Given it’s a new decade, in addition to a new year, it’s time we looked in the mirror and gave ourselves a stiff talking-to. Feel free to agree, disagree, argue or add to my Top 5 industry resolutions…
1. Balance your chequebook – After reviewing the results of our M&IT Annual Market Report Survey (to be published in our Jan/Feb 2010 issue), there is no question measuring the ROI (return on investment) of events is still in the dark ages. The top-two metrics used to measure an event’s success are ‘attendance numbers’ and ‘attendee satisfaction surveys.’ While ‘smile sheets’ will always be important, there is no correlation to the financial impact, gain, or business done at the 673,000-plus meetings held annually in Canada (Source: MPIFC Canadian Economic Impact Study) If we’re going to evolve as a professional industry, then we need to develop and use a common yardstick to measure the events we plan.
2. Take the dog for a walk – Our industry depends on people getting out from behind their computer and leaving the office/home. If we aren’t prepared to attend industry events (for example, IncentiveWorks), then what kind of example are we setting for our clients and attendees? Events for the meetings industry should be some of the largest in the world. We need to be leading the pack (pardon the dog pun) in strong, face-to-face events.
3. Be a good Boy Scout / Girl Guide – Having been raised through Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, we were always taught to leave a campsite the way we found it…or better. The recession has overshadowed the need for our industry to improve its green practices during the past 18 months. As we come out of this recession, we must be aware that our industry is exposed to public criticism regarding our massive carbon footprint. In Canada alone, there are over 70-million participants annually at meetings (Source: MPIFC Canadian Economic Impact Study) . We need to establish best practices, which are affordable, to offset what could be another major attack on our industry.
4. Go Back to School – Admittedly, this may be a perennial resolution of mine. Our industry has far too many accreditation programmes; I can name at least 12 off the top of my head. If you were going to build a bridge, you hire an engineer. You would not want to learn that there are 12 different accreditations of engineers, right? You would want to know your bridge is being built to the highest standard of the entire industry. Meeting planning is no different. Until we, as an industry – at least in North America – can agree and adopt one accreditation for meeting planning, we will continue to be misunderstood and underappreciated.
5. Get Organized
– Just after Christmas, I had the pleasure of flying to the U.S., target of the failed ‘underwear bomber attack’. Being an advocate of the travel industry, I try to find the positive in any dark cloud. But the reality is, non-domestic air travel today is not a pleasant experience. Our industry needs to support whatever technology is required (i.e. body scanners
) that makes air travel as simple, easy and safe as getting in your car and driving to the corner store. If we don’t get organized and figure out airport security, then the ‘travel’ side of our industry could cripple thousands of annual meetings.