The Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing is back, live and in person. But the conference drew only a small fraction of its former attendance as COVID concerns – or lack of travel budgets – keep crowds at bay.
From the stage today, ANA CEO Bob Liodice pegged in-person attendance at 500 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, which for years has been the venue for the biggest event of the leading marketer organization in the industry. By contrast, the Masters had nearly 3,000 attendees in 2019, the last time it was held in Orlando pre-pandemic. People were mostly watching from home this year, as Liodice reported nearly 3,000 virtual attendees.
Lobbies that used to be packed with people in years past were relatively quiet. In previous years, attendees sometimes had to take shuttles in from satellite hotels. But Priceline was advertising rooms at the Rosen Shingle Creek on Tuesday as low as $114 a night, less than half the conference rate, and anyone who took up the offer early Wednesday could check in as early as 7:30 a.m.