That's the intriguing question Corbin Ball asks in an article on the ICCA website. One potential problem he points out is that hotels are now running leaner and meaner than ever due to technological advances, which means fewer staff, which means fewer potential members for MPI, PCMA, ASAE, and all the other industry orgs. Technology is also allowing meeting planner departments and companies to streamline, again reducing the potential membership pool.
I am not a pessimist by nature. I feel that meeting industry associations are invaluable for networking and education. The changes sweeping through business, however, could have a chilling effect on associations. As the fat is eliminated, as the frictionless economy continues to develop, the outcome could mean fewer members for associations and fewer funds for them to spend.
Well, isn't that depressing? He doesn't really offer any solutions, other than that industry associations need to buck up and get really vital to their shrinking membership pools. I can't help but wonder, given the reality of the situation, if the ASAE/GWSAE merger earlier in the year is just a harbinger of more consolidations to come? In her editorial in the December issue of Association Meetings, Regina McGee jokingly includes a reference to the American Society of Meeting Professionals, something that doesn't exist--at least, not yet.
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