A major focus for the newly elected 2004 chairman of the Professional Convention Management Association will be updating the association's strategic plan. Michael Payne, an executive vice president at the association management firm SmithBucklin, stepped into his new role at the January annual meeting of PCMA in Indianapolis. He says the strategic plan was last amended four years ago, but a lot has changed in the industry since then. A task force has recently been established to look at what changes need to be made.
Because the economy has been so volatile in the last four years, Payne would like to see shorter-term goals and ideas addressed in this year's update. “I think we put the right general objectives in the last one,” says Payne, “but if you're in this very dynamic and maybe volatile environment, you want to be more adaptive to it.”
An idea he would like to see addressed in the plan is industry coordination on substantive issues of the day.is a good example of where the industry has come together to address the problem through the Convention Industry Council, which conducted a study. He would like to see that type of effort broadened to other areas.
Another goal for PCMA will be membership growth. “There's going to be a lot of emphasis on membership development, retention, and growth,” Payne says. Last year, the membership numbers were flat if not slightly down from the previous year. Much of the drop-off came from the supplier community, where tough times required many organizations to scale back the number of members, according to Payne. But with a bump in memberships last fall, he expects the total to be heading in the right direction this fiscal year.