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May 21, 2014

PCMA at IMEX: What You Can Learn from Taking Risks

PCMA's annual Convening Leaders conference bills itself as the "event that dares to fail." Learning occurs through failure, and the conference has taken some risks and leaps of faith in past years to get new ideas off the ground. At IMEX FrankfurtMichelle Crowley--the Director of Global Development at PCMA--spoke with IMR's James Latham about PCMA's upcoming educational conference in Toronto next month, and about what they’re going to teach people in terms of risk.

"PCMA’s model is to try new things so our members can see it in action and determine what would work for their own conference," Crowley said. "We take the risk so they don’t have to. In Toronto, in June, we’re going to do a traditional day of programming where we have a general session, and then you have some break-outs and a luncheon and a networking break. But then, the following day...we’re going to blow it up; we’re going to try something completely different." 

The plan, she continued, is to take one giant room and have a number of different learning opportunities within the same space, Crowley continued. "People are really trying to understand the way they learn, the way they want to engage with content. Different topics tie to better types of format structure, so that’s what we’re trying here-to see if it works, and if our members enjoy it."

If the experiment proves successful, Crowley thinks PCMA may apply the idea to next January's Convening Leaders. "We use our education conference as a kind of testing center," she said. "It’s a smaller conference, so it allows for us to test some different groups and different types of people.’

The education conference is open to anyone in the industry, and planners can go to PCMA.org to get more information. "We also have a hybrid component, so if you’re unable to attend in person, you’ll be able to experience it virtually," Crowley added. PCMA is trying different funding models for different programs within the hybrid element. "With hybrid, it’s all about, 'how can you make this into a revenue stream?'…so at PCMA, we’ve tried different ways of having sponsored content or having people pay to attend the conference. Our hybrid at our education conference is complimentary."

At IMEX, an estimated 3,500 exhibitors (including tourist boards, convention bureaus, international hotel chains, airlines and destination management companies) have set up at the Messe Frankfurt to do business with 9,000 visitors (including almost 4,000 hosted buyers) over an intense three days. IMEX Frankfurt will run through May 22. Keep an eye on InternationalMeetingsReview.com for updates from the show floor.

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox

About the Author: James Latham

James Latham





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