The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) broke another attendance record at its annual meeting, drawing a total of 2,371 paid registrants to San Antonio, TX in January, including a record 721 active members and 1,427 affiliate members. Prior to the meeting, there had been speculation that attendance might suffer because the Professional Education Conference of Meeting Professionals International had been moved from December to January in San Francisco, immediately following the PCMA annual meeting. Instead, this year's PCMA meeting broke attendance records for the third consecutive year.
Highlights of the conference included an electric keynote address by General Colin Powell, who called for a return to family and spiritual values in a world where the country's enemies are not so clearly defined as they were during the Cold War years. "This is a time of hope and optimism as more and more nations move toward democracy and market-driven economies," he told a cheering audience at the meeting.
A panel of chief executives from the Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Loews hotel companies, along with Mickey Schaefer, CAE, vice president for membership, meetings and conventions, and administration, American Academy of Family Physicians, and Douglas Ducate, CEM, CMP, group president of Production Group International, shared their views onin today's seller's market.
While conceding that association meetings were still an important part of their companies' business mix, the hoteliers did not foresee a return to a buyer's market for the next decade. And neither did Ducate, who called the 1980s an aberration. "This is the good old days," Ducate said. He said hotel companies have the advantage of better legal departments and business acumen in general than do most associations. Planners need to be better business managers, he concluded.
Daniel E. Weber, CEM, executive director of the Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists, is the new president of PCMA. He pledged to continue to oversee the enactment of PCMA's strategic plan, to investigate possible strategic alliances with other industry organizations, and to improve relations with the association's chapters. Mickey Schaefer is PCMA's president-elect; Richard Grimes, CAE, of the American Lung Association is the vice president; and Jean A. O'Donnell of the American College of Physicians is secretary/treasurer.