Category Archives: Trade Shows

ConventionPlanit 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 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, 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 September 10-12, 2019.  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. Want to invite a qualifying friend, colleague or client?  It will be done! 
  4. ConventionPlanit will be exhibiting at IMEX America and we look forward to meeting you there. 

RSVP now to Liz Jackson 

Attend a Virtual Tradeshow Next Week

Hosted by the Greater Palm Springs CVB, meeting professionals are invited to participate in this un-traditional trade show “virtually” on May 14 & 15, 2019 (10:00 AM- 1:00 PM PST).  

The Greater Palm Springs CVB is partnering with INXPO who has worked with over 300 companies to successfully executed 5000 virtual environments. We believe this client experience will enhance our destination’s appeal and ability to capture more business opportunities in a very unique way!

Participating properties include:

  • Palm Springs Convention Center
  • Hotel Paseo
  • Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa
  • Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel
  • Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs
  • Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa
  • JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa
  • Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa
  • La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST, a Waldorf Astoria Resort
  • Hyatt Andaz Hotel Palm Springs
  • Greater Palm Springs CVB

Once planners have registered, they can reach out for more information to Barbara Quigley at 760.969.1361 or email

Xperience Design Project by ASAE

On April 11-12, 2019, more than 1,800 association executives and industry partners will come together for year three of Xperience Design Project by ASAE (XDP) at the Gaylord National® Resort & Convention Center.

XDP demystifies revolutionary events and equips you to push the envelope and achieve results. New this year, The Lab offers more flexibility to create your own conference roadmap through three zones: Strategy, Community, and Experience. With two back-to-back keynotes each morning, eight different Idea Accelerators to pick from, and four keynote speakers within the Lab, you will have all the tools and information you need to reimagine your events. The XDP Faculty includes Dan Klein, Dr. Natalie Nixon, Scott Statten, and Alton White.

At the Business Exchange you will find the most innovative, helpful, and strategic event partners, ready to problem-solve and collaborate right along with you. There will be fun activities, food, new friends, and the chance to learn a new technique or two. With a new format this year, it is open to all and appointments are not required for entry.

If you are a meeting planner, content curator, or event guru, you can’t miss XDP. Get your tickets today at

‘The power of the shared experience’ – innovation, education and business opportunities combine to ignite the imagination at IMEX in Frankfurt 2019

So much more can be achieved by a team than by an individual. So imagine the business success that can grow from extensive collaboration between peers and competitors, from professionals from all walks of life connecting and from the unexpected, inspiring ideas that are generated spontaneously along the way.

With 3,500 exhibitors from over 150 countries, IMEX in Frankfurt brings together all the elements that planners need to ignite their imagination – and their business success. Boston, Airport Authority Hong Kong, China Top View Holiday Travel & Tours and Kyiv Tourism Association are just some of the exciting new exhibitors that planners can meet at IMEX in Frankfurt, taking place from 21 – 23 May. They’ll also find that The Ministry of Culture & Tourism of Azerbaijan, Caribbean Tours, Monaco, Indonesia, Singapore, Slovenia and Leonardo Hotels are among the many exhibitors who have committed to larger stands this year.

These organisations are set for three busy days of business with several thousand hosted buyers arriving from all over the world including new groups from across Europe, the US and Asia.

Imagination – the time to ask ‘what if…?’

Imagination is IMEX’s Talking Point for this year and informs content throughout the show with education and experiences challenging planners and exhibitors alike to question the conventional and explore new approaches. This includes a new Discovery Zone – a entire hall showcasing the latest in technology and experiential, plus a few surprises along the way.

Learning, as always, remains one of the core offerings at IMEX, with a packaged programme of free show floor workshops as well as a dedicated day of learning – EduMonday taking place on Monday 20 May.

EduMonday begins with the keynote at She Means Business, created in partnership with tw tagungswirtschaft. After this, attendees can stay and be part of She Means Business, celebrating the role of women in the events industry, or mix and match from a programme of 20 general sessions designed around professional or personal developments.  

Tailor-made learning

Event professionals from all sectors and all levels can explore topics and trends via a number of dedicated events within EduMonday, all specifically curated for various audiences. Association professionals from around the world are invited to Association Day & Evening, to share best practice and connect with peers. The Agency Directors Forum is a strategic exchange for small to mid-size meetings and events agencies. There’s also education and networking exclusively for corporate/in-house meeting and event executives at Exclusively Corporate.

Celebrating the power of the industry

The events industry is powered by people and their meaningful connections, and there are numerous networking and social events throughout the show to help attendees catch up with colleagues and make new contacts. These include SITE Nite Europe, cim-clubbing @IMEX, the early-morning riverside #IMEXrun as well as the glamorous Gala Dinner celebrating outstanding achievement in the meetings industry.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “The power of the shared experience helps to deliver brilliant business opportunities as well as a welcome blast of excitement and surprise. We capture what’s new, what’s inspiring, what’s brewing across our industry and in the world around us and put it in the melting pot to ensure our show remains fresh and hot.”

IMEX in Frankfurt takes place 21 -23 May 2019. Registration for the show is free of charge and open to all who work in the meetings, events and incentive travel industry.

More from PCMA’s Convening Leaders

Attendees from 36 countries were able to choose from 138 experts, advocates, industry leaders and celebrities positioned to address the group. General session topics are thought to be somewhat predictable but not in the hands of PCMA programmers.

From marketing Guru, Seth Godin, instructing on how to blow up the status quo for memorable conferences to tennis legend Billie Jean King lobbing tennis balls into the audience as the finale to her interview, there were few moments when participants looked to their cell phones as a diversion!

Billie Jean ready to lob tennis balls to the audience

Wellness ruled with an early morning yoga class, “Namaste with PCMA” being a big hit.

Then, as advertised, education was key with an Innovate and Elevate Arena, Content Studios offering unique immersive experiences and Breakout Sessions covering topics ranging from Inclusion and DiversityLatest Trends in Design as well as Aromatherapy in Action.

A myriad of networking opportunities were available throughout the event as long as you were wearing comfortable shoes and had your phone fully charged, enabling you to set up rendez-vous points!

Session Key Take-Aways:

  • 1 face-to-face conversation equals 34 emails
  • Your body is your #1 fan – learn to listen to it
  • The “Meeting Professional” label has been upgraded to “Business Event Strategist”
  • Meet Face-to-Face – See Eye to Eye

Along with our own Jo Ann Hoffman and Sandra Reed of Meetings Alliance, I was pleased to encounter the following supplier partners in attendance:  Gerry Kingston of Delta Air Lines; Laura Saeger, Meet In Ireland; Kerrin MacPhie and Gavin Landry, Visit Britain and Kim Brussow, Visit Vail Valley.

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 San Francisco!

PCMA 2019 – The Steel City

Your intrepid Blogger was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. but my recent trip to  “The Steel City” was not a sentimental journey but rather one to attend PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2019.

Held Jan. 6-9, this event retained its label as THE premier opportunity to “jump-start” the year professionally for the close to 4,000 attendees. The theme was “Disrupt + Deliver and this was the ideal branding for the “smart, creative program with a diverse array of perspectives” as described by CEO Sherrif Karamat.

Pittsburgh’s CVB team pulled out all the stops and showcased this uniquely situated city with its uber-friendly inhabitants as a dynamic meeting destination. The David L. Lawrence (Leed Certified) Convention Center played the leading role by providing flexible meeting space along with spectacular views of the rivers surrounding the downtown area.

ConventionPlanit Attends SPINCon

SPIN celebrated its 10th birthday at SPINCon 2018 hosted by the Don CeSar in beautiful St. Pete Beach, Florida, and ConventionPlanit’s Muzette Randall was in attendance to support our strategic partner.

For the 2nd year in a row the conference focused on Brain, Being, Body, & Business with an impressive array of speakers offering insight and education geared specifically to the senior planning community. The agenda was jammed pack with opportunities to participate in sessions and workshops that covered everything from pricing strategies to website design to recipes for life to the power of presence.

Celebrating SPINCon 2018 on the rooftop of Hotel Zamora (photo by Josh Power)

Quiet time at the end of each session was introduced this year to give attendees the opportunity to process the information received. But it wasn’t just about learning…it was about building and fostering relationships that uplift, inspire, support and encourage each other.  The Brain Snacks were amazing and the Dance Parties were stimulating.

Reading Buddies ruled – SPIN’s sponsored charity included books for YMCA READS. Pictured L-R Tracy Smith & Shawna Suckhow

This event is undoubtedly one of the most creative and engaging conferences held by any organization. To give an example: the general meeting room was a theater in the round and attendees shared sofas, high top tables and comfy chairs. This year’s theme was “Magical” and attendees were encouraged to dress in costumes, wear pajamas, outrageous slippers, etc…but most of all be comfortable. Authenticity was mandatory and “I am fine” was an unacceptable answer to “how are you?”. Attendees found the  “no judgment zone”  liberating and the overall atmosphere infectious. was in excellent company and shared sponsor honors with, to name just a few, Business Events Toronto, Memphis Tourism,  Alaska Destination Specialists,  DMC Network, Experience Grand Rapids, Cabarrus County CVB, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Daytona Beach CVB, Great Wolf Lodge Groups & Meetings, The Beach of Fort Myers and Sanibel, Visit Anchorage & Hotel Zamora.  As is SPIN tradition, sponsors were made to feel part of the family and were bestowed with many hugs of affection.

What a pleasure to spend time with such a passionate group of people who truly believe in servicing their clients with the best possible meeting experience. Next year’s SPINCon location has not been announced yet, but you can bet I’ll be there.  If you’re a supplier and haven’t partnered with this network yet, then you need to put it on your to do list. If you’re a planner with 10+ years of direct planning experience and are not a member, then you need to check out You don’t know what you’re missing!

“Stand” Outs by Supplier Partners at IMEX America

The Visit England stand had some great children’s book giveaways as it got lost in the world of literature. Their booth was anchored by a whimsical map of England depicting where in the country well known English authors lived and worked. Also pictured were the titles of the books authored by these literary greats…from Dracula to Sherlock Holmes.

The Bloomington CVB introduced their new high-tech humanoid robot Pepper to promote the 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. Three Pepper robots on the premises are designed to enhance the guest experience through AI. Pepper can give directions to stores and restaurants, answer questions about the Mall, and even pose for selfies. BTW, Pepper demonstrated some cool dance moves!

The Long Beach CVB stand had the great idea to position a human flower arrangement to attract planners to their versatile destination. This lovely lady stood for hours covered with flora which prevented her from seeing all the attention she was receiving from attendees! (And I thought walking around the floor was challenging!)

Final note: This was also a landmark week for our industry outside of the records being set by IMEX.  An announcement was made by the Events Industry Council that globally, business events generate over $1 TRILLION in direct spending, matching the consumer electronics sector in size and placing it among the world’s leading business markets. So, as Ray Bloom so succinctly summed up, we ended the IMEX event on the high note of a” tremendous week for business, for the industry and for the future of meetings and events.”

So mark your calendar and see you next year for IMEX America #9 – to be held earlier in the month of September instead of the traditional October date!

IMEX America 2018 Was a Success!

The eighth annual IMEX America held Oct. 16-18 in Las Vegas set a series of new records. This blog is a bit late as the team is still reeling from working an exhibition that gave a record 13,000 thousand participants the opportunity to do business face-to-face.

3,500 exhibitors representing 150 countries along with 6,000 attendees saw the show expand into a third hall at the Sands Expo. Your intrepid blogger lost at least a half inch in height after 3 days of walking the aisles dodging 3,300 hosted buyers on a mission to get to their supplier appointments on time. As 70% of these meetings had RFP’s attached, you can be sure that the energy on the exhibitors side of the booth was just as prevalent!

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
  • Learn from the extensive Education sessions and Inspiration Hub interaction
  • Enjoy both professional and personal networking

Interactive experiences along with the standard educational formats provided opportunities for the planners to combine activities such as:

  • Learning how to design your meetings for the quiet 50%
  • Enjoying  the thrills of the VR zip line
  • Sampling artisanal cheeses from Wisconsin and learning how to create the perfect pairing
  • Instruction on how to leave a positive legacy from your events on local communities
  • Participating in guided meditation in the Be Well Lounge

ConventionPlanit Invites you to be a Hosted Buyer at IMEX 2019 in Frankfurt + a Post-Trip to London

Do you book events outside the US?

IMEX, the world’s largest exhibition for the global meeting, incentive and exhibition industry, is bringing hosted buyers like you to its Frankfurt show May 21-23, 2019.  ConventionPlanit partners with Susan Sarfati and Liz Jackson who have been organizing IMEX hosted buyer groups for ten years.  IMEX will pay for your air fare and Frankfurt hotel plus provide airport shuttle service and daily shuttles to the exhibition


Do you book association meetings in Europe of 200+ attendees and London could be a prospect?  If so, you are also invited to join a hosted buyer post-IMEX trip May 23-26, 2019 organized by the London Convention Bureau

RSVP and more information: contact Liz Jackson or +1.703.964.6030