Don’t Come To The Annual Convention

“WHAT?” you may be asking. “Why shouldn’t I come to the Annual Convention in Colorado Springs? It is my right as a dues-paying member of GAWDA, my responsibility as a representative of my company, and my duty as a leader in the industry!”

Exactly! The same can be said about attendance at the Regional Meetings and the Spring Management Conference. It is hard to think of a reason, short of health concerns, for you not to attend GAWDA’s meetings, including the reasons below:

  • Schedule conflict: The meeting locations/dates are determined and publicized at least one year in advance, often sooner. Your dentist will understand and your spouse may rather spend his/her anniversary in Colorado Springs than at home.
  • Family obligations: Bring them with you. GAWDA is one big family; the President’s Gala is the best family reunion of the year.
  • Expense/time: You cannot afford not to come to the meeting. What would it cost you in terms of money and time to meet with all your distributor and supplier partners? For the price of a meeting registration, a plane ticket and a hotel, you can meet them all in one place over four days. That is real value.
  • I don’t make new contacts: Step out of your booth, greet a first-timer (look for the ribbons), sit at a table with people you do not know…
  • Location: Colorado Springs, New York, Hawaii—where would you rather be?
  • No hotel rooms: Granted, The Broadmoor sold out faster than a Jimmy Buffett concert.
  • Death: OK, you got me there.

A lot of time, thought and energy goes into planning every meeting. Each year, the incoming president selects a Planning Committee of distributor and supplier members to help plan the SMC and Annual Convention. They review the surveys members completed about previous meetings, past agendas, current events and hot industry topics. From this information, they develop a list of presentations and workshops that should be of interest to members. For the convention, they also visit the hotel, tour potential Gala locations and determine the overall theme of the meeting.

Now let’s talk about the dirtiest word in the meeting planning industry: attrition. In each hotel contract, we reserve a guaranteed number of rooms. Industry consolidation and a host of other variables make determining the correct number of rooms a crap shoot. In past years, GAWDA operated under the philosophy that we wanted to guarantee that every member, even those waiting until right before the convention, had a room. The result was large blocks of unused rooms that left GAWDA owing the hotel tens of thousands, even, in one instance, several hundred thousand dollars. Our goal in recent years was to break this cycle and return GAWDA to the position of making a profit on the meetings.

No excuses. We look forward to seeing you ALL at the 68rd Annual Convention in Colorado Springs—unless, of course, you’re passing through the pearly gates!

If you’re still not convinced, see what GAWDA members had to say about the value of attending the Annual Convention in the video below.

Editor’s note: Part of this article was previously published in an issue of Welding & Gases Today.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association