PCMA’s Convening Leaders Summit January 9 to 12 at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas was just what the meetings industry needed at just the right time: a path forward combined with a heavy dose of inspiration.
Unquestionably, part of PCMA Convening Leaders’ success was its feel-good touchpoints, from a spectacular techno-themed opening reception beneath the High Roller observation wheel, to a surprise performance by Paula Abdul that was just as energized as in her “Straight Up” days, to a CSR project that boxed up more than 12,000 books for Spread the Word Nevada.
But what matters most to the industry were the numbers, and they were surprisingly strong, considering that we are approaching the crest of the Omicron wave. Convening Leaders 2022 still managed to attract nearly 2,500 meeting planners and suppliers to make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas. Strong safety protocols were in place, including proof of proof as well and mask-wearing in all meeting and hotel spaces except when eating. An additional 600 attendees chose to participate virtually when a digital experience was launched in December.
Main stage speaker investigative reporter Ronan Farrow (who replaced Dan Levy of Schitt’s Creek at the last minute) hit the nail on the head when he told the group: “I’m shocked that we’re here — we’re doing it — you’re all here in your masks and we’re keeping life going. That’s going to be the spirit of geopolitics for the next year or more as well — we’re going be toughing it out. It’s going to be challenging for all of our industries, but we’re going to push through and it is going to get better. And I think in the reinvention that is required for your industries, for my industry, you’re going to see innovation that will make things even better than where we were before the pandemic.”
One such innovation was apparent in the programming, with an unprecedented number of sessions dedicated to wellbeing practices such as breathwork, yoga and sleep hygiene.
Leading the way all has been PCMA President and CEO, whose words are a call to action for the industry: “Our industry and our businesses can and will move forward. How this happens, it is up to us – all of us. Our audiences need us more than ever.”