Reprinted with permission, except for names deleted as requested:
From: Michael Hough [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 2004 9:47 AM
To: Rich Westerfield
In light of your TSMR newsletter this morning, I thought you would like to see this message that I have just sent to __________ of __________ magazine. We really have to do something to get us all together speaking with one voice.Thanks, MikeI think we are poorly represented by our numerous industry associations. The latest example is that half the potential attendees to CES in January have been turned down for visas. This is incredible - we should have more clout with the U.S. government.My recommendation is as follows:1. Combine IAEM, SISO, PCMA, CEIR and CIC plus the convention council of ASAE into one really powerhouse association called the International Association of Event Organizers (IAEO) and locate its headquarters in Washington, DC. I would recommend that Gary Shapiro be the volunteer Chairman of IAEO and that Jim Bracken be its full time President.2. IAEO generate $2 million per year to: undertake meaningful research that actually helps our industry; promote the benefit of exhibitions to attendees and exhibitors; and lobby our interests to politicians and government agencies like Homeland Security.3. Raise this money via a voluntary "tax" on the profits of everyone who benefits from the exhibition industry - show organizers, suppliers, convention centers, CVBs/hotels, etc. I estimate that this tax could be set at one tenth of one percent of profits. To illustrate, this would be about $75,000 for both VNU and GES -- very fair and reasonable in my opinion.Michael HoughMRH Associates, Inc.
I think Mike is right about the lobbying situation. Whether this is the solution is another question. But I don't have a better answer. Do you? This is really worth some serious thought and discussion, so let's hear from you.