Survey Finds Technology Can't Replace Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:46pm EDT

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HSMAI'S Affordable Meetings(R) National Pre-Conference Survey Respondents
Reveal 'Man Over Machine' Mindset in Regards to Meetings and Events

MCLEAN, Va., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Advances in meetings technology can
assist planners in executing affordable, yet impressive meetings and events.
However, according to an HSMAI Affordable Meetings(R) National and Event
Technology Expo(TM) pre-conference survey, conducted by J. Spargo &
Associates, Inc. and independently analyzed by 20|20 Assessment(TM) a service
of HVS, many planners feel that certain elements of face-to-face conferences
cannot be duplicated with today's technology.

Seventy-six percent of meeting planners attending the Hospitality Sales &
Marketing Association International's (HSMAI) Affordable Meetings(R) National
and Event Technology Expo(TM) at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in
Washington, D.C., on Sept. 9-10, 2009, stated that they used technology mostly
for marketing efforts, followed by making presentations (68 percent) and
networking (56 percent). 

However, survey results suggest that technology reportedly cannot replace at
least six elements of the conference experience: 1) socializing and networking
spontaneously, 2) helping attendees best put names with faces, 3) allowing
more free and open dialogue between attendees and vendors/presenters, 4)
training effectively via live and personal interaction, 5) paying greater
attention to others when face-to-face, and 6) engaging in real-time
conversation that is not interrupted by technical glitches.

"While the 'always on the job' mentality of meeting planners tends to rely on
the latest technological tools for marketing, presentations and networking,
there is clearly a 'man over machine' mindset when it comes to other elements
of meetings and conferences," stated Dr. James Houran of 20|20 Assessment.
"Thus, the popular push for more teleconferences or Internet-based meetings,
even for smaller groups, may ultimately not meet critical needs of attendees."

Most respondents are anticipating smaller event sizes, with most servicing
between 101 and 1,000 registrants (51 percent), followed by events of 100
attendees or less (38 percent). Event planners attending National are also
focusing on a smaller number of meetings with 43 percent planning five or less
meetings in 2009 and 25 percent planning six to 10 meetings this year. 

More than 1,800 attendees, representing meeting and event planners from a
variety of organizations, with a majority representing corporate, association
and independent sectors and the balance from government, non-profit,
education, religious and medical/health care organizations, trade show
management and the military, are expected to visit HSMAI's Affordable
Meetings(R) National and ETE 2009 show.  Attendance at HSMAI's Affordable
Meetings(R) National and ETE is free-of-charge for qualified meeting planners.

Booth space is still available at Affordable Meetings National and ETE and can
be obtained by contacting Craig Baker, account manager, J. Spargo &
Associates, Inc., (703) 679-3942, e-mail: amexhibits@jspargo.com. Attendee
information for HSMAI's Affordable Meetings National and ETE is available by
calling 800-564-4220. 

About Event Technology Expo at HSMAI's Affordable Meetings National
Event Technology Expo at HSMAI's Affordable Meetings National is an exposition
and conference addressing all aspects of technology as it relates to
tradeshows, meetings, and special events.  The conference and expo offer
attendees the opportunity to meet and do business with exhibiting companies,
representing vendors of event technology applications and services.  Event
Technology Expo at HSMAI's Affordable Meetings(R) National is owned and
presented by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International
Americas region and managed by J. Spargo & Associates, Inc. Visit
www.affordablemeetings.com for more information. 

About HSMAI's Affordable Meetings National
HSMAI's Affordable Meetings(R) National will once again offer attendees the
opportunity to meet and do business with more than 450 exhibiting companies
during a unique exposition that will showcase venues, products and services to
help produce various types of meetings and events.  Year-after-year, the
highly-acclaimed trade exposition is a main attraction for attendees looking
to meet and network with knowledgeable suppliers who are determined to help
produce valuable meetings and assist with purchasing decisions.  Exhibitors
represent hotels and resorts, university conference centers, unique meeting
sites, convention and visitor bureaus, transportation companies, trade
publications, software and audio/visual businesses, and other meeting and
convention suppliers. HSMAI's Affordable Meetings is owned and presented by
the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Americas region
and managed by J. Spargo & Associates, Inc. Visit www.affordablemeetings.com
for more information. Join our social networking communities on Twitter, and
LinkedIn.

About 20|20 Assessment
20|20 Assessment - a service of HVS - is the leader in performance management
and enhancement tools and solutions for the service-hospitality industry.
Founded in 1998 on the principles of superior science, service and
specialization, the company's research has since been featured by a myriad of
media including the BBC, Wilson Quarterly, USA Today, New Scientist,
Psychology Today, Forbes.com, CNN, Court TV and Rolling Stone.  To find out
more about, please visit www.2020skills.com.  


SOURCE  Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International

Media: Rachel Rosenberg, Edelman Atlanta, +1-404-832-7711,
rachel.rosenberg@edelman.com
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