The Professional Convention Management Association has announced the next steps in its business-events industry recovery plan, called Recovery Discovery. The first phase was launched in July, following a series of in-depth surveys, C-suite research and think tanks, with more than 5,000 people participating.
The group's annual meeting, Convening Leaders, now will take place as an omnichannel, hybrid event, Jan. 11-14. Originally scheduled to take place in Houston, the conference will now have multiple hubs for small face-to-face gatherings around the world, including the Texas city, as well as digitally. The exact breakdown of where those hubs will be "is a moving target almost every day," said Sherrif Karamat, CAE, president and CEO of PCMA, during a press conference. "We're looking at Lausanne [Switzerland], Germany, Australia, Singapore. But it's dependent on government regulations, our chapter locations and our partners. I think there will be more than 25 sites. We don't want to limit it, but we don't want it to be unmanageable."
Part of the reason there will be so many sites for small gatherings is that PCMA's membership surveys showed people still think they will be reluctant to fly in early 2021. "What we did find was there was a large appetite for face to face but not necessarily for travel," Karamat said.
The organization also is looking to help as many members as possible to develop the skills required to move forward in the ever-changing event world. To that end, the PCMA Foundation is hosting a digital fundraiser, Rethink, Reskill, Recover, with a $250,000 goal, that would allow the organization to reskill 1,000 meeting professionals. The digital event takes place Sept. 23 from 6-7 p.m. CDT; you can find the recipe for the event's signature cocktail, the Juliet Aperol Spritz, on the registration page. Of course, if the foundation passes its goal, more people will receive the education they are looking for.
"I hope we reskill a lot more than 1,000 people," said Karamat.
PCMA will host a new event, Convening Asia Pacific: Global Recovery Forum, on Nov. 10. The one-day, omnichannel co-creation workshop will be broadcast out of the ICC Sydney convention center in Australia.
Both Convening Leaders, for which registration opens on Sept. 22, and Convening Asia Pacific will offer flexible pricing for participants. "We know that cash is tight," said Karen Bolinger, PCMA's Asia Pacific managing director. "We want it to be easy for everybody to be ready for recovery."