NEWS

How Conventions Are Luring Attendees

October 12, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

Many event planners are wondering about how to reschedule events cancelled after the September 11 attacks, and about when guests will be comfortable to return to different types of events (for example, have you been to a champagne-soaked store opening recently?). And convention planners may be among the hardest hit.

Their events often require people to travel, and many people are still afraid to fly, or are restricted by tightened corporate travel budgets. So how are conference planners reacting? A story in The Wall Street Journal offered a sample: Some have switched locations to reduce travel requirements, some are giving discounts on hotel rooms or attendance fees, and many are stressing tight security and adding new show content about the changed economy. Perhaps the most hard-nosed approach to limiting money lost: Refusing to refund fees to people who registered before the September 11 attacks.

The Direct Marketing Association, for example, called airlines looking for discounts on tickets to its annual meeting in Chicago at the end of this month. After getting a discount from American Airlines, the group is giving tickets to its members for free. The American Society of Travel Agents moved an event from Seville, Spain, to New York, and booked Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a keynote speaker. The International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show starts November 10 at the Javits Center, and one exhibitor said that when it wanted to cancel its participation, the show's producer, George Little Management LLC, refused to refund the $2,000 fee the company had paid to exhibit.

Posted 10.12.01

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