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5 Takeaways to Know from PCMA Convening Leaders

Events have played a crucial role in shaping the way the pandemic was experienced around the world. Most companies, professional management associations and industry leaders had to completely re-think their event strategies, knowing they couldn’t host events the way they were familiar with. Many were successful in doing so, while others were not. Although the event industry might never go back to what it used to be, it has also become a new and innovative space—one that challenges event organizers, marketers, and planners to think “outside the box.”  

We can’t think of a better way to improve your event strategy than attending events yourself. On January 8th through the 11th, thousands of business professionals travelled across the country to gather for PCMA Convening Leaders and we were there to discover the latest best practices. This professional conference took place in Columbus and the speakers covered many important topics for both event leaders and participants.  

In this article, we’ll explore the 5 key takeaways from PCMA Convening Leaders.

  1. Pricing Remains a Large Concern For Event Planners

Although inflation has started to decrease, pricing for event services and labor remains at a premium. Many event planners find themselves struggling with their own budget. Should they increase the cost of the event tickets to make up for their services? Or should they eat some of the costs so they can remain competitive?

These were all questions that were addressed at PCMA Convening Leaders 2023. The keynote presenters spoke to new and creative tactics to bring in revenue, as well as strategies to work more efficiently to keep the costs at bay.  

Takeaway Tip: Work with your suppliers as partners and be transparent about budget issues. They may be able to suggest alternative lower-cost options or even help with an efficient process that can keep hours down and reduce overtime costs.  

  1. Turn Your Exhibit Floor into a Networking Neighborhood

The past few PCMA Convening Leaders were always organized with the exhibitor activations in a central location, with the goal of creating one unique hub for the event. PCMA 2023 was very different. While the majority of concurrent sessions were held in a specific area, there were many stages set-up in each corner of the area, creating an ongoing buzz around the room. Attendees, conference leaders, and event planners were able to move around the space knowing that there was always something around the corner. This unique setup turned this professional conference into the ideal place to meet someone new, network or even run into an old colleague.  

Takeaway Tip: If you have a large exhibit space, consider how to make it a central attraction for the event. Make the content stages part of the programming to create consistent energy in the room.  

  1. Lounge Beats Booth

Convening Leaders doesn’t have your traditional show floor. For PCMA, exhibitors specifically plan this professional conference through activation areas that engage attendees. Every exhibitor area on the floor features a lounge-like setup, with tables and chairs for comfortable conversations. This reflects one of the latest event trends in the conference management space, where lounge-style areas create a space that draws in weary show attendees, while providing an opportunity for an unhurried conversation.  

Takeaway Tip: Be more creative with your booths. Move away from the standard counter setup and more towards a welcoming and inviting lounge.

  1. In-Person Events Can Do More  

PCMA 2023 highlighted a key trend for event strategists: in-person events are making their way back into the event industry. After a few years of pausing in-person meetings, researchers and economists at Convening Leaders 2023 related the importance of in-person events to increase engagements. Being at an in-person conference doesn’t just satisfy the human desire of socializing, but it also provides an opportunity for problems to be faced and solved together.  

Takeaway Tip: Explore how you can elevate the value proposition of what in-person can deliver and be sure it is different from your virtual experience.

  1. No One Knows What is Going to Happen

2023 may mark an important year in the professional show management business. We have left uncertain years behind us, but still have an ambiguous landscape ahead of us. From the shift of generations in the workforce, updates of technology infrastructure, to a potential recession, the change we’ve experienced so far is not stopping any time soon. This is true also for the event industry. From highly unpredictable registration patterns, to social issue boycotts, to volatile weather events, there are still many challenges that conference leaders will have to face in the future.    

Takeaway Tip: Your mental wellness is important. Avoid burnout by realizing you can’t control these situations, but you can control your response to them.  

Convening Leaders 2023 is a great opportunity for business professionals to learn relevant industry trends, as well as worldwide circumstances that may be impacting planning for your next event. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned event organizer or a newcomer to this industry, you will always have to evolve your strategy as new learnings come along.  

If you want to learn more about the future of events, schedule a free consultation with 360 Live Media today.

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