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By Denise DeJulio, KCSAE Ex-Officio Board Member

At Visit KC, we interact with associations and organizations from all over the country on a daily basis– all looking for where to place that next convention or meeting.   While many have their own specific requests and requirements as it pertains to the uniqueness of their organization or event, we also see many common concerns and conversations taking place.  No longer is it just about – will my meeting fit?   While that is still important – the conversations have definitely expanded and represent future trends in our industry.

The safety and security of meeting attendees tops the list as it should, with recent events in our country -  mass shootings, terrorism, devastating weather, protests.  These events affect everyone - associations, hoteliers, convention centers, CVB’s.   The security of a facility or city is just not presumed anymore.  Contingency and crisis planning must be discussed as part of the process.

Today it is about going above and beyond to enhance the experience – let’s face it, many destinations offer the same food.  There has to be a creative approach, it has to be interactive, it has to be unique – an experience or location that maybe someone would not have access to on their own.   It now has to be what I call Instagram worthy!   Making sure that we are up to date on the latest and greatest in our destination is so important.

Budget is still a continuing topic as organizations to do more with less.  Organizations want to be more strategic about what they are spending money on – but still deliver a “wow” event to their members.  Rates are important, but flexibility is probably even more important.  Having the ability to choose what they spend their money on is a major consideration.

Bandwidth ….  Technology is always top of mind with organizations – today you see organizations bringing their technology folks with them to inspect the destination.  Bandwidth, live streaming, apps, chatbots – (at one time is was just making sure there were enough pay telephone banks available which you could easily count)  Everyone now carries 2 to 3 devices with them and attendees expect to be able to use all of them at the same time at top speed.

Legislation in the city and state, are there any laws restricting freedoms and individual rights?  Politics has entered the conversation and it is part of a constant dialogue now.   Knowing what threats may exist is difficult, especially when you may be talking about the year 2025.

While we are never sure what tomorrow may bring, we must stay in front of current issues and topics.   Organizations such as KCSAE can be such a great tool for networking and learning from our peers in the industry – so I hope to see you at the next KCSAE event.

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