April 23 - 26 2018 · Minneapolis, MN
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25th NASC Symposium
Chicago Northwest
2018 Symposium

Justify Attendance

How to Justify Symposium Attendance

As a sport tourism professional, how do you propose any allocation of resources in your organization? You need to understand two components to make decisions:

Understanding Your Symposium Expenses

Symposium expenses are affected by a number of factors. Before you can even begin to justify Symposium expenses, you need to calculate what those expenses are. To do so, use the Expenses Worksheet to develop a cost estimate for attending the Symposium.

Understanding the Benefits

Let's face it: many benefits from Symposium attendance are hard to quantify. For example, experts agree that the top benefit of any convention attendance is networking value. Where else can you find so many industry contacts facing the same issues as your organization? Are there solutions you're not aware of? Although networking is undoubtedly the most important aspect of a convention, it can also be the toughest for which to quantify any value.

On the other hand, if an employee came to you and said, "I want you to fund me for $4,000 and I don't know what it'll do for you," then you would likely scoff at the offer… and maybe even mumble a few colorful metaphors about his/her suggestion.

When you propose Symposium participation for approvals, don't focus on how much you want to go; focus on what you will specifically bring back to the organization as payback for the investment.

Some specific details you'll need to identify include:

  • Session content. What sessions have particular relevance to your organization's work? Specifically identify:

    1. Sales and Marketing
    2. Event Management
    3. Risk Management
    4. Leadership
    5. Tools
    6. Technologies
    7. Processes

  • Vendor contacts. Will the Symposium showcase vendors with tools you use or are evaluating for potential future use? Is this an opportunity during which you'll be able to compare competing tools?

  • Best practices. Will there be training sessions in areas that will immediately benefit your group?

  • Training. Will there be workshops designed to teach attendees a special skill and/or help your team overcome current or future challenges?

  • Lead generation. Show the decision-maker at your organization the registered event owner list and explain you will have the ability to meet one-on-one to generate leads for future business for your destination.
  • Business development. Show the decision-maker at your organization the registered attendee list and explain you will have the ability to meet one-on-one to generate leads for future business for your sport or company.

Quantifying the Benefits

Although you might understand the benefits of the Symposium that interests you, your manager may not. Therefore, to be most effective in justifying the Symposium, you need to clearly articulate the connection between your organization's knowledge requirements and the Symposium program. DO NOT assume that your manage will be able to automatically make those distinctions.

To support this process, use the Benefits Worksheet  to help you focus on the benefits. Use whatever makes sense for your particular organization, and omit the rest.

It's all in the Selling

After you have identified the specific knowledge benefits, you've provided both the expenses and benefits your manager needs to decide the value of your proposition. Salespeople work the same way. They don't let customers infer the value of what they are selling, they make that leap for them.

Sell your Symposium proposition!

Chicago Northwest

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