Here are three small business conferences we’re looking forward to in Q1 2010:
January 14- 17 is the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s big yearly conference in Nashville, Tennessee. USASBE is the U.S.’s largest gathering of entrepreneurial individuals and attracts a bevy of impressive keynote speakers like Tim Draper and Guy Kawasaki. The conference is also known for its Pillar Sessions where industry leaders share personal experiences.
On February 10, 2010, the American Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council convenes in Arlington, Virginia for a tremendous powwow. Small businesses play a huge role for government IT professionals and the annual conference is a destination for small businesses to be introduced to government agencies and larger corporations looking for small business partners. The 2010 theme of “Start. Build. Conquer” is succinct and inspiring.
February 18-20 is the Small Business Institute’s annual conference. Titled “Business Aloft” and located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it will be highly attended simply for the good weather, budgets willing. This year’s conference is fiscally topical and applicable with themes of “How to Rise to the Top in Difficult Times” and “Lessons from Main Street, Wall Street and the Ivory Tower.”
What to expect the rest of the year? It used to be that there were two peak seasons -- March through May, and September through November -- but these days depending on the city, it’s conference season year-round. From Las Vegas to New Orleans to New York City there’s always something going on in an industry.
“The dynamics of scheduling meetings and conferences has evolved,” says Char Thian, Director of Public Relations for The Ritz-Carlton Hotels of New Orleans, LA. “Meeting planners are booking conferences in-the-month, for-the-month and they are also looking at “need periods” versus booking a meeting in January because a company always held its meetings in January. It is about getting the best value.”
January, February, June, July, and August are increasingly popular thanks to lower rates during off-season for hotels.
“The summer and the month of December are considered off-season in New Orleans,” says Thian. “While summer used to be slow, we’ve seen an increase in business levels (conferences) because meeting planners are looking for the best value. Additionally, conference attendees are adding dates onto their business trip. They are creating a vacation on either side of their business trip.”