Credit union wariness about holding conferences in Las Vegas, California or Florida resort cities for fear of a public backlash or concern over budget expense may have finally ebbed, trade group planners reported this week.
It was nearly a year ago following the "St. Kitts" flap over a media ambush of CEOs at a CUES conference that major groups including NAFCU, CUNA and a host of vendors became skittish about scheduling meetings in resort settings as the economy tanked.
But this week several CU trade groups were touting Las Vegas conferences during 2010-2011 even as President Obama was taking new heat for disparaging remarks about Vegas junkets. "What we have found over the years is that Las Vegas is actually one of the best locations anywhere for a conference because it is a low cost flight from anywhere in the U.S., rental cars are inexpensive, taxis and shuttles are readily available and the tourist infrastructure is unbeatable," said William Rogers, head of a St. Louis conference firm sponsoring the annual Credit Union InfoSecurity Conference May 20-21- at the Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
The conference is expected to draw about 100 people, which is on target, said Rogers.
NAFCU late last month began a series of "Strategic Leadership Development" conferences with executive consultant DeeDee Myers in Scottsdale, Ariz. and two more with her in Las Vegas Feb. 23-25 at Caesars Palace and March 9-11 at Bally's Resort.
Commenting on the junket flap of last year, Rogers said many in the media confused lavish, over-priced and non-educational trips with conferences providing affordable learning and networking experiences at legitimate meeting sites.
"Webinars are great learning tools, but we feel that nothing can replace the value of face-to-face discussions with peers and experts in the field," said Rogers.