Meeting News - September 22, 2008 - (Page 40)

MN Webcast Report The Generation Puzzle: How to Appeal to Multi-Age Groups hich generation is planning the meeting? asked MeetingNews editor-in-chief Terri Hardin, in her leadoff presentation for the MN Webcast “Learning the Mindset of Different Generations When Marketing Your Next Meeting.” It is a question not often posed when discussing the ins and outs of coordinating a multi-generational meeting, and Hardin explained that planners from each generation have a particular “blind spot.” Baby boomers embrace technology but also remember a world without it, so they tend to pay more attention to planning the physical elements of a meeting. Hardin recommended inviting a member of Generation X or Y to discuss how to maximize technology at a meeting. Conversely, Gen X and Y planners are well connected technologically but can struggle with people skills. “Sometimes they could use a little polish when it comes to etiquette,” said Hardin, adding that W when people spend a great deal of time in front of a computer, it’s easy to be unaware of what their body language is saying. For planners from the echo boom generation, their blind spot is that many of them view meeting and event planning as part of a job, not a career unto itself, so they could benefit from industry education. According to recent MN research, 41 percent of respondents from this age group did not see a future in meeting planning. The echo boomers, noted panelist Phil Goodman, president and CEO of marketing research firm Genergraphics, are the first globally connected generation in human history. They are individualists, inventive, happy to rewrite the rules, celebrate diversity, and— unlike their older Gen X counterparts—group-oriented. Planners may think that younger generations are similar in their habits and interests. So,“don’t try to have one shoe fit all,” explained Goodman. One element that can cut across generations is a light dusting of humor, said panelist Stephen Lowe, director of sales for Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe. Lowe noted that his properties have had luck with marketing campaigns that incorporate elements that multiple generations will be familiar with, such as the Beatles. Consider where your attendees will be getting their information about your event, added Bonnie Wallsh, chief strategist with Bonnie Wallsh Associates LLC. That said, just because your attendees are big on text messaging, it doesn’t necessarily make it the best method for imparting information about a formal event—but a corporate blog or website may be ideal. The next Webcast Report will cover more from the “Learning the Mindset” webcast, including details on how to structure an agenda that appeals to multiple generations. r —Kinley Levack major hurricanes so far this season. In the Bahamas, Ike caused structural damage on the southernmost island of Inagua but spared major tourist destinations, such as Grand Bahama Island and New Providence Island (Nassau). Premier Michael Misick of the Turks and Caicos said in a statement that Ike made an almost-direct hit on the Grand Turk island, damaging 80 percent of homes, a week after Hurricane Hanna battered the islands. There were no reports of deaths or injuries. The 111-room Sands at Grace Bay has already reopened and was not significantly damaged. The Cruise Center on Grand Turk was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike, but the cruise-ship pier was up and running. For now, residents of the Gulf Coast are watching and waiting as the rest of hurricane season progresses through the end of November. In 2007, New Orleans hosted 7.1 million visitors who spent $4.8 billion, a 92-percent increase over the number of visitors in 2006 and not far from the pre-Katrina norm of 8.5 million visitors, according to the CVB. This fall, New Orleans will host prominent citywide conventions such as the 25,000-person American Heart Association Scientific Sessions and the 12,000person Starbucks Corp. Leadership Conference. In January, the city will host the annual conference of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). r Contact Corrie Dosh at Hurricane season continued from cover Coast residents are still holding their breath as more storms form in the seasonally warm waters of the Atlantic. “While Hurricane Gustav is still fresh on the minds of coastal residents, we must now turn our attention to Hurricane Ike as it poses a threat to the Texas coast,” said Texas governor Rick Perry. The storm was aiming for Galveston, Hurricane Ike barrels across the Gulf on Sept. 12. TX, at press time, but forecasters had warned that the unpredictable hurricane could hit anywhere from Louisiana to Mexico. Up to 1,350 buses were readied to support evacuations in Texas, and up to 7,500 guardsmen were on standby for rapid deployment to maintain order. Up to 1 million residents were in harm’s way, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, who predicted landfall on Sept. 13. Hurricane Ike ravaged the Carribean, hitting the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos as a Category 4 storm before ravaging Cuba with heavy winds and flooding. Haiti reported 71 deaths from Ike, following floods triggered by Tropical Storm Hanna that killed 500 a week prior. Major convention and meeting destinations such as Puerto Rico have been spared from gency plan established after Hurricane Katrina,” said Kelly Schulz, VP of communications and public relations. A week after the storm hit, hotels, restaurants, and venues were all operating normally. The storm season is not over yet, though, and Gulf 40 MeetingNews September 22, 2008 Photo: Aossociated Press

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - September 22, 2008

Meeting News - September 22, 2008
What’s Up @
Inside the Meetings Industry
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
Convention Centers
Green Beat
Destination Insider
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - September 22, 2008