The American Society of Association Executives' 2021 Annual Meeting will be a hybrid event, with most of the content delivered virtually and supported by some face-to-face gatherings. Taking place the week of Aug. 16, the hybrid event will provide extensive content and networking opportunities virtually, combined with regional hub meetings being held throughout the country if they can be executed safely.
Where the face-to-face hub meetings will be held has not been announced yet, but ASAE said Dallas (where the event had been scheduled to take place) and "other ASAE Alliance Partner destinations" will host the in-person events. Full details will be announced by May 3, when registration for the reimagined annual meeting will open.
While the organization's leaders and members are eager for a return to fully in-person events, ASAE president and CEO Susan Robertson, CAE, said the safety of participants remains the organization's priority. Taking into account the current pace of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and feedback from members regarding their comfort with participating in face-to-face gatherings, this hybrid approach seemed most likely to ensure a successful annual event.
"The ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition is the largest meeting on our calendar each year," Robertson said. "Logistically, a lot of planning goes into every aspect of the meeting to ensure its success and, right now, there are too many variables outside our control that could impact our attendees' meeting experience."
She added that the regional, in-person events will at least allow many members to "reunite with their colleagues and partners in a safe, controllable environment," while those joining from home can still take advantage of high-quality content and networking opportunities.
VisitDallas president and CEO Craig T. Davis said the city and ASAE are disappointed that a full, in-person Annual Meeting is not going to take place this year. "We look forward to participating in this year's virtual meeting and as a host for one of the regional hub meetings," he said. "And we hope to have the opportunity to host the ASAE Annual Meeting in-person in the near future."
ASAE also announced that its other major meetings through the beginning of June 2021 — including the 2021 Marketing, Membership, & Communications Conference, which was scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., June 2-3 — will be going fully digital.