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MPI Releases FutureWatch 2010 Study

News Briefs

Rapid City

MPI Releases FutureWatch 2010 Study

Meeting Professionals International (MPI), in partnership with American Express, recently released a summary of its annual FutureWatch survey, revealing trends that will affect the meeting and events industry in 2010. Respondents agreed that industry conditions will begin to improve in the second half of the year or in 2011, with 41% of suppliers and 28% of planners predicting gradual industry growth in 2010. Meeting and event planners anticipate a 2.8% increase in meetings held and a 4.5% increase in attendance over the next year. Spend per meeting and overall budgets will be the slowest to rebound. Other key trends include:

  • Meetings located closer to home; fewer participants will travel long distances to get onsite.
  • Performance that organizations receive from the meetings they host will continue to be a major focus for planners.
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) will be of continuing interest for meetings and events professionals’ organizations, and a potential differentiator for companies and associations that can demonstrate a strong, sustainable commitment to effective CSR programs.
  • U.S.-based planners are expected to plan 21% more meetings while spending 3.5% less per meeting.
  • U.S. planners expect to locate 80% of their meetings within the U.S. in 2010, compared to 61%.

The full FutureWatch 2010 report will be released at this year’s MeetDifferent Conference in Cancun, February 20-23. For more information, go to

Wilmington & Brandywine Valley

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Industry Campaign Advocates ‘Face Time’

A grassroots industry campaign called “FACE TIME. It Matters.” promotes the benefits of meeting face-to-face. Nine leading industry trade associations have adopted the campaign theme that was developed under the aegis of the Convention Industry Council (CIC). It is based on the findings of a recent national survey of corporate and association meeting planners, plus in-depth personal interviews with the industry’s leading executives, as well as focus groups consisting of corporate and association executives, business travelers and professional meeting planners. According to the research:

  • Face-to-face meetings build trust and relationships
  • Education and training are more effective in a live setting
  • Live meetings actually save time and money
  • Live meetings result in a more effective exchange of ideas
  • Face-to-face meetings provide the human connection that powers business
  • Face-to-face meetings create jobs and power the economy.

“We’re very excited about the launch of this grass roots campaign,” says Gregg Talley, Chief Strategy Officer for the CIC. “The Convention Industry Council and its members will utilize the message to promote the irreplaceable benefits of human interaction and relationship building that may only be realized only through face-to-face meetings.” Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, adds that “The FACE TIME campaign will bring home the critical ‘human side’ of the meetings value equation. When combined with our ‘Meetings Mean Business’ effort and Oxford Economics compelling findings on the positive financial return from meetings, it becomes crystal clear how important meetings are to talent growth, business development and the economic vitality of our communities.” For more information, go to

Springfield First

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Small Markets Still Court SMERF Meetings

A recent article in Tradeshow Week magazine notes that SMERF events are not taken lightly by smaller, “non-Tier I” cities. In many destinations, even before the recent recession, they could be counted on to fill dates when needed and presented little to no danger of being canceled at the last minute, notes writer Gary Tufel. But the recession has created obstacles the likes of which haven’t been seen in some time. With the recent spate of cancellations, downsizing and postponements, can cities still count on SMERF events to make up for lost business? “With a few exceptions in scattered markets, the answer seems to be yes,” he says. Tufel looks at the state of things in cities like Charlotte, NC, Albany, NY, Laughlin, NV, Birmingham, AL and even Phoenix, AZ – certainly not what most people would consider a second-tier market. Read the entire article at

Corpus Christi

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PCMA Honors Texas Roadhouse CEO G.J. Hart

In recognition of his encouraging voice during a difficult time for the meetings industry, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) selected G.J. Hart, Texas Roadhouse Director, President and CEO, to receive the 2009 PCMA Chairman’s Award at the organization’s recent Annual Meeting in Dallas. In 2009, the travel and meetings industry was hit hard by the “AIG Effect,” after the insurance company received public bailout money and continued to hold high-end incentive programs. When most companies were canceling conferences and trimming meetings expenditures, Hart was championing the value of meetings and supporting the use of incentive travel programs as cost-effective and important business investments. Texas Roadhouse hosted a multi-million dollar week of meetings in San Francisco. For five days, 1,000 managing partners and their spouses gathered at the Fairmont and Ritz Carlton for an all expense paid reward and recognition program. During the conference, Hart appeared on CNBC in an iconic interview focusing on the value of meetings during difficult times. “The PCMA Chairman’s Award is the highest honor PCMA bestows each year to someone who has been important to the industry,” noted 2009 PCMA Chairman, John Folks at the award ceremony. “G.J. proved an important voice and advocate for the value of meetings at a crucial time and deserves to be recognized for his bravery and eloquence in the face of an anti-meetings media firestorm.”

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Insights From SMERF e-News

It’s Time Everyone Discovers What We Already Know…

A full-court press by those in the meeting and incentive industries seeking to combat numerous media stories about questionable spending on such activities by bailout recipients is having a dramatic and positive effect. Travel industry leaders have met with President Obama to discuss the unique role that travel can play in strengthening the American economy. The meeting focused on the urgent need to pass the Travel Promotion Act, which would establish the first-ever U.S. promotion and communications campaign to attract millions of additional international visitors to the United States annually and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. This followed on the heels of an industry meeting where guidelines ( were drafted that are designed to ensure transparency and accountability, as well as protect the one million American jobs supported by corporate meetings and events. While the metrics outlined in the guidelines are intended for the recipients of emergency government lending, other organizations may want to consider implementing the policy. We tip our hat to all the people who have taken the time to invest in this important effort – let’s continue to make sure our voices are heard!

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Advertise here!

In the Current Issue of SMERF Meetings Journal

Midwest Destinations Ideal for SMERF Meetings

Thanks to their affordability and superior product mix, a number of Midwestern destinations have actually maintained pre-recession visitor numbers, and some have even increased their market share. Indianapolis, for instance, saw a 5% increase in overall tourism from 2007 to 2008, and the city is slated to see similar growth in 2009. And like Indianapolis, a number of Midwestern destinations offer convenience, affordability and a memorable meeting experience. Read More >

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Historic Theaters Help Planners Stage Memorable Events

Historic theaters have souls – a sense of history and humanity that just can’t be matched by a new building, says Molly Fortune, Director of Restoration at Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater. And that’s why they’re particularly suited for SMERF meetings and events. “When a SMERF group gathers, they gather to be with each other, and a place with a soul fosters this type of emotional response,” Fortune says. “Historic theaters evoke emotion – everyone has had an experience with the arts in some fashion, and we each bring those memories to the conversation. People talk about the building in which those memories happened. The SMERF groups bring to the table emotional connections that are strengthened by a place that also evokes these emotional bonds.” Read More >

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News From Selling Communications Inc.

Whitepaper Connects Engagement with Economic Recovery

One of the greatest opportunities to increase corporate profits – and subsequently boost the economy – lies in motivating workforces to improve performance, drive greater customer engagement and ultimately increase revenue, according to a new report from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI). The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is a coalition of companies and associations dedicated to promoting the importance of engagement, founded  last year by the Human Capital Institute, Peppers & Rogers Group, 1to1® Media and Selling Communications, Inc.

Entitled The Economics of Engagement, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of research in the field of Enterprise Engagement and offers how-to information on benchmarking tools that can quantitatively measure the benefits of employee and customer engagement. These measurement tools are critical to demonstrate the bottom-line impact of enterprise engagement, both to corporations and to the economy as a whole, using financial language that senior executives, investors and economists are accustomed to. Get a copy of the report >>

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Connect Your Marketing to Transactions

Does your organization have a transactional website to handle bulk sales of merchandise to qualified buyers or points programs for incentive companies? The incentive industry is one of the few areas of business that doesn't have a true transactional model to support its end-users and incentive companies. The Corporate Rewards Exchange is a cooperative effort of leading brands, incentive fulfillment firms and incentive companies to build a new distribution channel for sale of gifts to corporations, incentive companies and marketing services firms. The CRE enables brands to tap into a large ad hoc market for bulk gifts and rewards in a way they can carefully control, providing a powerful means for incentive companies to more effectively use their products in reward programs via a highly automated billing, redemption, tracking and customer service system. It's designed to support all of the current players in the incentive marketplace by providing a more efficient means of offering rewards to end-users and incentive companies, at a very low cost. For more information, please contact us for a demo.

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About Selling Communications Inc.

Selling Communications, Inc. is a fully integrated, target marketing, media and technology agency that improves results for clients by focusing on the people who matter most. We can help your business grow and save you money by targeting key prospects, getting their permission and strategically integrating your marketing and sales communications with the specific audiences most likely to affect your business performance.

Take advantage of these SCI services to improve your business development:

  • Results Marketing Agency Solutions: Identify and get permission to communicate with the people who matter most through an integrated program rooted in permission-driven databases, direct mail, e-mail, Web sites, brochures, newsletters, public relations and sophisticated telephone sales that produce results. Go beyond the traditional sales and marketing approach by providing useful information and resources to build better, more measurable relationships.

  • Target media: Build your brand and bring it directly to your power buyers through our stable of established niche print and online magazines in the sales, marketing and meetings fields (including this newsletter).

  • Integrated Communications Technology: Build permission-based databases through Solata software to effectively communicate with the people who want to hear from you and precisely track the results in real time. Solata is also available to other media companies and marketing agencies seeking to profit from integrated, permission-based marketing and communications.

For more information on Selling Communications, its products and services, contact Jim Kilmetis at 914-591-7600, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to

Tapping new customers, and keeping those you already have, costs less than you'd imagine...

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