Hosted buyer: my highlight at PCMA Convening Leaders 2023

Hosted buyer: my highlight at PCMA Convening Leaders 2023

Tim Groot

CEO & Co-Founder

I just got back from the fantastic PCMA Convening Leaders event. I met some really interesting people and listened to inspirational speakers over the four days. Here are some notes about the event, the best talks I attended as well as the hosted buyer experience (which Grip powered with our new MustMeet product, the world’s most powerful meeting scheduler for event organizers.)

My amazing hosted buyer experience

On Sunday, a range of suppliers and buyers took part in over 350 in-person, one-to-one meetings during the event’s Hosted Buyer Program. These transformational meetings took place between two types of participants: business events strategists responsible for contracting destinations and services (i.e. buyers); and pre-qualified suppliers looking to sell to this audience.

It was a great way to kick off the event, with lots of meetings happening inside a dedicated room with all the amenities and facilities needed to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Personally, I had several valuable meetings which offered immediate business potential. My prediction is that offering a range of transformational meetings like this will be the future of events. There are so many benefits to participants, I’m sure organizers will start implementing meeting programs into their events in 2023. By having a dedicated day and room where a subset of partners and buyers are able to hold meetings ahead of the conference, organisers will see a near 100% attendance rate, as was the case at PCMA. I bet the NPS will be sky-high as a result too!

Adam Grant, a whirlwind of thought-provoking ideas

On Monday I attended a talk by organizational psychologist Adam Grant. In his talk, Grant discussed the importance of original thinking in organizations and how to foster a culture that encourages diverse perspectives and honest feedback.

One of the key takeaways from Grant's talk was the concept of a ‘challenger network’, where individuals are encouraged to communicate their ideas not just with people that agree with them but with so-called: ‘disagreeable givers’ who are the people that on the surface are rough and tough, but ultimately have others' best interests at heart. "They are the people who are willing to give you the critical feedback that you don't want to hear, but you need to hear,” explains Grant. More details are in this article. Grant also emphasized the importance of honesty as the highest form of loyalty to friends and how a true friend is someone who sees more potential in you than you see in yourself.

To help evaluate and pitch new ideas, Grant suggested taking a fairytale and turning it into a pitch. He also explained the need to create psychological safety in order to get the best ideas on the table. Grant stressed that accountability is a two-way street and that toxic positivity is unhelpful. He highlighted the importance of constructive disagreement for the survival of teams and marriages. He also suggested that it's okay to call in sick, but also okay to call in sad.

Grant also discussed the concept of ‘languishing’ and ‘burst’ and how the frequency and intensity of collaboration is more important than ever as opposed to the frequency in a hybrid world. 

Overall, a great talk which detailed how to foster a culture of original thinking. He also explained how to create a supportive environment for diverse perspectives and honest feedback.

Jumpstarting 2023 with Daniel Pink’s helpful tips 

Daniel Pink, number one New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Regret, Drive, and To Sell is Human, gave a talk on how to restore motivation, battle burnout and jumpstart your 2023. He shared simple, science-based tips to replenish drive, motivate teams, take back time and sharpen decisions.

One of the key takeaways from his talk was the idea of creating a 2023 ‘to-don’t list’. This involves identifying three to five things in your life that distract your attention, drain your energy, and divert you from your most important goals. Writing these things down and then not doing them can be more powerful than adding things.

Another suggestion was to list three ways you made progress at the end of each day. This doesn't have to be anything huge, but reflecting on what you completed and how you advanced can be a powerful motivator.

He also suggested having fewer conversations about ‘how’" and more about ’why’ each week. This can help to create a sense of purpose, which is the single most cost-effective performance enhancer at your disposal.

He also suggested scheduling a 15-minute ‘walk break’ every other afternoon and doing it with someone you like. This break should be a time to not talk about work and leave your phone behind. He suggested modelling this behaviour for your team and noting that breaks aren't deviations from performance, but part of it.

Lastly, he suggested finding boldness for yourself by imagining you're advising a friend. When you're stuck on whether to play it safe or take a chance, ask yourself "What would I tell my best friend to do?" You'll usually know the answer and it will often be to take that chance.

According to industry leaders, not that much has changed compared to 2019...

The third talk entitled: ’The 2023 Outlook for the Business Events & Hospitality Industries’ was a panel moderated by Carly Fiorina, Chairman of Carly Fiorina Enterprises and included Chris Nassetta, Chief Executive Officer of Hilton Worldwide, Ben Erwin, President and CEO of Encore, and Matthew Slaughter, an international economics expert from Dartmouth.

The panel discussed the potential impact of macro trends such as inflation, rising energy costs, the climate crisis, and increased demand with fewer resources on the global business events industry. 

Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hilton Worldwide, noted that the industry is more similar to pre-Covid than during, with the leisure business increasing by 5% and a growing trend of ’bleisure’ (combining leisure and business) travel. He also mentioned the growing demand for meetings and events, higher value trips and more focus on wellness in hotels, as well as a potential economic slowdown but no recession.

Ben Erwin, President and CEO of Encore, emphasized the importance of investing in people to drive ROI and the need for greater agility, flexibility and adaptability in the industry. He also discussed the exciting potential of combining virtual and in-person technology for audience engagement and accessibility.

Matthew Slaughter, an international economics expert from Dartmouth, discussed the fact that inflation turned out not to be transitory and the factors that contributed to it such as labour costs, wage growth and technology. He also noted the flow of information across the globe is accelerating and having an impact on the industry.

Overall, the panel provided valuable insights on the macro trends and their potential impact on the business events and hospitality industries in 2023. They discussed the need for greater agility, flexibility and adaptability in the industry, as well as the importance of investing in people and technology to drive ROI. The panellists also highlighted the potential for growth in the industry and the importance of addressing issues such as inflation, rising energy costs and the climate crisis.

PCMA Convening Leaders: an event worth attending

January is a convenient time for event planners to attend an event focused on their needs.  Event professionals from associations and the corporate world were able to get a solid dose of inspiration and perspective for the year ahead. It was good for Grip too! I made over 25 great new connections and caught up with a wide range of existing contacts. I’ll definitely be attending next year in San Diego. I wouldn’t be surprised that PCMA’s hosted buyer session will be even bigger after 2023’s roaring success!