What is in this article?:
- Why Four Event Industry Association CEOs See a Vital Future
- What trends have had an impact on your association's meetings and how have you adapted?
- What must the industry do to better promote the value of meetings?
- How has competition affected the way you do business?
- How has globalization affected your business and growth?
- How has membership evolved?
- Given all the changes, is the meetings industry at a turning point?
The leaders of ASAE, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Meeting Professionals International, and Professional Convention Management Association are bullish on meetings.
How has membership evolved?
We have grown membership, but that isn’t one of our major goals. We are not about size; we are about delivering senior-level education. Everything we do is geared toward that segment. We have grown 68 percent among corporate meeting planners. The corporate community is starting to realize that a lot of our education has to do with business acumen, leadership, and strategic thinking.
The demographics have shifted substantially in the 21 years I’ve been here. The pendulum has swung from 65 percent male to 65 percent femaleand the average age is now in the 30s and 40s. It’s more rare to see gray hair in a session and more common to see tattoos.
ASAE has explored ways to tailor membership and program offerings to meet the varied needs of the association community. We have introduced a young professionals membership for individuals under 30, a consultant membership, group memberships through international partnerships and delegations, and an offering for small staff associations. All of these have brought in additional revenue, but more important, they have focused on specific constituencies, rather than just a “one size fits all” approach.
We’ve seen membership fluctuate over the last 10 years, but our community is still 21,000-plus members, so our numbers haven’t really varied that much. We continue to attract a broad representation of meeting professionals in the industry. While we are delighted and never want this to change, it is a challenge to anticipate and meet the needs of so many. Our primary customer is still the corporate planner, but over the last several years we’ve seen significant increases in independent planners, government planners, and association planners.