Post written by: Pippa O’Shea, Student at James Madison University (Class of 2014), Hospitality Management Major and Business and Human Resource Minor
Learning can be fun! This was the overall theme of the ‘Key Tools to Enhance a Successful Meeting’ event at the Palomar hotel in DC. They held 3 educational roundtables with each seminar set up in different room styles. The first round table “Working Smart/Useful Apps” was a large banquet style lecture so everyone could see the Ipads and the different apps. Round table 2 “Effective Attendee Marketing” was auditorium style where people could listen and openly discuss marketing tactics. The third round table “Non-Traditional Revenue Generating and Sponsorship Opportunities” was classroom style so people could easily take notes on the discussion and the different experiences of both the panelists and the audience. This was a great experience for me to be able to attend and see how you can help encourage people to participate and stay involved in an educational program. My favorite part was to hear about the other planner’s experiences in the industry and what ideas have worked for their associations. It was great to see everyone putting their heads together to help each other out and find solutions to projects that were not so successful.
I really enjoyed the first roundtable about working smart and using apps. I had no idea there were so many cool apps that were available to meeting planners and hospitality professionals. As technology improves it is great to see that the industry is embracing it and using it to their advantage. I also liked all the travel apps and will be using them when I’m planning my next vacation. While some of the topics were new subjects to me, I liked that I was able to get exposure to these areas as I know they will be something I will need in the future. This has also been the smallest PCMA event that I have attended. Even being surrounded by planners that had been working in the industry for years I still felt comfortable asking my own questions and getting to talk with the amazing panelists in a more friendly setting. From all the chatter, stories and ideas exchanged after the event you could really tell that everyone left this program better off and excited to implement all their new skills and ideas.
I was glad that I found some familiar faces but I also got to meet and network with even more people that were so friendly and willing to talk with me and offer great advice which has already come in handy as I am now a senior at James Madison University. While College has taught me many things these hands on learning experiences have really helped me understand the different jobs and expectations from this particular industry. As a student I know I want to stay involved in PCMA and I love that they offer opportunities to continue to learn and improve your craft. This was a great experience and I encourage all students to try and attend as many educational and volunteer opportunities as possible.