An imaginative mixture of education, networking, and play, the Fifth Annual Global Events Partners Retreat in June brought together 250 in-house and third-party planners and representatives from GEP member destination management companies. GEP is a worldwide partnership network of DMCs that allows its members to share referrals and a whole lot more.
Chris White, CEO of GEP and its sister site selection company, Krisam, moved the retreat to Washington, D.C., after 9/11. Attendees experienced venues often reserved for the crème de la crème: the Library of Congress, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the Kennedy Center.
Trends in the Biz
Among the trends discussed by planners and theirpartners at the sessions:
Consolidation. There is a trend in corporate America, largely driven by new technologies, to consolidate the dollars spent on meetings and events because of the potential for huge savings.
In-house or outsource?. Meeting planning departments, in some cases, are being downsized, and planners are worried about proving. But with fewer face-to-face meetings and events, some companies are bringing more planning and logistics in-house to save money.
Do more with less. Shrinking budgets are affecting everyone.
Shorter lead times. What used to be a six-month program lead is now three.
Perceptions. Perception of what destinations are “safe” is key to incentive winners. And ethical considerations are also important. Financial services companies have to answer to the SEC and its codes.
Technology. DMCs need to be tech-savvy to make it to the top of the heap. Technology has replaced some face-to-face meetings, but mostly small, internal meetings.
Meeting ROI and objectives.
. Those written by American attorneys for meetings overseas won't stand up in foreign, or U.S., courts. Rudy Alofs of Conventus says he uses letters of agreement, reflecting the ways of doing business in that particular country.
Safety and security.
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