Accreditation where it’s due

The Meetings Industry Association (MIA) reported a 2007-08 trading loss of £50,427 but new member gains since the March 2008 AGM have meant accruals to the 2008-9 account of £96,366.

Honorary treasurer Peter Darnell told Conference News the association had dipped into its reserves to deliver the tools to market its AIM accreditation scheme, both outside of the association, as well as to members.

Chief executive Jane Evans told the association’s AGM at Church House, 26 January, that current membership stood at 407, with the MIA hoping to push the figure higher over the final two years of the current three-year development plan, in which a recovery of the association’s reserves was forecast, despite the general economic backdrop.

Membership had dipped when the AIM scheme was first made compulsory last year, Evans acknowledged, with 52 members either choosing then not to renew or unable meet the criteria for Accreditation In Meetings, now compulsory for members.

“We have since increased our membership in spite of the most appalling trading conditions that have seen many organisations struggling,” said Evans, who also told Conference News that the question of group membership was being reexamined in view of feedback from some hotel groups and suppliers who were currently resistant to the costs involved with multiple properties in membership.

The MA conference saw the launch of MIA’s new website www.aimaccredited.com designed to take the quality standard out to the wider market (a condition for VisitBritain’s backing of the AIM scheme). A Licensed Partners franchise agreement is also available from the MIA.

Fees generated from AIM Direct and Licensed Partner franchises would be used, said Evans, to produce more networking events.

Evans stressed the highlight of the year had been the endorsement of AIM byVisitBritain in England. All AIM accredited venues will be featured on the VisitBritain venue search.

Evans said the commitment also extends to ensuring that the tourism agency encourage adoption of the scheme by DCMS and other government departments which means that AIM should become part of their procurement criteria.

A new MIA council was elected and audited accounts accepted at the AGM.

Richard Richardson then entertained the MIA annual conference with some ‘Marketing Judo’ based on his experience at helping to transform Harry Ramsdens from a single fish and chip shop into a world famous brand.

For those more interest in the minutiae of what venues should be supplying, Alan Cutler gave a nitty-gritty presentation on leadership and how to exceed expectations.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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