It's hard not to have an enjoyable meeting in San Diego--thanks to the weather, the waterfront, the facilities, and the attractions. The American Society of Association Executive's annual meeting there in August was no exception. Here are a few notes of interest from that event:
Kids, kids, kids: In 18 years of covering meetings, I can't recall an annual meeting where children were so omnipresent. (Now that I have a two-year-old, these kinds of things take on a new resonance.) The great family attractions of San Diego no doubt were a draw, as was the free child care provided by KiddieCorp. Let's keep up the trend--it's a great way for working parents to spend time with their kids.
Hats off: During the ASAE meeting we hosted our annual roundtable, where we gather a small group of smart meeting professionals for a focused, productive discussion of a major industry issue. (Look for our December cover story on millennial meetings.) The roundtable was a great success, and I would like to thank our 13 wonderful participants, who were not shy about voicing their views, and who didn't mind (too much) the early morning hour (7 a.m. on Sunday).
I feel your pain: The only down side of the above event was deciphering the bill for it: five sheets of paper for a two-hour, tape-recorded continental breakfast meeting. The high cost of audiovisual and food and beverage at hotels consistently ranks among readers' top peeves in our annual annual trend report. Well, readers, after this roundtable, where I ran across all those plus-plus charges--from a four-hour minimum for the AV technician to a labor charge for a group under 20--all I can say is, I feel your pain. And it's time to assign an article on how to cope with runaway AV and F&B charges.
Where's the beef? Okay, I have been to more industry meetings than I care to admit, so I might be a little more demanding than the average attendee. But I must say, I thought the educational sessions for meeting and exposition organizers were on the thin side. Where was the session on accepted practices, one of the most pressing issues for the industry? Where was the session on creative sources of nondues revenues, another high-interest topic? Sessions like the ones on e-commerce and convention housing were terrific, and ASAE needs a few more gems like these in its annual meeting programming.
Everybody just sit down: They say ASAE stands for Always Standing Always Eating. Well, I don't mind the eating part, but the standing is a pain. People stand for a good part of the day at the expo, and most of the nights at the receptions. Human feet need a break. So I was happy to see lots of seating areas at the Balboa Park evening event, and also in the exhibit hall during lunch breaks. Always Sitting Always Eating isn't a bad revision of the old saying.