Author Archives: Ashley Chalmers

About Ashley Chalmers

Hi there! Your blog moderator is Ashley Chalmers, the Director of Operations for ConventionPlanit.com. ConventionPlanit.com is a free search directory, offering property information and allows planners to send RFPs easily (without any hidden fees or commissions). Planners are guaranteed to receive responses to their RFPs within 24 hours! I'd love to hear from the readers of this blog - I encourage comments on posts, post ideas, and conversation. I can be reached at ashley@conventionplanit.com.

Anchorage is OPEN after Weekend Earthquake

Following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit north of Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday, the state’s most populated city is working hard to recover.

“It was frightening, but our entire staff is safe and accounted for,” Julie Saupe, president and CEO of Visit Anchorage, told Northstar Meetings Group. “We definitely have more clean up to do, but our facilities seem secure.”

According to the Anchorage Daily News, by Sunday night, more than 1,400 small earthquakes had rattled the area. No deaths were reported following the quake and its aftermath. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that as of Monday, 170 aftershocks of magnitude 3 or above had occurred.

The city’s two convention centers — the Dena’ina and Egan centers — already since Friday have served as shelters and have hosted meetings and events, including meal services, said Saupe. “That I am aware of, our hotels are all operational; I’ve heard reports of some cosmetic damage and broken pipes but no large structural concerns have been reported,” she added. “By Monday, downtown Anchorage felt almost ‘business as usual.'”

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was closed for a short time on Friday but has resumed a normal schedule. Alaska Railroad is working to resume freight services and will have updates on passenger service soon as well; the  reservations and ticketing office was scheduled to reopen Tuesday morning, Dec. 4. There has been localized infrastructure damage to some roads, bridges and buildings in the surrounding area. Updates are available here, and repair projects already are under way.

Travelers with scheduled trips should contact their hotels and tour operators for updates. For a directory of hotel and other tourism services in the impacted areas, go to the official tourism websites for Visit Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. While the earthquake was felt in regions as far away as Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula, the tourism infrastructure there was not affected. Updates also are available here.

Article courtesy of https://www.northstarmeetingsgroup.com/News/Convention-and-Visitor-Bureaus/anchorage-alaska-airport-hotels-earthquake 

ConventionPlanit Attends SPINCon

SPIN celebrated its 10th birthday at SPINCon 2018 hosted by the Don CeSar in beautiful St. Pete Beach, Florida, and ConventionPlanit’s Muzette Randall was in attendance to support our strategic partner.

For the 2nd year in a row the conference focused on Brain, Being, Body, & Business with an impressive array of speakers offering insight and education geared specifically to the senior planning community. The agenda was jammed pack with opportunities to participate in sessions and workshops that covered everything from pricing strategies to website design to recipes for life to the power of presence.

Celebrating SPINCon 2018 on the rooftop of Hotel Zamora (photo by Josh Power)

Quiet time at the end of each session was introduced this year to give attendees the opportunity to process the information received. But it wasn’t just about learning…it was about building and fostering relationships that uplift, inspire, support and encourage each other.  The Brain Snacks were amazing and the Dance Parties were stimulating.

Reading Buddies ruled – SPIN’s sponsored charity included books for YMCA READS. Pictured L-R Tracy Smith & Shawna Suckhow

This event is undoubtedly one of the most creative and engaging conferences held by any organization. To give an example: the general meeting room was a theater in the round and attendees shared sofas, high top tables and comfy chairs. This year’s theme was “Magical” and attendees were encouraged to dress in costumes, wear pajamas, outrageous slippers, etc…but most of all be comfortable. Authenticity was mandatory and “I am fine” was an unacceptable answer to “how are you?”. Attendees found the  “no judgment zone”  liberating and the overall atmosphere infectious.

ConventionPlanit.com was in excellent company and shared sponsor honors with, to name just a few, Business Events Toronto, Memphis Tourism,  Alaska Destination Specialists,  DMC Network, Experience Grand Rapids, Cabarrus County CVB, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Daytona Beach CVB, Great Wolf Lodge Groups & Meetings, The Beach of Fort Myers and Sanibel, Visit Anchorage & Hotel Zamora.  As is SPIN tradition, sponsors were made to feel part of the family and were bestowed with many hugs of affection.

What a pleasure to spend time with such a passionate group of people who truly believe in servicing their clients with the best possible meeting experience. Next year’s SPINCon location has not been announced yet, but you can bet I’ll be there.  If you’re a supplier and haven’t partnered with this network yet, then you need to put it on your to do list. If you’re a planner with 10+ years of direct planning experience and are not a member, then you need to check out spinplanners.com. You don’t know what you’re missing!

ConventionPlanit Invites you to be a Hosted Buyer at IMEX 2019 in Frankfurt + a Post-Trip to London

Do you book events outside the US?

IMEX, the world’s largest exhibition for the global meeting, incentive and exhibition industry, is bringing hosted buyers like you to its Frankfurt show May 21-23, 2019.  ConventionPlanit partners with Susan Sarfati and Liz Jackson who have been organizing IMEX hosted buyer groups for ten years.  IMEX will pay for your air fare and Frankfurt hotel plus provide airport shuttle service and daily shuttles to the exhibition

Bonus:

Do you book association meetings in Europe of 200+ attendees and London could be a prospect?  If so, you are also invited to join a hosted buyer post-IMEX trip May 23-26, 2019 organized by the London Convention Bureau

RSVP and more information: contact Liz Jackson ljackson262@msn.com or +1.703.964.6030

Memphis Tourism Annnounced

“HOME OF BLUES, SOUL & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL” REVEALED AS NEW TAGLINE FOR DESTINATION ROOTED IN CITY’S MUSIC LEGACY

The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau has rebranded and is now known as Memphis Tourism, the official destination marketing organization representing the tourism and hospitality industry for Memphis and Shelby County. Data driven research, stakeholder interviews and audience testing drove the effort that led to the name change, along with a refresh of the organization’s music inspired logo and tagline. The Memphis Tourism brand focuses on music at its core, and the strong connection it makes with visitors from all over the world.

The launch of the new identity coincided with the annual MEMTalks meeting of tourism industry leaders that took place at The New Daisy Theater located along the city’s famed Beale Street blues alley.

“There isn’t a better place in the world to debut our new name, logo and tagline than
right here on world famous Beale Street,” said Kevin Kane, President & CEO of the
newly renamed Memphis Tourism. “Authenticity is at the heart of everything we do,
staying true to who we are as a city and destination will aid us in fostering continued
growth for the Memphis economy. The development of this new identity builds value
for Memphis as an iconic destination, in addition to raising the profile of our tourism
and hospitality industry on the local level, showcasing the value it has as an economic
development engine and job creator for our community.”

Guided by feedback and intensive audience research that included a competitive set
analysis, the goal of the logo redesign was to embrace the brand equity of the
previous logo introduced in 1995. The refresh features a bold and whimsical script
font with a guitar sweeping across the entirety of the Memphis text. Long known as
the “Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the new tagline for the
destination embraces soul music that came out of STAX and Royal recording studios.

“Home of Blues, Soul & Rock ‘n’ Roll” widens the appeal and awareness for the
distinctive Memphis sound that continues to be the number one travel motivator for
visitors to the city.

“The most important part of the process in developing a new identity for our
organization, that also works to effectively draw visitors to our destination, was to
listen to the people around us,” said Regena Bearden, Chief Marketing Officer of
Memphis Tourism. “This was a strategic approach driven by research that conveys to
the visitor what our brand promise is as a music capital that celebrates three genres
of music and the impact our music makers have had on our destination.”

The new Memphis logo and “Home of Blues, Soul & Rock ‘n’ Roll” tagline will be
featured in multi-platform consumer and trade marketing campaigns that will work to
attract an increasing number of leisure and meetings & convention visitors to the
area. In 2017, Memphis welcomed 11.7 million visitors, nearly a half million increase
from the previous year. The local tourism industry generates $3.3 billion in direct
visitor spending and over $260 million annually in state and local taxes.

For more information on the new Memphis Tourism identity and to view a video that
explains the data driven decision process, visit: memphistravel.com/brand-toolkit.
Digital assets for media can be downloaded at this link to the Memphis Tourism digital
asset library.

IMEX America 2018 – Expanded, Exciting & Experiential

Experiential innovations, learnings, industry trends and new exhibitors are among the hundreds of reasons to attend IMEX America, taking place October 16 – 18 at the Sands® Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian®| The Palazzo® in Las Vegas.

Memorable Masterclass

A new partnership with C2 International, the ground-breaking leader in business conferences, will bring a huge dose of creativity and excitement to the show. Following an enthusiastic response to their Learning Labs at IMEX in Frankfurt, C2 will be presenting a suite of different Learning Labs at IMEX America, as well as a Thursday morning, open-to-all, Masterclass on the show floor.

More exhibitors and opportunities to do global business

Driving business success remains at the heart of IMEX and with over 3,300 destinations, venues and suppliers from 130-plus countries under one roof, this year’s show is no exception.

IMEX America has moved into a larger hall to accommodate new and expanded exhibitors, such as Meet New York, Malta Tourism Authority, Nobu Hotels and Visit Dallas, Pacifica Hotels – all at the show for the first time. Many exhibitors are increasing the size of their booths including Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, DMI Hotels, Croatian National Tourist Board, Mexico, Royal Caribbean International and Bermuda Tourism Authority who have all doubled their presence.

Powerful and personalized – education for all

In line with tradition, the show kicks off on October 15, Smart Monday – a full day of complimentary, cutting-edge professional development, which is powered by MPI.

Additionally, an Association Leadership Forum, created by ASAE exclusively for association leaders and an Executive Meeting Forum dedicated to senior corporate executives with a focus on SMM program management, procurement leadership or meetings management are also on offer on Smart Monday.

Once again IMEX America 2018 will live out its mission to ‘educate, innovate and help all its clients to make powerful connections with the right people’ by presenting easy-access professional development each day of the show. The Inspiration Hub, situated on the show floor, will be the central point of focus for hundreds of sessions on hot topics including security, sustainability, creativity, innovation, technology, experiential events and legacy – IMEX’s Talking Point for this year.

Recognizing personal impact and legacy

Various aspects of legacy will be covered throughout the program – political, personal, environmental, CSR and social impact/knowledge legacy – all designed to help planners produce more engaging, topical events with longer-lasting positive outcomes.

Following great feedback, a ‘Legacy Wall’ launched at IMEX in Frankfurt will also premiere at IMEX America, showcasing heart-warming and inspiring stories and case studies from exhibitors, partners and IMEX staff.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “With an expanded show floor, new exhibitors and numerous networking events, the opportunities to do business at IMEX America are second to none this year.

“As always, we’re committed to putting on a great show – one that ignites fresh thinking, explores new trends and encourages people to connect and do business easily. In a fast-changing world, we believe that coming together in the same place to see, hear and talk commerce – and to understand the wider forces shaping our industry – is fundamental to business success.”

IMEX America takes place October 16 – 18 at the Sands® Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian®| The Palazzo® in Las Vegas, preceded by Smart Monday, powered by MPI, on October 15.

Registration is free.  

ConventionPlanit.com recommends attending IMEX America as a hosted buyer to learn the latest in the international meetings world

IMEX America is approaching fast and we know you will benefit from being a hosted buyer in Las Vegas.  ConventionPlanit.com colleagues, Susan Sarfati and Liz Jackson, are offering participation in their hosted buyer group.  Here’s what you need to know now: 

  1. IMEX will cover the cost of air fare to Las Vegas, hotel and airport shuttles to bring you to this global meeting, incentive, convention, exhibition trade show and education program.  Expand your meeting industry knowledge and contacts plus attend education programs and earn certification points. 
  2. Dates are October 15-17, 2018. Mark your calendar! 
  3. Requirement is booking meetings outside the US or book a minimum of 1,000 attendees annually to US destinations. They can register up to two hosted buyers per organization.  Bring a colleague or pass this invitation on to qualified staff members. 
  4. Want to invite a qualifying friend, colleague or client?  It will be done! 
  5. ConventionPlanit.com will be exhibiting at IMEX America and we look forward to meeting you there. 

RSVP now to Liz Jackson ljackson262@msn.com 

In addition to a great IMEX learning experience, enjoying being with new friends and colleagues,  our group will be dinner guests of Caesars Palace’s new restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen.  It’s the world’s first Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen restaurant drawing inspiration from the global hit reality television show starring world-renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay and we will feel like we are on his studio set.  Many thanks to our long-time Caesars Entertainment sponsor, Shelley Williams, for this wonderful invitation. 

What’s In and What’s Out

Happy New Year! What’s in for 2018? Let’s take stock of the changes we experienced last year as an industry.

What do you think is out and in? Let us know below. We will share your ideas in a future newsletter! 

 

OUT

IN

 

Goofus & Gallant

Misty & Happy
 

Balloons

Balloon art
 

Ice sculpting

Sand sculpting
 

Hidden commissions

ConventionPlanit.com’s transparency
 

Calling the hotel switchboard 

Texting the hotel staff  
 

Front desk check-in

iPad check-in  
 

iPods

Hotel pods  
 

Outdated marketing data

Fix my list  
 

Stock hotel artwork

Original artwork  
 

Hanging out in a hotel room 

Hanging out in the hotel lobby  

Room service waiters 

Room service robots  

Hotel pillow selection

Hotel view selection  

High room rates

Special meeting offers  
 

In room pay-per-view movies 

Netflix  
 

Triple sheeting

Luxury comforters  
 

Penthouse view

Roof top bar  
 

Marketing to attendees

Marketing targeted by attendee profiles  
 

Talking heads

Experience and engagement  
 

PowerPoint

Story telling  
 

Retirement

Task force  
 

Yoga studios

Airport yoga
 

Print media

Digital media
 

Rotisserie chicken

Rotisserie cauliflower
 

Comfort food

Comfort dogs
 

RFP templates

Template-free rfp organization  

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 

SUBMIT YOUR TIPS AND ADVICE HERE

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.