Are you attending IMEX America?

imex americaIf you are attending IMEX America later this month, come visit ConventionPlanit at Booth 866!

Take a tour of the ConventionPlanit Website and learn how planning your meetings can be a breeze with our RFP Tools.

Simplify the RFP process with our customizable tools. Have your RFP responses organized and receive complimentary consulting from our seasoned team of experts. Receive RFP responses within 24 hours — guaranteed.

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See you in Las Vegas!

Share a Tip & Win

facebook contestAre you a meeting planner with a great industry tip to share?

Visit our Facebook Page and comment with your best meetings related tip to be entered to win a $100 American Express Rewards Card.

The tip with the most likes by the end of the month wins, so tell your friends!
Contest is open to meeting planners who comment and share a tip by September 30.

The winner will be announced on our Facebook page, so “Like” the ConventionPlanit Page to be notified!

To check out past winning tips, visit the Stellar Tips Page on

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Winter is Wonderful in Boston

Check out this amazing special offer from the Fairmont Copley Plaza!

Fairmont Copley Plaza

From the beloved tradition of ice skating at nearby Boston Common to the twinkling lights lining the charming streets of Back Bay, wintertime is the most magical time to experience Boston at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

Located in the heart of the city, Fairmont Copley Plaza has been a symbol of Boston’s rich history and elegance for over 100 years. We invite you to join us and experience the results of our extensive centennial renovation, which included the remodeling of all 383 guestrooms and suites, as well as the addition of a contemporary rooftop health club and stylish new restaurant, OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

Meet from now until March 31, 2016 and receive*:
• 5% Credit Back to Master Account
• 1 One Hour Authentically Local Welcome Reception
• 2 Complimentary Staff Rooms for Program

Contact the Fairmont Copley Plaza here.

Case Study: Nearly Century-Old Association Breaks the Mold

DMA Retires Annual Convention, Launches & THEN

When it comes to improving and upgrading an annual convention, sometimes a radical makeover is the best option. That’s what the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) did this year to its meeting.

DMA started by surveying its members to identify their unmet needs as marketers. The results revealed a strong preference for new information about marketing strategy and integration, as well as the more digital, online and data-driven aspects of marketing. They also wanted new ways to interact and learn from – and with – their peers.

“The appetite for an event that unifies the marketing industry rather than segments it by channels and that celebrates the power of data confirmed what we felt in our gut about the reinvention of our annual conference,” says Tom Benton, DMA’s CEO. “The research gave us the confidence to literally break the mold of our annual and create what the market wants and needs. For DMA – just two years shy of our 100th anniversary – to be bringing this level of innovation to the marketplace and acting more like a startup is exciting for us, our members and the marketplace.”

The bold new approach starts with a new name – “&THEN – designed to prompt the question, “&THEN what?” DMA Senior Vice President of Communications Lindsay Hutter says the event will answer this question through a wide range of new offerings that feature forward-thinking speakers and ideas.

Another huge shift is in the target audience. DMA members are experts in using data to help develop marketing strategies, and this approach spans marketing across all channels – not just traditional direct marketing.

The DMA research segmented potential attendees into three groups:

1. “Loyals,” who always come to the annual meeting;
2. “Lapsed,” who used to attend the annual meeting; and,
3. “Non-attends,” who don’t know much about DMA or the annual meeting.

By changing the message about the show and launching an aggressive marketing campaign to all these groups, DMA has already attracted half its registrants from the “Lapsed” and “Non-attends” groups – a sure sign that something positive is happening.

“&THEN is not just about DMA – it’s about marketers and data-driven marketing,” Hutter says. “It’s a non-traditional experience by design that’s focused on marketers – not the association. You won’t see the typical speeches from association leaders and grip-and-grin awards and recognition ceremonies. Volunteer leaders and award winners will be recognized, but in a more sophisticated way.”

For starters, DMA hired CNN contributor and syndicated talk radio host Mel Robbins to emcee the keynote sessions each day. The keynoters are also not the traditional mix of speakers. They bring diverse strategic perspectives: Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Chairman Kevin Roberts and IBM SVP of Marketing and Communications Jon Iwata will deliver their views as professional marketers. But Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of Toms (a company that sells shoes and has donated 35 million pairs of shoes to needy children around the world during the past 10 years) and musician John Legend will talk about their more organic approaches to marketing and how they succeeded.

On the exhibit floor, a central area called “The Hub” provides the event-long networking forum for attendees to connect and learn from each other.

And in an extremely bold marketing move, DMA is running the “Ultimate $100,000 Marketing Challenge,” where it offers $100,000 to the person who can convince the most people to register for the event (with a minimum of 20 people required).

The show-biz feel of &THEN also features a shark-tank-style startup competition for young disruptive ad-tech and mar-tech companies called The HOT ZONE. A half-dozen judges from Facebook and other leading companies will dole out cash prizes up to $25,000 plus other benefits.

Ever heard of “GenD”? DMA has. It’s the digital-era generation, masters of technology and inventors of new ways to leverage it to reach new goals whose mindset comes from attitude and not age. &THEN taps into this mindset and integrates its thinking into meeting content. DMA even created a GenD Anthem to capture the spirit of GenD.

DMA also is leveraging the brand star-power of its speakers, highlighting high-level innovative brand names such as Google, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Adobe, Oracle, McKinsey & Company, Nielsen, Accenture, FedEx, and the Harvard Business School. Hutter encourages all meeting professionals to use this approach, since big brand names attract attention and give a conference credibility.

As &THEN nears (it will be held October 4-6, 2015 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center), marketing trade publications are reporting on the event’s radical new approach, creating buzz that is driving registration. DMA also expects marketing reporters at major national media to take notice.

“Many of our attendees are people who are new to DMA,” Hutter notes. “So our branding, marketing and programming for &THEN is succeeding. We’re excited about what it brings to the marketing industry and how it is repositioning DMA for the future.”

Al Rickard, CAE, is president of Association Vision, a communications company, and serves as director of communications for

Columbus on the Rise

This year, Columbus hosted the NHL All-Star Game and was a finalist for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Columbus is a city on the rise.
columbusConvention attendees step outside the Columbus Convention Center and find walkable neighborhoods brimming with more than a hundred entertainment options, including locally owned restaurants, lively bars, nightlight, one-of-a-kind art galleries and unique shopping and boutiques.

And there’s great forward momentum as Columbus continues to enhance its tourism and hospitality industry product offering. Here’s a taste of what’s happening in Columbus:

Convention center upgrade and expansion: Beginning in September, the Columbus Convention Center will undergo a $125 million modernization and expansion that will bring its contiguous exhibit space to 373,000 sq. ft. Upscale finishes will be carried into the two connected headquarter hotels: Hyatt Regency Columbus and Hilton Columbus Downtown. The upgrade will be complete in July 2017 and elevate the delegate experience for those in 4,000 downtown hotel rooms.

Airport renovation: Columbus International Airport, located just 10 minutes from downtown, is entering the home stretch of a three-year, $80 million renovation. The project, complete in February 2016, is modernizing terminals and bringing in local restaurants and retail. Columbus offers non-stop service to 34 destinations.Learn more about Columbus.

Meeting Savings in Cancun

If your summer vacation ended too soon, consider taking your group to Cancun!

Royalton Resorts are the new generation of luxury hotels offering the best all inclusive experience in the world’s most popular tropical destinations. Our All-In Luxury™ concept is devoted to providing guests with a unique experience by combining the spirit of each resort’s host community, a luxury product that features exceptional service, and incredible attention to detail.


BOOK NOW for travel 2016 and SAVE BIG
Valid until November 1, 2015

Group Inclusions:

Welcome Drink and fresh cloth upon arrival
Flexible Reduction Policy
Upgrades for VIPs
Discounted Staff Rooms
Complimentary Welcome Reception
Complimentary Meeting Space
Complimentary Coffee Break
Organized Dine Around
Free Nights for Site and Planning Visit
and so much more!

Create a Sense of Community

Silver Legacy
Located in the heart of Downtown Reno, The Silver Legacy Resort is THE perfect location to create a sense of community for meeting delegates!!

The Silver Legacy is designed to provide high quality service, facilities and meals without feeling cheated.  Meeting attendees will appreciate the rate structure in our hotel and will enjoy the incredible service combined with price savings on food/beverage and audio visual (compare our gallon of coffee at under $40 per gallon….NO, that is not a typo…just a savings).
Meeting attendees will have plenty to do — within our convenient complex of three properties, connected by indoor walkways, our guests enjoy twenty (20) of the city’s finest restaurants, a variety of lounges and nightclubs, top name entertainment, comedy club and much more.

The Silver Legacy’s on-property amenities are complimented by Downtown Reno venues including the National Bowling Stadium, National Automobile Museum, Baseball Stadium, Truckee River Arts District, River Walk and Pioneer Theater.  Along with award winning restaurants, Campo, La Familia, Heritage….. (this list could go on and on and we are limited on space)!

Hosting your event at the Silver Legacy provides an experience found nowhere else in our wonderful destination!

Learn more about the Silver Legacy.

A Customized Day of Learning & Networking

Recognizing that the needs and demands of association executives are unique, IMEX America will once again feature Association Focus & Evening.
This customized set of events will take place as part of Smart Monday Powered by MPI on October 12th in Las Vegas at The Venetian®|The Palazzo® Congress Center & the Foxtail Nightclub at SLS Las Vegas.  The IMEX America show then runs at the Sands Expo and The Venetian®|The Palazzo® October 13th-15th.
The customized Association Focus line-up kicks off on the Monday of IMEX America week with a Networking Luncheon followed by a full afternoon of education sessions including those led by ASAE and ICCA, with CMP/CEU accreditation available.
This portion of the program has no suppliers present, offering a unique educational and networking environment.  Six learning sessions will be offered in total with topics ranging from “The Journey to Great Governance” with speaker Susan Robertson, CAE, Executive Vice President, ASAE and President, ASAE Foundation; andIncreasing Non-Due Revenues in International Markets” headlining speaker Faris Abouhamad, Chairman & World President of the International Advertising Association and moderator Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events … to “Leveling Up, Big Boss Fights, Badges & Gamification Hacks that will Ignite Your Members” featuring Willis Turner, CEO, Sales & Marketing Executives International, Inc. & Shelly Alcorn Principal, Alcorn Associates Management Consulting.
Following these insightful break-outs, everyone will then come back together for a larger group wrap-up discussion before heading out to Association Evening– which this year takes place for the first time at the stunning Foxtail Nightclub at SLS Las Vegas. The new ‘cocktails and canapes’ reception format will give association executives a chance to network with exhibitors the evening prior to the show opening.
The full Association Focus schedule can be seen at:
If you would like to find out more about participating in Association Focus as a hosted buyer or buyer attendee please

JQH Hotels Recognized for Excellence

Backed by a 50-plus year legacy of excellence, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH) represents diverse brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Sheraton, IHG, Chateau on the Lake Resorts / Spa & Convention Center, and Plaza Hotels Collection. Twenty-three JQH hotels recently earned the TripAdvisor® special Hall of Fame status for being awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor for five consecutive years. In addition, 43 JQH properties achieved the 2015 Certificate of Excellence recognition.
Step into a JQH property and you will notice extra touches synonymous with quality, including high-end finishes and select locations with relaxing, full-service spas. As a leading owner and manager of hotels in the United States, JQH also operates more than 5.4 million gross square feet of superb meeting and convention space on-site or within walking distance to its upscale hotels.
Spanning a portfolio of nearly 70 hotels in 24 states, JQH deploys the latest technologies and processes to ensure that meeting planners and attendees’ experience is optimum. On-site banquet services are available to customize any event from large-scale trade shows, cooking demonstrations, and business expos, among others. Award-winning chefs create culinary delights that can enhance every occasion, with healthy options and dietary considerations available, including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan.
Go to for more information, or connect with JQH on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.