Meeting News - November 10, 2008 - (Page 36)

MN Webcast Report Shrinking the Generational Glut: Agenda & Site Selection Help n the last Webcast Report (Sept. 22 MN, p. 40), we reviewed planning tips presented in the recent MN Webcast “Learning the Mindset of Different Generations When Marketing Your Next Meeting.” Now, we’ll look more at site selection and agenda details that appeal to a multigenerational attendee base. For panelist Bonnie Wallsh, chief strategist with Bonnie Wallsh Associates LLC, Charlotte, NC, goals and objectives should be the first thing to consider before generation-specific details. Then, look at the demographics and the profiles of the generations that will be attending, she said. And, Wallsh said, remember that “with younger generations you’ll have less of a differential between male and female,” whereas older attendees can have more traditional gender roles. Terri Hardin, MN’s editor-in-chief, recommended paying attention to trends that can provide a common ground between attendees of I different generations, such as the trend toward green meetings and activities. Phil Goodman, president and CEO of Genergraphics, a San Marcos, CA-based generational marketing consultant, suggested putting people from the right generation(s) on a planning committee so they have a hand in determining the specifics of the event. This is a strategy Wallsh echoed, particularly for associations where an advisory group with members from different generations can help ensure that older attendees are not alienated while “you keep young members involved and interested.” Wallsh, for one, was “not at all surprised”to hear that agenda planning is a concern for planners when coordinating multigenerational events. Why? “People are learning differently,” she said. Young people will get up and leave a room if they’re not learning, whereas older people tend to stay put once they sit down for something.Younger attendees are more likely to be visible, and even vocal, in their disappointment with content. Wallsh suggested innovative setups but reminded webcast attendees that it’s important to think about those setups well in advance because they may require more space than a traditional classroom setup. She also noted that since “a lot of groups still consider crescent rounds revolutionary, small changes can make a big difference.” Goodman advocated using keywords to target generations—such as “sweet” or “awesome” for Generation X—but phrasing materials very carefully. And, Stephen Lowe, director of sales for Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe, noted that it’s critical to customize a program without offending other generations. For example, nightlife is an important consideration, but are your attendees interested in cigar lounges or nightclubs? It may not be age that’s the determining factor. H —Kinley Levack 36 MeetingNews November 10, 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - November 10, 2008

Meeting News - November 10, 2008
MN Exclusive Research
%20%20%20%20%20Green & Social Responsibility: The Year that Was in Meetings
Incentive Special: Recovering from AIG
What's Up @
Letters to the Editor
Inside the Meetings Industry
South Africa Supplement
Newsmaker Q&A
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
%20%20%20%20%20Starwood Hopes E-Portal is Small Meeting Utopia
%20%20%20%20%20Intercontinental O'Hare Puts Art at Forefront
Convention Centers
%20%20%20%20%20Dallas and Philadelphia Move on Their Projects
%20%20%20%20%20Jacksonville Markets to Medical, Cultural Groups
%20%20%20%20%20Jamaica's Rose Hall Area Blossoms with Resorts
%20%20%20%20%20EIBTM Puts Together an Ambitious Program
Transportation & Services
Meeting News South
Green Beat
Destination Insider
%20%20%20%20%20Fort Lauderdale
Incentive Report
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - November 10, 2008