by Lisa Grimaldi | May 26, 2010

At IMEX 2010 in Frankfurt, Germany, yesterday, researchers for the forthcoming Convention 2020 study on the future of meetings, venues and destinations released the Pathfinder Report, outlining some key strategic steps the convention industry must take to survive and thrive. The six points are as follows:

1. Choose a clear strategic position, whether it be strategic innovator, fast follower or low-cost no-frills provider, and then ensure every action and decision is consistent with that strategy, e.g., being brave enough to say no to business that doesn’t fit your capabilities.
2. Develop the organization’s board into an outward-looking and future-focused entity that helps to shape and challenge longer-term strategy.
3. Acknowledge that to compete effectively with the expensively marketed alternatives on offer to our customers, ranging from videoconferencing to advertising, we have to outthink the competition rather than try to outspend them.
4. Develop a clear set of strategies to manage technology, exploit the data generated through our events and create “reusable knowledge” that is of lasting value long after the event.
5. Demonstrate a willingness to experiment with business models and create new revenue streams to anticipate and address future client demands for greater financial innovation and risk-sharing from their event partners.
6. Develop and recruit top-level talent that can truly understand how client’s business strategies are evolving and develop equally strategic and innovative responses.

Convention 2020, whose founding sponsors are the International Congress and Convention Association, IMEX and Fast Future Research, will release its full report in July. For more information, go to