Funding and financing sources, joint accountability, opportunities for advocacy, and best practices were the four major topics discussed at the inaugural meeting in June of a new joint committee formed by members of Destination Marketing Association International and International Association of Assembly Managers.
The committee was formed this spring to help build better communication between convention bureaus and their convention centers—a topic dear to the heart of many convention organizers over the years.
“We addressed topics that we felt were important and of common interest,” says Peggy Daidakis, executive director at the Baltimore Convention Center and co-chair of the fledgling committee. “We talked about engaging the businesses in our communities to benefit from the convention and tourism business, how to be ambassadors and advocates for getting the right funding, and getting all the parties interested in taking ownership of the destinations goals and objectives,” she explains. The findings from the first meeting will be presented at industry conferences, including the upcoming IAAM convention in October.
The committee plans to meet twice a year and deal with issues as they arise. A subject that may come up next is working with hoteliers in a market where hotel availability is tighter than convention space. One impact of the hotel seller’s market is that room blocks are spread out to more hotels, which can affect a city’s ability to attract conventions.
In the future, the committee would like to broaden its influence by presenting its findings at conferences outside of the industry, such as mayor and city officials’ conferences, to illustrate the importance of conventions to the local economy.
The 15-person committee, called the DMAI-IAAM Liaison Group, consists of seven DMAI members, six IAAM members, as well as staff liaisons from each association. The committee is co-chaired by Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix CVB, and Daidakis. Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO at DMAI, and Dexter King, executive director at IAAM, are the staff liaisons. The overriding goal of the group is to facilitate improved coordination between the two entities and enhance the experience of meeting planners and other customers.