Miami Rhapsody

PCMA MIXES HUMOR AND HOT ISSUES

Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra opened the event with an enjoyable keynote on releasing your “inner conductor,” and humor columnist Dave Barry inspired lots of yucks in a closing session called Gender Bender. In between, the Professional Convention Management Association packed a whole lot of meeting into its annual convention, January 11 to 15, in Miami Beach, Fla. The event drew 3,003 official registrants, including 937 meeting planners.

The event featured standing-room-only sessions on attrition — the “issue that just keeps on ticking,” as one seminar participant joked. How to compete with for-profits, housing international attendees, and the pros and cons of outsourcing were other popular seminars, as were the technology solutions sessions — a new feature offering demos of housing, registration, and meeting management software.

PCMA announced several new initiatives at the meeting:

  • PCMA's Learning Center will open this fall at the group's new Chicago headquarters. The 3,500-square-foot “state of the art” learning environment may be used for CMP study courses or a series of one-day seminars.

  • PCMA has provided seed money for the development of a meeting technology “solutions” database, to be offered initially through the PCMA Web site (www.pcma.org). According to E. J. Siwek, CMP, founder of Flashpoint Technologies, the searchable database, which Flashpoint hopes to roll out by the end of the first quarter of 2001, will provide regularly updated information on 400 products and 200 companies. Access to the site will be free to PCMA members and will cost others a transaction fee, according to Siwek.