Saturday, August 8, 2015
Thousands of association executives from all over the country will be in Detroit Aug. 8-11 for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting & Exposition at Cobo Center.
More than 5,000 will be in attendance at ASAE and more than half of that number are association executives. This meeting is considered the “super bowl” of conventions because these executives are the decision makers who plan meetings for their own organizations and will potentially bring future meetings to Detroit.
History shows that up to 20 percent of ASAE attendees are likely to book a meeting up to five years after the convention if their experience is positive. The meeting is well timed since the $279 million renovation of Cobo Center is complete and the city of Detroit is undergoing an unprecedented transformation.
“We booked this group in 2009 in anticipation that Detroit would be a viable place to host ASAE in 2015 because of new development underway,” said Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facilities Authority. “However, the downtown turnaround has been even grander than we anticipated when we put in our bid. We believe attendees are going to be surprised by Detroit’s readiness to hold major conventions and events.”
Alexander said 22 committees made up of representatives of the local hospitality committee have been in place to ensure that the ASAE Annual Meeting is executed well and that an outstanding hospitality experience is delivered to each and every guest.
Committees include hotels, airport, décor and signage, community outreach, marketing, safety and security and volunteers.
Hundreds of volunteers have been solicited to serve as Detroit ambassadors and will greet attendees downtown, at the airport and at major conference events. Signage and décor are in place this week, including billboards between Detroit Metro Airport and downtown, a wrapped Detroit People Mover, airport banners, light pole banners, digital signs and taxicab flags.
“The most critical need we have now is for the community to be the best ambassadors they can for Detroit and create such a welcoming environment that attendees will want to bring back their own meetings,” said Alexander.
He added that ASAE has the potential to bring $500 million dollars in economic impact to the region from future meetings, in addition to the estimated $16 million that ASAE attendees, exhibitors and sponsors will spend during the annual meeting itself.
Meeting delegates will have the opportunity to attend sessions to further their association education, as well as general sessions with notable speakers. Josh Linkner, venture capitalist, tech entrepreneur, and author of two New York Times bestsellers, will be the keynote speaker at the opening general session on Sunday, Aug. 9.
Sherry Turkle, professor, author, consultant, researcher and licensed clinical psychologist will speak on reclaiming conversation in our digital world at the closing general session on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Along with these educational sessions, ASAE attendees will also complete a community service project at the Detroit-based Alternatives For Girls non-profit organization, which serves homeless and high-risk girls and young women.
Evening events are the highlight of the ASAE Annual Meeting and Detroit’s events will showcase The Henry Ford, Fox Theatre and Hart Plaza on the riverfront. The opening night celebration at The Henry Ford on Saturday, Aug. 8 will feature legends of Motown including The Contours, Mary Wilson of the Supremes and the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, and The Four Tops. Singer Lionel Richie will be the headline entertainment at a fundraising event, “The Classic” at the Fox Theatre on Monday, Aug. 10.
The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to market and sell the metropolitan Detroit area on a worldwide basis as a destination for leisure and business travel including conventions, trade shows, corporate meetings, tours and incentive travel to maximize additional visitors, visitor expenditures, state and local tax revenues and job opportunities.