Associations representing event venues remain divided on proposed merger

The leaders of the associations which represent the event venues industry are divided despite ongoing calls for them to work together, reports Meet Pie online.

MeetPie is an online news website covering venues for hire and developments in the events management industry. It reports that earlier this year, Eventia board member Nigel Cooper suggested that associations representing function venues and events should merge together to form one ‘super’ association.

This topic came up once more at the recent Summer Eventia conference. The proposal met with a positive reaction from two of the events industry’s most prominent organisations, PCMA and Eventia.

“We should be working together,” said Deborah Sexton of the Professional Convention Management Association. “Talking about trends and issues and funding research as an industry. We’ve done a tremendously poor job of explaining what we do to the general public – at a grass roots level, associations need to educate the public about our industry.”

Mark Saxby, chairman of Eventia argued for even further collaboration. “We need to be collaborating with European associations so we have a stronger voice in the European Parliament,” said Saxby.

Nevertheless the proposal did have some detractors. Paul Tilstone, CEO of the Institute of Travel and Meetings, said that a merger would be a poor idea as each association has different interests. He says that his own organisation “represents buyers of business travel and events” specifically and that it “doesn’t lobby because we have members who are government employees.”

“As far as consolidation is concerned,” said Tilstone, “the market place will take care of it. I don’t think forced collaboration will take place. We have to think differently as an association and change our business model, which is what we’re doing at ITM.”