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Planner role has changed

Planners to arrange more meetings in 2005 according to results of HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings Survey

According to a survey of pre-registrants attending the fifth annual…

According to a survey of pre-registrants attending the fifth annual Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International`s (HSMAI) Affordable Meetings Mid-America show April 6-7, 2005 at Chicago`s Navy Pier, the majority of the respondents (53.7 percent) expect to plan more meetings in 2005 and beyond. Most of those respondents anticipate planning three – 10 more meetings (one respondent was a particular stand-out by citing an increase of double the number of meetings planned last year – for a total of 400 in 2005).

Additionally, nearly half of the respondents indicated that they have increased budgets to plan meetings.

A new question on the survey – how planners` roles have changed over the years – yielded interesting feedback. While many have seen the role of a meeting planner evolve over the years with increased responsibilities and larger groups to handle, some planners cited more challenges due to shorter lead times.

The survey also revealed that HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings(r) Mid-America was the top show at which they conducted business.

Further evidence supporting the value and popularity of HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings shows and their business-generating potential can be found in recent accolades. For the second consecutive year, HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings Mid-America and West events were named the Planners` Best Bets for 2005 in a readers` poll conducted by Meetings Media, publisher of Meetings East, Meetings Mid-America, Meetings West and Meetings South. Additionally, HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings was named the most popular meetings event according to an online survey conducted by Meetings & Conventions magazine.

The results of the survey of pre-registered planners attending the Mid-America show reflect how we continue to remain on the pulse of the meetings industry by delivering a program of relevance for today`s meeting and event planners, said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. As planners` roles evolve and the meetings industry changes, so will our agenda of seminars and networking opportunities, he added.

The survey was sent to 1,310 planners registered for HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings(r) Mid-America. The response rate was at 26 percent with most planners from association, corporate and independent sectors.

HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings Mid-America

The fifth annual HSMAI Affordable Meetings Mid-America show will take place April 6- 7, 2005 at Navy Pier in Chicago Attendance to this exceptional educational and networking conference is free-of-charge for qualified meeting planners.

HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings Mid-America offers an exceptional educational component of 25 sessions that presents a broad range of topics such as meeting contracts, on-site management, negotiation skills, budgeting, effective communication, technology, marketing, designing a brochure and more. As an added benefit, attendees receive a complimentary bound book containing handouts from all of the seminars.

In addition to the educational program, attendees will have the opportunity to meet and do business with exhibitors at a confirmed 357 booths during a sold-out trade show encompassing a broad selection of destinations and services at all price points. Exhibitors represent hotels and resorts, university conference centers, unique meeting sites, convention and visitor bureaus, transportation companies, trade publications, software and audio/visual businesses, and other meeting and convention suppliers.

This year, the show welcomes 69 NEW exhibiting companies such as the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, the New York Helmsley, the MGM Grand Hotel, Universal Orlando, Kimpton Hotels, Kennedy Space Center & Visitor Complex, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, the Greater Hartford CVB, Don Shula`s Hotel & Golf Club, Casa De Campo, University of Memphis, Radisson Hotel Branson, Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Arabian Night Dinner Attraction, House of Blues Chicago, Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe Resort, the Fort Worth CVB, Wyndham San Diego at Emerald Plaza and many others.

Of particular note, the Illinois Council of CVBs is taking a creative approach and has designed a `Meet in Illinois` road campaign to highlight all the wonderful meeting destinations throughout the state. Additionally, the Las Vegas section has grown as they are celebrating their Centennial Anniversary.

In an effort to provide meeting planners with all the resources they`ll need to effectively plan all aspects of their events, the exposition at HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings(r) Mid-America will feature booths from Independence Air, Conferon (a meeting management and event services company) and Regency Exposition Services – all new exhibitors – plus the US Scavenger Hunt Company.

In addition to a broad selection of destinations, hotels and services at all price points, the Mid-America trade exposition features a Speaker`s Booth where meeting planners can liaise with industry experts, and the HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings Bookstore, a one-stop shopping source for attendees to find the most up-to-date publications and resource materials focusing on the needs of meeting planners at every level of experience.

Getaway and cash prizes, as well as drawings at many exhibitor booths remain popular attractions.

To allow meeting planners time to peruse all that`s available on the trade show floor, expo hours are 10:30 am – 1 pm on each day. During the exposition, exhibitors and attendees will be provided with a $10 coupon on both days of the show to buy lunch at the food concessions in the exposition hall, compliments of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau and American Express.

Over 1,100 attendees, representing meeting and event planners from a variety of organizations, with a majority representing corporate, association and independent sectors and the balance from government, non-profit, education, religious and medical/health care organizations, trade show management and the military, are expected to visit HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings(r) Mid-America 2005 show.

Other shows for 2005 include: HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings West, June 15 – 16, 2005 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, and HSMAI`s Affordable Meetings(r) National, Sept. 7 – 8, 2005 at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.