Meetings Canada


Convention Industry Council Highlights Meeting Industry Issues

Technology, diversity and reduced meeting space supply were among the issues discussed at the recent Convention Industry Council (CIC) council and board meeting.

The event, which was held November 3-4, brought together the leadership of 33 member organizations and industry partners. Using popular Ted Talk-style presentations, speakers from Brand USA, Social Tables, Smith Travel Research and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), among others, shared their insights into industry issues and trends.

Highlights included:

  • Carroll Rheem, vice-president of Research and Analytics for Brand USA, shared plans for the “Great Outdoors,” a brand campaign focused around U.S. outdoor landmarks that are easily accessible to major cities where meetings are held.
  • Jan Freitag, senior vice-president of Smith Travel Research, shared hotel industry data and trends that point to continuing increases in rates and occupancy in the U.S. as fewer buildings with meeting space are being built, and current occupancy rates are at 66% in the upscale market and 75% in the luxury market.
  • Social Tables reported on the growth of technology for the meetings industry through the use of mobile apps, hybrid meetings and automation. Dan Berger, CEO, said “software is eating the world…and the unconnected population is shrinking.”
  • Susan Robertson, executive vice-president of ASAE Foundation, shared the association’s events accessibility policies so that all individuals needs (visual, mobile, hearing, food sensitivity, nursing mothers, religious practices, etc.) are met
  • Exiting Board Chair Bob Gilbert, president and CEO of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) talked about pursuing a global presence and how to plan and grow on a global scale.
  • Vicki Hawarden, president and CEO of International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) talked about the importance of diversifying membership and the introduction of a new group rate model that has seen success at her organization

“CIC’s role is to be the place where collectively, the latest breakthroughs and challenges from every facet of the industry are brought to the forefront and discussed,” said Karen Kotowski, CIC CEO. “Convening with thought leaders from outside CIC’s membership helps drive important conversations regarding the meetings industry, its issues and the coordination of efforts to ensure quality meeting experiences to all those invested.”

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