If the meeting industry ever needed an advocate, it has found one in Mickey Schaefer, CAE, current president of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). In an impassioned presentation at the Convention Liaison Council Forum held in New York City on November 5, Schaefer, vice president, membership, meetings and conventions, and administration for the American Academy of Family Physicians, Kansas City, Mo., began the long process of getting every facet of the multifaceted meetings, convention, incentive, andindustry, including buyers and sellers, to "buy-in" to creating accepted practices for the industry.
The APEX [Accepted Practices for Excellent Exchange] initiative would establish accepted practices in the following seven areas: housing,, meeting profiles, terminology, past history reports, RFPs/booking inquiries, and resumes/ event orders.
So far, the response from the industry is encouraging. CLC commissioned Deloitte & Touche to conduct a study assessing the feasibility of APEX. Forty-seven people, representing a cross section of the industry, responded. The preliminary results, released at the CLC meeting, show a consistent 80 to 82 percent of respondents gave a positive response to many of the questions posed, affirming that they would support APEX by sharing information about their organization's policies and revenue data, allowing customers to be interviewed, and piloting proposed accepted practices. Fifty percent said they would consider contributing funds to support APEX.
Once the results are finalized early in the year, the CLC board will decide the next step. "I think CLC has a chance to be monumentally brave. It's our chance to move our industry into the next millennium. I hope all of you will catch the passion," Schaefer said. --Betsy Bair
CLC Forum: The Future Is Indeed Bright In a bold move, the Convention Liaison Council brought together 200 industry leaders with some of the country's best-known personalities on the social, political, and economic fronts to talk about the meeting industry's future at the first CLC Forum held in New York City on November 5.
Fashioned as a sort of town meeting, three keynoters--futurist and author John Naisbitt, political analyst George Stephanopoulos, and CNN financial commentator Stuart Varney--kicked off their respective topics with a general overview, followed by a question-and-answer period. Three panels made up of industry executives then took those broad-based comments and put them into a meetings industry context.
Darryl Hartley-Leonard, former president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, who resurfaced from semi-retirement last year to lead PGI, an event and communications agency, orchestrated and chaired the Forum.
In his welcome address, he set the tone for the Forum by quoting a recent Harvard Business Review article that says we're entering the "experience economy," one in which people, particularly younger generations, will go to meetings and events that give them an experience they can't get from their computers. "Meetings can never again be uni-dimensional," said Hartley-Leonard.
That theme became the focus of the day as speakers reiterated that technology has already begun to replace some types of meetings and will continue to do so. But the need for face-to-face experiences in a technology-driven culture will only become more acute, said Naisbitt.
In a CLC council meeting held the next day, delegates of each of the constituent organizations of CLC agreed to hold the Forum again. --Betsy Bair