Everybody is still pretty much waiting for the big ball to drop — the much-delayed economic rebound is giving even Allen Greenspan agita. Meanwhile, the world news — from SARS to another Orange alert, as I write — weighs like a heavy blanket over spring, which, in New England has consisted of cold rainy days spliced with a couple blazing hot ones that feel like they belong in July. The world is awry.
Before I bum you out entirely, though, let's revel in a few bright spots in the world of. For starters, let's talk about your new negotiating clout. Bread-and-butter convention business is keeping more than a few cities afloat at a time when corporate travel and some corporate meetings business have dried to trickles. Hey, so your numbers aren't what they used to be but at least you're still booking rooms, unlike some of your corporate brethren who are learning the ABCs of videoconferencing.
And let's talk about how this affects those onerousclauses we've spilled so much ink on in recent years. They're going to go the way of the dinos, trust me. Except for possibly the largest conventions — events locked into a couple cities because they don't fit anywhere else — convention organizers are going to find, are already finding, that the best way to beat these penalties in today's marketplace is to significantly cut their block. After all, attendees are already booking outside the block on Web sites providing discounted hotel rates — discounts made available by the hotel companies themselves. So as long as your block is big enough to get your meeting space, where's the rub?
In an even broader context, onerous attrition clauses are going to go away because, in a boom-and-bust marketplace like ours, crippling bread-and-butter clients with hefty fees for not being able to forecast their numbers three or more years out is simply bad business sense. What goes around comes around, as some old hippie said.
Feeling better yet? If not, another cheery note: At least 2003 is halfway over.
Hats Off to the Team
Another piece of good news, though not related, is that we've got a new look. In your hands is the result of a much-awaited redesign of Association Meetings, one that owes a great deal to a woman with an incredible design eye: our art director, Sharon Carlson. Thanks also to managing editor Barbara Brewer, without whose behind-the-scenes talents AM would be never get to the printer — and in such good shape at that.
Check out the redesign. I am particularly impressed with the layout for our cover story on SARS and meetings.… Well, like I said, at least half of 2003 is behind us.