Springtime Expo Part 2

The Expo Hall at last week’s Springtime Expo was packed with excitement from the moment I descended the escalators and had my first peek.

show floor

A view of the expo hall at the beginning of the Springtime Expo

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you – yes, that is a  massage station on the right hand side! By the end of the day, there was quite a line of attendees and exhibitors looking forward to a few moments of pampering.

The ConventionPlanit Booth was full of excitement, with many of our staff popping in and out throughout the day.

Me, Regional Director of Sales Carolyn Pemberton & Co-Founder Katherine Markham, CHME

Me, Regional Director of Sales Carolyn Pemberton & Co-Founder Katherine Markham, CHME

Later in the day, I left the booth intent on discovering the most unique booth displays and visiting with our member facilities, destinations and service providers, who did not disappoint with their displays!

Team San Jose's Charging Station

Team San Jose’s Charging Station

Team San Jose‘s booth was as welcome as an oasis in a desert. They were clever enough to include a cell phone charging station, complete with bottles of water and fresh flowers! Needless to say, their booth was quite popular.

The National Conference Center at the Springtime Expo

The National Conference Center at the Springtime Expo

The National Conference Center‘s booth staff was as friendly and welcoming as can be – and we couldn’t help but appreciate their great coordinated outfits! Located in Leesburg, Virginia, the venue boasts a 265,000 square foot live and learn facility, a challenging ropes course, team games and more, only a short distance from Washington, DC.

The Tropicana Las Vegas, a Doubletree by Hilton

The Tropicana Las Vegas, a Doubletree by Hilton

The Tropicana Las Vegas, a Doubletree by Hilton had much to celebrate in their booth. The hotel is the recent recipient of several Best of Las Vegas awards, including Best Hotel Rooms, Best Hotel Room Value, Best Hotel Suites, and many more!

ALHI's Luxury Lane

ALHI’s Luxury Lane

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) had the most inviting looking sitting area with custom pillows. The perfect spot to take a load off before journeying down the Luxury Lane of ALHI properties present at the show. ps – learn about their latest Caribbean luxury properties in our recent article!

Rachelina Bonacci, Chief Executive Officer & Amanda Hof, Partnership Promotions Manager for Howard County Tourism & Promotion

Howard County, Maryland was well represented at the show, and had the benefit of promoting a destination that is a short distance from Washington, DC, giving it great appeal for meeting consideration from the local attendees.

The show floor was full of exciting displays. There were 468 booths in total – no wonder the planners were worn out by the end of the day!

Springtime Comes to Washington, DC

Yesterday, your ConventionPlanit Bloggers were reunited at ASAE’s Springtime Expo in Washington, DC. We look forward to attending the show every year – an event full of networking and education!

Ashley Chalmers & Maureen Pickell, CTC

Ashley Chalmers & Maureen Pickell, CTC

Once again, Maureen and I managed to unintentionally color coordinate our outfits. We certainly matched our booth decor in navy and white!

We started the day by attending one of the many educational sessions the ASAE team offered. More on that in a separate post – there was too much information not to share.

David Markham shows a meeting planner the ConventionPlanit website

Co-Founder David Markham shows a meeting planner the CP website

For the first time, attendees were able to make lists of booths they planned to visit during the hours of the Expo Hall.

Formal appointments were not necessary, but this new feature allowed the planners to access a quick list and stay organized on the hectic show floor.

Our booth was busy throughout the day, and we had the chance to meet many planners and show them some of ConventionPlanit’s features.

Next up – a tour of the expo hall floor. The exhibitors went all out this year, and had some very unique booth decor. Be prepared to be wowed!

Magic at the 2015 PCMA Education Foundation Dinner

Your travelling Blogger, Maureen Pickell, came out of hibernation to attend the 2015 PCMA Education Foundation Dinner celebrating Professional Achievement as the guest of CP.com supplier partner, Delta Air Lines.

The event is always held the evening before Springtime and this year took place at the new Marriott Marquis Hotel in D.C. Usually this evening (celebrating three amazing leaders) is fairly predictable with regard to format, but this year we were surprised by a bit of Disney magic.

fairy godmotherIt appears that Anne Hamilton, V.P., Resort Sales & Services for Disney Destinations (the 2015 Supplier Honoree), has a Fairy Godmother who appeared on her behalf. This apparition appeared midway through the testimonials for Anne, blue spangled ball gown swirling, hair piled high under a tiara and wand arm waving like she intended to turn Gary Schirmacher, Chair for the Foundation and Master of Ceremonies, into Cinderella’s coachman!

All in all, it was a pleasant surprise that not only quieted the room but held everyone’s attention! For those of you in the know, this is a difficult task when the audience is a large ballroom filled with networking attendees! All it took was a bit of “Bibbety, Bobbity, Boo”!!

Rich Culture Makes Memorable Meeting Experiences

Latin America culture is a true expression of its people and their culture. The richness of the culture of each country in Latin America is the product of their influence and history.

Pre-Columbian cultures are more notable in countries as Mexico, Guatemala and Peru as well as further south in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The southern part of Mexico, which states include Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatan, share their Mayan heritage with Guatemala. Each country boasts magnificent Mayan temples such as Tikal in Guatemala and Chichen Itza in the Yucatan.

Having a first-hand cultural experience is a memorable experience for your groups.

For more information on exciting cultural destinations in Latin America, contact Sandra@meetingsalliance.com. When planning an event in Latin America, let Meetings Alliance be your ally!

HSMAI MEET National Keynote Speaker Announced

MEET NationalDeDe Murcer Moffett, motivational speaker, author, trainer, comedian and niece of New York Yankees legend Bobby Ray Murcer, will be the keynote speaker at the 26th annual HSMAI’s MEET National conference to be held Sept. 9-10 at the Marriott Wardman Park, Washington.

Presented by Questex Hospitality + Travel, the event is expected to draw more than 900 attendees, bringing together meeting and event-planning professionals with 120 leading suppliers representing hotels, resorts, meeting venues, convention and visitors bureaus, technology, event services and promotional and marketing products.

Moffett, also known as “The Snap Out of It! Woman,” was voted “Meeting Planners Favorite Speaker” in 2014. She delivers a one-of-a-kind transformational message, drawing upon her extensive career climbing the corporate ladder, battle with and triumph over a 24-year addiction and her lifelong experience as a singer, actress and stage performer.

“Living life with passion, knowing what you were born to do then doing it full out is my definition and experience of success,” said Moffett. “Today more than ever people want authentic leaders who will help them unlock their potential and reduce internal obstacles so their talent can take center stage. That’s the promise of ‘Snap Out of It:’ Transform your life by seeing new achievable possibilities and go from being numbed out to feeling fully alive.”

Marilyn McHugh, Questex Hospitality + Travel vice president, global events, said the event, which caters to mid-size market meeting professionals, has proven successful by offering one-to-one meetings and top-of-the-line training that provides valuable continuing education credits and robust networking opportunities.

“We are committed to delivering dynamic educational content to challenge and engage our conference attendees,” she said. “DeDe Murcer Moffett’s high energy and entertaining presentation promises to provide leadership tools that will help our attendees tap into their inner strengths to maximize their performance and change the way they view and overcome obstacles.”

Moffett is the author of the best-selling book “Wisdom Wedgies and Life’s Little Zingers” and is working on her next book, “Snap Out of It Already! The Simple Steps to Achieve Your Dreams and Ignite Business Success.”

HSMAI’s MEET (Meetings, Events, Education, & Technology) conferences are designed for hospitality sales and marketing professionals to present their properties, destinations and services to the industry’s leading planners and decision-makers. For more information about HSMAI’s MEET series of events, visit MEETConference.com.

About Questex Hospitality + Travel

The Questex Hospitality + Travel Group of Questex LLC serves the worldwide hospitality, travel and related industries that together contribute over $6 trillion to the global gross domestic product. Through an innovative platform of targeted solutions, the group serves the sector’s entire ecosystem, from tourism and hotel development and investment to hotel design, purchasing, management and operations.

The Questex Hospitality + Travel Group serves every business-to-business segment of the industry, from investment and development to management operations, sales and marketing of hospitality and travel products to destination development and marketing, via proven demand generation, learning, loyalty and rewards solutions as well as a network of live events. This division of Questex is aligned around three broad market segments – hospitality, travel and meetings – and supported by its Digital Media staff.

Additional information is available at questex.com/markets/hospitality-travel.

ACC Liverpool Encourages Delegates to Explore the City with Privilege Card

acc liverpoolACC Liverpool has again joined forces with hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions to encourage your delegates to explore the city during conference and return in the future.

Our updated Delegate Card, which is available to all visitors attending conferences at our venue, was created to encourage attendees to explore as much of the city as possible with a series of offers, discounts and privileges.  It also provides an incentive for visitors to return with their friends and families.

Our aim is to ensure that your delegates get the most out of the city and have an interesting and varied programme for any downtime around your conference.  They may want to enjoy a meal in one of the city’s top restaurants or take in attractions.

A trip to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without learning more about the Fab Four and the card now features an ‘Experience The Beatles’ section which includes offers from The Beatles Story, Cavern Club and Magical Mystery Tour bus.  Liverpool One, City Central BID and Albert Dock are official partners.

The Delegate Card can be branded for each individual event.  For more information contactcharlotte.moore@accliverpool.com

Hotel Perks to Negotiate for Your Next Meeting

What’s the latest in hotel guest perks? Many freebies are standard for all guests, although some require enrollment in rewards programs.

It looks like 2015 is going to be the year of free Internet service at major hotel chains.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, parent of the Sheraton, Westin, W, and St. Regis, Luxury Collection chains, is now offering free in-room Internet service to members of its free Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program who book their stays on the chain’s websites or mobile app.

The move follows a similar announcement by Marriott International. In late October, the chain announced that members of its freeMarriott Rewards program who book their stays directly with Marriott, including over the phone, will receive free Internet service beginning January 15, 2015. Some Marriott chains, including Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites, already offer free Internet service.

Kimpton Hotels, which has agreed to be acquired by giant hotel company InterContinental Hotels Group, has long offered free Wi-Fi for members of its rewards program.

Last week, all Hyatt hotels and resorts worldwide began provide free Wi-Fi to guests regardless of booking method or loyalty program participation. The offer is available to guests on an unlimited number of mobile devices or laptops in guest rooms and social spaces at Hyatt-branded hotels.

Another popular new perk is offering free ironing services. Omni hotels offer the service to guests enrolled in its frequent-stay program. Omni is not alone. Many other hotels are offering complimentary services such as ironing clothes and shining shoes.

Many hotels are allowing pets to stay. This may be helpful for shorter meetings where guests may not want to board their pet while they are away. On the pet-friendly hotel scene, La Quinta is one of the big dogs. Of its more than 830 U.S. locations, only four don’t allow pets (San Antonio Conference/Medical Center; Manhattan and Queens, New York; and Monterey, California). The hotel allows up to two dogs or cats per room at no extra charge.

Kimpton Hotels welcomes not just dogs but any pet that can fit through the door. The boutique hotel chain with 59 properties in the United States shows its dedication to furry (and feathery and scaly) friends by not charging guests extra to bring an animal. Amenities such as pet beds, concierge lists of nearby pet-friendly restaurants and parks, and a complimentary nightly wine reception where pets are welcome make Kimpton the friendliest of the pet-friendly hotels chains. Not traveling with a pet? Kimpton will outfit your room with a friendly pet fish for your stay.
Loews Hotels and Resorts, as well as Best Western, are also very pet friendly chains. However, they both charge a small fee.

Looking to hold a family friendly conference? Kids stay free at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts around the world as long as they are staying with an adult and using existing bedding. And most Sheratons offer the convenience of babysitting services, either through hotel staff or a bonded service, giving parents the freedom to enjoy a little time on their own.

Other common free perks offered by many hotels include free breakfast, free cocktail hours, free long distance and local calling, and well-equipped business centers. And don’t forget about free parking and shuttle service. Those can add up to significant costs for attendees.
With many hotel chains offering freebies, it is worth negotiating with your venue to see if they can provide such services for your meeting. Even if you can’t get all of them, your clients and attendees will appreciate the ones you can.

For even more perks, be sure to visit the Special Meeting Offers section of ConventionPlanit.com, where facilities and destinations offer bonus rewards to planners!

IMEX Frankfurt Hosted Buyer Opportunity

IMEX FrankfurtIMEX Frankfurt is gearing up to be the largest yet, and qualified meeting planners can attend for free.

If you are responsible for placing two or more international meetings annually (away from the US, Canada and the Caribbean), join ConventionPlanit.com at IMEX Frankfurt 2015 via the Hosted Buyer Program.

IMEX returns to Frankfurt May 19-21, 2015. Don’t miss your chance to be part of our Hosted Buyer Program and join this group of valued meetings organizers as a guest of IMEX. At IMEX Frankfurt, you’ll meet suppliers from across the United States and around the world under one roof. Along with conducting business with them, you will be able to benefit from tailored education and peer-to-peer networking.

What is included?

  • Roundtrip airfare
  • Accommodation at one of our partner hotels
  • Airport transfers
  • Access to the Hosted Buyer Lounge with phone charging stations, free luggage storage and complimentary WiFi
  • Dedicated Hosted Buyer team to support you and your clients

Bonus – our Hosted Buyer group is led by my colleague (and fellow blogger) Maureen Pickell. Her company always promises to be entertaining!

For more information or to register, please comment below with your contact information and a member of our staff will be in touch with details about the application process!

New Resorts Open in Riviera Cancun

Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

The new Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

Award-winning Royalton Luxury Resorts has celebrated the opening of two new resorts in Riviera Cancun, Mexico. Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa and the adults-only Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun are now welcoming guests to experience All-In Luxury™ services.

Built alongside a magnificent and expansive white sand beach, the two resorts have distinct services and features, while continuing to offer Royalton’s signature all inclusive amenities including the exclusive handcrafted DreamBed™, All-In Connectivity™, the Sports Event Guarantee™, 24/7 reservation-free luxury dining, and more.

With 843 luxurious rooms and suites, Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa accommodations range from spacious Luxury Junior Suites to the lavish Chairman’s Two Bedroom Suite. Amenities include 24-hour concierge service, complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, rain showers, satellite television, and Bluetooth audio stations, among others. Those who upgrade to Diamond Club® status enjoy a personal butler, access to a private lounge that offers evening hors d’oeuvres, afternoon snacks and decadent desserts, personalized check-in and check-out services, spa and beauty discounts, preferential dining reservations, luxury in-room amenities, dedicated room locations, exclusive beach areas, and a distinctive wrist bracelet.

Guests can indulge in mouth-watering culinary offerings around the clock, with a choice between nine modern restaurants, including a Mexican Cantina, an Italian Trattoria, and a steak house. The resort’s café offers coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos, as well as bite sized treats. The property also has 12 distinctly-themed bars, including a discotheque and twoDiamond Club® member only venues.

The Royalton Riviera Cancun offers entertainment for guests of all ages. Children will delight in appearances by such characters as Mike the Knight™ and Max & Ruby™, and parents will appreciate the supervised daily activities at the “ClubHouse” Kids Club and “Hangout” Teens Club. For adults, the resort lights up at night with live entertainment shows, a disco featuring the house DJ, and all of the popular games at the on-site sports pub.

Ideal for events and special occasions, the Royalton Riviera Cancun has a business centre and function space accommodating up to 700 guests. Couples seeking a romantic destination wedding venue need look no further, the resort has a unique modern chapel on-site as well as beach wedding gazebos, and a roof-top sky wedding location. From simple ceremonies to lavish galas, the on-site wedding planners provide expert support to turn dreams into reality.

Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun is an adults-only ‘resort within a resort’. This tranquil 340-room boutique resort caters to discerning guests over 18 years of age. Guests of the resort can take advantage of exclusive facilities and services including an à la carte restaurant, 5 bars, and an adults-only pool, while also enjoying all of Royalton Riviera Cancun’s restaurants, bars, activities, entertainment, and spa facilities. Perfect for honeymoon and romantic getaways, the resort offers personalized service, opulence and serenity.