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December 12, 2008

Cost Saving Tips

Big shout-out to great sponsor Urban Pace. Don’t miss the Vista Townhomes grand opening this weekend, located only two blocks from Courthouse Metro. See ad to the right for more details.


At least one group didn’t cancel its holiday party this year. We dropped by the Ritz Carlton Washington along with 400 other guests yesterday afternoon for the Washington area Convention and Visitors Bureau Representatives’ “DESTINATIONOPOLY,” and found out how associations are cutting costs so they can keep holding conventions in a bad economy.


Aside from the classy décor and numerous open bars to help CVBs and Associations mingle, we found out another purpose for yesterday’s event. The 64 CVB satellite offices in DC that make up the CVB Reps announced they are going official by forming a non-profit 501(c)(3) effective Jan. 1, and launching a new Web site in ’09; you can take a sneak peak here.


CVB Reps co-chair and Lee County CVB’s Liz Dane, the Office Furniture Dealers Alliance’s Stephen Peeler, and Positively Cleveland CVB’s Betsy Bush. Liz says yesterday’s holiday party was the CVB Reps’ “signature event,” so canceling it was never an option. She says, “At a time when things are so tentative, it’s more important than ever to remind our customers that we’re here and to be thankful for their business.”


National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions’ Bea Lewis, the San Diego Convention Center’s Kathleen Callender, Tampa Bay & Company’s Suz Cavanaugh, and New Orleans CVB’s Yves Rougelot Clark. Bea says NACHRI is starting to get concerned about its March conference in Nashville as speakers are dropping out of some panel discussions due to cut backs in travel budgets. She says with fewer pre-paid hospital attendees than last year, she’s anticipating lower attendance but doing targeted online marketing to keep numbers up. Bea recommends, “crafted, targeted messages to emphasize the value of specific sessions.” (We recommend discount travel websites!)


Airport Consultants Council’s Sharon Brown, the Food Marketing Institute’s Elizabeth Newton, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association’s Will Trokey and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Joyce DePass. Elizabeth says FMI saved money in their meeting budget by laying off six support staff at year end (herself included), and cutting back its meeting schedule from about 12 to 10 next year by combining similar meetings.


The Greater Hartford CVB’s Michael Van Parys, NYC & Company’s Helen Clemens, Experient’s Angela Rios and Hartford CVB’s Karen Staples. Helen says staying at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge can give associations a more affordable option than staying in Manhattan, and she says having your meeting in NYC has a big appeal to members and helps boost attendance.


The National Education Association’s Frances Coble and Nina Price. Nina says NEA meetings haven’t dropped off and special issue-based meetings for public school educators actually increased in December. She says, however, that internal meetings have seen a cut in catering and they are talking about saving money next year by offering more video conferences, Web casts and regional meetings that attendees can drive to.


ConferenceDirect’s Fred Mitzner, the Society for Neuroscience’s deputy executive director Bob Doucette, and Advantage Boston’s Mary Ellen Migre. Bob says SFN had record attendance (around 32,000!) at its November convention in DC. What helped to bring out members? “To see the latest research,” he says.

Association Editor Abraham Mahshie has a big box of glossy business cards and he’s hoping to give them all away by the end of the year. Invite him to your next event by emailing: Abraham@bisnow.com.

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