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July 8, 2015

PCMA: The Line Item You Need To Add To Your Meeting Planning Budget

By David McMillin

You’ve looked at the budget for your meeting countless times. From F&B costs to room fees to equipment rentals to signage and staffing, you know the list of projected expenses all too well. However, you may be missing one surprising line item that can make a big difference in your meeting’s success.

“Budget for attending a competitor’s meeting,” John Folks, President, Minding Your Business, told an audience at the 2015 PCMA Education Conference in Fort Lauderdale. “By talking to some people who are there, you’ll get some really interesting insights about what’s motivating them to attend.”

For many meeting planners, the thought of taking three or four days to participate in another meeting might sound like more trouble than it’s worth. Can’t you just look at the program online and check out the social media buzz to get a feel for what the experience offers? While that might provide a glimpse into a competitor’s value proposition, it won’t be enough.

“As attendee dollars and time get constricted, you want to make sure they are choosing your conference,” Folks said when I caught up with him after the educational session. “You can’t do that unless you know why they’re going elsewhere and for what.”


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