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 February 25, 2014
PCMA Convening Leaders Hybrid Event Sees 40% Attendance Increase

 Continuing to dispel the notion that hybrid events cannibalize face- to-face events, PCMA's 2014 Convening Leaders broke attendance records both in-person this January in Boston as well as through its hybrid virtual event.

The Professional Convention Management Association's hybrid event made up 17% of the total audience of Convening Leaders, bringing the final total attendees for hybrid and f2f to 4949 -- 877 people via hybrid only and 4072 face-to-face only. In addition, 76 face-to-face attendees attended both in person and face to face raising the complete hybrid audience to 953.

"Our numbers for both mediums prove our strategy is real and relevant - we continue to expand our audience globally as well as within our target audiences," said Deborah Sexton, PCMA president and ceo.

PCMA first foray into virtual, was the streaming on keynotes for the 2010 annual meeting. Since 2011 they have hosted an expanding and growing hybrid program, which has captured success both onsite and online -- either meeting or exceeding past organizational attendance records for both.

This year PCMA documented its reach to an audience that is unable travel -- in fact, when surveyed as to why they attend the hybrid vs. the face-to-face, 48% said budget didn't allow face-to-face participation; 23% couldn't leave the office because of scheduling conflicts; and 13% said work/home too busy to leave. Only 7% said that they attended because it was easy to attend online.

The 2014 level of attendance was impressive too -- everyone from the CEO to the unemployed were looking to learn from PCMA in January with the highest percentage (50%) a direct report to senior staff.

"By releasing these numbers, we hope that the industry understands having a hybrid event will drive new traffic to your brand, and in the upcoming years, to your face-to-face events, "said Sexton.

When asked if the hybrid experience makes it more likely the attendee will join PCMA at future face-to-face events, only 7% said it wouldn't.

People expect to be able to connect with your event -- no matter where they are and they are willing to spend more time at it -- In 2011, only 17% of hybrid attendees spent 10+ hours at the event, while in 2014, 34% did.

"It's exciting -- we are converting more and more people to members, to face to face attendees, and to engage deeper with PCMA. In fact, 65% of our hybrid attendees were non-members with 63% of those meeting planners," said Mary Reynolds Kane, PCMA senior director of experience marketing and they hybrid lead for PCMA.

PCMA will continue to offer several hybrid events in 2014 including the Education Conference, June 23, as well as events scheduled for global time zones throughout the year.

To learn more about how PCMA executed its 2014 Convening Leaders hybrid event, watch this 'behind the scenes' onDemand webinar (link).

Professional Convention Management Association

PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their nearly 6,000 members with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization's face-to-face and virtual connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 35 countries.