Category Archives: Trade Shows

Last Chance for Incentive Travel Exchange Hosted Buyer Program

Incentive Travel Exchange
As the MICE industry continues to enjoy monumental growth, more and more events seem to clutter the marketplace, making it difficult to know which may be the most beneficial to you.  But don’t worry – the BEST event to network with the largest selection of travel suppliers is still to come in 2017!

Join us for Incentive Travel Exchange, April 23-26 at The Delano Las Vegas for two days of focused meetings and exciting networking activities, while making lasting relationships with industry colleagues and suppliers.

If you organize, influence, plan or recommend MICE travel program purchases, you are invited to apply for one of the fully hosted buyer positions.

Hosted buyer participation includes:

  • Complimentary airfare to/from Las Vegas from home airport
  • Three nights’ accommodations in a suite at the Delano Las Vegas
  • Transfers to/from McCarran International and The Delano Las Vegas
  • Two days of pre-arranged meetings with leading incentive travel suppliers of your choice
  • Event meals and receptions
  • Networking activities including Brooklyn Bowl, dining at Smith & Wollensky, and a show!

Apply now for a fully hosted buyer position or visit for more information.

PCMA Convening Leaders – Helping Planners Unite People

Please enjoy the following post from our Latin America Sales Rep, Sandra Reed:

As I concluded the PCMA Convening Leaders in Austin, Texas in January, I realized how important our industry is for local communities. Events unite people of different countries, languages and cultures and meeting planners connect the hotels, convention centers, airlines, taxis, buses, restaurateurs, bars and many other suppliers…Planners unite people!

Meetings industry participants at the Convening Leaders Conference were welcomed by an icon from Austin (Matthew McConaughey), ate brussel sprouts for lunch, and attended seminars presented by professors of the University of Texas in Austin. We learned of new trends in the industry and shared ideas with colleagues or potential clients while snacking on chocolate covered bacon!  A quaint hospitality suite offered local brewed beers, while we mingled with colleagues from other states and countries. This was not only enjoyable but educational, as I brought back new ideas.

Local, regional, global …it is all happening at the same time. It is not only one destination promoting itself but it is the entire meetings industry from many parts of the world coming together.

Meeting planners or meeting organizers are business strategists, as they not only promote meetings, but entire communities.  Planners must sell their business planning talent as a strategist, uniting communities by selling opportunities and marketing strategies that will increase everyone’s experiences and knowledge.

Thank you Austin for hosting the meetings industry and giving us a piece of Texas to take back home.  I am sure many of us left with new ideas on how to better serve our communities.

SPINCon – An Educational and Entertaining Conference

Leave it to SPIN (Senior Planner Industry Network) to design a conference that both educates and entertains its members!

From the entirely novel concept of a “Sponsor Selfie Trade Show” to Beach Blanket Bingo as an after reception activity, SPINCon 2016, held Nov.13-15 in Fort Lauderdale, had  its attendees actively engaged. is proud to be a Strategic Partner of this innovative organization, and  thus we found Maureen Pickell and Sandra Reed of rounding out the exclusive group of suppliers participating in the event.

Not surprising was the large number of members including the Newport Beach, Anchorage, Bellevue, Little Rock, Branson, Providence Warwick, Grand Rapids and Wisconsin Dells CVB’s who support the organization.

Maureen Pickell, CTC, receiving the royal treatment at SPINCon

Maureen Pickell, CTC, receiving the royal treatment at SPINCon

And SPIN really treats their sponsors like royalty as you can see by the tiara worn by Maureen as she helps to organize the Networking CSR Activity!

Education partnered with wellness to play key roles in the program.

Tracts were designated by Brain, Body, Being and Business Sessions with topics ranging from” Surviving Life” and “Entrepreneur Forum” to “RFP is Not a Dirty Word” and “No Diet Equals Freedom!.”

Breaks offered Cucumber and Carrots Edamame Humus Shooters and meeting rooms provided roomy couches as well as high top tables for comfortable learning.

Ft. Lauderdale (Meet Sunny) CVB and the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa did a great job of welcoming those from northern climes with a spectacular sunrise Monday morning serving as the backdrop for an Oceanside breakfast.

Attendees enjoy an ocean side breakfast

Attendees enjoy an ocean side breakfast

200 attendees were greeted by the SPIN logo highlighted in the sand and waves lapping on the beach as they started the day.

The SPIN Logo in the sand

The SPIN Logo made its mark on Fort Lauderdale!

As a first timer to this conference, your intrepid blogger is anxious to repeat the experience and looks forward to SPINCon 2017!!

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

Representatives from 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

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 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 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 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.'s Katherine Markham & Taffy Rice chat with an attendee at Spingtime’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 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!

More opportunities and time to do business at IMEX in Frankfurt

IMEX in Frankfurt 2016 strongly reflects the vitality of the industry.

imex frankfurtThe show, which opened today, was packed with opportunities to do business, find new suppliers and prospects, to learn about the latest trends and meet industry colleagues from across the world.

With 3,500 exhibiting companies representing 150 countries, 400+ exhibitor networking events and with over 180 education sessions, the scope for business and learning is greater than ever.

There are 42 new stands and hundreds of new exhibitors at the show this year covering all corners of the globe including Aruba, Catalunya, Guatemala, Kenya, Montenegro, Romania and Sardinia. The growth of technology within the industry is reflected in a 12 per cent growth at IMEX 2016 with Catchbox, Convertio, Digivents and Fielddrive among new exhibitors.

50 established exhibitors have increased their stands including Brand USA, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Qatar and Serbia. Hotels are again well represented at IMEX 2016 with Wyndham Hotels returning to the show and Hilton, Preferred, Titanic and Trump Hotels taking larger stands. The cruise lines area has doubled with Buy the Sea, 3D Cruise Partners and Variety Cruises exhibiting for the first time this year.

More hosted buyer groups

Demand from buyers worldwide continues to grow. More than 20 new hosted buyer groups are attending the show from China, Latin America, the USA and Poland among many. A group of International Special Events Society members from across the globe are also visiting prior to their Global Event Summit in Scotland.

Many buyers will be spending significantly more time on the show floor as a result of two new initiatives this year. While all buyers can now enter the show at 0945 and group appointments now start later and finish earlier, many European hosted buyers have also opted to be at the show for an extra day by choosing the new two night programme which is already available to long-haul hosted buyers.

On the show floor on opening day are also more than 300 international association representatives following the highly successful IMEX Association Day & Evening on Monday, as well as nearly 90 corporate sector buyers who took part in the annual Exclusively Corporate @IMEX event and who together control budgets in the region of US$200 million.

More than 40 politicians and policy makers from around the world including ministers are visiting the exhibition before taking part, with 80 industry leaders, in the 14th annual IMEX Politicians Forum. The main theme is building and sustaining a successful meetings industry with keynote speaker the Hon Minister Stuart Ayres, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events for New South Wales.

At the Opening Ceremony, keynote speaker David DuBois, President & CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and Immediate Past Chair of Convention Industry Council, highlighted the worldwide impact of the meetings and events industry on the economy and overall marketplace beyond tourism.

In a powerful and engaging speech he said: “The business events industry provides the catalyst for transitioning towards a knowledge and creative society. Indeed governments themselves acknowledge that it takes a meeting or a summit to solve global issues and to avoid catastrophe… and when scientists, medics and technologists meet, they too change the world.”

Education innovations

The IMEX educational programme, based at the Inspiration Hub, will offer over 180 educational seminars and workshops covering ten different tracks to match every need. New this year is a series of short and snappy TED-style talks focused on ‘Trends and Future-Think’ brought by the Swedish Network of Convention Bureaus. The Play Room (by Play With A Purpose) brings its interactive ‘quirkshops’ to IMEX in Frankfurt for the first time. Also on Monday, the successful first PCMA Business School in Europe was a new high-level addition to the range of education at the show.

Sharing economy

The sharing economy is a hot topic at the show this year. To help all sectors of the global meetings and events industry understand the implications of this new business model better, it will be explored through several seminars including a panel session (9am, Wednesday 20th April) with sharing economy pioneers discussing ‘How can we work with the new sharing economy?’

‘Business is Personal’ is a new theme to meet buyers’ own personal development and professional needs, with sessions on leadership skills, developing confidence and fostering strong connections. The show also reflects this with meditation and yoga sessions in the new Be Well Lounge (by InnerSense and supported by Weichlein Tours + Incentives and Munich Convention Bureau), and the IMEXrun early on Wednesday (7am) inspired by Rio de Janeiro.

Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group said: “There are countless opportunities for everyone to do business, learn or meet here this week. The thousands of exhibitors, buyers, press and other industry professionals here this week to make the most of these opportunities are testament to the strength, resilience and vibrancy of our important sector.”

Wynn Las Vegas 2016-2017
Hyatt Convention Alliance