The next 25 years (as predicted 25 years ago)

Blog > Industry News

The next 25 years (as predicted 25 years ago)

By Michael Pinchera | Aug 23, 2022

This article originally appeared in the June 1997 edition of The Meeting Professional, celebrating MPI’s 25th anniversary. Accordingly, attributions are accurate as of original publication.

next 25 years600scan

Roy B. Evans, CAE, Executive Vice President and CEO, Professional Convention Management Association:
“I would like to see all major associations work together without worrying about who gets credit for creating programs benefiting all of our constituencies. Through joint meeting and task force efforts, we already are beginning to see evidence of a unified industry.”

Bill Fisher, President and CEO, American Hotel and Motel Association:
“This industry is very meeting- and conference-conscious, not only because of what our patronage brings, but also because this industry has a lot of its own meetings and conferences. I’m bullish on conferences and meetings for the next 25 years. In an era when you hear a lot about high tech, there will still be demand for high touch.”

Robert A. Gilbert, CHSE, CHA, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International:
“Technology will change the way buyers and suppliers communicate. Planners will shop for destinations and have instant access to availability and rates. Personal relationships will still be paramount, but technology will increase the speed and efficacy of business relationships.”

Steven Hacker, President, International Association for Exposition Management: 
“I suspect there will be an increasing number of meeting sponsors using exhibitions as a marketing medium for products and services. Meeting-related industries will experience increased threats from competition and need to prepare for an environment ripe for consolidation.”

Tom Hulton, Executive Director, International Congress and Convention Association:
“The meeting industry has grown rapidly over the past years but has failed to gain the recognition by international commerce and governments that it deserves. This will change as trade bodies and organizations work for closely together to improve cooperation and education effectiveness, technology and collection and dissemination of global statistics and information.”

William S. Norman, President and CEO, Travel Industry Association of America:
“More so than ever, meeting planners as well as those who service and work with planners will have to meet changes wrought by technical advances. Traditional demands of planning face-to-face meetings will remain. Planners will, however, have to wed the skills required for these (demands) to those required for multimedia, different-site interactive and virtual conferences and meetings. Challenging? Yes, but also exciting.”

Steve Sind, President and CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research:
“There is no substitute for live, face-to-face relationships. The internet, videoconferencing, teleconferencing and virtual trade shows cannot and will not replace person-to-person contact, despite what some pundits may be forecasting. Therefore, my vision for the industry is favorable based on human relationships and current trends. However, there are those who are trying to create the perception that there are more effective and less-expensive ways to meet. If they are successful, corporate budgets for meetings/conventions/exhibitions will shrink. We must ensure this perception does not become reality.”

Craig Smith, Chairman, Convention Liaison Council:
“The industry will continue to be strong and will show even greater growth in the next 25 years. The rapid pace of change we are experiencing mandates added education and communications. That’s what this industry thrives on.”

R. William Taylor, CAE, President, American Society of Association Executives:
“Association meetings are headed for even better times as the number of meetings and delegate attendance continue to rise. Associations can expect information technology to further change the way educational content is delivered. Technology will enhance and transform meetings into interactive, image-rich, multimedia presentations. This trend will strengthen associations as essential providers of knowledge and information. Associations will supplement meeting activities with distance-learning opportunities, which will enable associations to reach more members, provide convenient access to information and generate more non-dues revenue.”

Vincent C. van Wulfen, President, International Association of Professional Congress Organizers:
“Conferences will not be the passive affairs many have been up to now. They will be highly interactive and use new technologies and other means to help delegates participate more effectively. Meeting organizers will have to be aware of delegates’ requirements, be flexible and receptive to new ideas and have the courage to make change. Once delegates are able to access information ahead of an event on CD-ROM diskette or worldwide websites, audience involvement at the conference will inevitably become higher. Despite communication technology, networking, exchanging ideas and socializing will still make people want to attend meetings.”




Michael Pinchera

Michael Pinchera, MPI's managing editor, is an award-winning writer and editor as well as a speaker, technologist and contributor to business, academic and pop culture publications since 1997.