Canada’s convention capital hosted the Convening Leaders annual conference early this year, an event resulting in a $6.2m direct spend for the local economy.
The Vancouver Convention Centre, Tourism Vancouver and the local hospitality community in this part of Canada welcomed 4,000 meeting planners and supplier members of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) for the annual Convening Leaders conference in January. It was the first time this annual conference had been held in Vancouver and the theme, this year, was ‘Cultivating Creative Moments’.
Convening Leaders, again, was focussed on professional development and networking and showcased the latest innovations and trends in event tech, meeting design and event strategy.
The conference contributed an estimated CAN$6.2m in direct spending to Canada’s BC economy and included millions of dollars of potential future meetings business for Vancouver.
Attendees represented existing and potential convention clients for Vancouver and the city’s hospitality community duly rolled out the red carpet:
• Upon arrival in Vancouver, delegates saw Vancouver International Airport’s Control Tower aglow in PCMA colours and street banners at Canada Place welcoming the group.
• City tours were scheduled for more than 320 delegates.
• Morning runs and yoga sessions were organised in partnership with lululemon
• The Vancouver Convention Centre hosted Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
PCMA left its mark via its corporate social responsibility agenda and the ‘Hospitality Helping Hands’ programme.
A team of 150 PCMA delegates funded and built creative play environments at two ‘at risk’ daycare centres in Vancouver.
Convening Leaders also provided an opportunity for Vancouver’s hospitality and event management students to develop their skills. Throughout the conference 250 students and industry volunteers worked alongside industry professionals on the event.
The Opening General Session was on Mergers and Disruptions and Provocations and involved Arne Sorenson, president & CEO, Marriott International Inc, being interviewed by author and entrepreneur Mel Robbins.
Other session content included a panel debate on whether contracted room blocks were becoming a thing of the past. Taking part in that debate were representatives from the International Society on Thrombosis & Haemostasis, the National School Boards Association, Visit Denver and Talley Management Group, Inc.
More attendees are certainly securing their hotel rooms outside the block, it seems, making it harder to meet booking guidelines, and the Event Room Demand Study now provides research that quantifies rooms booked outside the block so there is no question of the true demand a convention drives in a destination.
Another panel, involving top CMOs from the Maersk Group, Lanyon and the American Institute of Architects, revealed some event marketing secrets and David Haas, from Freeman Seattle, and Adam O’Hara of Reed Exhibitions presented some tech tools that they argued, could help collect rich, actionable event data.
During the main conference, the PCMA unveiled its Conscious Meeting Project: a resource to help planners find community service projects in the destinations their meetings are held. The association also announced the update of its online CPM study course with many new features including an app for on-the-go studying.
Claire Smith, vice-president, sales and marketing at Vancouver Convention Centre and co-chair of the Host Committee noted that Convening Leaders week had seen the largest site inspection in Vancouver’s history. “Influential decision-makers from across North America and the world experienced first-hand what makes Vancouver one of the world’s most liveable cities and why we are North America’s best convention centre.”
Tourism Vancouver also released a PCMA recap video on YouTube: