Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 26

MEETINGS
MINUTE

Smaller Cities, Big Returns

Tech Smart
Technology is not cheap. And if your
organization is a little behind the times
where tech is concerned, budget
may well be the reason. Building
new functions and overhauling old
ones are expensive undertakings,
and worries about how soon the new
tech will become obsolete are valid.
So where, wonder association execs,
should the smart money go?
Talk to members. Be
discriminating. There are lots of fun
bells and whistles to be had, but
you don't need them all, and most
members won't care - they just want
functionality and ease. Poll them to
find out what they're looking for when
they hit up the site. What do they
26 ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP

a part of your event, and planners
feel that appreciation, building
relationships that last while affording
attendees an experience that's often
unexpected and unique.
Smaller means singular -
and successful. Of course,
big cities have their own distinct
personalities, but so, too, do small
and mid-size towns where - quite
frankly - cosmopolitan culture has
been steadily migrating because they
are havens for growth! The artists,
artisans and businesses fighting for
affordable spaces have been heading
to smaller cities in droves - upping
the culture antes of these towns while
enjoying affordable overhead and
residents that are delighted to have
them. And business follows business.
Smaller cities are where opportunity
beckons, so where better to find
a destination that aligns with your
organization's goals?

meeting bang for your buck all across
the board. Not to mention wide-open
spaces. We're not talking Great
Plains here, we mean meeting space.
Why elbow folks out of your way in
places like Las Vegas when there's a
plethora of meeting space available
for bookings in less competitive, less
crowded markets where you'll have far
more power at the negotiating table,
because your business matters.
Feeling wanted. Don't you
want to feel wanted? If your event
falls short of big-city numbers in
a place like Miami, you can be a
bigger fish in an alternative like
Jacksonville! Jacksonville (particularly
in summertime) has its own version
of glittering Atlantic shoreline - not
to mention urban redevelopment,
an expanding culinary scene and
beautiful green spaces - along with
a unique brand of Floridian southern
hospitality. Smaller cities want to be

like? What do they avoid? Collect
this information before you make any
changes.
Stick with the proven.
Developers make cool things,
that's undeniable. But don't be
seduced by the latest and greatest.
Instead, go with up-to-date tools
that aren't so new they've not been
properly vetted by the masses. Find
colleagues at other associations
whose organizations have recently
undergone upgrades. Ask what they
love and what they'd do differently
and navigate their site - especially
any e-commerce functions! - to see if
you find the process clean, clear
and easy.
It's not members-only. While
member experience should always
be top-of-mind, don't forget about
the back of the house. That means

©ISTOCK.COM/SCYTHER5

Big airports. Big arenas. Big hotels.
Big convention centers. Big cost.
Bigger (excepting what they say
about Texas!) may not always
be better.
So while attendees might be
wowed at the idea of New York,
Chicago or San Francisco - and
surely these cities do have their
charms - in the case of meetings,
it's results that counts. Were
members engaged? Did they make
connections? Did they learn?
Moreover, did they leave feeling as
though the event had real value?
Smaller cities, those we'd place in
Tier 2 or 3, can be just as, if not more,
effective in helping you check all the
boxes while affording planners a host
of benefits - including affordability!
It's the economy, planner!
Let's start there. Smaller cities are,
in the vast majority of cases, more
affordable, which means more

the site - and everything that makes
it tick behind the digital curtain -
needs to be just as user-friendly for
the staff. Make all the functions (put
an emphasis on content creation!) as
intuitive as possible to ensure rapid
and successful dissemination to
membership. The easier the system,
the sharper the learning curve,
keeping training - and cost - at
a minimum!



Association Leadership - May/June 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Association Leadership - May/June 2018

Homepage
60-Second Solutions
Ask a Hotelier
Tech Talks Recap
What Every Association Professional Needs to Know About Advocacy
Are There Blind Spots in Your Sexual Harassment Policies?
Email Phishing in the New Wild West
Identifying Email Risks to Your Association
Harness the Power of Your Publication
Meetings Minute
Destination Planner
New Members
Index to Advertisers
Backpack to Briefcase
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Intro
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover1
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover2
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 3
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 4
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 5
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 6
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Homepage
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 60-Second Solutions
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 9
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Ask a Hotelier
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 11
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Tech Talks Recap
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 13
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - What Every Association Professional Needs to Know About Advocacy
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 15
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 16
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 17
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 18
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 19
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Are There Blind Spots in Your Sexual Harassment Policies?
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 21
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Identifying Email Risks to Your Association
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 23
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Harness the Power of Your Publication
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 25
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Meetings Minute
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Destination Planner
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - New Members
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Index to Advertisers
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Backpack to Briefcase
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover3
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover4
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