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Meeting and Event Planners Turn to Social Networks
that Build Upon Personal Relationships

Planners Incorporating Technology into Meeting Management and Marketing
 
MCLEAN, VA (June 4, 2009) – The majority of meeting and event planners prefer social networks that build upon, instead of replace, personal relationships, according to an HSMAI Affordable Meetings® West pre-conference survey conducted by J. Spargo & Associates, Inc. and independently analyzed by 20|20 Assessment™ – a service of HVS.
 
Sixty-one percent of meeting planners attending the 13th Annual Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI) Affordable Meetings® West Conference & Exposition at San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. on June 10-11, 2009, stated that they were engaged on Facebook, and 58 percent were members of LinkedIn. Networking and maintaining relationships were the top benefits cited. Just 13 percent said they were using Twitter. 
 
“Technology is actively leveraged by event planners for a competitive edge, but professionals are consistently relying on tools that strategically engage customers and resources at a broad, in-depth and paced level, rather than provide small, bursts of rather impersonal contacts,” stated Dr. James Houran of 20|20 Assessment™. “Event planners still emphasize personal attention as their core business practice, and this is consistent with the current and strong customer demand for enhanced customer service in this era of budget cuts and contingency planning.”
 
Technology continues to be a top priority in 2009 with 70 percent of planners reporting an increase in technology use in meetings management and marketing. Of those respondents, 74 percent commented that the incorporation of the various technologies made their jobs easier. Thirty percent of planners also cited that they would be looking for event planning software suppliers at this year’s exposition.
 
“Holding Affordable Meetings® West in San Jose this year puts us in the backyard of Silicon Valley, which seems like an appropriate backdrop for the Event Technology Expo Preview” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “The ETE preview incorporates educational sessions and suppliers that focus on providing economical solutions for our attendees.”
 
Other resources planners will be seeking at Affordable Meetings® West include hotels and resorts (80 percent), alternate venues (70 percent), promotional items (44 percent), CVB’s (43 percent) and entertainment (33 percent).
 
The “Event Technology Expo” Preview features various suppliers in the exhibit hall and incorporates ETE educational sessions into the conference program.  ETE educational sessions include, “Get More Done! A Productivity Workshop with the Email Coach” and “Technology Trends Meeting & Event Planners Need to Know.” 
 
More than 600 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® West 2009 show.  Attendance at HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® West is free-of-charge for qualified meeting planners.
 
Booth space is still available at the West Show and can be obtained by contacting Craig Baker, account manager, J. Spargo & Associates, Inc. (703) 679-3942, e-mail: amexhibits@jspargo.com. 
 
Other shows for 2009 include HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® National and Event Technology Expo, Sept. 9-10, 2009, Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Washington, D.C. 
 
Attendee information for HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® West is available by calling 800-564-4220. For additional information and a complete program schedule, visit www.affordablemeetings.com.
 
About HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® West
HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings West will once again offer attendees the opportunity to meet and do business with more than 200 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. 
 
About HSMAI
HSMAI is the hospitality industry source for knowledge, community, and recognition for leaders committed to professional development, sales growth, revenue optimization, marketing, and branding. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, and bringing together customers and members at annual events, including HSMAI's Affordable Meetings®. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. For more information on HSMAI, contact the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, Va. 22102; (703) 506-3280; fax (703) 506-3266, or visit the website at www.hsmai.org.
 
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.  
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Contact:
 

Rachel Rosenberg
404-832-7711
rachel.rosenberg@edelman.com
 

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Also See: Franchisors, Owners, Operators: Questions You Always Wanted to Ask About Social Media / Julie Keyser-Squires, APR / June 2009
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