Every planner worth his or her salt knows the bottom line for a meeting isn't about numbers, such as registration fees, room rates, attendance, etc. It's about how well the meeting delivered a return on investment for the attendee — in whatever form that might be. Those who come tovery often are looking for a spiritual or transformative , and the meeting planner who “sets the stage” for that kind of experience is really delivering a bottom line that can't be measured in dollars and cents.
And yet, numbers are important, of course. Take, for instance, the numbers in RCMA's newly released annual member survey.
Together they paint a portrait of religious meetings that gives us a better picture of the demographics of this market as well as the importance of it. The survey found that more than 8 million people participated in RCMA member meetings last year. The majority of conferences/conventions were four days long and took place in a downtown facility, most likely located in the Midwest or Southeast. Just over 80 percent of respondents said they used banquet and catering as well as audiovisual services last year.
While most of these numbers do not represent a shift in trend lines, others do. For example more respondents used cruise ships in 2010 than the previous year, and more indicated that they were using destinations throughout the U.S. for their meetings. Check out more survey highlights, beginning on page 12.
Another useful survey to explore was released earlier this year: “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy,” conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Convention Industry Council. The report estimated just over 51 million people participated in U.S. conventions/conferences/congresses in 2009. You can find a detailed analysis of the report's key findings by visiting meetingsnet.com and clicking on the April issue of , a sister publication to .
The data in these two reports are great tools to show the power of meetings, and while numbers don't count for everything, sometimes they count for a lot.