Meeting Expectations is doing something that not many companies in the meetings industry have been doing lately: hiring.
“Overall, we are on the upswing, especially compared to 2009,” says Brian Meyer, president of Meeting Expectations, which is making its fourth appearance on the CMI 25 list. “Bookings are up, our revenues are up, and we have some new customers on board.”
Not only that, most customers who canceled programs in 2010 have them back on the books for 2011. “Our site-selection team is extremely busy,” he says. “We are looking forward to a fantastic spring in 2011.”
However, with the economy still threatening to fall back into recession, there aren’t too many champagne corks popping yet. “We are being cautious and our customers are being cautious,” Meyer is quick to note. One new customer, for example, is following up meetings in Barbados and the Bahamas with a program in Virginia. “It will still be a great meeting, and very elegant, but it will be more conservative,” Meyer notes. The site-selection directive was “nothing west of the Mississippi,” because most attendees are coming from the East Coast. “The new site considerations are travel time and expense, and time out of the office,” he explains.
The down economy has sparked another trend in client requests—helping attendees justify coming to the user conferences that make up a big part of the Meeting Expectations portfolio. “We are helping customers write outand justification statements that they are putting up at their Web sites for attendees to then deliver to their senior management,” Meyer says. One software company, for example, weighs the $2,000 or $3,000 total cost of attending its user conference against the potential $10,000 to $20,000 in savings realized by companies that attend and learn the tips that can make the software more productive. “Three to four years ago there was not as much focus on ROI, but it’s a good exercise to go through,” Meyer says, “I hope people won’t forget about it when times are better.”
Founded in 1992, Atlanta-based Meeting Expectations offers full conference planning and association management services.