Air Force Cancels AFITC Conference

by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

Restaurateurs, travel agents, and hoteliers in Montgomery, Alabama must have a collective headache today. The Montgomery Advertiser just reported that the Air Force has cancelled its 2012 Information Technology Conference (otherwise known as AFITC). The event was scheduled to take place from August 27 to 29. It has been held annually in Montgomery since 1983 and is the largest IT conference within the Department of Defense.

It was only two weeks ago that we learned of another victim of recent scrutiny over travel to events: the National Guard’s 2012 NGB JC4I Conference, which was cancelled due to government cutbacks. There’s no question that a trend is emerging, especially when you add this news to recent headlines about other conference and event cancellations.

It’s not clear yet how these cutbacks will impact the information-gathering habits of government employees who already had made reservations to attend AFITC or any of the other now-cancelled conferences (who doesn’t want to visit beautiful downtown Montgomery in mid-August?). But the news is certainly forcing us to adjust some of our 2012 marketing plans, and I’m sure we are not alone.

We’re currently exploring other options to help our clients reach qualified prospects within the Air Force and National Guard IT communities. What marketing media are you considering? We’d love to hear your ideas.

7 Responses to Air Force Cancels AFITC Conference

  1. Allan Rubin says:

    UPDATE: Here’s some information from the announcement for exhibitors: “This morning we received the unfortunate news that the 2012 AFITC Conference has officially been cancelled by the Secretary of the Air Force. Please be assured that Gunter and Maxwell officials, the Mayor of Montgomery, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and MC² exhausted all efforts in the approval process. The choice to cancel is in no way a reflection of the conference, and we are hopeful that the show will be reinstated for 2013.”

  2. Joyce Bosc says:

    Allan, thanks for sharing! This trend of government conference cutbacks and cancellations means there is less opportunity for industry to get their story in front of prospective decision makers. Business Development, Capture and Communications teams need to make up for this lack of presence in other ways – strategic public relations, including media relations and social media, and targeted advertising are able to offer sound alternatives.

    • Allan Rubin says:

      I agree Joyce. We don’t see events going away any time soon, but we’ve been counseling our clients to re-adjust their expectations around event attendance and look for more creative ways to get their messages out while driving leads. We have a number of lead-gen programs that don’t involve live event attendance.

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