NICK TOPITZES, CMP CEO and Chairman ✪ pc/nametag Inc.
Where Meeting Planners Come First
What challenge do you think the meetings industry has successfully overcome in the past year or so? What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry in 2012? The industry has slowly gotten back on its feet after a tough three years. Planners and hoteliers have learned to do more with less and do it in a condensed time- frame. Now we face a new threat to the economy. The problems in Europe could cause a European recession or depression. If the economy slows again, we could see budget cuts and reduced meeting attendance.
How has your team responded to requests to incorporate sus- tainability into your products? Have you seen a rise in requests? What unique eco-friendly products does your company offer? Currently, we offer eco-friendly nametags, lanyards, tote bags — pretty much our full line. We look at all of our products and take sustainability into consider- ation. We also look at how to lower costs: Can we use different materials? Can we cut shipping weight?
What single asset makes you most proud to represent your company?
I love talking to someone at a trade show when another planner walks up and says, “They are a great company. They saved me.” I tell new hires that a meeting can be at the Four Seasons with fine wines, filet mignon, and Bill Clinton as the speaker, but if there aren’t nametags when people arrive, the plan- ner could get fired. So it is vital that we deliver.
SATISFACTION GUAR- ANTEED: “I have a smart, dedicated staff, and they make it happen for our cus- tomers,” said Nick Topitzes, CMP, CEO and chairman of pc/nametag.
What piece of ad- vice do you wish you had been given that you would you now impart to a young
professional entering the meetings and conventions industry? Build relationships and don’t burn bridges. Everyone knows everyone in this industry, and sooner or later you will have a reputation — good or bad. You have to learn to negotiate, but you must be fair. If you beat up a hotel too much, you will pay another way. If the hotel has overly aggressive pricing, planners won’t come back when it’s a planners’ market.
CHANGERS 92 pcma convene January 2012
What are meeting professionals asking for now that they weren’t asking for a year or two ago? How are you responding to that need? Today, everyone expects fast service. Planners produce a meeting within four weeks instead of four months. As a company, we have learned to respond by keeping a huge inventory, so that if someone needs 10,000 nametags in San Diego tomorrow, we can do it. n