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Conventioneers. Remember Them?

Planning a convention or meeting in these post-AIG times.

This story appears in the December 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

They call it the "AIG effect": Ever since American International Group shelled out $440,000 for executives to party down at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif.--the same week the insurance giant got $85 billion in federal bailout money--corporate meetings and incentive trips have been a squirmy subject. Businesses are scaling back, canceling trips altogether and even hiding their identity when they do go (Jones Group? Your conference room is ready.) Earlier this year, meetingsnet. com, a web site for meeting planners, proclaimed that "fun" is "the new F-word."

And yet, despite all of that--not to mention sagging profits and teleconferencing technology--there are good reasons to meet face to face, including a recent Oxford Economics USA study that found every dollar spent on business travel results in $3.80 in profits. Just be sure the reason you're meeting is absolutely clear--and that you're sensitive to the perceptions you'll be creating:

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