Tag Archives: spin

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.

ConventionPlanit.com 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 spinplanners.com. You don’t know what you’re missing!

SPIN Announces Big Change: Association Now Welcomes Senior-Level Suppliers

Here is some exciting news from ConventionPlanit’s Strategic Partner, SPIN!

SPIN:Senior Planners Industry Network announces a name change – becoming SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network, along with the announcement that it now welcomes veteran suppliers into its ranks.

SPIN was started in 2008 to fill a need for education and networking for senior-level meeting planners. As the association enters its 10th year, SPIN now welcomes suppliers with at least 10 years of experience to join. Supplier membership will be capped at 33% of overall membership – the lowest ratio in the meeting industry.

“We’ve had a 33% supplier ratio at our annual conference, SPINCon, since its inception, and it’s been a great environment for both sides,” said SPIN founder Shawna Suckow, CMP. “We’re looking forward to our membership reflecting the great environment – and participant ratio – we’ve built at SPINCon over the years.”

SPIN has grown robustly since its start as a LinkedIn group and now counts nearly 3000 planner members in North America and Canada.

“Our strict planner focus has resulted in some really one-sided conversations and education,” said SPIN VP of Communications, Carolyn Browning, CMP. “It’s time for us to evolve and bridge the gap, to be the place where the industry’s most experienced professionals meet, connect, and change the industry for the better.”

While SPIN welcomes supplier membership, it’s on-line community fosters a no-selling environment.

“We want to keep the focus on connections and conversations that build relationships, not just transactions,” said Tracey Smith, CMP, CMM, SPIN Advisory Board member. “Any of our supplier partners who’ve been to SPINCon know that the vibe within SPIN is really special, and we all want to protect that. SPIN is the place to foster real relationships.”

Senior-level suppliers are invited to apply for membership today at www.spinplanners.com. Membership is $799 through the end of October, with two bonus months of membership included for a total of 14 months. If supplier membership spots still remain (in keeping with the 33% cap on supplier enrollment), dues will increase November 1 to $899.

About SPIN

SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network is the world’s third largest association for meeting planners and the largest for senior-level planners. SPIN has recently invited all hospitality professionals who have at least 10 years of experience to join their ranks.

SPINCon – An Educational and Entertaining Conference

Leave it to SPIN (Senior Planner Industry Network) to design a conference that both educates and entertains its members!

From the entirely novel concept of a “Sponsor Selfie Trade Show” to Beach Blanket Bingo as an after reception activity, SPINCon 2016, held Nov.13-15 in Fort Lauderdale, had  its attendees actively engaged.

ConventionPlanit.com is proud to be a Strategic Partner of this innovative organization, and  thus we found Maureen Pickell and Sandra Reed of CP.com rounding out the exclusive group of suppliers participating in the event.

Not surprising was the large number of CP.com members including the Newport Beach, Anchorage, Bellevue, Little Rock, Branson, Providence Warwick, Grand Rapids and Wisconsin Dells CVB’s who support the organization.

Maureen Pickell, CTC, receiving the royal treatment at SPINCon

Maureen Pickell, CTC, receiving the royal treatment at SPINCon

And SPIN really treats their sponsors like royalty as you can see by the tiara worn by Maureen as she helps to organize the Networking CSR Activity!

Education partnered with wellness to play key roles in the program.

Tracts were designated by Brain, Body, Being and Business Sessions with topics ranging from” Surviving Life” and “Entrepreneur Forum” to “RFP is Not a Dirty Word” and “No Diet Equals Freedom!.”

Breaks offered Cucumber and Carrots Edamame Humus Shooters and meeting rooms provided roomy couches as well as high top tables for comfortable learning.

Ft. Lauderdale (Meet Sunny) CVB and the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa did a great job of welcoming those from northern climes with a spectacular sunrise Monday morning serving as the backdrop for an Oceanside breakfast.

Attendees enjoy an ocean side breakfast

Attendees enjoy an ocean side breakfast

200 attendees were greeted by the SPIN logo highlighted in the sand and waves lapping on the beach as they started the day.

The SPIN Logo in the sand

The SPIN Logo made its mark on Fort Lauderdale!

As a first timer to this conference, your intrepid blogger is anxious to repeat the experience and looks forward to SPINCon 2017!!

SPIN Eliminates Membership Dues & Registration Fees for 2016

senior planners industry networkSPIN:Senior Planners Industry Network announces free membership dues for all qualified members until the end of 2016.

In perhaps the boldest move for any association, SPIN also announces that it will waive registration fees for all member events and activities in 2016, including its annual North American conference; SPINCon. These include SPIN’s online live education (SPIN:LearningLabs), online SPIN:Roundtables, live branch events across North America, and its contractor job board (SPIN:Hire a Planner).

This move will allow all members to enjoy full benefits by removing all financial barriers. “We realize that resources are limited and do not want the cost of membership to be the reason why a senior-level planner does not engage in our unique peer-to-peer community experience,” said SPIN Founder & Chairwoman Shawna Suckow, CMP.

According to Sara Vanderbilt, SPIN’s Executive Director, SPIN has a different financial model than other industry associations with little overhead.  “We are primarily funded by our sponsors.  Sponsors invest in SPIN to increase brand awareness among our 2,500 members.”

Mike Vennerstrom, CMP, SPIN’s Director of Strategic Planning, added, “The majority of the programs we provide our members are created and administered by volunteer members.  As a result, our staff and expenses are kept to a minimum.”

Is it risky? Absolutely, but our members are more valuable than money. 

SPIN continues its history of thought leadership by removing the cost consideration for senior-level planners who wish to continue to grow in their professional and personal lives in 2016.

“This is our way of saying thank you to our current dedicated members and encouraging future ones to join this unique association,” said Suckow. “Our members consistently rave about the value of the SPIN community and our peer-to-peer discussions – our hope is that by removing dues and fees in 2016 we will continue to grow our member engagement, which is the measure of success for us.”

ASAE Annual Takes Over Detroit

If it’s August, it must be time for your intrepid blogger to head out to the 2015 ASAE Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit was the fortunate city this year to host 5,300 attendees anxious to network and attend educational sessions positioned to help them:

  • Grow globally
  • Build relationships with board and staff
  • Create a marketing strategy
  • Boost a career
  • Expand creativity
  • Achieve work-life balance

Coinciding with the Annual was the launch of a six year, $279 million renovation of the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. The new and improved meeting venue boasted expanded meeting facilities along with 30,000 square feet of contiguous floor space presenting attendees with views of the Detroit River and Canada through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

ConventionPlanit & SPiN team up. Carolyn Pemberton, Muzette Randall, Sara Vanderbilt, Maureen Pickell, Katherine Markham

ConventionPlanit & SPiN team up. Carolyn Pemberton, Muzette Randall, Sara Vanderbilt, Maureen Pickell, Katherine Markham, & Catherine Jensen

Most importantly for a venue this large, were the staffers positioned throughout the building to point you in the right direction and even help you up the escalator with excess baggage when necessary! All in all, Cobo Center did a great job with its first major post-renovation convention!

Carolyn Pemberton & Katherine Markham ConventionPlanit enjoy Detriot's Greektown

Carolyn Pemberton & Katherine Markham ConventionPlanit enjoy Detriot’s Greektown

ConventionPlanit.com Forms Strategic Alliance with SPiN: Senior Planners Industry Network

ConventionPlanit.com, a popular online search directory and RFP portal for the meetings industry, has formed a strategic alliance with SPiN: Senior Planners Industry Network to provide mutually beneficial tools and education.

SPiN is an organization of 2,500 meeting professionals with more than 10 years of experience. Its goal is to provide a community of peers that shares essential tools, best practices, and education.

SPiN will offer content written by its members to ConventionPlanit.com and promote ConventionPlanit.com to its members. SPiN members will benefit from advanced online tools that streamline the RFP process and provide knowledge resources, such as RFP Valet®, RFP OrganizationSM, the e-Alert e-newsletter, Stellar Tips, international and green meeting resources, and more.

ConventionPlanit.com will participate in SPiN-sponsored conferences, webinars and initiatives and provide marketing support for advertising sales on www.spinplanners.com, www.rfpsmart.org and www.thehivenetwork.org.

“Our two organizations share the same philosophy when it comes to fixing the broken RFP system in our industry,” says ConventionPlanit.com Co-Founder and Principal Katherine Markham, CHME. “The senior-level planners that belong to SPiN fully understand the challenges we face and are in a position to help influence and deliver solutions.”

“The RFP process can be frustrating and time consuming – ConventionPlanit.com has great tools to help streamline this process for planners,” said Sara Vanderbilt, Executive Director of SPiN. “Through this new partnership, SPiN and ConventionPlanit.com will empower senior meeting planners with essential tools, best practices and education.”

Both organizations will cross-promote each other on their websites and in other communications.

Designed by meeting professionals as an efficient registration-free online search directory, ConventionPlanit.com is a website that quickly refines searches to identify suitable destinations, facilities, and service providers. ConventionPlanit.com connects buyers with sellers and there are no commissions, mark-ups or hidden fees. For more information, visit www.conventionplanit.com.

About SPiN

SPiN:Senior Planners Industry Network is the world’s largest association of senior-level planners with at least 10 years full time planning experience. Learn more at www.spinplanners.com.

About ConventionPlanit.com

ConventionPlanit.com is a registration-free and commission-free search engine and RFP portal for meeting professionals. Planners can search for destinations, hotels, meeting facilities, special event venues, and service providers. Additional resources including links to industry organizations and trade press, news updates, and an industry blog are provided. Learn more at www.conventionplanit.com.

Meet Sara Vanderbilt, New Advisory Council Member

This is the latest in a continuing series highlighting members of the ConventionPlanit.com Advisory Council, comprised of meeting professionals and others in the meetings industry who help shape ConventionPlanit.com to meet the needs of the industry.

sara vanderbilt

Sara Vanderbilt is the Executive Director of SPiN, the Senior Meetings Industry Network. SPiN is an organization of 2,500 meeting professionals with more than 10 years of experience. Its goal is to provide a community of peers that shares essential tools, best practices, and education. In her role Executive Director, she manages all aspects of SPiN to ensure its success.

Sara started out working as a Certified Microsoft Instructor for several years before joining COMPASS Events (the third-party planning company Shawna owned prior to SPIN:Senior Planners Industry Network).

After helping a friend out as a trip director, she caught the industry “bug” and joined COMPASS Events as the company’s operations manager. She has orchestrated meetings and training seminars for various corporations both nationally and internationally.

She considers herself a part-time techie who loves to play with anything new. She is also a die-hard Cornhusker fan and tries, rather reluctantly, to be a runner and cyclist. She is a “mother” of a rescue puppy and a kitten, and volunteers with the youth at her church. She also volunteers as a Regional Coordinator with her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta.

View more members of the ConventionPlanit.com Advisory Council.