by Michael J. Shapiro | January 26, 2012

The Convening Leaders meeting that took place in San Diego earlier this month was the best attended such meeting ever, the Professional Convention Management Association confirmed today. The association confirmed the face-to-face attendance was 3,751, which exceeded last year’s by just eight people. Professional planner attendance, which represented 38 percent of the total, was also an all-time high, and 9 percent more than last year’s figure. A bit more than half of attendees (51 percent) were suppliers, while 11 percent represented faculty, students and others. According to a survey of registrants, more than 300 indicated they were influenced to attend Convening Leaders in person based on their previous participation in a PCMA virtual or hybrid meeting; of those, 112 had either never attended Convening Leaders or had not done so in the past six years. PCMA significantly expanded its virtual coverage of the show this year for its hybrid event, and as a result virtual attendee participation increased dramatically. This year, 225 virtual attendees spent more than 10 hours logged into sessions, compared to 109 who did so last year. Total hours spent in virtual sessions increased from 3,123 in 2011 to 5,123 in 2012. In San Diego, more than 1,600 tickets were sold for PCMA’s annual fundraising event, Party with a Purpose, which also was a record. The party, held aboard the USS Midway Museum, benefitted San Diego’s Reality Changers, the Network for the Needy program and the PCMA Education Foundation.