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PCMA’s 2012 Convening Leaders sets record for attendee engagement

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has announced that attendance for its San Diego Convention Center 56th Annual Meeting, Convening Leaders, exceeded the 2011 Las Vegas record breaker by a very small margin.

The 2012 meeting proved PCMA’s continued pursuit of innovation and willingness to take risks has been embraced by both its face-to-face and hybrid engagement attendance. Additionally, the 2012 meeting realized a Year-Over-Year (YOY) 9 percent increase in Professional Planner participation.

PCMA also dispelled the virtual cannibalization of face-to-face audiences myth. More than 300 2012 Convening Leaders registrants indicated they were influenced to attend face-to-face by their previous participation in a PCMA virtual or hybrid meeting. Of those, 112 had either never attended Convening Leaders or had not done so in the past six years.

PCMA expanded its hybrid broadcast coverage in 2012 to include four general sessions, two master series, two hour-long segments from the Learning Lounge, daily interviews with conference speakers and industry luminaries, nine of 64 concurrent sessions, the PCMA Press Conference and PCMA Town Hall. With the expanded content, the amount of time participants spent engaged in the 2012 hybrid greatly increased with 225 users spending more than 10 hours, compared to 109 in 2011. Total hours spent in sessions increased from 3,123 in 2011 to 5,123 in 2012.

A complimentary rebroadcast of the top hybrid sessions, with opportunities to chat with speakers, is scheduled for January 31, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT. Participants can register to attend at http://www.conveningleaders.org/hybrid.

Another record breaker was the annual Monday night PCMA Education Foundation Party With a Purpose fundraising event, held this year aboard the USS Midway Museum. The event tallied over 1,600 individual ticket sales to benefit San Diego’s Reality Changers, the Network for the Needy program and the Foundation’s ongoing endeavors.

With innovation as PCMA’s overarching theme for the 2012 Convening Leaders program the revamped Opening General Session set the tone, hosting three 20-minute keynote speakers, one virtually, that took attendees on mind-bending journeys. The traditional association business was relegated to the Wednesday morning Town Hall.

PCMA also expanded its Learning Lounge concept this year to include four hubs with over 150 formal, informal or hands-on demo sessions – many as short as 15 minutes.

The Virtual Edge Institute’s Summit, which co-located post-Convening Leaders last year, was integrated in 2012, with VEI sessions running parallel to PCMA sessions. Over one-third of Convening Leaders registrants indicated their intent to incorporate VEI sessions into their schedule – reinforcing the importance of providing meeting professionals with virtual and hybrid education.

The addition of the enhanced VEI and Learning Lounge sessions allowed for attendee’s o have more of a customizable experience with sessions running for a variety of lengths—15, 30, 60 or 90 minutes.

“We’re very fortunate our leadership feels strongly that the association has to be on the leading edge of meeting trends and that our members allow us to continue to take risks,”
said Deborah Sexton, PCMA president and CEO. “If attendees leave here excited about trying something new — changing it up –, that’s what it’s all about. With the help of our on-site production partners Active Network, bXb Online, Experient, Freeman, INXPO and MultiView this year’s engagement numbers confirm we’re delivering an experience our member’s need and want both virtually and face-to-face. We’ve raised the bar and set expectations.”

The 2013 PCMA Convening Leaders will be held January 13-16, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

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