The Alliance of Meeting Management Consultants (AMMC) held its Second Annual Educational Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 4 and 5.

This group of 10 independent meeting planners formed two years ago in order to provide joint marketing efforts for members and help members manage their businesses better through education. "The idea behind the AMMC was to pool marketing dollars and have a marketing alliance that advertised nationally as a group. Individually, we couldn't afford to do that," says Toni Sylvester, CMP, executive director of AMMC. "One of our main objectives was to help potential clients understand that there are professional independent meeting planners out there and that they can be comfortable outsourcing to us."

To qualify for AMMC membership, an individual meeting planner must meet three criteria: successful completion of the CMP examination, a minimum of five years in the meeting industry, and self-employment in the meeting consultant industry for at least three years. "The average AMMC meeting consultant has been in the business for 10 years," says Lynne K. Tiras, CMP, AMMC president. "Our members come from different areas--there are those who plan medical, corporate, religious, and government-related meetings and those who plan special events."

The San Juan conference focused on how members should market themselves in order to draw in more business. "The meeting's focus was particularly relevant to a current trend in the independent meeting planning market," Tiras says. "Because there are so many new independents entering the market, independent meeting professionals need to be one step ahead of the game. They need to be better educated to set themselves apart from the rest."

The AMMC hopes to do just that with the help of new advertising campaigns and a Web site launching in September. For more information about the AMMC, contact Toni Sylvester at (800) 200-2774.