A Customized Day of Learning & Networking

Recognizing that the needs and demands of association executives are unique, IMEX America will once again feature Association Focus & Evening.
This customized set of events will take place as part of Smart Monday Powered by MPI on October 12th in Las Vegas at The Venetian®|The Palazzo® Congress Center & the Foxtail Nightclub at SLS Las Vegas.  The IMEX America show then runs at the Sands Expo and The Venetian®|The Palazzo® October 13th-15th.
The customized Association Focus line-up kicks off on the Monday of IMEX America week with a Networking Luncheon followed by a full afternoon of education sessions including those led by ASAE and ICCA, with CMP/CEU accreditation available.
This portion of the program has no suppliers present, offering a unique educational and networking environment.  Six learning sessions will be offered in total with topics ranging from “The Journey to Great Governance” with speaker Susan Robertson, CAE, Executive Vice President, ASAE and President, ASAE Foundation; andIncreasing Non-Due Revenues in International Markets” headlining speaker Faris Abouhamad, Chairman & World President of the International Advertising Association and moderator Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events … to “Leveling Up, Big Boss Fights, Badges & Gamification Hacks that will Ignite Your Members” featuring Willis Turner, CEO, Sales & Marketing Executives International, Inc. & Shelly Alcorn Principal, Alcorn Associates Management Consulting.
Following these insightful break-outs, everyone will then come back together for a larger group wrap-up discussion before heading out to Association Evening– which this year takes place for the first time at the stunning Foxtail Nightclub at SLS Las Vegas. The new ‘cocktails and canapes’ reception format will give association executives a chance to network with exhibitors the evening prior to the show opening.
The full Association Focus schedule can be seen at: http://www.imexamerica.com/events/education/association-focus/.
If you would like to find out more about participating in Association Focus as a hosted buyer or buyer attendee please contact:natasha.richards@imexexhibitions.com.

JQH Hotels Recognized for Excellence

Backed by a 50-plus year legacy of excellence, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH) represents diverse brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Sheraton, IHG, Chateau on the Lake Resorts / Spa & Convention Center, and Plaza Hotels Collection. Twenty-three JQH hotels recently earned the TripAdvisor® special Hall of Fame status for being awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor for five consecutive years. In addition, 43 JQH properties achieved the 2015 Certificate of Excellence recognition.
Step into a JQH property and you will notice extra touches synonymous with quality, including high-end finishes and select locations with relaxing, full-service spas. As a leading owner and manager of hotels in the United States, JQH also operates more than 5.4 million gross square feet of superb meeting and convention space on-site or within walking distance to its upscale hotels.
Spanning a portfolio of nearly 70 hotels in 24 states, JQH deploys the latest technologies and processes to ensure that meeting planners and attendees’ experience is optimum. On-site banquet services are available to customize any event from large-scale trade shows, cooking demonstrations, and business expos, among others. Award-winning chefs create culinary delights that can enhance every occasion, with healthy options and dietary considerations available, including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan.
Go to www.jqhhotels.com for more information, or connect with JQH on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Visit Mexico City

Mexico City, or CDMX, has the reputation of having some of the best venues for international congresses and conventions. This high stature destination boasts more than 46,000 rooms, 676 hotels of different categories and 10 main convention centers that hold meetings from 10 up to 22,000 participants.

In the 2014 report from the International Congress & Conventions Association (ICCA), Mexico City improved by 14 points in the worldwide category and 7 positions among cities in the Americas. This latest position places Mexico above Bogota, Montreal and Frankfurt among others.

ps – did you know you can search the entire ConventionPlanit website in Spanish? Just click the Espanol button at the top of any page to translate!

Buzzing Around the Expo Hall at ASAE Annual

The ASAE Exposition trade show floor buzzed with activity Sunday and Monday with both Association members and exhibitors interacting face to face to build business relationships (you all remember how that works??:))

Exhibitors used varying methods to draw wandering attendees into their booths. These ranged from virtual reality and henna tattoos to the good old fashioned chocolate treats and the tried but true raffle for a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible.

A few of the ConventionPlanit.com supplier members in attendance included Team San Jose, Memphis CVB, Experience Columbus, Connecticut Convention Center, Miami CVB, Little Rock CVB, Delta Air Lines and Visit Newport Beach, Inc.

Shelby Tate with Little Rock CVB, Muzette Randall, CP & Amanda Campbell, Doubletree by Hilton Little Rock at ASAE Detriot

Shelby Tate with Little Rock CVB, Muzette Randall, CP & Amanda Campbell, Doubletree by Hilton Little Rock at ASAE Detriot

The Memphis CVB Sales Team “rocks” in Motown!

The Memphis CVB Sales Team “rocks” in Motown!


The Delta Air Lines “crew” lines up to help planners take advantage of their Delta Meeting Network/SkyTeam Global Meetings discount programs for attendees.

Connecticut Convention Center attracts clients with graphics of their 2015 Facilities & Destinations Prime Site Award winning building.

Connecticut Convention Center attracts clients with graphics of their 2015 Facilities & Destinations Prime Site Award winning building.

Experience Columbus showcased their destination well with a brightly colored booth!

Experience Columbus showcased their destination well with a brightly colored booth!

Look for the ASAE Annual to head west next year…see you all in Salt Lake City!

A Trip Back in Time for the ASAE Opening Reception

ASAE’s opening night receptions are always epic, but Detroit pulled out all the stops with their event at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

Maureen Pickell & Carolyn Pemberton enjoy the  Opening Reception

Maureen Pickell & Carolyn Pemberton are ‘ready to ride’ in a Model T outside the Henry Ford Museum at the Opening Reception

The festivities included local Michigan food and libation, a look at some of America’s most innovative relics and music from some Motown legends including The Contours, the Temptations Review, the Four Tops and Mary Wilson of the Supremes.

Reenactments at the Opening Reception

Reenactments at the Opening Reception

If automobile culture was your hot button, you had the opportunity to view vehicles from the sublime (presidential limousines that carried JFK, Eisenhower & Reagan) to the ridiculous (the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile that carried hot dogs.) At any rate, a good time was had by all!

Antique cars on display at the Ford Museum

Antique cars on display at the Henry Ford Museum

ASAE Annual Takes Over Detroit

If it’s August, it must be time for your intrepid blogger to head out to the 2015 ASAE Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit was the fortunate city this year to host 5,300 attendees anxious to network and attend educational sessions positioned to help them:

  • Grow globally
  • Build relationships with board and staff
  • Create a marketing strategy
  • Boost a career
  • Expand creativity
  • Achieve work-life balance

Coinciding with the Annual was the launch of a six year, $279 million renovation of the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. The new and improved meeting venue boasted expanded meeting facilities along with 30,000 square feet of contiguous floor space presenting attendees with views of the Detroit River and Canada through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

ConventionPlanit & SPiN team up. Carolyn Pemberton, Muzette Randall, Sara Vanderbilt, Maureen Pickell, Katherine Markham

ConventionPlanit & SPiN team up. Carolyn Pemberton, Muzette Randall, Sara Vanderbilt, Maureen Pickell, Katherine Markham, & Catherine Jensen

Most importantly for a venue this large, were the staffers positioned throughout the building to point you in the right direction and even help you up the escalator with excess baggage when necessary! All in all, Cobo Center did a great job with its first major post-renovation convention!

Carolyn Pemberton & Katherine Markham ConventionPlanit enjoy Detriot's Greektown

Carolyn Pemberton & Katherine Markham ConventionPlanit enjoy Detriot’s Greektown

Inspire Creativity & Productivity

Newport BeachWith 10 miles of pristine coastline, small town charm and big city opulence, Newport Beach is one of the most beautiful and sophisticated destinations along the California coast.
A comfortably chic community with a Mediterranean climate, large selection of upscale properties, acclaimed dining, celebrated golf courses and exquisite shopping, Newport Beach is the premier location for corporate group meetings. Stylish and inviting with an abundance of natural beauty, Newport Beach is a year-round destination with a setting that inspires creativity and Productivity!
Located along California’s Riviera, between Los Angeles and San Diego, just minutes from Orange County Airport, Newport Beach is accessible from three major airports. Luxury properties and distinctive venues provide plenty of extraordinary indoor and outdoor meeting space – from waterfront ballrooms, restaurants, and magnificent yachts to museums, historical sites and local Vineyards.
With the largest small craft harbor in the United States, Newport Beach has created its own signature of laid-back luxury.
Surrounded by coastal bluffs and dotted with seven islands, Newport Harbor is perfect for a harbor meeting or private dinner cruise. Gorgeous beaches, a natural estuary, historic district, active harbor and a seemingly endless array of activities make Newport Beach a coastal treasure worth exploring.

Learn more about Newport Beach and view an interactive map of the city.

Bacara Resort & Spa Diamond Necklace to be Given Away by ALHI at ASAE Annual

If you are attending the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Detroit, you should be sure to visit Associated Luxury Hotels International’s “Luxury Lane” area.

The reason?  In addition to finding out about ALHI’s diamond-studded portfolio of more than 170 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide which specialize in serving the meetings and incentive marketplace, you will have the chance to register for the chance to win a dazzling one-carat diamond necklace. ALHI is giving away the stunning one-carat “Bacara Resort & Spa Diamond Necklace,” representing the Four- and Five-Diamond ALHI portfolio at the convention, which is being held August 8-11, 2015 at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The diamond necklace is named in honor of Santa Barbara, California’s extraordinary, newly renovated and reimagined oceanfront Bacara Resort & Spa, a distinguished Member of ALHI’s worldwide portfolio. The gem is being given away by ALHI as a means to recognize its exceptional Four- and Five-Diamond quality portfolio ideal for meetings, conventions, and incentive programs. Association executives, meeting professionals, incentive/recognition specialists, and business executives in attendance simply need to stop by ALHI’s “Luxury Lane” area (anchored at Booth #1023), in order to register for the chance to win the bling.

Featuring a truly beautiful coastal setting overlooking the Pacific, Bacara Resort & Spa just completed an impressive multi-million dollar renovation of its 360 guest rooms and suites, with an inviting Spanish Colonial feel. Other recent improvements include a Foley Wine Tasting Room, a new coffee bar, a refreshed seaside restaurant, and an upgraded poolside bar. In addition to its new guestrooms, the resort also offers 70,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Plus, groups and guests also enjoy a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center, three zero-edge swimming pools (two with ocean views), direct beach access, four Har-tru clay tennis courts, onsite nature trails, and four restaurants and lounges. The resort is nestled on the bluff and beaches of the Gaviota coast, just 40 miles from Santa Ynez Wine Country and five miles from the Santa Barbara Airport.

“The ‘Bacara Resort & Spa Diamond’ is quite remarkable, just like its namesake resort,” said ALHI President Jim Schultenover. “The talented General Manager and industry veteran Kathleen Cochran leads a remarkable team ready to serve up successful programs of all types in this remarkable resort and beautiful destination in Santa Barbara, California.”

“The diamond giveaway,” Schultenover continued, “is a fun way to spotlight that notable ALHI Member resort, and to draw attention to ALHI’s incredible diamond-studded portfolio of more than 170 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts that specifically serve the meetings, conventions and incentive marketplace. Planners stopping by our ALHI Luxury Lane area at ASAE, anchored at booth number 1023, can find out about all that is new within ALHI’s portfolio and about the hotels or resorts that could be the ideal site-solution for their upcoming programs. It will just take a moment for planners to register for the chance to win and learn more about ALHI and our outstanding hotels and resorts.”

ALHI (alhi.com) is the leading independent Global Sales Organization (GSO) serving the North American meetings and incentive (M&I) marketplace for its Membership of over 170 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide. In addition to the 115,000 rooms and 10 million square feet of function space in the hotel portfolio, ALHI also provides GSO “Alliance” sales services for 9 luxury cruise ships appropriate for M&I programs; and a worldwide Destination Management Company (DMC) offering program support from 100 service providers in over 65 countries. One call connects to an experienced ALHI GSO Sales Professional with advocacy and sales assistance for meetings, conventions, and incentive programs.

ALHI is a dues-funded organization, so there is no cost to the planning organization to access the GSO network with local professionals and ease and expertise of discussing viable options for your programs.

In addition, for ease of matching specific event criteria, ALHI provides very useful information on 12 defined “Specialty Segments” within the ALHI portfolio which makes it easy for planners to quickly identify site-specific solutions for their programs. These include the “Beach & Island Collection,” “Big Box Solutions,” “Level 5 Collection,” “City Solutions,” “Passport Collection,” “Golf Collection,” “Entertainment & Gaming Collection,” “U-200 Gems,” “Historic Collection,” “Mountain Collection,” “Ocean Line Collection,” and “Bahamas, Bermuda & Caribbean Collection.”

For information about any of ALHI’s Members and resources, planners should contact their nearest of the 20 professionally-staffed ALHI Global Sales offices situated coast-to-coast in the United States and in Canada, with locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Richmond, Southern California (3), Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Washington (state). For specifics, go to alhi.com to identify the “ALHI Team” sales professionals in your state/area.

For more information about ALHI, to inquire about any of the ALHI portfolio properties, and/or to acquire a free copy of ALHI’s “2015 Meeting Facilities Guide” or the ALHI app, contact your nearest ALHI Global Sales Office, or call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), visit ALHI’s “Luxury Lane” area at the ASAE Annual convention (anchored at Booth #1023), and visit www.alhi.com.

Association of Women in Events Announces Founding Board of Directors

The Association of Women in Events, a new organization launched in March 2015, has announced its founding board of directors. The association received over 65 applications for membership on the inaugural board, and founders spent several weeks vetting candidates for these important leadership roles. The Board of Directors is expected to guide the vision of the association throughout the first formative years and shape the community surrounding the organization.

The Association of Women in Events was founded by Carrie Abernathy, Tamela Blalock, Mas Tadesse Harris, Mary Higham, and Kiki Janssens. The mission of the organization is to provide women professionals in the meetings and events industry a place for sharing best practices, networking, professional development, career advancement and recognition. By the end of the 2015 year, AWE initiatives such as membership and education plan to be launched with the guidance and leadership of the board members.

“This specific group of board members are leaders in the events industry, and we feel each of them will truly encompass the mission of the organization and bring the association to life”, said co-founder Carrie Abernathy CMP, CEM, CSEP, “We are excited to start working on the future and building a community”.

The Founding Board of Directors will have one- and two-year roles. Board members were chosen from an array of fields to include media, government, corporate, and association markets. The board members represent several regions of the United States, with members hailing from Washington, D.C., Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Denver. The founding board of director’s first in-person meeting will take place at the Hilton Washington, D.C., on July 23, 2015. The official Founding Board of Directors roster is available at www.womeninevents.org or email admin@womeninevents.org.