The annual meeting for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a major event. Over the course of one week, nearly 4,000 attendees take part in the conference, spending time on the trade show floor, in breakout meetings, general sessions, and education workshops.
While the event offers a huge range of activities and networking opportunities for the engineers who attend, it can also present serious challenges for a planner trying to secure all the space necessary for such a varied and large-scale program.
“It’s a hard meeting to fit because we’re picky about meeting space,” says Phyllis Klasky, director of events management for ASME.
The association requires 45,000 to 55,000 square feet of trade show floor space, but also needs 60,000 to 70,000 square feet of concurrent space for meeting rooms — they run about 900 separate events and breakout sessions throughout the conference. Klasky admits, “It would be much easier to say, ‘I’m going to just do a big trade show and need a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall,’” than to find a property, or more likely multiple properties, that can accommodate their myriad needs.