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The Religious Conference Management Association's first regional Aspire event drew almost 100 faith-based meeting planners and hospitality professionals from 14 different states to the Sheraton Music City hotel May 20–21. Here's a peek at some of what happened at the conference.
The Road Ahead for Regionals
As for the regional events, of which Nashville Aspire was just the first, Jones explained that they won’t all be the same, and may not even share the same length. “Some will be longer because of travel time needed to get there, some will be shorter,” he said. The next Aspire is set for Colorado Springs, Colo., November 11–13, which is the headquarters city for more than 300 ministry organizations. RCMA is considering adding two more regional meetings in 2014, possibly in the Chicago and Southern California areas. More regional meetings may follow in 2015, possibly in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Washington, D.C./Baltimore areas.
But don’t wait for an Aspire conference to come to your town to reach out to your fellow planners in faith, he said. “If you are going to meet in a community, engage with other members in that area. Connect planner to planner.”
Future initiatives being planned include a supplier institute and/or a convention and visitors bureau summit to help train hospitality professionals, especially those new to the field, on how to best serve the faith-based meetings market. “There is a lot of lost business in this market because people don’t understand who they’re talking with,” Jones said. “Our goal is to make you all better at what you do so you are able to accomplish more together than separately.”