Where do the meeting planners go to meet?
Where do the meeting planners go to meet?
09 MARCH 2018 9:17 AM

A recent study by STR shows trends in conference attendance by meeting planners.

HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee—When meeting planners are not planning meetings, they attend meetings planned by others. This is reminiscent of the old adage about a busmen’s holiday or, in more contemporary terms, it is like a hotel owner who stays in a hotel on vacation or a chef who eats at a restaurant on her night off.

According to STR’s recent study of meeting planners (DestinationMAP), almost two-thirds of all meeting planners attended at least one conference in the past 12 months. Conference attendance increased to three-fourths among meeting planners who plan large (1,000-plus attendees) events and those who plan frequent meetings (seven or more per year). (STR is parent company of Hotel News Now.)

It is important for hotels and destination marketing organizations to understand which conferences and trade shows might be more suitable for their sales teams. This knowledge can help hotel group sales teams, convention and visitor bureaus, and DMOs identify the conferences most likely to have their client base in attendance.

What meetings do meeting planners attend?
IMEX America tops the list of conferences attended by meeting planners, followed closely by MPI, ASAE Expo and PCMA, the study shows. Connect (Collinson), Cvent Connect and IBTM round out the list of the top seven conferences. IMEX America and Cvent Connect take place annually in Las Vegas, while the other conferences rotate around the country.

The conference names represent a hearty bowl of alphabet soup. A description of each acronym is presented below along with the location of the most recent and upcoming conferences:

What conferences or trade shows have you attended in the past year?

These conferences are important to meetings planners, and to hoteliers and destination marketers who use these conferences as opportunities to capture business from planners. Additional findings from STR’s meeting planner study show that four in 10 meeting planners visited a destination’s trade show booth in the past two years.

Who attends these meetings?
Each conference attracts a slightly different mix of meeting planner types, as evidenced by the chart below. IMEX and MPI are more likely to attract Corporate and third-party planners. The third-party planner group includes planners employed by meeting planning firms, association management companies and self- employed planners. ASAE Expo draws more planners employed by corporations, followed by associations. PCMA draws about equal proportions of corporate and association planners while Connect, Cvent Connect and IBTM America lean toward corporate planners.

Additional information about the type of meeting planner who attend conferences, the meetings they plan and information on the top meetings markets considered and used by the meeting planners who attend conferences will be available in April.

Source: DestinationMAP (Meeting Planner Assessment) is a comprehensive study of meeting planners and the meetings market in North America. The report provides a detailed description of over 800 meeting planners’ preferences and their perceptions of 40 North American markets. DestinationMAP is in its 16th edition, which allows for trend analysis of the issues most important to meeting planners in site selection. Contact: survey@str.com for additional information.

This article represents an interpretation of data collected by STR, parent company of HNN. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.

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