PCMA Convening Leaders 2020: Takeaways & Testimonial

ITA Group
ITA Group
PCMA Convening Leaders Opening Reception Event

PCMA Convening Leaders, which welcomes about 5,000 attendees from more than 40 countries, is the place where the events industry comes to preview the future of face-to-face engagement. With “REACH” as this year’s conference theme, PCMA Convening Leaders 2020 was intended to help attendees strive to achieve bigger professional success, build deeper personal connections, find wider audiences for events and create lasting, community-wide impact.

Our friends at Hartmann Studios were an integral part of making this event come to life. Continue reading to learn about a few of our team members’ favorite moments and top takeaways from this incredible event. But first, let’s see what the client thought of the event.

“Partnering With You Was One of the Best Decisions We Made”

This past January 5-8, 2020 San Francisco Travel was honored to be the host city for PCMA Convening Leaders. Many in the hospitality community consider Convening Leaders the “Super Bowl” for meeting planners, and as such it is a huge opportunity for San Francisco to showcase our city to clients and colleagues from around the world.

Partnering with [your company] was one of the best decisions we made! There truly wasn’t anything they couldn’t help us with including, but not limited to, event design, production and management, sponsorships, branding, budgeting, talent acquisition and keynote assistance, transportation and more.

From early planning to execution, Hartmann Studios provided ideas and solutions for all our event needs and produced a series of memorable high profile events.  The team at Hartmann Studios was always available to assist our team no matter how small or large the task.  They were professional, friendly, supportive and solution-oriented, and truly acted as an extension of our staff.  There are many companies that offer the same services, but it is the people that work for Hartmann Studios that sets them apart. 

Hartmann Studios helped us create exactly what we were looking for, an authentic and uniquely unforgettable experience! They elevated our client experience in a way that the attendees will be talking about for years to come.

Thanks to all the Hartmann staff, but especially Mark, Denise, Nicholas, Erick, Kelly, Kealy and Sarah.

Deirdre Lewis, Senior Director, Convention Services & Events, San Francisco Travel

Related: Learn how PCMA put the spotlight on San Francisco for this year’s Convening Leaders 2020 event.

Urban Hike Through San Francisco

Having the opening evening event represent the seven boroughs of San Francisco was super cool. You really felt like you were transitioning from one part of the city to another! I personally loved Chinatown—the lanterns were beautiful and the comfortable low couches were a nice touch. The food was even in little takeout containers! At one point, a kid’s troop brought a 40-foot long LED-lit dragon through parade-style.

My other favorite borough was probably the Mission district with the custom-created graffiti wall that will actually be placed in an area restaurant. One of my favorite activations was in the waterfront district—an aerialist poured my champagne while twirling upside-down from the ceiling.

—Maggie Wenthe, CEP, IP Director – Marketing Strategy

Related: PCMA returns to the Bay after two decades—but, can San Francisco hold on to its convention business?

Fantastic Speakers & Entertainment

I valued the interview-style mainstage session with Bozoma Saint John. She spoke a lot about trusting her gut instincts and analytics in tandem. Data alone should not drive decisions. It’s important to also follow your gut instinct and balance the data along with human connections. Always keep front of mind that people are more forgiving of a brand and partner that is kind and likeable. Nobody is perfect—so have yourself in a position to always be forgiven when you make one yourself.

The emotional highlight of my time at PCMA Convening Leaders was the Detroit children’s choir performance on Monday morning. During Detroit’s demonstration on why we should bring our events to their city, they brought out 20 children that they had flown in from Detroit (for most, it was their first time leaving Detroit—let alone their first time on a plane) to perform hit songs, which altered to match why we should travel to Detroit. It was so emotional, in the happiest of ways, and really hit the mark with me.

As always, the networking with other professionals in the industry is always of benefit. Having people who ‘get it’ and share successes and pain points with is very healthy. It makes all of us better.

—Erica White, Client Onboarding Specialist

Make Engagement Simple & Charitable

When trying to keep attendees engaged, it seems like keeping things simple is always your best bet. Use one tool when possible. For example, instead of having multiple apps or event websites, consolidate into one easy to use tool that connects all accounts. The more things you need to download and sign up for the less likely people are to participate. Try and make things as easy as possible for your attendees to increase engagement.

Additionally, in a breakout session the question, “How do you get attendees to complete their surveys?” was raised. One attendee shared that her organization tried a new approach that saw a 300% increase on survey responses. Instead of just sending out the survey to attendees’ devices, the keynote informed attendees that for each survey response collected a charitable donation would be made.

—Elly Driscoll, Supervisor and Strategist – Registration  


Want to see more from this year’s PCMA Convening Leaders event? Check out this post and learn just what it takes to create an experience for event industry leaders who think they have seen it all.