Author Archives: Maureen Pickell

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!

IMEX America Hustling and Bustling

IMEX America is consistent in its attempts to reduce their environmental footprint resulting from hosting 11,000 attendees, 3,250 exhibitors and occupying 14,000 room nights in participating hotels.

This was actioned by initiatives that ranged from encouraging attendees (prior to the show) to pack a reusable travel cup for coffee/tea to sponsoring a group of “Garbage Grabbers” (not a lyrical title but states the obvious) to clean up a local park.  Ray Bloom, IMEX Group Chairman is one of the best at having his organization lead by example!

Liz Duxbury of the CP.com Hosted Buyer Group is waylaid in the aisle by a representative of Indonesia. At this event, the world truly comes to you!

Liz Duxbury of the CP.com Hosted Buyer Group is waylaid in the aisle by a representative of Indonesia. At this event, the world truly comes to you!

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

Roman Muska – The Prague Convention Bureau

Marie McKown – Meet in Ireland

Anette Palm and Alice Lem – Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

Julie Dodds & Jim Henderson – Visit Anchorage

Susan Hennig – United Airlines

Sarah Calhoon – World Marketing Group

IMEX America Sets New Records

The 3rd Presidential Debate held in Las Vegas last week took a back seat as IMEX America set new records all around the show!

CP.com Hosted Buyer Group and escort, Maureen Pickell, ready to learn about Malaysia!

CP.com Hosted Buyer Group and escort, Maureen Pickell, ready to learn about Malaysia!

Your intrepid blogger is happy to bring you the “show buzz” for this annual extravaganza’s sixth edition.  The “largest ever IMEX America” boasted more than 3,250 exhibitors representing 139 countries interacting with 3,000 buyers who participated in 60,000 individual appointments.

And, once again ConventionPlanit.com sponsored a group of Hosted Buyers to participate in the shows’ innovative agenda enabling them to:

  • Conduct up to a year’s worth of global business in only 2-3 days… without needing a passport
  • Learn from the best minds in the business during the Education sessions
  • Enjoy both professional and personal networking

Our corporate and association planners also participated in Group Appointments with CP.com supplier partners from the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.

Visit Anchorage Booth takes Gold…Again!

With the Summer Olympics going on in the background of ASAE this year, it is only appropriate to highlight our own “Booth Olympics” Winner – Visit Anchorage!

Visit Anchorage at ASAE Annual

Visit Anchorage at ASAE Annual

For the umpteenth year in a row, their unique design elements incorporating company identity, product presentation, exhibit personnel and overall presence on the floor earned them First Place for Inline Booths.

And they always have a herd or two of cute, fluffy moose as giveaways’J We are proud to have them as a CP.com Supplier Partner!!

Look for ASAE Annual to head north next year…see you all in Toronto!

ASAE’s Tradeshow Buzzes With Activity

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??:))

Along with virtual reality, exhibitors focused on tasty treats and contests to draw wandering attendees into their booths. Along with s’mores, Omaha steak, Korean tea and ice cream, a Pokémon Go contest vied with the always popular Build-a-Bear station to attract planners.

Pictured are a few of the ConventionPlanit.com supplier members in attendance, Mohegan Sun Pocono and Visit Jacksonville.

Mohegan Sun's Booth

Mohegan Sun’s Exciting Booth

Visit Jacksonville at ASAE

Visit Jacksonville at ASAE

Also we noticed Team San Jose, Memphis CVB, Experience Columbus, Hargrove Inc., Meet Puerto Rico, Little Rock CVB, Delta Air Lines and the Mexico Tourism Board busy educating planners on their destinations and services.

ASAE Annual Visits Salt Lake City

David Markham, Mara Buckner and Maureen Pickell enjoying ASAE Salt Lake City

David Markham, Mara Buckner and Maureen Pickell enjoying ASAE Salt Lake City

If it’s mid-August, it must be time for your intrepid blogger to report on the 2016 ASAE Annual Conference & Exposition. Salt Lake City was the fortunate city this year to host 4,800 attendees anxious to network and attend educational sessions positioned to help them:

  • Grow globally
  • Foster volunteerism
  • Be a collaborative leader
  • Design inclusive, safe and welcoming meetings
  • Establish a disaster plan
  • Educate tomorrows workforce
No these weren’t the window washers!

No these weren’t the window washers!

ASAE’s opening night receptions are always epic, but Salt Lake brought a new dimension to their event held against the dramatic backdrop of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges in downtown Library Square. Along with the local food and drink and a giant social wall projected onto the side of the city’s art, science, and technology museum, attendees were treated to aerial dancing on the public library’s glass exterior wall by Project Bandaloop.

That’s right, the WALL of the building served as the stage as we all looked to the sky to follow the intricate performance.

I don’t think that this was planned as the lead-in to the Opening General Session the next morning, but we found ourselves focused heavenward again as astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly enthralled the audience with a dual keynote “conversation” about the challenges connected with their combined 550-some days in outer space.

Using a combination of brotherly bantering and serious reflection, the Kelly’s presentation demonstrated how we should always welcome the opportunity to accomplish something that is hard. Thank you ASAE for kicking off the conference with men of action instead of just “talking heads.”!!

ASAE’s 40th Springtime Expo

As everyone in the Association world must know by now, last week’s Springtime was both the 40th anniversary of the iconic event and also its “Swan Song.”

Your intrepid Blogger was there along with ConventionPlanit.com staff members Katherine & David Markham, Mara Hill-Buckner and Taffy Rice to bid farewell to this event, long characterized by its partnering of education and networking for the Washington D.C. region’s planners and suppliers.

ConventionPlanit.com's Katherine Markham & Taffy Rice chat with an attendee at Spingtime

ConventionPlanit.com’s Katherine Markham & Taffy Rice chat with an attendee at Spingtime

It will be replaced next year by a new endeavor called XDP. The Xperience Design Project will be held May 23-24, 2017, at Gaylord National® Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland.

Needless to say, this announcement leant a certain amount of poignancy to the occasion but in no way diminished the energy level of business being done on the tradeshow floor. While this format appears to be going the way of the Dodo bird, we are ever hopeful that the replacement Business Exchange component of the new event will continue to serve the B to B and Face-to-Face needs of both planners and suppliers.

Among the member partners of ConventionPlanit.com exhibiting in the hall were Hargrove, Visit Bellevue, Team San Jose, Delta Air Lines, Little Rock CVB, Visit Anchorage, Providence Warwick CVB, Hyatt Regency Chicago and Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs.

Visit Bellevue's Booth

Visit Bellevue’s Booth

The Mexico Tourist Board was represented by Elizabeth Melgoza, Manager Group Sales, Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach and Felix Arroyo, Director of Sales, Krystal Hotel, both in Cancun.

Mexico Tourism at the show

Mexico Tourism at the show

ConventionPlanit, Visit Anchorage, and Alaska Airlines also sponsored a Grand Prize for the show again – a trip to Alaska for one lucky planner! Rosanne White, Executive Director of the Technology Student Association was the winner.

Julie Dodds, Director of Convention Sales, Visit Anchorage Carolynn Hoey, Sales & Marketing Manager, Conventions Moi

Julie Dodds, Director of Convention Sales, Visit Anchorage; Carolynn Hoey, Sales & Marketing Manager, Conventions, Alaska Airlines; Moi

We look forward to seeing you all next May at XDP!

PCMA: Final Thoughts

Along with facilitating an increase in global participation over the past few years, PCMA has also begun providing education for corporate planners beyond its historical foundation with medical and other association planners. This initiative included a session entitled “Going Global with Strategic Meetings Management” presented by Jami Stapelmann, Director of Global Travel & Meeting Services, Estee Lauder, Inc.

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Essentially, expanding a corporate SMM program to all the global regions where business events are held requires a complex operational strategy. I should share that ConventionPlanit.com can help by providing corporate meeting planners with global contacts for Tourism Offices, Hotels and Destination Management Companies to help get the job done.

Speaking of which, I was pleased to encounter the following CP.com supplier partners in attendance: Alan Pryor, General Manager of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre; Kerrin MacPhie, Director of Sales for ACC Liverpool; Heike Mahmoud, Director of Conventions, Visit Berlin; Jane Schuldt, President, World Marketing Group and Marie McKowan, Manager Business Tourism, Meet In Ireland.

There may have been more of our colleagues in the hall, but I was lucky to find these few among the 4,000 of our closest friends! Hope to see them again (and you) at next year’s Convening Leaders in Austin!