Retired General Colin L. Powell will be the keynote speaker at the 41st Annual Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Meeting, January 8 to 11 in San Antonio, TX. In the session, sponsored by Renaissance Hotels International, Powell will address the challenges facing planners as they contend with the ever-changing meetings industry.
One major challenge facing planners-the seller's market-will be the focus of the second general session, "Is There Room at the Inn for?" The interactive meeting will be broadcast to Marriott hotels nationwide via the Marriott Videoconference Network. Members of the hospitality community are invited to attend.
Should professional medical societies feel threatened by HMOs and other CME providers? That's one of the provocative questions up for discussion at "A Look at the Impact of Managed Care on Your Meetings," a session that will help participants understand the CME needs of today's primary care physicians and specialists, and explore delivery options. Physicians must demonstrate to their managed care organizations how continuing education changes their practice, says panelist H.B. Slotnick, PhD, PhD,
Neuroscience Department, University of North Dakota. "The judicious planner is going to take that into account in the preparation, execution, and evaluation of programs," Slotnick says. In an interactive follow-up workshop, "New Directions in Continuing Education," Slotnick will assist participants in developing solutions for their own associations. Topics ranging from technology to housing will be covered in more than 80 other programs.
Attendees who made a New Year's resolution to help others will get their chance with PCMA's Hospitality Helping Hands Project. Working with Habitat for Humanity, participants will build homes for needy families.
Meeting highlights: * Technology Resource Center: the latest industry products from 29 companies on display for attendees to try.
* International Workshops: Topics include how to host international attendees in the USA, and plan overseas meetings. At an invitation-only reception, attendees can meet international colleagues.
* On-line: Information about the meeting is now available at http://www.pcmaconf.com.
In Other PCMA News: * Executive vice president Roy Evans, Jr., received an award from the Alabama CVB for his national advocacy of hospitality training for low-skilled workers.
* Elise A. Galka, CMP, was named PCMA's director of meeting services. She will be responsible for coordinating all PCMA and Education Foundation meetings. She has a multifaceted background in the hospitality industry, most recently serving as conference services manager for the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, CA.
* The third edition of Professional Meeting Management has been released. New chapters include information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, adult learning, "green" meetings, and technology. The cost: $49.95 for members, or $54.95 for nonmembers (plus a $4.50 shipping charge). For information, call the PCMA education department at (205) 978-3082
When Kathleen Ratcliffe prepared to become 1996-97 president of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), she promised the 14,000-plus members that she would keep them "ahead of the curve." As president, the 13-year hospitality industry veteran, whose full-time position is vice president, sales & marketing for the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association, recognizes that "the curve changes daily."
Being more open to new ideas from the membership is key to tracking the curve, Ratcliffe says. As members at local, regional, and national forums define and convey their needs, MPI will provide training to meet them, most recently in such areas as new technologies, greater globalization of meetings, more use of incentive programs, and increased emphasis on senior-level adult education.
The "curve" in Ratcliffe's home city of Baltimore is the increasing shortage of hotel meeting space and the resulting seller's market [see our article on how smallare dealing with the new realities, page 33]. But Ratcliffe says that hotel chains are buying and building again, seeking sites in most major and many secondary cities, and the growth, she predicts, will be in hotels with 800 to 1,200 rooms, not smaller properties in the suburbs.
What may be MPI's most useful tool, Ratcliffe says, is the increasing implementation of its(Return On Investment) program. A step-by-step video and accompanying workbook, sponsored by Marriott Hotels and Continental Airlines through the MPI Foundation, give meeting planners modules that they can use to show their organizations how much more they get-in dollars and learning-out of a meeting that is professionally managed and delivered. Two new modules are under development. Travel and entertainment, MPI points out, is the third-largest controllable expense, and meetings, unless well-managed, are the largest invisible source of loss to most organizations. According to the Convention Liaison Council's "1995 Economic Impact Study," direct spending by the convention, exposition, meeting, and incentive travel industry in 1994 totaled $82.83 billion and employed 1,574,000 people full time.
MPI's online network, MPINet, on CompuServe, has been joined by a World Wide Web page at http://www.mpiweb.org. It will provide up-to-date information, including industry news, educational opportunities, and bookstore items for sale.