by Michael J. Shapiro | January 12, 2011

The attendance figures for the Professional Convention Management Association's annual meeting, Convening Leaders, should be the largest the group has seen to date, according to Deborah Sexton, president and CEO. The show kicked off Sunday in Las Vegas and runs through today. Official figures won't be released until next week, but the increase over last year's crowd could be in the neighborhood of 14 percent, Sexton noted, referring to the average attendance bump touted by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority for shows that move here. In other PCMA news:

  • The organization will release shortly the estimated number of remote attendees tuning into the show's virtual extension -- a first for Convening Leaders, which this year is underscoring the importance of virtual meetings by co-locating with the Virtual Edge Summit. That conference, which offers educational sessions and roundtables on virtual and hybrid meetings, runs today and tomorrow.
  • PCMA's membership is at an all-time high, Sexton noted in a press conference on Monday, with a member retention rate of 83 percent.
  • Sexton said that PCMA and the Convention Industry Council hope to release by mid-February the "very positive" results of the Economic Significance Study for the U.S. Meetings Industry, conducted with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • In Monday's general session at the show, Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment, received the 2010 PCMA Chairman's Award, in recognition of the leadership he demonstrated in successfully restoring the Gaylord Opryland after last spring's floods in Nashville.
  • PCMA's board announced that the Convening Leaders meetings for 2014 and 2015 will be in Boston and Chicago, respectively.