This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
feel What is the


I am trying to bring to people?


plantation Tara, the era of high-concept meeting themes mostly belongs to another time, one that is truly gone with the wind. “It’s definitely changed,” said Usha James, CMP, director of conference operations for SourceMedia, “and it changed drastically when the economy crashed.” The first blow came with the dot-com bust of 2000–2001,


followed closely by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, which in and of themselves helped usher in a new era of seriousness. Then came the financial crisis of 2008–2009 — from which theming has yet to recover. James said: “You just don’t see big themes like ‘Hawaiian Getaway’ anymore.” And they may never come back — like catchy sitcom theme songs and smoking sections in restaurants. On the other hand, you shouldn’t necessarily count out theming for good. “I think its time has passed, or passed for now,” said Troy Starwalt, events manager for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). “But it could maybe come back — like plaid.” Another force exerting downward pressure on meeting themes — related to the general ebb and flow of the economy


— is the awful press received in recent years by meetings that seemed to overemphasize entertaining their attendees when other groups around the country were tightening their belts. In the aftermath of the AIG Effect and, more recently, GSA’s Las Vegas–area conference, no one wants to be caught on YouTube basking in an opulent theme. “The environment has taken on a more serious tone,” said corporate meeting


PCMA.ORG


planner Susie Wiesenfeld, CMP. “You don’t want to come off as being gaudy.” Phyllis Klasky, director of events management for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), agrees.


“My opinion,” she said, “is that these days you have to be more concerned that the meeting, the conference, or the convention is more serious versus fluff.” For example, the pharmaceutical industry continues to come under scrutiny from the media, regulatory bodies, and the public at large — and thus, even more than other sectors, its meetings need not to be seen as “going off to play golf and relax.”


A CONFERENCE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR As a result of meeting themes largely having gone out of fashion, two things have happened. One, more emphasis is being placed on a meeting’s content rather than its trappings. That isn’t a bad development, of course. But the second thing that’s resulted from themes going away is that it’s now more difficult for planners to differentiate their meetings from those of their competitors. It can be a hard balance to strike. “Yes, it’s very beneficial


to attendees in terms of getting what they’ve paid for in a learning experience,” James said. “But you do find that you end up in the cookie-cutter mode of meeting planning, because you aren’t entertaining as much.” For that reason, you have to pay more attention to the little things that set one meeting apart from another in the


JUNE 2012 PCMA CONVENE 43


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120