Trade Shows Event Industry Networking, meeting industry, MPI, omni
MPI SEC 2013, themed “Tomorrow’s Wave,” was hit by a wave of thunder boomers that knocked off all power to Amelia Island for several hours on Thursday.
Although the agenda was delayed, thanks in part to our great hosts, Omni Resorts Amelia Island Plantation, the trade show went on just one short hour behind schedule.
This year’s event was well attended and exhibitors spent productive time with meeting planners from around the southeast.
Here are a few photos from day 1 of the conference. Stay tuned for more!
CP assistant Liz Rowland is ready to meet the planners!
St. Augustine Ponte Verde puts on an impressive display.
Cheryl Jelinek proudly displays Saddlebrook ariel photo with CP’s Muzette Randall.
Kym Jones with TPC Sawgrass learns about the offerings of Grand Golf Resorts of Flordia from Stephen Baker.
Trade Shows ASAE & the Center, delta air lines, Event Industry Networking, meeting industry
ConventionPlanit.com member Delta Air Lines has been busy making headlines!
Your intrepid blogger was honored to be hosted by the Atlanta CVB and co-sponsor Delta Air lines at a delightful dinner during the ASAE Annual Expo last week. The dinner was held at the Kevin Rathburn Steak Restaurant.
Iron chefs, Best Friends and Brothers, Kevin and Kent Rathburn, own and operate some of the best dining establishments in their respective cities, Atlanta and Dallas. After a Meet the Chef reception, a large group of ASAE special guests sat down to a 4 course dinner offering unique presentations of scallops, duck, lamb or beef topped off by a delicious dessert.
Not to be upstaged, Delta had a drawing for 2 Business Class Elite tickets to any European destination and the awarding of this exciting prize was a highlight of the evening. Thanks to Atlanta and Partners for inviting ConventionPlanit.com to participate in this special event.
Later at the conference, Gerry Kingston, Mgr. Meeting, Association & Incentive Sales for Delta Air Lines, Inc. introduced Bob Kupbens, Delta’s Vice President of Marketing & Digital Commerce at a Game Changer session. Bob’s talk addressed technology as the key driver to the customer experience. He went on to demonstrate how Delta strives to simplify this experience across the entire travel spectrum by leveraging digital throughout an entire trip.
Relevancy? A large association audience heard tips on how they can apply both current and evolving digital strategies to reach their membership base and enhance their organization’s value proposition.
Trade Shows anchorage meetings, ASAE & the Center, bloomington, Event Industry Networking, meeting industry, travel portland
The ASAE Annual this year was a whirlwind and we’re still trying to recover!
The expo opened in Atlanta over the weekend with a combination of great experiences unique to this site of “Southern Hospitality.”
At the World of Coca-Cola,you could sample from a choice of 60 beverages (and you thought they only sold regular or diet) while learning about the history of the secret formula and examples of the drink’s impact on global cultures.
Next, a walk through the Georgia Aquarium got you up close and personal with whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins and many other species of fish that frolic in the aquarium’s 8.5 million gallons of water.
With all this “liquid” stimuli, it was a welcome sight to attendees to come across the delicious food and drink catered by Wolfgang Puck throughout the green space of Pemberton Park. And the Go-Go’s (you remember them!) rocked out on the stage just in case you needed additional entertainment. All in all, it was a terrific beginning to the 3 day event!!
The next day, The Association Solutions Marketplace opened with roughly 400 exhibiting companies with more than 600 booths…among them many CP.com supplier members. With the show running 2 days for 3 ½ hours each, exhibitors had the opportunity to reconnect with existing clients as well as meet new clients.
Dan O’Neil, V.P. Strategy & Sales and Julie Giorgio, National Account Manager, Bloomington CVB
In fact, the expo hall was a great place to just reconnect with the industry in general…as well as enjoy a “picnic” lunch environment.
ConventionPlanit.com supplier partners even won Best In Tradeshow awards!
Fifty first-time attendees hit the tradeshow floor to help determine who was best in show for the ASAE 2013 Annual Exposition. Travel Portland won 1st Place for Island Booths (no, not those kinds of islands) and Visit Anchorage took 1st Place for Inline Booths. Jim Henderson and Julie Dodds were so excited that this was the second year in a row that they were awarded this prize!
Visit Portland’s award winning decor, featuring the White Stag
Congratulations to Portland and Anchorage – all time winners in our book!!!
Melissa Amyx and Marilyn Koehler at the Bureau spend quality time with Jay Karen, CAE, President and CEO at Professional Association of Innkeepers International and The Innkeeping Foundation
Explore Asheville was well represented
Yvonne Boyington – Vice President of Conventions at the CVB with B’Lisa King, DOSM Embassy Suites Huntsville and Marie Arighi, from Von Braun Center
Carol Kavanaugh, Vice President at Destinations by Outside greets attendees with Jack Reed, Director of Sales at the CVB and Lisa Tennison, Sales Manager at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa
Left to right. Carlos Molinet, CHA, Senior Vice President – Fort Lauderdale CVB, Muzette Randall & Katherine Markham, ConventionPlanit.com
Tips for Meeting Planners Associated Luxury Hotels, site selection
Please enjoy the following guest post from our friend and member Dave Gabri, President and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International!
Whether you are planning a large convention or a smaller meeting for your organization, one of the most important decisions to make is where to host your program. But before deciding the location, it is imperative to first identify and understand the program necessities. In fact, this can be as important as the location itself.
So what are the “program necessities” that should be determined before selecting the location?
There are several, including:
- Outline the objectives. Decide the key message(s) of the program and the “distinctiveness considerations” to best support your branding and attendee expectations.
- Determine the focus. This could be: to build and enhance important business relationships; to advance one or more important objectives; to motivate attendees; to sustain and build results and market share; and/or to provide direction and leadership.
- Analyze attendees’ access. Where will the core attendees be coming from? (Will they be coming from one region, from within the U.S., or from other countries?) Also, identify the “access points” for attendees. Will the majority of the attendees have relatively easy (and timely) access to the location(s) that you are considering? This could mean convenient access to the airports or mass transportation, and/or to a location within a reasonable drive.
- Growth. Determine how the program will grow (or consolidate) to meet the future needs of the attendees. Meeting spaces and expected room ratios are important when the venue provides their best response to your RFP.
- Service Attendees. Identify what makes the program valuable for attendees. Is it supplying time with exhibitors? Or providing an environment where “best practices” can be exchanged and/or training is conducted? Or is it providing a forum where peers can bond, advance concepts, and expand relationships?
- Variable Audience. Determine if there will be different “audiences” among your attendees, and if so, choose a venue to address their unique needs.
- “Baby Boomers” (born 1947-1964) tend to like meetings with longer breaks, enjoy motivational speakers, love golf and spa, and enjoy group activities. Whereas “Generation Xers” (born 1965-1980) tend to like shorter sessions, less breaks, and prefer speakers that present relevant information. While “Generation Y” (or “Millennials”) (born 1981-2000 or so) like to be asked questions, and thrive on interactivity.
Specific Program Needs
After outlining the “program necessities” identify the number of guest rooms needed, the quantity of meeting rooms required, the sizes (capacity) of the meeting rooms for the various sessions, and the desired dates of the program. If you have flexibility on the dates or pattern you will get greater value by working with your chosen property. Of course, when selecting your optimal dates and pattern, be sure to identify the days of the week that will work best for your attendees.
Also, consider whether networking opportunities will be a focus, and/or if there are on-site or off-site offerings that will be important to the success of your program. Many hotels and resorts have special areas to accentuate these desires, with little or no extra charge.
Resorts vs. City Hotels: Advantages To Both
One of the key decisions concerning the location is whether to stage the meeting at a resort or at a city center hotel. In fact, there are advantages to both.
Resorts often offer more networking opportunities by keeping attendees close at hand for meals and functions. Meeting at a resort can also contribute to positive and creative thinking, and can provide a more discrete meeting environment to share new plans, objectives and directives. There also can be cost-saving benefits, including transportation savings, as there may be no need to go off-site.
For smaller groups, small resorts can provide an appealing intimate atmosphere. These properties can be particularly attractive for groups that require total confidentiality, or that wish to use the hotels’ beautiful public spaces for private functions.
Larger resorts typically offer on-site recreation and diverse activities that encourage interaction between attendees. A wealth of recreational offerings also can lead to attendees bringing their family for a pre- or post-program stay, and can lead to greater overall satisfaction with the program.
Distinctive city center hotels in dynamic metropolitan areas also provide many benefits. This includes often easier, and timelier, access to the meeting for attendees. Plus the group can experience the vast entertainment, cultural, dining, and business-related offerings of the city.
There also can be benefits to selecting a hotel in a smaller city. These destinations typically provide a great value and are often very accessible, with the option of low-cost carriers. Your group may be the major player in-house, and these properties and communities are often very service-driven to make attendees feel special. The smaller markets also often have availability when the major markets are booked.
Other Factors To Consider
When selecting your property there are several additional factors to consider. First, make sure that the hotel or resort properly reflects the character and quality of your organization. The location should meet, or slightly exceed, the market position of your organization. Remember, your choice makes a lasting impression, and attendees often rate conferences by food quality, ambience, distinctiveness, service levels, and the people they interacted with – even before the business “content” in many cases.
Also, make sure the property will provide a positive learning environment that will help advance your objectives. It should be distinctive and fresh, to invigorate and inspire attendees, and to positively reflect the direction of the organization.
Also, make sure that the resort or hotel is cost-effective for your potential attendees.
Identify Your GSO
A great way to identify properties that will suit your program’s specific needs is to work with a Global Sales Organization (GSO) of your favorite brand, such as Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), as they are a “one-stop shop.” They can check multiple hotels, on multiple levels, in multiple destinations with one discussion. This saves you time (and resources) by not having to call and explain your desires to each of the properties you may be considering. GSOs direct your program opportunity to their on-site sales manager partner at each hotel, emphasizing the importance of YOUR meeting, and ensuring a quick and meaningful response.
GSOs can also suggest alternative solutions to fit your needs, and can provide insight into bargains (like ALHI’s “Luxury On Sale”). They also can inform you of hotels where a cancellation may have just taken place, providing to you incremental buying power. Additionally, GSOs understand the account’s total business opportunity, and can help influence their properties on the importance of accepting your business over other opportunities. This is important as we move back toward a “sellers market.”
In summary, selecting where to conduct your program is a very important decision for your brand. By identifying the “program necessities” and specific program needs, determining the type of property that will best accomplish your objectives, and by utilizing your favorite GSO resources, you can find the location and hotel or resort that will provide the ideal platform for your program.
David Gabri is president and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), which has the global sales responsibilities to the meetings and incentive industries for its distinctive portfolio of over 140 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide which specialize in meetings and conventions. Contact your nearest ALHI Global Sales Office, call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-2544, and visit www.alhi.com.
Tips for Meeting Planners ASAE & the Center, green meetings
One of the best ways for associations to market themselves as green is through what is often one of their largest revenue sources: meetings and expositions. Green meetings have taken off, and anecdotal evidence proclaims it’s a beneficial thing to do—both for the organization’s bottom line and its image.
But for association meeting planners, more than anecdotal evidence is needed (especially when justifying expenses to the CEO). What meeting planners need is a concrete way to show very real return on investment: That is, how did the extra time, effort, and money expended in “greening” a gathering actually pay off vis-à-vis the bottom line?
At a recent education session on “Evaluating Green Meeting ROI” sponsored by the ASAE Convene Green Alliance at the ASAE Springtime Expo, Chris Brophy, VP, corporate sustainability, MGM Resorts International, and Kristin Clarke, ASAE Convene Green Alliance director and business editor/journalist for ASAE, showed attendees practical ways to measure the return on investment that green meetings can—and should—achieve.
Brophy suggested that rather than becoming overwhelmed with the grand notion of being sustainable and green, take a look at the specific components of your meeting (setup, exhibition, food and beverage, and venue, for example) and identify areas where your sustainability efforts will best align with the goals of your meeting.
As an example, consider how these segments, common to most meetings, could be designed to maximize sustainability:
- Event setup: Use water- and waste-smart services and options that help you achieve your conservation goals.
- Exhibition: Consider requiring exhibitors to make sure their giveaway items are recyclable, since many of them will be tossed anyway.
- Food and beverage: Insist on locally sourced, healthful items.
- Transportation: Design your meeting to be as walkable as possible and incorporate low-fuel transportation options (or no fuel, such as pedicabs).
- Venue: In addition to implementing your own sustainability efforts, opt for venues that are already green and adopt their policies and practices as well.
Document meticulously how such efforts saved your organization money by comparing the green meeting to other non-green meetings your organization has held in the past and seeing just how much money was saved (such as less trash to haul away, cheaper energy and water costs during setup, less money spent on transportation, and so forth).
Clarke spoke on something just as important as how sustainability affects the fiscal bottom line: how it affects the social bottom line. She cited examples—such as the National Association of Professional Organizers’ (NAPO) partnership with Soles4Souls and the Toy Industry Association’s Toy Bank—that both engage today’s more socially conscious attendee (a win for the association) and help people in need (a win for society at large).
Clarke and Brophy both asserted that green meetings can not only bring great value to associations and their members but can in fact aid society as a whole.
“It may sound hokey or melodramatic, but I firmly believe that associations can and do change the world,” says Clarke. “Whether it’s an immediate but transient change—such as feeding the hungry with leftover food—or a dramatic change, such as setting up a scholarship fund for disadvantaged youth in your industry, through actively being socially responsible, associations can make a huge difference in the quality of life of millions.”
For more information, visit www.convenegreen.com.
Contests Peppermill Reno, refer a meeting professional
Are you a meeting planner? Would you like to win a free trip to the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nevada?
It’s simple…enter for this amazing trip with the ConventionPlanit.com Refer a Meeting Professional Contest.
Enter by referring meeting, tradeshow or event planners to ConventionPlanit.com, and you’ll be entered (once for each referral) into the contest!
Submit an entry here.
Each entry qualifies you for a chance to win the grand prize – a three day/two night stay for two at the AAA diamond-accredited Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in a luxurious Tuscany Tower suite.
The winner will also receive roundtrip airfare for two, dinner at the Bimini Caribbean Steakhouse, and a spa treatment at Spa Toscana, all courtesy of the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino.
Trade Shows aibtm, Event Industry Networking, pcma
AIBTM blew into Chicago on June 11 with the opening Welcome Party held at the Navy Pier. The evening featured ‘The Best of Chicago” with current offerings from the local culinary scene and the hottest entertainment including high flying acrobats and the singing group Green Thirteen. The evening of networking was topped off by fireworks – a hallmark of the energy generated on the show floor June 12 through 13.
The theme of AIBTM 2013 “Defining the future of Meetings…Together” highlighted an interactive agenda positioning new ways for planners and industry professionals to generate positive business results. More than 15,000 appointments between exhibitors and planners were scheduled to take place on the show floor. The appointments presented Hosted Buyers with high-quality face time with suppliers in their areas of interest. PCMA was responsible for delivering their usual educational and creative global solutions to advance attendees’ professional development.
Something unusual introduced on the show floor was “The Refresh Zone.” This area presented an oasis to relax, recharge, rejuvenate, network and have a little fun in between appointments. And, suppliers were seen taking advantage of this innovative “casual” method of connecting with their clients…and each other.
Contests, Trade Shows anchorage meetings, ASAE & the Center, Springtime Expo
At last month’s Springtime Expo, ConventionPlanit.com also co-sponsored a Grand Prize with longtime ConventionPlanit.com member Visit Anchorage. The prize, a Big Alaskan Adventure, was promoted at both booths.
The prize package included roundtrip airline tickets for two from Alaska Airlines, a two night stay in downtown Anchorage at the Hilton Anchorage, a ride on the Alaska Railroad, a Wildlife Glacier Cruise, a two night stay at the Grande Denali Lodge, a two day car rental, passes to the Anchorage Museum, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and more!
The adorable brown bear gift bags were displayed at both booths and were gifted to two runner’s up.
Visit Anchorage’s booth display really tied in with the theme. The dog treats to the right of the bears are made of real Alaskan salmon and were a big hit with my pups!
We were eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winner – and our moment in the spotlight on the tv screen in the expo hall.
The winner of the grand prize package was Stephanie Santini with The Sulphur Institute. Stephanie was thrilled! Here she is with me, Julie Dodds of Visit Anchorage, and Maureen Pickell.
Save the date for next year’s Springtime Expo, which will take place on May 15, 2014!