July 26

Washington Convention Center

The Industry

conference planning

The Attendees

350 association and government meeting planners striving to stretch budgets and boost attendance

The Issues

Rocking the Boat: Meetings at Sea offers a change of pace, but what about attendees prone to seasickness? “It’s mostly perception,” replied a company representative, explaining that wing-like stabilizers keep ships balanced, that planners could choose to cruise in calmer waters, and that attendees can be given anti-nausea wristbands.

Meeting Monetization: Tired of bare-bones, amenity-deprived confabs? Offer sponsorships for events within the event: Sponsor executives get to introduce each speaker, delivering business pitches at the same time. The approach was demo’d all day, with introducers for the introducers.

Shogun of Slogans: Keynote speaker Simon T. Bailey, author of Release Your Brilliance, released a hailstorm of inspirational adages including “Making a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake”; “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”; “Find an environment where you are celebrated, not tolerated”; “Brilliance is a marathon, not a sprint”; and, for those facing ageism, “You’re like a fine wine; you only get better with time.”

Making a Splash: One seminar’s suggestions for “up-selling” sponsors included putting the sponsor’s logo on event literature, plaques on hand-cream dispensers, and signs above urinals.—Rob Tierney