Successful Meetings - May 2010 - (Page 40)

INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS Show Me the Results NYU hospitality school dean to planners: “Prove international events are worth the trip!” By Leo Jakobson, s the recession shows signs of receding in the United States, the meetings business is showing signs of advancement again. But when it comes to meetings, conventions, and events in more distant, often more costly international destinations, the picture is still unclear. To get a better view of it, Successful Meetings talked with Dr. Lalia Rach, divisional dean at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, about the future of international meetings. Following are excerpts of that conversation. Successful Meetings: What is happening in the international meetings market? Lalia Rach: You have to look at two things: One, the dollar has lost power, so when you do go abroad, especially to Europe, you’re getting less. That is a consideration since there is less budgeted money for meetings. Second, does going to an international meeting raise any eyebrows? Does it look frivolous? Is there an actual, educational reason for going abroad? Every company is going to be looking more closely for at least the next year at what the public might consider frivolous expenditure. A SM: Will Europe be hit harder by this difficulty in holding meetings abroad than other regions? LR: Is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Paris “work?” I don’t think so. When we are talking about Europe and Asia, we are talking large regions that are not homogenous. That said, Asia is doing better, generally speaking, than Europe. SM: Are there areas where it is more acceptable for Americans to go? LR: If you think of the AIG effect, what immediately springs to mind is Las Vegas. I guarantee if we find out somebody in a financial sector company sent a whole bunch of people to a meeting in Paris, it’s going to have the same read by the American public. But sending a contingent to Shanghai, or to Mumbai? That might just be considered good business. Was that company engaged in the financial crisis, did it take government money, does it overpay the CEO— and I put that word “overpay” in quotes, these are not my opinions, but the public is looking at this—that’s what will stir up those feelings. ing—are executives saying, “We have to meet”? LR: The meetings cycle has been broken. Businesses will have to figure out what the new meetings reality will look like for their organizations. There are people who just believe we’re going to go back, eventually, to what we were. And we’re not. The transformation that has occurred economically is transforming business systems and processes. It is transforming business tradition. Will we still meet? Yes, we will. But it most likely will be different. What’s going to happen is you’re going to send fewer people, you’re going to send them for shorter periods of time, and if they’re going to go, then they’re going to do more. It’s going to become a much more blended business trip—in addition to you The new meetings reality SM: In many companies it’s been 18 to 24 months since they last held a meet- 40 I SM I May 2010 I

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - May 2010

Successful Meetings - May 2010
Editor's Letter
Senate Passes FAA Reauthorization
Meetings Law
Incentive Insights
Guilt-Free Pleasure
A Million Dollar Handoff
Show Me the Results
Places + Spaces

Successful Meetings - May 2010