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There certainly has been a lot of press about the GSA 2010 meeting in Las Vegas. This is singled out because it deals with government spending and our tax dollars. Clearly there are events held that are over the top. Yes, there were many missteps, such as clowns, expensive and what seems to me useless gifts, too many people on too many site visits. I don’t know if the cost that we are reading about includes transportation. I also wonder if Government per Diem rates were used. Lastly, and this is very important, were each of these seemingly over the top expenses used to meet certain learning objectives? If so, did the GSA planners and the contracted planners consider less costly alternatives?

The GSA established a budget and outsourced to a meeting planning company that is on the GSA Schedule. That company probably stayed within the budget that they were given.

I have some major concerns, the biggest one of all is that this debacle gives everyone else in the meetings and events industry a bad name, just what the AIG Affect did 4 years ago, and Muffingate less than a year ago.

There are events , probably 1%, that could be considered to be over the top and most are probably justified. But let’s think of the other 99% of meetings and events, including those surrounding incentives.

Most budgets are carefully planned and responsible, with good content, using the best way to deliver the message and thus a budget that is appropriate.
Think about the real cost to a company when its sales team isn’t motivated or feeling rewarded. What if the Product Manager couldn’t’ relay his product information for a product roll out?

Webcasting and Hybrid Meetings are gaining recognition as an important part of the overall picture and is going to increase in popularity to help the bottom line, but we can NEVER stop having face to face meetings, whether stand alone or part of a Hybrid Meeting.

Let’s not put more events and meeting planning companies out of business.
Meetings, Events and Incentives are vital to the attendees, the company or association planning them and the economy in general. Think of all the people that service an event directly or indirectly. Everyone is affected from the event producer, the stagehands, the chefs, the waiters, the set up crews, the speakers, the taxi drivers, the airlines, the local merchants, local restaurants, the local farmers (we are buying locally grown food, aren’t we?).

Clearly we need to show corporate America and our Government not only the value of meetings and events, but also the value of Professional Planners, Managers and Producers.
Our Professional Associations publish reports showing this, but they need your help to get the results out beyond our walls. Following are two links, the first is a link from an MPI study. Read and then forward to your non-industry friends and media. The second is a PDF file summary of a study from USTA showing the value of meetings.

MPI Business Value of Meetings

USTA Study Findings At-a-Glance

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shawna Suckow, CMP April 20, 2012, 10:24 am

    Hi Pat,
    VERY well said! I’d love to reprint this on the SPIN blog, with your permission.

    • Pat Ahaesy April 20, 2012, 12:07 pm


      Yes! Please reprint on the SPIN Blog. The more people that read the message the better. Thank you.