San Diego is abuzz with excitement as it gears up to host the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) prominent “Convening Leaders” meeting, a landmark event for the meetings industry. Set to take place from January 7-10, 2024, at the San Diego Convention Center, this gathering is a significant win for local tourism, promising substantial economic benefits.
The convention, renowned in the industry, will attract over 4,000 attendees, including many who are key decision-makers in organizing corporate and association meetings. The event lineup is impressive, featuring an opening reception at SeaWorld, a keynote address by prominent figures President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton, and an exclusive performance by the legendary R&B group Boyz II Men at Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.
Rip Rippertoe, the president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, likens the PCMA event to the “Super Bowl of meetings-industry events,” emphasizing its potential to generate billions in business meeting revenue. This comparison highlights the event’s significance in the industry, surpassing even large-scale gatherings like medical conventions and Comic-Con in terms of its business impact.
The allure of PCMA’s Convening Leaders lies in its audience composition, with over half of the attendees being influential meeting and convention planners. This presents a unique opportunity for San Diego to showcase itself as an ideal destination for future meetings and conventions.
Rob Carey, a senior content producer at MeetingsNet with over three decades of experience, underscores the potential economic impact of the event. Even a single attendee booking a multi-day meeting can inject up to half a million dollars into the local economy through hotels, restaurants, and other services.
Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority, is optimistic about the PCMA event’s potential for San Diego. Based on past experiences, such as when San Diego hosted PCMA in 2012, she expects a substantial increase in hotel room bookings and a significant boost to the local economy.
The PCMA, established in 1956 and based in Chicago, is a key player in the global meetings industry, with thousands of members across numerous countries. It’s one of the three major events, alongside MPI and ASAE, that can significantly benefit host cities.
The annual rotation of the event across different U.S. cities underscores its importance, with future venues already lined up for Houston, Philadelphia, and Miami in the coming years. Convening Leaders sets the tone for the industry’s calendar year, focusing on education and current trends.
In the wake of COVID-19, the meeting industry’s focus on virtual meetings, diversity, equity and inclusion, and sustainability has intensified. PCMA’s Convening Leaders event in San Diego is set to showcase these themes, alongside the city’s recent infrastructure developments, offering a prime opportunity for San Diego to highlight its capabilities as a top destination for future meetings and conventions.