The industry's clampdown on travel/conference spending in 2008-2009 is easing a little this year, but the job of filling the seats among the trade groups remains a challenge, according to the California/Nevada Credit Union League, which is relocating one of its spring meetings, the Big Valley Conference in Monterey.
A league official said the just concluded and renamed Monterey meeting, called Focus EduConference, is the last to be held in the quaint resort city following the expiration of a contract with Marriott Hotels. This year's Focus 2010 meeting drew 245, a sharp drop from the 600 CEOs and directors who in years past gathered for the Big Valley meeting.
"We are looking for a new location as well as shortening the duration of the conference and reducing the cost for attendees," said Mark Klinkert, the league's senior vice president of professional development.
Over the last year, the league, like peer trades elsewhere, has been concentrating on Webinars and one and two-day, single topic seminars to save on lodging and entertainment expenses for attendees.
Noting the tough economic conditions in sand states, Klinkert said the California League has witnessed a near 50% drop in overall conference attendance over the last two years compared to 35% for other leagues.
Apart from its own operations, the California League has experience in handling convention business-by hosting online events, hiring speakers and finding sites-for the Credit Union Association of Oregon and doing co-op chores for other West Coast leagues.