IMEX America Makes Impact with IMEX Challenge 2014

imex americaGreetings, dear readers! Today the ConventionPlanit Team landed in Las Vegas for this year’s IMEX America trade show. This year,  Maureen Pickell, CTC, Sandra Reed, and I are in attendance.

We got right to work setting up our booth, which is now ready to meet all of the meeting planners we have appointments with Tuesday-Thursday during the expo hours.  (Make an appointment with us  – we are Booth #3659!)

Many industry planners and suppliers hit the ground running earlier than the CP Team, volunteering Saturday and Sunday at the Shade Tree center for abused women and children as part of the IMEX Challenge 2014. The group created new healing gardens,  and they spent time digging, planting and building storage sheds.

The gardens were sponsored by Sands Cares and GES (Global Experience Specialists), and the project was designed and managed by The Venetian® l The Palazzo’s® Horticultural Department who have committed to maintaining the gardens in the future.

The Shade Shelter is one of two local non-profits that IMEX America has supported since its launch in Las Vegas.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to see how the first day of the expo goes!

Fall Special Meeting Offers

Securing good rates for short term meetings can be difficult and stressful, which is the last thing planners need as summer winds down and you begin to prepare for the busy fall tradeshow season. We have you covered though, with a variety of special meeting offers, available exclusively to planners using ConventionPlanit.

Tropicana Las Vegas, a Doubletree Hotel (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Book and actualize an event or conference at the New Tropicana Las Vegas – a DoubleTree by Hilton for the months of September and October 2014 and you can earn up to Triple HHonors Event Planner Points! 

Planners also receive:

·         Complimentary Internet: Enjoy complimentary wireless Internet access in our breezy, residential-style hotel rooms and suites for you and all of your attendees. 

·         15% Savings on Equipment: Save up to 15% on all of the latest technology and equipment that you may need for your event with rentals through Encore Event Technologies. 

·         VIP Suite Upgrades: Book your meetings at our property and you may be eligible to receive special VIP suite upgrades and amenities based on availability! 

Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center (Scottsdale, Arizona)

What’s Your Pleasure?

Meetings at Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center are always a great value, but we’ve made our Benchmark Conference Plan (BCP) rates even better with even more value. Book your 2014 meeting now and receive up to four of these exclusive value additions! 

·         5% Rebate of Total Guest Room Revenue

·         50% Attrition Policy

·         No Cancellation Penalty up to 30 Days Prior to Arrival

·         50% off Private Dining Package

·         Surcharges or 25% off A La Carte Dining

·         1:35 Comp Room Ratio

·         No F&B Minimum

·         One Hour Welcome Reception (Beer, Wine & Chef’s Choice Appetizers)

Turf Valley (Ellicott City, Maryland)

Pick Your Perk at Maryland’s Only Golf Resort-Conference Center in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor!

Choose from:

·         $300 Visa Gift Card

·         50% Off AV

·         Kindle Fire HDX

·         Two Nights Stay: To include a $200 Turf Valley Gift Card

·         10% off the bottom line of the master account 

Some requirements and restrictions apply to the above offers. To learn more about these special offers and to see even more great deals, visit the Special Meeting Offers Section on!


Atlanta Hotel Renovation

Westin Atlanta PeachtreeThe AAA Four Diamond rated Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta has just undergone a $70 million transformation.

The hotel has nature-inspired designs, flexible lobby seating, the new Bar 210, FedEx Office, and Tangent™.

The Westin Peachtree Plaza features 200,000 gross sq. ft. of meeting space, including 53 mindful meeting rooms and Building 1 at AmericasMart. It’s perfect for your next meeting in Atlanta!

Learn more about the Westin Peachtree Plaza’s renovation.

Get Organized

checklistA successful conference needs a highly organized meeting planner running the show. Make sure your event is up to par and ensure no detail is overlooked by making an event binder. This will be your lifeline onsite at the event. Below we share some of our must-have items to include in your binder. Be sure to let us know what you would add!


  • Schedules
    • Personal Schedule: day-by-day works best for larger conferences
    • Meeting Schedule: be sure to include room numbers
    • Staff Schedule: include who is working check in, registration, etc. and the shift time
  • Venue Information
    • Event Contract
    • Venue Contact List
    • Rooming List: ask for an up to date list on arrival day
    • Room Set Ups: highlight any changes from the version the hotel received
    • Food & Beverage Order Forms
    • Hotel Floorplan
    • AV Requests
  • Exhibits
    • Exhibiting Company Lists: alphabetical & by booth number
    • Exhibitor Contracts: include copies of check or credit card numbers
    • Set-Up Instructions: include all drapery colors and any other set-up details sent to the venue
  • Signage: a list of all signs and placement locations
  • Speaker Information: contact information and arrival times
  • Additional Details
    • Last minute action list
    • Security schedule
    • Insurance certificate

    What additional information do you include in your binder? Send a tweet to @conventionplani with the hashtag #cpeventbinder and let us know!


    Information compiled with the help of the National Council of Teachers of English

Meetings Tech Expo Hits NYC

Meetings Tech Expo

ConventionPlanit attends many tradeshows throughout the year, and the Meetings Technology Expo this October was a must on the list.

MTE is the first and still the longest-running conference and expo focused on meeting & event technology, and will take place October 28 in New York City.

In its 10th year, MTE will feature CMP and CAE accredited sessions, over 50 tech demos, and play host to dozens of 1-on-1 meetings between tech vendors and tech-buyers. Receive the hands-on education you need to make an informed decision when selecting new technologies for your meetings and events.

As part of your registration you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for 1-on-1 meetings with any MTE exhibitors. The pre-arranged appointments are made to fit within your schedule and help get the most out of your time while at the show.

Plus, learn from your peers what tech solutions have worked for them and share your own tech experiences at the Networking Breakfast & General Session, Networking Luncheon & Tech Round Table Discussions, and Post-show Networking Reception.

Register to attend the Meetings Technology Expo. We hope to see you there!

How To Double Your Conference Attendance & Revenue

Please enjoy the following guest post from member, Digitell, Inc. digitell live streaming

Double your attendance at your next conference. And your revenue. And create a new benefit for your members. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

And it is not a matter of whether you can, or can not “double your attendance and conference revenue.” With Live Streaming it is only a matter of when!

Did you know that 100 hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day? YouTube attracts 800 million unique visitors every month—video is so much more engaging than still photography. It is the third most visited site behind only Google and Facebook—and the second most popular search engine after only Google. Also 75% of YouTube’s content is generated outside the U.S.

If you think, or have been told, that the video medium and Live Streaming your content is not for associations, or your organization for fear of cannibalizing conference attendance, membership and revenue, consider this: For the past several years, hundreds of associations and corporations including the American Institute of CPAs, US Lacrosse, and The Expo Group have tapped into the power and reach of Live Streaming to increase their member and customer engagement;  add significant value to their membership benefits; and replaced aging advertsing and revenue streams that have been dwindling and disappearing for years. live streaming

Consider these three recent real-world examples of how Live Streaming your next conference keynotes and education sessions can generate these results and more.

National Speakers Association (NSA)

Just last week NSA held its annual convention in sunny San Diego, CA. Record-setting attendance of 1400 professional speakers and staff participated in a full conference schedule of over 50 keynotes and education sessions by the top speakers, live performers and consultants in the country. Included were pros like Steve Forbes, Chairman of Forbes Media, Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller, and dozens of NSA Hall of Fame Speakers including Nancy Duarte, Mark Sanborn, and Sean Stephenson.

However, for the first time ever, NSA Live Streamed fourteen of its keynotes and education sessions to members who could not attend. The Live Stream received rave reviews and attracted an enthusiastic virtual audience of over 1200 members from 22 countries that nearly doubled its attendance this year. Wow! The Live Streamed sessions were a huge hit with members—many of them saying they wanted to attend the next annual event in-person*.

Radiological Society of North American (RSNA)

Last December, RSNA held its annual convention at McCormick Place, Chicago. Over 20,000 members and industry professionals attended in-person.

However, by Live Streaming select keynotes and education programs, RSNA was able to reach and virtually engage more than 8,000* physicians and medical professionals worldwide in 72 countries. With their virtual audience, they doubled the attendance inseveral of their sessions and significantly increasing the engagement of their membership. They also awarded nearly 80,000 CEUs via the Live Stream platform.

American Society of Microbiology (ASM)

Attendance increases and adding member benefits are valuable attributes of Live Streaming of course; but can you afford it? Well, like most technologies, the cost of Live Streaming your events has progressively dropped over the past few years which can make it a profitable venture with your very first launch.

Take, for example, the experience of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM). Two years ago ASM contracted with a technology provider to live stream their annual conference. They generated $40k in revenue from virtual registrations and sponsorships. Unfortunately the vendor charged them $72k to live stream their conference. So ASM lost $32k.

Fast forward to ASM’s most recent conference. ASM changed to a technology provider offering a more mature pricing and marketing support model. The cost for Live Streaming this past year came in at only $24k, Live Streaming revenue increased to $52k, and instead of losing $32k, ASM made a $28k profit—a $60k swing in ROI in one year. In addition to the positive benefits of virtual attendee registration, sponsors and exhibitors clamor for Live Streaming and sponsorship options tied to content syndication. They know these opportunities generate greater brand visibility and creditability, better lead generation quality, and higher conversion to sales.

So What Are Your Goals?

Maybe it’s time to expand your goals to include increasing virtual conference attendance, improving member and customer engagement, and growing your conference revenue and profitability. Live Streaming your next event has huge potential to do all these for your organization.

For more information on how you can Live Stream your next event, a demo or budget estimate, contact Michael Hatch at Digitell, 240-603-6044.

( * ) Recent studies conducted by PCMA and Digitell found 15% to 30% of virtual attendees typically convert and attend the next conference in-person—increasing both conference attendance and revenue.

ASAE by the Numbers

Your dedicated blogger is not one to quote statistics. However, the following numbers associated with the 2014 ASAE Annual Meeting and Expo that wrapped up in Nashville are notable enough to share with our audience.

  • The event welcomed 5,924 total participants – among them 3,142 participants and 1,863 exhibitors
  • This year’s event saw the most attendees since the Chicago meeting of 2007
  • The Expo ran for 2 days and showcased 707 booths representing 441 companies
  • The buyer-to-seller ratio was 63 to 37
  • Some $500 million in business is projected to be booked in Nashville by attendees over the next 10 years

So, the ASAE Annual Show moves from the “Music City” this year to the “Motor City” in 2015. See you in Detroit next August!!

The ConventionPlanit Booth. Check out our new signs from GNP Branded Gear!

The ConventionPlanit Booth. Check out our new signs from GNP Branded Gear!

ASAE’s Opening Night Celebration

“Singin’ in the Rain” – a.k.a the Opening Night Celebration.

A major rainstorm erupted at the beginning of the reception driving the group inside the Music City Center and putting a damper on the outdoor block party scheduled for the evening. The good news was that they were able to move the Bars inside as well.

Bad news was you had to wait until the rain subsided around 9:30pm to enjoy the phenomenal food still parked outside. And, after drying off the stage, everyone enjoyed country music star Dierks Bentley sing from his 11 Grammy nominated repertoire of hits.

The “Welcome to Splashville” evening was salvaged by the city’s ability to turn adversity into a memorable event. And isn’t that our entire industry’s stock in trade??

A is for ASAE

“A” is for August and ASAE. Your intrepid blogger set out for Music City a.k.a. Nashville to attend the Aug. 9-12, 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition.

The location for the event was the Music City Center, built to be large enough to accommodate 75% of the nation’s convention and visitor market. This state of the art venue features 1,800 parking spaces, 22 elevators and escalators, 1,100 doors, 845 solar panels and 13,500 light fixtures. In other words, well equipped to handle the record-breaking 6,000 attendees in attendance.

As usual, there was a variety of innovative learning formats available: Ignite Sessions, Game Changer Sessions, Learning Labs, Master Mind Sessions and Flash Learning opportunities.

The Expo Hall provided a wide variety of suppliers with interesting booths. Travel Portland showcased an old fashioned ice-cream cart filled with (you guessed it) ice cream for the masses. Business Events Canada toted along the Molson Canadian Beer Fridge, and Reno Tahoe USA brought David Wise, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics halfpipe skiing gold medalist to the hall for photo ops.

CP Member Visit Anchorage won 2nd Place for Best Booth!

CP Member Memphis CVB won 2nd Place for Best Booth!

Plus, ASAE executives could also shop for meeting destinations, facilities and service providers! I was joined by team members, Katherine and David Markham and Carolyn Pemberton in the booth to highlight  our unique RFP Organization tool to the planners.

The ConventionPlanit Team at ASAE: Carolyn Pemberton; Maureen Pickell, CTC; David Markham; Katherine Markham, CHME

The ConventionPlanit Team at ASAE: Carolyn Pemberton; Maureen Pickell, CTC; David Markham; Katherine Markham, CHME

New Contest Announced

Calling all meeting professionals:

Do you use Do you have industry colleagues or peers who could benefit from using these services?

If so, you can refer your colleagues and enter to win a trip for yourself at the same time!

Enter the Refer a Meeting Professional Contest for a chance to win a trip for two to the all new Tropicana Las Vegas, located on the strip!

Package Includes:

-Three nights in a Club Deluxe Room
-Round trip air for two
-Dinner at Bacio Italian Cuisine
-Tickets to The Mama Mia! Musical