Limelight Shines on Detroit with 5,300 Attendees at 2015 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition

August 13, 2015

Detroit recently savored the long-overdue limelight when 5,300 attendees took in all that the city has to offer at the 2015 American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) 2015 Annual Meeting & Exposition, held Aug. 8-11 at the newly renovated Cobo Center.

“(Fifty-three hundred attendees) is a great number for us,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham, IV, FASAE, CAE.  “The number is consistent with the past five years. We are delighted!”

From the opening night party at The Henry Ford Museum that was filled with automotive history and music from acts like “The Temptations Review” performing to Lionel Ritchie rocking the house at the famous Fox Theatre, ASAE attendees had the opportunity to see a different Detroit than they may have perceived.

According to Graham, more than 80 percent of the attendees to the event had never been to the city or hadn’t visited in more than 15 years.

“(This event) has a $16 million economic (on the city),” he added. “Twenty percent of the attendees will book a half billion dollars in business here in the next five years.”

Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Larry Alexander said, “We’re so thrilled to have you here. We are truly fortunate to really showcase Detroit to this important group.”

He added, “We are well aware that hosting ASAE will have a significant impact on Detroit with future association business.”

Besides a good attendee turnout, Graham said there also were 684 exhibitors, representing 431 companies, on the busy showfloor at the Cobo Center.

Off the showfloor spread throughout the multi-day event were several keynotes and education sessions.

The opening general session was led by Josh Linkner, a business leader, venture capitalist and author, who talked about “Harnessing Innovation: Turning Raw Ideas Into Powerful Results”.

He focused on what he called the “five obsessions of innovative leaders”, which included continually asking ‘why’ at a deeper and deeper level; always looking for ‘what’s next’; be willing to defy tradition; solving problems in unorthodox ways; and pushing the boundaries.

Other education sessions throughout the day included “Get Your Content Strategy Out” that had a standing-room only crowd.

Some of the takeaways included to do research and find out exactly who the audience for the content it, appoint an internal content champion and make sure to consider that the up and coming Millennial generation consumes content in a very different way.

The next day was filled with another bustling showfloor and more education sessions, such as Business of Meetings: 60 Minutes to Sponsorship Revenue Growth at which Dave Lutz, managing director of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, said, “Most exhibit hall floors are shrinking. The way people are buying has changed.”

He added that a good ratio to be at with sales was 75 percent space sales, 25 percent sponsorship sales. “The best indicator for a good sponsorship program is a good renewal rate,” Lutz said, adding, “If you are not selling at least two-thirds of your sponsorship menu, it needs to go on a diet.”

New things launched at the show this year included an Aspiring CEO Track, Achieving Global Growth, Executive Leadership Program and Experience Guru, which allows association executives to map the experience of attendees.

Also debuting at the event, was the Association CareerHQ web site (Association CareerHQ), a robust online career center bringing together ASAE career and talent management resources in a new way.

The new Association CareerHQ is a hub for job postings and job search. It also provides “jobs plus,” featuring a vast resources area to help professionals manage their association careers and assist association HR departments and staff supervisors in managing and developing their teams.

“We are so proud of the new website. It offers rich content for association professionals in order to help them explore as well move ahead in their career,” Graham said.

He added, “For people who are considering entering the industry, it provides a look at the variety of career options available and the vibrant culture and community in the association management profession.”

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