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Suggestions for Controlling Costs and Increasing Attendance at IDETC's
Notes from 2000 ASME Technology Executive Conferences Workshop
The IDETC is plagued by requiring a large number of simultaneous meeting rooms but utilizing a relatively small number of sleeping rooms. This limits the hotels able to bid on hosting the conference and drives hotel costs up. Conference costs could be lowered by either reducing the number of parallel sessions or increasing attendees.
- Try to identify topics of "hot interest'' to industry and solicit papers, sessions and speakers on those topics.
- Brochures that advertise all of the conferences simultaneously appear unfocused and ``academic''. The number of industry registrants may increase by preparing focused brochures for each individual conference. Don't ``mail to the world''. Provide names of papers and names of speakers. Select sessions with the most draw and fill in all the tracks.
- Consider establishing early-morning single-track sessions with coffee where industry representatives can be guaranteed an audience. If you can guarantee 100 attendees, industries will pay to send representatives.
- Consider placing focused ads for the conference in trade publications and non-profit magazines in addition to ``Mechanical Engineering''.
- The IMechE should be reserved for sessions that have a truly inter-divisional flavor. The division should avoid any tendency to use the IMechE as a ``dumping ground'' for sessions that don't make the IDETC or National Manufacturing Week shows. The divisions should consider whether any of the technical committee sessions currently held at the IMechE might be a better fit with the IDETC.
- Provide a separate focused web page for each individual conference.
- Consider focused marketing for one or more of the participating conferences. What portions of the conference can be grown the most? What portions of the program are the strongest? Go after those aspects of the conference with marketing.
- At the time of this writing, the US is suffering a severe shortage of hotel rooms. As a result, hotels have an advantageous bargaining position. They are now inclined to explicitly charge for services that were formerly included in package contracts. The best way to deal with this problem is to be as flexible as possible in terms of dates and locations.
- Consider utilizing the ASME Marketing Department to assist with the conference marketing.
- ASME has extensive mailing lists that can be sorted at extremely fine levels to do target mailings.
- Obtain a sample hotel contract from the ASME Events Department to better understand hotel costs.
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