Trade bodies don’t sway buyers

More than 60% of event planners do not value association membership. In a C&IT survey of 823 industry professionals, 498 said they were not more likely to hire a company if it was a member of an association. This mirrors research carried out by Imex and the Association Gateway, which found that 72 out of 207 corporate and agency planners felt there was too great a gap between expectation of membership benefits and the reality. ITMA executive director Charles Robinson defended associations. "We represent the industry to a wide range of stakeholders and members often do not see what goes on behind the scenes," he said. However, he admitted associations didn’t always communicate benefits effectively. "Sometimes we raise expectations but don’t have the resources to follow up," he added.

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