“I BELIEVE THAT MEETINGS, because they promote the free exchange of information, are absolutely critical to our suc cess as a country. For that reason alone, I think membership in associations should be tax-deductible.”
Thus spake the new chairman of the Professional Convention Management, John Lisack Jr., CAE, at PCMA's annual meeting, January 5 to 8, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The event drew nearly 2,500 registrants — about 500 more than in 2001.
Lisack, executive director of the American Society of Plant Biologists, said one of his missions during his year-long tenure is to encourage the involvement of CEOs in meetings. “I consider it irresponsible for any CEO not to be engaged in the group's convention. These events are just too important to the bottom line.”
And meetings are increasingly important to hotels' bottom lines, reported keynote speaker Bjorn Hanson, a noted lodging analyst with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Hanson said that group business accounted for 27 percent of profits at full-service hotels in 2002 — up from 20 percent in 2000. In fact, in many major cities last year, the group rate was higher than transient rates. (Hanson's full report is available at www.lodgingresearch.com.)
PCMA also released a survey on housing issues in which 40 percent of the 650 association planners surveyed were most concerned aboutpenalties, while 25 percent said their biggest concern was attendees booking outside the block.