Category Archives: News

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.

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.

Behind the Scenes with The National Conference Center

In only 18 months, one of America’s largest conference centers is emerging with a striking new design, revamped services and facilities and a fresh new branding strategy. The multimillion dollar project has transformed the 65-acre campus and its six connected buildings into a warm, functional and cohesive complex, elevated by a brilliant and inspiring design.

“We are extremely proud that this challenging task was accomplished so quickly,” says Geoff Lawson, general manager of The National Conference Center and West Belmont Place. “It is certainly a record in the conference center industry.”

With Management oversight provided by LaKota Hotels & Resorts, The National Conference Center is one of the largest meeting, training and event centers in the nation and the largest on the East Coast.  The property is located on a 65-acre campus just outside Washington, DC, in Leesburg, Virginia, just 12 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport.

“The National” provides 1.3 million interior square feet in six connected buildings. It houses 917 guestrooms, and over 265,000 square feet of meeting and group function space. Supporting outlets include a 900-seat Dining Room, the 200-seat Black Olive Bar & Grill and other new guest-centric outlets creating a warm and engaging atmosphere. Learn more.

Prague Wins the Prestigious Top Meeting Destination Award Again

Representatives of the Prague Convention Bureau received the 2016 Top Meeting Destination award at the annual Conventa trade fair in Ljubljana, Slovenia on January 18, 2017. The prize is awarded by Slovenian Kongres magazine to the destinations from Central and South East Europe region since 2011, in accordance with the evaluation based on destination’s infrastructure, marketing activities and other indexes. Prague thus follows up on its achievements in previous years: the city occupied the second position in the Meeting Star contest twice, and in 2013 it even won the first prize.

The Kongres magazine expert jury evaluated 68 destinations from 19 countries of the Central and South East Europe region, based on the following criteria: natural and cultural factors, general and transport infrastructure, tourist infrastructure, meetings infrastructure, marketing buzz, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) index, quality of life index, global peace index, and subjective grade. The top grade for each assessed section was 5.

The Czech metropole received the overall destination grade of 4.51 from the expert jury. The overall grade is a result of combination of the following individual grades:

  • natural and cultural factors: 4.54
  • general and transport infrastructure: 4.59
  • tourist infrastructure: 4.90
  • meetings infrastructure: 4.65
  • marketing buzz: 4.85
  • ICCA index: 4.12
  • quality of life index: 4.10
  • global peace index: 4.25
  • subjective grade: 4.61

In the top 5 ranked also: Istanbul on the second place with the grade of 4.39; Budapest on the third with 4.37 points, followed by Athens and Ljubljana.

New Survey Finds Non-Dues Revenue a Hidden Topic in Many Associations

The Association Research Board has released the findings of a nationwide survey of association executives.

The data reveals most associations lack a sense of urgency and direction in seeking new sources of non-dues revenue.

Digging into the data provides interesting insights:

  • A quarter of the executives never discuss the need for additional revenue with their boards.
  • New non-dues Revenue generation is only a concern of about one-third of the respondents.
  • Among associations that attempt to increase revenue, only half call their programs a success.

A copy of the Association Research Board report can be found here.

Jane Schuldt of World Marketing Group – Loss of an Industry Icon

The ConventionPlanit.com staff, along with the entire meeting and incentive travel community, is saddened by the passing of Jane Schuldt, Founder and President of World Marketing Group and icon of our industry.

The WMG portfolio of Destination Management Companies around the world was our first DMC supplier member and continues to provide contacts in far flung locations for our event planners.

Maureen Pickell, Director of Global Accounts for CP.com, had the privilege of calling Jane a dear friend as well as esteemed colleague.

In her words, “Being respected by Jane was a badge of honor in an industry held to high standards. She will be remembered for her elegance of spirit as well as her resolute work ethic and will be missed for the warmth and loyalty shown towards her friends and close associates.”

Welcome Newest Members

ConventionPlanit.com has been busy adding new venues to our portfolio.

Consider these newest members of ConventionPlanit.com for your next meeting:

Horton Grand Hotel – San Diego, CA
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, PA
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress – Orlando, FL
Visit Huntington Beach – Huntington Beach, CA
Miraval Resort & Spa – Tucson, AZ
Myrtle Beach Area CVB – Myrtle Beach, SC

View more newest members.

Don’t forget, when you use ConventionPlanit.com, you can still send your RFP to your NSO reps!

Welcome Newest Members

ConventionPlanit.com has been busy adding new venues to our portfolio.

Consider these newest members of ConventionPlanit.com for your next meeting:

Fairmont Dallas – Dallas, TX
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa – Bonita Springs, FL
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – Maui, HI
Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa – Key West, FL
Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel – Pittsburgh, PA
Bahia Resort Hotel – San Diego, CA
Deauville Beach Resort – Miami Beach, FL
American College of Chest Physicians – Glenview, IL
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino – Palm Beach, Aruba
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa – Kalaheo, HI
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate – Orlando, FL

View more newest members.

Don’t forget, when you use ConventionPlanit.com, you can still send your RFP to your NSO reps!

Federal Travel Restrictions Loosened

President Obama has released a memorandum lifting many of the restrictions in place surrounding federal employee attendance at conferences and events.

Since 2012, the process and conditions required for federal employees to gain approval to attend conferences prevented many from attending and properly doing their jobs. The reduction of 25 percent equated to a savings of $30 million.

While regulations will still be in place, the focus will be on federally sponsored or hosted events. Government agencies will now be held to accountability standards, which include publishing information on their public websites about conference attendance with an overall cost greater than $100,000. They must also include the  date and location of the conference, the number of staffers attending, total expenditures, and an explanation of how the event advanced the mission of the agency.

Agencies will now be able to pre-approve attendance at reoccurring events, allowing for the cost savings bonus of early registration discounts and advance travel arrangements. If a conference will cost more than $500,000 for an agency to attend, an agency official must document in writing why the event is the most cost-effective way to achieve the organization’s purpose.

The memorandum says government officials must continue to root out wasteful spending, but it hints at a lesson learned by agencies while they were subjected to such tight controls on conferences. “These changes incorporate the lessons learned over the past several years and recognize the resulting actions that agencies have taken during that time,” the memorandum says, though it also acknowledges that it has impeded the ability of employees to do their jobs to some extent. “These changes also respond to challenges agencies faced as a result of OMB Memorandum M-12-12, including reduced opportunities to perform useful agency functions, present scientific findings and innovations, train, recruit, and retain employees, or share best practices,” the document says.

What’s In and Out for 2017 Meetings

By Al Rickard, CAE

It’s a new year, and the meetings industry is looking ahead to what will make their events compelling in 2017.

Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, Director of Education & Events at Practice Greenhealth, predicts more “attendee engagement through technology. There will be a bigger focus on attendee ROI by connecting them to their peers and coaches/mentors and speakers at events. There will be a shift toward using technology to connect people, such as the launch of ‘Brain Dates’ at PCMA’s Convening Leaders. Attendees need to demonstrate immediate ROI when attending conferences and so planners are working to meet those needs.”

“One thing that will always be ‘in’ in the meetings industry is networking and the opportunity to learn from people in a live setting,” says Suzanne Berry, MBA, CAE, Senior Strategic Advisor to the CEO at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. “You can’t duplicate that type of learning online and capture the insights and nuances of new ideas that you get at an in-person meeting.”

Suzanne and her husband, Peter, spent many years running an association management company and have run hundreds of meetings and seen the results they produce.

Peter Berry offers this thought on what’s “out” for meetings in 2017: “Loud music. People come to meetings to connect and talk to each other, so give them an opportunity to do that. Have the reception and dinner in a relatively quiet space and save the loud music for later at night for people who want to dance.”

Kristin Clarke, CAE, Executive Director of the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Women’s Health, notes, “Sustainability continues to be important operationally not only because of cost but even more so from the standpoint of organizational values and alignment with member expectations. With more than 75 percent of communities engaged in recycling, attendees notice if they can’t find an easy recycling bin or if you serve coffee to thousands using Styrofoam cups.”

What else can you expect to be “In” and “Out” in the meetings and travel industry? Here’s a snapshot:

In Out
Jeans and Casual Dress Neckties
Facebook Live Expensive Videos
Theater in the Round Lecterns and Podiums
Retargeting Ads Mass Marketing
Connection Receptions Sit-Down Dinners
GMO-Free Produce Processed Food
TSA Pre-Check Shoeless Airport Security Check
Calendar Appointment Requests Formal Invitations
Alexa Siri
Phone Alarm Alarm Clock
Real News Fake News

What would you add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know!

Al Rickard, CAE, is President of Association Vision, a Washington, DC-area communications company;arickard@assocvision.com.