporting, or reli- gious purposes. associations offer ben- efits such as a political voice, education, marketing avenues, member services, and networking.

2. Meetings are events designed to bring peo- ple together for the purpose of exchanging information. typical forms of meetings are conferences, workshops, seminars, forums, and symposiums.

3. expositions bring together purveyors of products, equipment, and services in an environment in which they can demon- strate their products. Conventions are meet- ings that include some form of exposition or trade show.

4. Meeting planners contract out their services to associations and corporations. their responsibilities include premeeting, on-site, and postmeeting activities.

5. the convention and visitors bureaus are nonprofit organizations that assess the needs of the client and organize transpor- tation, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.

6. Convention centers are huge facilities, usually owned by the government, where meetings and expositions are held. events at convention centers require a lot of up- front planning and careful event manage- ment. a contract that is based on the event profile and an event document is a neces- sary part of effective management.

Key Words and Concepts

associations convention convention and visitors bureaus (Cvbs) convention center

exposition familiarization (FaM) trip incentive market meeting meeting planner

meetings, incentives, conven- tions, and exhibitions (MICe) social, military, educational, re- ligious, and fraternal (SMerF) groups

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554 PArT iV Assemblies, Events, Attractions, Leadership, and Management

Review Questions

1. What are associations, and what is their purpose?

2. Which new technologies are being used in meetings and conventions?

3. Why are cruise ships being increasingly used as venues for meetings?

4. Explain the difference between an exposi- tion and a convention.

5. Discuss the role and functions of a DMC. 6. Outline the format of a typical convention


Internet Exercises

1. Organization: Convention Industry Council (CIC) Summary: The CIC presents a platform for more than 19,000 organizations and 100,000 individuals to advocate the value of the meetings, conventions, exhibitions, and events industry. The member organizations use the portal to get together and discuss the global trends and topics as well as to collaborate on industry issues.

(a) Explore the CIC’s Web site for APEx re- sources and download templates for RFPs. (b) Compare the meeting specifications listed in RFPs for single-facility, des- tination, and DMC and transportation services. Discuss reasons to include or exclude items in these RFPs.

2. Organization: International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Summary: Founded in 1963, the ICCA is a global community of over 1,000 organiza- tions in the international association meet- ings industry.

(a) Search for ICCA statistics and look at worldwide rankings of countries and cities in the industry. (b) Read the introductions in the docu- ment and find out what types of meet- ings are included in the ICCA’s database for country and city rankings. (c) Find the ranking of your city and comment on whether you think your city performs well in that meeting segment.

Apply Your Knowledge

1. Which type of venue would you recom- mend for the following meetings?

(a) An annual medical association con- ference with over 3,000 participants

(b) Corporate training for 200 employees (c) An incentive trip for the 50 top performers

in a company

Suggested Activity

1. Check whether your city has a conven- tion and visitor bureau. If yes, study the bureau’s Web site to see whether it reflects

the five primary responsibilities of the bureau. If not, discuss the importance of establishing a bureau in your area.

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chapter 12 Meetings, Conventions, and expositions 555

endnotes 1. the Center for association Leadership, Associa-

tions FAQ, Click on advocacy, and then click on association Frequently asked Questions (accessed on june 4, 2015).

2. george g. Fenich, Meetings, Expositions, and Conventions: An Introduction to the Industry, 4th ed. (hoboken, Nj: pearson, 2016), 22.

3. Wikipedia, Trade Association, http://en.wikipedia .org. Search for “trade association” (accessed March 21, 2015).

4. Wikipedia, Professional Association, http:// Search for “professionalassocia- tion” (accessed March 21, 2015).

5. Steven barth, Hospitality Law: Managing Issues in the Hospitality Industry (hoboken, Nj: john Wiley and Sons, 2006), 26–29.

6. professional Convention Management associa- tion, Professional Meeting Management, 4th ed. (Dubuque, Ia: Kendall/hunt, 2004), 557–561.

7. professional Convention Management association, Professional Meeting Management, 564–565.

8. Ibid. 9. george g. Fenich, Meetings, Expositions, and

Conventions: An Introduction to the Industry, 249. 10. jr Sherman, “5 meeting-tech trends to watch in

2013,” january 18, 2013, Meetings & Conventions, Search for “5 meeting-tech trends to watch in 2013” (accessed january 18, 2015).

11. Ibid.

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