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.

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.

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.