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CIC CEO Takes on the Convention Crashers

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To the Editor:

"Professional Networking, Minus the Conference Fees" (Business Day, Aug. 19) gives a platform to people to do what can only be described as consuming a product without paying for it.

Frankly, I am surprised that those entrepreneurs featured in the article would go on the record and say as much. Membership associations rely on their events and educational offerings to generate revenue. It’s just like any other business.

Would you let someone benefit from your work, product or service without paying for it? In the scheme of things, these registrant scofflaws are the exception, but meeting organizers are forced to invest in added technology and security to discourage others from skirting the system, increasing the cost of the ticket to the paying customers.

Those quoted in the article justify their actions by saying they are not interested in the panels, but those who attend these panels are the very same people they want to meet with "in between sessions or at the bar." We don’t have the data to quantify how much these "lobbycons," "suitcasers" or "conference-crashers" are costing meeting organizers, but the amount doesn’t matter. Wrong is wrong, no matter how you justify it.

Chief Executive
Convention Industry Council
Alexandria, Va., August 22, 2014

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The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a
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