Author Archives: Maureen Pickell

RFP’s ‘Valet’ at ASAE Annual

This year the ASAE Exposition trade show floor buzzed with extra energy both Sunday and Monday with association planners and exhibitors interacting face-to-face to build business relationships (Twitter definitely took a back seat).

ConventionPlanit.com, already known as a class act,  had a very special booth upgrade this year to explain the popular (and free) RFP Valet service. RFP Valet helps meeting planners easily source their RFPs to the hotels and destinations of their choosing, and organizes the responses on a virtual chart.

Al Rickard, CAE

Our very own live Valet (Al Rickard, CAE, of Association Vision) was on hand to explain how it all works. Al was a “vision” himself in an elegant tuxedo, complete with the customary white towel on his arm. He may become a permanent fixture as David Markham had trouble keeping up with the demand for demos!

Jo Ann Hoffman, Regional Director of Sales, Maryland & Mara Hill Buckner, Regional Director of Sales, Chicago of ConventionPlanit.com

In attendance were also a few of the ConventionPlanit.com Account Managers. “Newbie” Jo Ann Hoffman, Regional Director of Sales, Maryland joined Mara Hill Buckner, Regional Director of Sales, Chicago in staffing the booth.

We also noticed CP.com supplier members Team San Jose, Tourism Memphis, Delta Air Lines and Visit Vail Valley busy educating planners on their destinations and services. AND, for the umpteenth year in a row, Visit Anchorage won another “Best in Show” Second place!

Look for the ASAE Annual to head over to Columbus next year…see you all there!!

ASAE Opening Reception features an Unusual Talent

On our industry calendar, “A” is for August and the ASAE Annual. No passport necessary this year as the event was held in the Windy City. So off went your intrepid blogger to report on the 2018 Conference & Exposition held Aug. 18-20 in Chicago.

ASAE’s opening nights are always epic, but the reception this year was a fabulous kick-off party at the Wintrust Arena.  Barbecue and country music shared the menu for a rousing good time as attendees networked with colleagues both inside the arena and outdoors (as the weather more than cooperated.) It truly was a “Chi-town Chow Down” enjoyed by all.

New! A sign of the times was the upgraded security to enter the hall as well as the advance warning to make sure ladies handbags were regulated to a specific “clutch purse” size. This proved to be a bit of a challenge as clutch purses were designed well before the arrival of the oversized smart phones!

McCormick Place hosted the annual meeting and exposition and the opening general session set the tone for this year’s theme, “Get Focused.”

John Graham reiterated ASAE’s focus on standing firmly against legislation resulting in any type of discrimination.” We will fight for the right of all people to come to our meetings, participate in our programs and serve our organizations.” He was enthusiastically applauded by the 3,554 Executives, 2,120 Exhibitors and 418 staff, press and guests who attended THIS meeting!

PCMA 2018 Continued

The theme of this year’s conference was “Amplifying Engagement” and outgoing PCMA President and CEO, Deborah Sexton made sure that all participants were positioned to learn how to “electrify their experiences, elevate their conference’s brand and truly engage with their audience.” Interspersed throughout the Center’s standard meeting rooms were a Media Studio Stage housing the Video Capture Lounge, a Future of FACE2FACE area featuring a TECHBAR, (RE)ALITY ALLEY and The Mix – a 65-foot-by-18-foot video wall where delegates could tune into a session, get live breaking news or access prepared content. Add to this already heady combination of engagement opportunities the Braindates knowledge transfer opportunities as well as the Networking Luncheons and you have a potpourri of audio and visual stimulation that will no doubt become the standard for future conferences!

I was pleased to encounter the following CP.com supplier partners in attendance:  Angeline van den Broecke from the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre; Gerry Kingston of Delta Air Lines; Marie McKowan, Meet In Ireland; Andrea Schmidt, Visit Anchorage and Sandra Reed, Meetings Alliance. Also seen were CP.com Advisory Council members Leslie Zeck and David Williams. There may have been more of our colleagues in the hall, but I was lucky to find these few among the 4,500 of our closest friends! Hope to see them again (and you) at next year’s Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh!

PCMA 2018

Greetings from your CP.com intrepid blogger reporting on the recent PCMA Convening Leaders Conference held in Nashville, TN Jan. 7-10.

Known throughout the industry as THE premier opportunity to “jump-start” the year professionally, the 2018 version did not disappoint. Music City welcomed approximately 4,500 delegates with a strategically planned program that combined efficiency with southern hospitality.

Some of my favorite features were conference registration at baggage claim, complimentary souvenirs of hometown delicacies such as Goo Goo clusters (taste like they sound!) and Belle Meade Bourbon, bus transfers to the various hotels from the airport, hand lotion and mouth wash available in the Music City Center ladies rooms and frequent seating therein to break up the miles between meeting areas.

Just to give you an idea of the importance of this last attribute, the high-performance convention center is located on a 16-acre site! And, the grand ballroom for the general sessions was cavernous enough to provide for the world’s largest “air guitar” outlined in red lighting and anchored to the ceiling.

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!

More From ASAE!

As usual, the ASAE Exposition trade show floor buzzed with activity Sunday and Monday with both Association planners and exhibitors interacting face to face to build business relationships (luckily this timeless format is still alive and well:)) Along with putt-putting to win a stuffed animal, strapping on VR goggles to participate in a horse race and scoring an adorable camel from Dubai and/or a black bear from Anchorage, planners who over extended themselves could stop by the Puerto Rico booth for a relaxing massage!

Pictured are a few of the ConventionPlanit.com supplier members in attendance.

Maureen Pickell visiting Kyle VanAlstine and Rebekah Biddle at the Delta Air Lines booth

Paul Astleford, President & CEO, Visit Jacksonville and The Beaches, has a cheery smile for planners.

Also we noticed Team San Jose, Memphis CVB, Experience Columbus and Hargrove Inc., busy educating planners on their destinations and services. And Visit Anchorage won 1st Place for Inline Booths…AGAIN!

Look for the ASAE Annual to head back to the lower 48 next year…see you all in Chicago (no passport necessary!)

A is for August + ASAE

On our industry calendar, “A” is for August and the ASAE Annual. So, out came the passport and off went your intrepid blogger to report on the 2017 Conference & Exposition held Aug. 12-15 in Toronto.

ASAE’s opening nights are always epic, but the reception this year was a fabulous kick-off party at the Royal Ontario Museum.  Rated one of the 15 most beautiful museums in the world last year by Conde Nast Traveler, the Royal Ontario Museum opened its doors inviting attendees to discover ancient dinos, mysterious artifacts, and glittering gems while networking and exploring a variety of unique food and beverage stations.

Pictured is the Futalognkosaurus Dinosaur who was front and center to welcome us to the celebration.

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted the annual meeting and exposition and the opening general session set the tone for this year’s theme, “Inspire.” Also high on the list of relevant topics were Diversity and Inclusion. With more than half of the city’s population born in another country, diversity and inclusivity—are an integral part of Toronto’s make-up. It was a perfect stage for John Graham to reiterate that “as an industry, we stand for a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.”

IMEX America Stats

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

14,250 participants including buyers, visitors and exhibitors

70,000 individual and group appointments along with stand presentations took place

69% or more of appointments included a profile or RFP

269 educational sessions

800 exhibitors and buyers participated in the IMEXrun Las Vegas routed along the famous Strip

As always, all attendees fortunate enough to attend IMEX America were exposed to high levels of business and networking.

Along with the record number of appointments and packed-out education events, some of the novel ideas to encourage mingling in the various stands included toe-tapping to an Irish fiddler, an oxygen station to boost energy levels (VERY popular), a chance to “monkey around” with a really cute orangutan and a sugar jolt provided by the winner of the “best ice cream in the world contest”.

Leave it to IMEX America to always deliver professionalism with a light touch!