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The No Fly Annual Meeting

The news this past week has me thinking about what the association world would be like if business travel as we know it ends.

Seems far fetched, and I hope it is, but the UK has begun to ban electronics from carry-on luggage on their flights. How many of you are confident that a checked laptop will make it to your destination unscathed? Or even arrive? I know of people who are contemplating going to London via Paris and the Chunnel in order to avoid UK flight restrictions. Such draconian measures seem likely to depress business and other travel.

If these trends continue and spread, I can see business travel by air drying up significantly. The first things to be cut in that kind of travel-unfriendly environment are often non-essential meetings, which basically defines the association event.

How could you hold an annual meeting or convention in that environment? One though I've had is that you could convene simultaneous local meetings within drive distance of a majority of your membership. Each locality would recruit their own concurrent speakers. The national organization could provide keynotes via satellite, a common web site, virtual exhibit hall and supplemental online community space for attendees around the country to interact and network. It would have to be a different economic model, of course, but the current one would not survive the death of air travel.

I am interested in what you think about this idea or other options under the assumption that business air travel might be severely restricted for an extended period of time. How might associations innovate around this kind of challenge?

(Update: News this morning says that laptops are being allowed back onto UK flights.)



Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The No Fly Annual Meeting:

» Could the latest airline plot be the beginning of the end of the big annual meeting? from Face2Face Meetingsnet
That's a question David Gammel asks in this post on ASAE's Acronym blog. He says, The news this past week has me thinking about what the association world would be like if business travel as we know it ends...If these trends continue and spread, I c... [Read More]

» Annual Meetings with out Travel? from Event Marketing Strategies
David Gammel from Acronym has an interesting take on the latest terrorist plot against the airlines and what it will do the annual meeting as we know it. Could heavy restrictions on laptops and carry-ons lead to the demise of [Read More]

» Will travel restrictions kill the annual meeting? from Communicatio
Over on Acronym, David Gammel contemplates the "no-fly annual meeting" and the end of air travel as we know it. I'm just glad that our annual meeting is several months away. [Read More]


This is an interesting comment and makes you start to wonder about the viability of any meeting that requires significant amount of travel. I beleive that we should all be looking at new and innovative ways to deliver complelling content - new & local delivery models will play a major roll in the upcoming years of uncertian travel.

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