by Matt Alderton | February 01, 2013
Attendance at this year's "Convening Leaders" annual meeting was up — among both live and virtual attendees — the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) reported this week.

Its annual meeting, which took place Jan. 13-16 in Orlando, hosted 3,751 face-to-face attendees, according to PCMA, which says professional planner participation was up 4 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.

The organization attributes the growth in part to a slew of new, first-time offerings, including a mobile game that had more than 750 participants; the Industry Business Forum for Local Leaders, which paired DMOs and convention centers with policymakers for the purpose of industry discussions; the PCMA Business School, which included courses designed to prepare meeting planners for senior-level business discussions; and The Show Reimagined, a showcase of innovative trade show models that included unconventional floor plan designs and technology tutorials.

"As the meetings industry continues to look for ways to turn meeting spaces into truly transformative environments, our staff and volunteer teams adopted a forget-the-status-quo mentality for Convening Leaders 2013 and continued to take risks," says PCMA President and CEO Deborah Sexton. "Orlando's Orange County Convention Center became a new-age learning center for planners and suppliers."

Although nearly 4,000 people were in Orlando for Convening Leaders, more than 700 from 18 countries logged in to experience the event from remote locations.

"This year's hybrid audience was bigger and more engaged than ever before," says PCMA Director of Online Marketing Mary Reynolds Kane. "With moderated discussions, hybrid attendees from around the world contributed their own questions and comments to spark conversations both online and on-site."

The 2014 PCMA Convening Leaders will take place Jan. 12-15 in Boston.

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