Top 13 Benefits of Industry Associations
When you’ve worked in the meetings and events industry for a long time, you learn a lot of valuable tactics to help you grow as a professional. One of those items is the importance of getting involved in industry associations. There are a number of hospitality industry associations to participate in. From national organizations, like Meeting Professionals International (MPI), to local groups the Kansas City Society for Association Executives (KCSAE), there are countless opportunities to become more involved in industry associations and networking groups. But have you ever wondered what you would gain from involvement in these organizations? Our Agenda: USA team has been active in many of them, so we’ve created a list of the benefits of industry associations.
- Networking with Other Likeminded Professionals
In business, it’s always a great idea to connect with people that have similar goals and interests as you. Networking with peers that share similar goals (and clients!) is a great way to maintain rapport with other professionals and to meet other people in the industry that have things in common with you.
- Stay Up to Date on Trends
In any job, it’s important to stay abreast of the latest industry news, and that’s exactly what you should be doing in the meetings and events industry. Beyond news, it’s also a good idea to stay updated on the latest trends and happenings. Event decor and meeting trends come into popularity and fade away quickly, so you definitely need to be “in the know” in order to maintain relevance for your clients. Participating in associations keeps you at the top of your game with current trends.
- Recruit Star Employees
If you’re trying to find top talent to join your growing company, then go to some industry networking events. Networking functions and association meetings are great places to find prospective employees for your team. Association members are generally the cream of the crop due to their extensive involvement with industry groups. It just makes sense that you will find great employees in this pool of talented professionals.
- Become a Mentor/Gain a Mentor
There’s nothing more rewarding than helping to mold the future. That’s why we highly recommend being a mentor to a fresh, young professional. Over the years our team members have had the honor of mentoring a number of up-and-coming leaders in the industry. The process of guiding them along their career journey is extremely enriching, and it has also helped us stay involved with the younger generation in a more inclusive way.
- Professional Development
Our industry is constantly growing and thriving, so continued education never ends. There are always opportunities to learn and expand on your knowledge base. Most of the time, association meetings include educational elements for attendees. By simply attending association luncheons and meetings, you’re also making yourself a more well-rounded professional for your clients.
- Advocate for the Events Industry
The meetings and events industry has had some difficult times over the last few decades. From recessions to pandemics, there have been a number of challenges we have overcome together. Associations are generally on the front lines of industry news due to their large membership lists. Getting involved means you may have a chance to help advocate for the events industry to generate positive changes, both nationally and locally.
- Gain Leads
Who doesn’t love a great lead? Even better is when you get amazing leads at networking events. Becoming more involved puts you in a position to receive more leads and business referrals from other industry professionals. People tend to work with people they like, so get to know everyone you can at association events. Once they all know and trust you, the leads will follow. This is one of the many great benefits of industry associations.
- Posture Yourself as an Industry Leader
It’s always a great idea to posture yourself as an industry leader. This isn’t as much about wanting to be the best as it is about being able to give your clients peace of mind. When they know you can handle anything because of your level of experience, that puts their mind at ease and allows them to fully trust you and the process. Holding an office or board position for an association displays your personal involvement and dedication to the industry.
- Access to Valuable Resources
Many associations have resources available for their members to utilize, such as template libraries, directories, and industry periodicals. These things can be extremely valuable as you grow your business and as you discover new hurdles that must be overcome. Always remember to take advantage of these resources and the benefits of industry associations!
- Insider Opportunities
When you network regularly with a group of professionals, they are more likely to give you preferential treatment for potential partnership opportunities. These types of relationships are crucial to growing your revenue. Don’t be afraid to ask about potential insider opportunities when you’re networking with others.
- Gain a Competitive Advantage
When you are deeply involved in associations, you have an automatic advantage over your competitors. You are well-connected, have great educational opportunities, and are loaded with valuable resources for your clients. This type of competitive advantage will help tremendously when it comes to winning business.
- Leave a Legacy
It’s human nature to want to leave a legacy behind. As your career progresses, you begin creating a legacy. Joining committees, holding an office, and regularly participating in networking events will solidify the legacy that you leave behind for the next generation of meeting and event planners.
- Make New Friends
As you can see from this list, there are many benefits of industry associations. But above all else, it’s a fun way to make wonderful friends that will last the test of time. Some of your closest friends in the future may well be people you meet through participating in industry networking associations. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to new people. They could be your next best friend!
For more information on how to get involved, check out these popular industry associations:
Meeting Professionals International (MPI), International Live Events Association (ILEA), National Association of Catering and Events (NACE), Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI), Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).