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Why Association Management Should Be Optimistic About The Future Of Meetings

With swarms of baby boomers exiting the workforce and digitally addicted millennials taking their place, many association management and meeting planners fear the shift will cause the number of face-to-face business events to drop. Fortunately, two new surveys featured in an article on the Associations Now website offer hope for a bright future.
association-management-meeting-technology	|	Photo Courtesy of	Depositphotos	http://depositphotos.com/6429281/stock-photo-Businessman-and-colleagues-on-background-at-office.html?sqc=155&sqm=14620&sq=1poqbhWith swarms of baby boomers exiting the workforce and digitally addicted millennials taking their place, many association management and meeting planners around the nation fear the shift will cause the number of face-to-face business events to take a huge hit. After all, the number of these younger workers — who tend to favor online interactions — will become the biggest chunk of the workforce in the next two years. Will they pay to attend meetings, events and conferences? Maybe not. And with travel costs increasing and cuts to travel budgets taking effect, it seems as though the future for the industry is destined to shrink. Fortunately for these industry workers, two new reports show there’s no reason for them to fear. “IMEX America’s Index of Optimism” and “Generational Differences in Face-to-Face Interaction Preferences and Activities” both show that face-to-face meetings are valuable to the younger generation. Samantha Whitehorne, the deputy editor of Associations Now, recently wrote about the findings in an article on the company’s website. The IMEX survey, she says, shows that “budgets and the number of meetings and events planned for the remainder of this year and the first quarter of 2014 are expected to grow.” The generational differences’ survey “shows that face-to-face interactions at exhibitions are highly valued by all generations, including younger professionals, and that their top-five reasons for attending are the same.” The reports are proof that there’s no substitute for face-to-face meetings. They’re still important, and as the reports show, there’s no decline in the number of meetings and events being held. Of course, costs are always a big consideration. From a technology standpoint, organizations need to use an association management solution that doesn’t charge the group for each registration. Many Platform Solutions do, and with big events, that can quickly add up. Other experts in the article agree that face-to-face meetings will continue. “Business fundamentals in North America are strong, and gradually getting stronger,” says IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom, adding that “the overall trend is upwards, albeit gently.” The Associations Now article says that more than half of respondents expect the number of meetings to increase. More than 8 percent say they expect “significant increases” in these figures. Source: Associations Now, May 2013
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