Business Insights and Chapter Participation Tips From Member Brad Plumb, CMP, Senior Sales Manager, Visit Overland Park.
Question: What is a good question to ask a fellow Chapter member when meeting her/him for the first time?
Brad: I’m always curious as to how people got into the business events industry. In the last few years I’ve run across those that got here by design, but for the more seasoned professional their career path usually leads to an interesting conversation. After breaking the ice it’s the first question I ask.
Question: What is a best practice tip you like to share with fellow meeting planners?
Brad: Be realistic with your numbers and truthful with what you can produce. It doesn’t do you any good to be a disappointment to your hospitality partners after the contract is signed. Part of being a business professional is getting down to business and striking a deal that is realistic in its outcome.
Question: What are good ways to get the most from your PCMA membership?
Brad: The PCMA membership is expensive if you are nothing more than a name in a directory. Don’t wait to be asked to be on a committee, or write an article, or volunteer for an upcoming meeting. Weasel your way in if you have to. There is always room for someone willing to work. Getting involved, even if you jump in on a temporary basis, is the best way to get the most value out of your membership.
Question: What is the one industry trend you are most worried about and why?
Brad: I’m not so much worried as I am disappointed that we are taking the human factor out of the decision-making process. All too often suppliers are compared to one another as numbers on a spread sheet. In an industry that is primarily experiential far too many decisions are made based on the lowest dollar and not by the best value. There’s nothing worse than a good deal at the expense of a bad time.
Question: What is the one industry trend you are most excited about and why?
Brad: I started in the meetings industry in 1979. Since that time the level of professionalism among all players has risen dramatically. Planner and supplier designations that are time consuming and difficult to attain raise the bar for everybody. No longer can you hire a person off the street to plan a meeting or sell a hotel room. We work with contracts that are complex and must be carefully crafted. Before coming to terms on an event (that may be years away) we must know what we can produce. Many times, these agreements can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. There is a great deal of responsibility expected by all parties. Business meetings require professionals to design and implement. That said, I’m dumbfounded that with so much money at stake and meeting participants time expended that the professionals in our industry are not better compensated.