It’s been called the “AIG Effect” but no question it’s bled further than the insurance and finance industries. Any corporation, association, government agency, non-profit, any entity who has any type of public stakeholder suffers from the backlash of public scrutiny when choosing a location for their conference.
Upon first glance, as a tax payer, or shareholder of a large corporation, one would expect the top decision makers to be good custodians of our money. But being a responsible spender does not have to be mutually exclusive with choosing destinations that might be interchangeable for leisure travelers.
Cities like Las Vegas, Orlando, and the state of Hawaii are the ones suffering from this unjustified blacklisting of sorts. While it is a sure bet that vacation goers might choose the same locations for their rendezvous, all three of these destinations are serious business spots all the same. In fact, they represent some of the finest conference hotels in the entire country. And for the last few years, they have also simultaneously represented some of the finest conference values in the land.
This bears repeating – it costs more money to hold conference in places that have less of a perception issue than these. And right now, it’s a lot harder to find space. Sure, there’s fun – there’s even sin around. But these things can be found in any destination; they’re just a bit more prevalent in others. That doesn’t discount the notion that the end user will save money for being there, perhaps have higher attendance, and quell the horrendous buzz out there that “meetings are bad”.
Who stands to suffer from this unjustified blacklisting? How about the communities that surround these areas? How about their local economies? And how about the employees of the large, convention casino hotels on the strip, or the stunning resort hotels of south Florida and Hawaii? It’s simply not fair to pull meetings from this area for fear of the Washington Post test.
To all courageous meeting planners – take your meetings where they’re wanted more than ever. Take advantage of rates and offerings never before heard of. Defend the true notion that meetings are not only necessary but that they’re good and that they’re good no matter where they are held.