Thanks to an economic downturn that continues to put a crimp on spending, more and more religious groups are dealing with onerouspenalties. Attendees may not be coming to meetings in the same numbers as in the past, and even if they are, too many may be booking hotel rooms that are outside the negotiated room block. What's a planner to do?
You'll find lots of good answers to that question in this issue. “Voices” (page 11) provides a quick look at how attrition issues have affected three religious conference planners — and what they are doing about it.
For a more in-depth case study, turn to page 28 to learn how the National Association of Free Will Baptists Inc. is coping with its “blockbuster meetings.” NAFWB held one of its best-attended meetings ever this year in Oklahoma City. Nonetheless, the group ended up paying more than $20,000 in attrition penalties — because too many delegates booked hotel rooms in outlying limited-service hotels, where they found cheaper rates.
“We're trying to leave no stone unturned,” says Ryan Lewis, NAFWB's executive administrator. “We're going to reconsider our entire housing process and eventually find a way to satisfy room pick-up requirements while still keeping rates attendee-friendly. We recognize we're not the only ones running on a tight budget.”
Where there is attrition, there are legal issues and terminology to reckon with. Turn to page 31 to get the legal scoop from top industry attorney Barbara Dunn. She'll walk you through key terms and provisions that you need to have covered in yourand housing procedures.
Attrition will be one of the topics tackled at a two-part, legal-issues boot camp at the RCMA World Conference & Expo, January 25-28, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. The conference is the longest-running educational event specifically for the religious conference market — and the best place to hone your meeting planning skills, network with colleagues, and shop strategically for facilities and services that will best meet your conference needs.
For an overview of the conference and general session speakers, turn to page 16. See what Tampa has to offer RCMA members on page 26. You'll find full details of the conference program tutorials, evening activities, and sightseeing options starting on page 19.
Meeting planning education for religious conference managers: That has remained the core objective of RCMA for nearly four decades. See for yourself in January at the 39th RCMA World Conference & Expo in Tampa — a great time to meet at the beach!
Enjoy the issue.
Regina McGee has been a journalist and editor in the meetings industry for more than 25 years, including 14 years as editor of's sister publication .