Planners Helping Planners: Meal Cost

Welcome to a new series on the blog where your meeting planning questions and dilemmas are answered by experts – other meeting planners! Comment below with your own questions. 

Q: How can I save on meal costs?

A: Get creative with your meal items. 

Order a la carte items instead of packaged meals. Also check with the facility to see if they will allow you to use the dessert that comes with lunch as your afternoon snack.

Submitted by: April Cox, Education Manager (Meeting Planner), with SC Association of CPAs 

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How Meeting Planners Book, Plan, and Execute Their Events

The 26th Annual Meetings Market Survey collected information about the number, size, revenue, and budgets for meetings industry during 2015, as well as information about site visits, booking windows, housing, and other topics:

Site Selection 
When it comes to ranking tools for booking meeting sites, site visits are first, according to 41 percent of respondents. A higher percentage of planners say that online searches are their preferred site-selection approach over one-on-one sales interactions (35 percent and 22 percent, respectively), and only 6 percent rank fam trips as their first choice.

Airbnb and Shared Housing
Most respondents (79 percent) said that Airbnb and other shared-housing platforms are not important options for their attendees. Seventeen percent expect that a percentage of registrants will use Airbnb rather than their headquarters hotels or hotels in their room block, but it’s low: 6 percent of registrants, on average.

Booking Window 
More than two-fifths of respondents (43 percent compared to 31 per-cent in the 2015 study) report that they are booking their large meetings more than three years in advance; 24 percent are booking two to three years ahead; 24 percent are booking only one to two years out; and 10 percent are booking their large meetings in under one year. The average booking window is 2.5 years, slightly above 2.3 years reported in last year’s survey.

Technology
The technology that respondents continue to seek most for their meetings is high-speed wireless internet access. In terms of social media, 78 percent of respondents rate Facebook either first or second when it comes to marketing their meetings and engaging attendees. Seventy-two percent say Twitter is their No. 1 or No. 2 choice, while LinkedIn is first or second by 51 percent. Instagram is ranked first and second by 35 percent (a big jump from 2 percent in last year’s survey) and Pinterest is ranked first by 10 percent. Eight percent of respondents use Snapchat as their first and second choice, and 6 percent of respondents rank Periscope first — in last year’s survey, no one reported using Periscope.

Virtual Meetings
Fewer than one in five respondents (17 percent) report that their largest event included a virtual or hybrid component. Twelve percent (compared to 14 percent in the 2015 survey) report that their use of virtual meetings and events increased in the past year, while 82 per-cent (compared to 79 percent in the 2015 survey) say it remained the same and 6 percent (down from 7 percent in the 2015 survey) report that it decreased. On average, respondents’ use of virtual meetings and events went up nearly 0.3 percent, on par with last year’s survey increase of 0.2 percent.

Changes as a Result of the Economy 
More than half of respondents (62 percent) say they have not made any changes to their meetings over the last year because of the economy. Twelve percent (down from 16 percent in the 2015 survey) say they have cut back on some aspects of their events because of the lingering effects of the downturn in their particular industry. Conversely, 26 percent (up from 21 percent in the 2015 survey) say they have been able to make a greater investment in their meetings because they’ve seen an improvement in their industry.

This article was originally published by PCMA Convene and is written by Michelle Russell.

Anniversary Celebration at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

The Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is celebrating their ninth anniversary this year with some exciting upgrades to the property and a special offer.

The resort boasts new new poolside cabanas with individual misting systems, expanded entertainment around new fire pits in both Cortijo Plaza and Kasbah Patio, renovations to Joya Salon, and newly towel-covered chaise lounges on the Joya Pool Deck.

The resort grounds have also been enhanced with the planting of additional citrus trees, and the majesty and grandeur of iconic Camelback Mountain has never been more apparent with expansive new sightlines from guest rooms and public spaces.

Plan a stay at the Omni Scottsdale with their new  Rise, Dine & Unwind offer, which includes 15% off their best flexible rate plus an additional 15% off of spa services and dining.

The holidays represent a special time of year filled with joy, excitement and a multitude of festive events. Plus, guests have the opportunity to give back with Omni’s “Say Goodnight to Hunger” program, ensuring proceeds from every direct booking on OmniHotels.com provide dinner for a family in our community.

IMEX America Stats and Show Floor

IMEX America is consistent in its attempts to reduce their environmental footprint resulting from hosting 12,000 attendees, 3,250 exhibitors and occupying 19,575 room nights in local hotels.

This was actioned by initiatives that ranged from encouraging attendees to donate books to a local literacy program to helping to build hygiene kits for the Clean the World project.

Recyclable carpet was used in the aisles and some of the booths and only an abbreviated version of the show catalogue made it into print.  Ray Bloom, IMEX Group Chairman is one of the best at having his organization lead by example!

Representatives from CP.com supplier partners had a good showing in the hall. Among them were:

  • Martina Fundaro  – The Prague Convention Bureau
  • Marie McKown – Meet in Ireland
  • Angeline van den Broecke and Alan Pryor – Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
  • Julie Dodds and Jim Henderson – Visit Anchorage
  • Laura St. Germain – United Airlines

Malaysia’s Colorful Booth

Ireland’s Booth featured an authentic looking sheep!

Dan O’Neil, vice president strategy and sales for the Bloomington CVB, headed up a press conference announcing a new “Under One Roof” meeting experience. This program packages together unique luxury meeting space in partnership with the JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America, Radisson Blu Mall of America and the Mall of America itself.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Ray Bloom talked about breaking records for the sixth year in a row! Here are a few of the more impressive stats:

  • 12,000+ exhibitors, hosted buyers and attendees
  • 70,000 individual and group appointments along with stand presentations took place
  • 72% of appointments were based on RFP’s
  • 250 educational sessions took place covering 10 tracks
  • 450 exhibitors and buyers participated in the IMEXrun Las Vegas routed along the famous Strip

Congratulations to the IMEX Team for a great show. ConventionPlanit loved participating!

 

 

ConventionPlanit Attends IMEX America

The ‘power of live experience’ was a theme that resonated throughout this year’s IMEX America held in Las Vegas October 9-12. Through the participants coming together as one, the exhibition reinforced its role as a celebration of all that is positive, regenerative, empathetic and optimistic about the meetings and events industry.

Employing our own special antidote to the unfathomable disaster of the previous week, the hugs were more heartfelt, the conversations more optimistic and the overall energy focused on supporting Las Vegas…#VegasStrong. Again it was proven that there is no better industry for promoting solidarity in the face of turmoil and tragedy than the hospitality marketplace.

Your intrepid blogger was on site to bring you the “show buzz” for this annual extravaganza’s seventh edition.  The event boasted more than 3,300 exhibitors representing 150 countries interacting with 3,200 buyers who participated in 70,000 individual appointments and booth presentations. Participating buyers had the opportunity to:

  • Conduct up to a year’s worth of global business in only 2-3 days… without needing a passport
  • Learning from the extensive Education sessions and Inspiration Hub interaction
  • Enjoy both professional and personal networking

At the ConventionPlanit.com booth, David Markham was kept busy introducing new planners to RFP Organization as well as the amusing cartoon strip starring Misty and Happy.

conventionplanit at imex america

Interactive experiences were augmenting the standard educational formats with opportunities for the planners to sample dynamic activities such as:

  • Instant personalized song writing
  • Enjoying lunch from food trucks
  • Experiencing virtual reality of Ski Jumping (some advice – do this before lunch!)
  • Instruction from a (hotel) master florist on arranging flowers at home
  • Mixing it up with a champion Sumo Wrestler (don’t try this at home!)

Next up – IMEX America’s green efforts!

SPIN Announces Big Change: Association Now Welcomes Senior-Level Suppliers

Here is some exciting news from ConventionPlanit’s Strategic Partner, SPIN!

SPIN:Senior Planners Industry Network announces a name change – becoming SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network, along with the announcement that it now welcomes veteran suppliers into its ranks.

SPIN was started in 2008 to fill a need for education and networking for senior-level meeting planners. As the association enters its 10th year, SPIN now welcomes suppliers with at least 10 years of experience to join. Supplier membership will be capped at 33% of overall membership – the lowest ratio in the meeting industry.

“We’ve had a 33% supplier ratio at our annual conference, SPINCon, since its inception, and it’s been a great environment for both sides,” said SPIN founder Shawna Suckow, CMP. “We’re looking forward to our membership reflecting the great environment – and participant ratio – we’ve built at SPINCon over the years.”

SPIN has grown robustly since its start as a LinkedIn group and now counts nearly 3000 planner members in North America and Canada.

“Our strict planner focus has resulted in some really one-sided conversations and education,” said SPIN VP of Communications, Carolyn Browning, CMP. “It’s time for us to evolve and bridge the gap, to be the place where the industry’s most experienced professionals meet, connect, and change the industry for the better.”

While SPIN welcomes supplier membership, it’s on-line community fosters a no-selling environment.

“We want to keep the focus on connections and conversations that build relationships, not just transactions,” said Tracey Smith, CMP, CMM, SPIN Advisory Board member. “Any of our supplier partners who’ve been to SPINCon know that the vibe within SPIN is really special, and we all want to protect that. SPIN is the place to foster real relationships.”

Senior-level suppliers are invited to apply for membership today at www.spinplanners.com. Membership is $799 through the end of October, with two bonus months of membership included for a total of 14 months. If supplier membership spots still remain (in keeping with the 33% cap on supplier enrollment), dues will increase November 1 to $899.

About SPIN

SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network is the world’s third largest association for meeting planners and the largest for senior-level planners. SPIN has recently invited all hospitality professionals who have at least 10 years of experience to join their ranks.

Update from IMEX America

Update from IMEX America:

We are shocked and saddened at the events that have taken place in Las Vegas over the past 24 hours. 

We can confirm that IMEX America will be going ahead at the Sands Expo next week from Oct 10 – 12 (Smart Monday, Oct. 9). 

Both IMEX America and the Sands have very strong security in place, with both visible and plain clothes security teams in the venue and at the tradeshow. Over the coming days we will be working closely with the Sands, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas authorities to assess any additional security measures that are needed at this time. We will take their full advice in ensuring the best possible security and safety of our guests. 

We will send you further information as it becomes available. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact us and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the industry to IMEX America next week. 

With Best Regards, 

Ray Bloom, Chairman and Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group.

Make Plans in the Heart of Downtown L.A.

Nestled between Downtown L.A.’s Business and Fashion Districts, Luxe City Center Hotel’s Four-Diamond, luxury accommodations are steps from a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment destinations. Experience the Playfully Professional™ for yourself.

Two great offers are available for ConventionPlanIt members:

Fall Meetings Package:

Contract a minimum of 40 room nights by December 30 and receive $500 credit to the Master or American Express gift card. Rates from $179.

Optional meeting package add on:

Meeting room, premium WiFi, flip chart package, all day non-alcoholic beverage service, projection screen, continental breakfast, lunch buffet and afternoon break. Starting at $79++ per person.

Minimum 40 room nights contracted and 20 guests.

Above offers based on new business only, availability and restrictions may apply. Contract by October 31.