Tag Archives: Trade Shows

Last Chance for Incentive Travel Exchange Hosted Buyer Program

Incentive Travel Exchange
As the MICE industry continues to enjoy monumental growth, more and more events seem to clutter the marketplace, making it difficult to know which may be the most beneficial to you.  But don’t worry – the BEST event to network with the largest selection of travel suppliers is still to come in 2017!

Join us for Incentive Travel Exchange, April 23-26 at The Delano Las Vegas for two days of focused meetings and exciting networking activities, while making lasting relationships with industry colleagues and suppliers.

If you organize, influence, plan or recommend MICE travel program purchases, you are invited to apply for one of the fully hosted buyer positions.

Hosted buyer participation includes:

  • Complimentary airfare to/from Las Vegas from home airport
  • Three nights’ accommodations in a suite at the Delano Las Vegas
  • Transfers to/from McCarran International and The Delano Las Vegas
  • Two days of pre-arranged meetings with leading incentive travel suppliers of your choice
  • Event meals and receptions
  • Networking activities including Brooklyn Bowl, dining at Smith & Wollensky, and a show!

Apply now for a fully hosted buyer position or visit IncentiveTravelExchange.com for more information.

IMEX America Proves Strength of Meetings Industry

Representatives from CP.com supplier partners had a good showing in the hall. Among them were:

  • Dave Gabri – Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI was celebrating 30 years in the industry!)

ALHI celebrated 30 years in the industry at this year’s IMEX America

  • Martina Fundaro – The Prague Convention Bureau
  • Marie McKown – Meet in Ireland (newest member!)
  • Cat Puccino – Visit Santa Barbara
  • Angeline Liu/Alan Pryor/Anette Palm – Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
  • Patricia Beaudoux – Cotai Strip Macau
  • Julie Dodds – Visit Anchorage
  • Dan O’Neil/Bonnie Carlson – Bloomington CVB

Ray Bloom, Chairman of IMEX, addresses the media at the IMEX America closing press conference

The closing press conference had Ray Bloom, Chairman of IMEX giving us the rundown on this year’s event. For those judging success “by the numbers”, here are a few stats:

  • 10,600 participants including buyers, visitors and exhibitors
  • 66,000 individual and group appointments along with stand presentations took place
  • 51% or more of appointments included a profile or RFP
  • 80 new booths with 56 returning exhibitors increasing their space
  • 412 exhibitors and buyers participated in the IMEX run Las Vegas routed along the famous Strip

However, the biggest success was not measured in numbers but in the upbeat mood of nearly everyone on the show floor as the economy strengthens and companies expand meeting budgets.

In fact, this has generated a big problem for IMEX America going forward.

With so many new exhibitors and expanded booths this year, the trade show has maxed out its hall in the Sands Expo and will not have room for exhibitors to expand until it can move into a larger space in 2018. Not a bad problem for our industry to have!!

As always, all attendees fortunate enough to attend IMEX America were exposed to high levels of business and networking. Along with the record number of appointments and packed-out education events, some of the novel ideas to encourage mingling in the various stands included viewing a live Sumo Demonstration and applauding the winner of this year’s Huggability Award…fortunately not taking place in the same stand!

Along with Wayne Newton and Celine Dion, Las Vegas is getting famous for hosting IMEX America! So new planners, to see what all this fuss is about, sign up to participate as a ConventionPlanit.com Hosted Buyer next year when the show will take place October 18-20, 2016.

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 ConventionPlanit.com.

Buzzing Around the Expo Hall at ASAE Annual

The ASAE Exposition trade show floor buzzed with activity Sunday and Monday with both Association members and exhibitors interacting face to face to build business relationships (you all remember how that works??:))

Exhibitors used varying methods to draw wandering attendees into their booths. These ranged from virtual reality and henna tattoos to the good old fashioned chocolate treats and the tried but true raffle for a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible.

A few of the ConventionPlanit.com supplier members in attendance included Team San Jose, Memphis CVB, Experience Columbus, Connecticut Convention Center, Miami CVB, Little Rock CVB, Delta Air Lines and Visit Newport Beach, Inc.

Shelby Tate with Little Rock CVB, Muzette Randall, CP & Amanda Campbell, Doubletree by Hilton Little Rock at ASAE Detriot

Shelby Tate with Little Rock CVB, Muzette Randall, CP & Amanda Campbell, Doubletree by Hilton Little Rock at ASAE Detriot

The Memphis CVB Sales Team “rocks” in Motown!

The Memphis CVB Sales Team “rocks” in Motown!


The Delta Air Lines “crew” lines up to help planners take advantage of their Delta Meeting Network/SkyTeam Global Meetings discount programs for attendees.

Connecticut Convention Center attracts clients with graphics of their 2015 Facilities & Destinations Prime Site Award winning building.

Connecticut Convention Center attracts clients with graphics of their 2015 Facilities & Destinations Prime Site Award winning building.

Experience Columbus showcased their destination well with a brightly colored booth!

Experience Columbus showcased their destination well with a brightly colored booth!

Look for the ASAE Annual to head west next year…see you all in Salt Lake City!

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

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!

CP Heads to Expo! Expo!

This is your traveling blogger reporting in from L.A. after attending the IAEE 2015 Expo!Expo! held Dec.9-11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Beginning with the Opening General Session and CEM presentation, the event moved on to the Tradeshow in the Conference Hall and then to the Opening Reception occurring next door at Nokia Plaza near the Staples Center.

ConventionPlanit.com recently signed a collaboration agreement with IAEE, and Deborah Shepard and I were on hand as “first-timers” to the event.

Deborah Shepard readies the ConventionPlanit.com booth for the first day of the Expo!Expo! trade show at L.A. Live.

Deborah Shepard readies the ConventionPlanit.com booth for the first day of the Expo!Expo! trade show at L.A. Live.

David DuBois, President and CEO, welcomed the audience by greetings in English, Japanese and Spanish, demonstrating that 30 countries were represented by the attendees. The group was then addressed by Ernest Wooden, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, a CP.com member.

The trade show opened in typical L.A. style with the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band escorting attendees to the show floor by playing Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk.” The exhibition offered a combination of business and education and the planners on the floor represented the best of the exhibitions and events industry.

CP.com member United Airlines hard at work during Expo!Expo!

CP.com member United Airlines hard at work during Expo!Expo!

Deborah and I walked the show floor and were interested to find a number of CP.com members exhibiting. Of course we have photos to share with you!

Mark McMinn and Wendy Frank of Team San Jose decorated their booth with some early holiday spirit!

Mark McMinn and Wendy Frank of Team San Jose decorated their booth with some early holiday spirit!

At the various tradeshows ConventionPlanit participates in throughout the year, it is always a treat to catch up with our member hotels and cvb’s.

Kendra London of the Sheraton Memphis Downtown and Nicole Seltzer of the Memphis Cook Convention Center found a moment to relax in between clients.

Kendra London of the Sheraton Memphis Downtown and Nicole Seltzer of the Memphis Cook Convention Center found a moment to relax in between clients.

In between stints on the tradeshow floor, I was able to check out the educational session focusing on “Exhibition Marketing – Asian Practice.”


Most interesting were mentions of CP.com members Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre and the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

It was demonstrated how Asia has become the hub of the global exhibitions and events market and that these world class facilities are the reasons why Singapore and Malaysia are known as superior M.I.C.E. destinations.

The closing party was held at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live. The last chance to meet with colleagues before heading home is always a fun time, and all are excited to meet up again for Expo!Expo! 2015 in Baltimore.

See you there!

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!

Mexico Planners Receive Sneak Peek of ConventionPlanit LATAM

Earlier this month, ConventionPlanit.com was again introduced to Latin American meeting professionals, but this time, in Spanish!

Expo Meetings Exhibition

ConventionPlanit LATAM representatives Eduardo Yarto & Sandra Reed

ConventionPlanit LATAM, the Spanish version of CP.com, was very well received at the Expo Meetings Mexico that was held March 5 -7, 2014 at the Centro Banamex in Mexico City. Over 16,000 sq ft of exhibitors, associations and publications were present at this annual event.

ConventionPlanit LATAM was pleased to host destinations such as Tijuana, Mexico City and Chiapas at their booth. Other destinations present at the show were Manzanillo, Yucatan and Guadalajara among others.

A group of buyers from USA, South America and Europe had a chance to take a tour of vibrant and exciting Mexico City prior to the event. MPI and PCMA each hosted a luncheon with entertaining speakers.

Stay tuned later this month for the official launch of ConventionPlanit LATAM!

Reflections on the Mexico Showcase 2011

ConventionPlanit.com saleswoman Julie Roberts has returned home after much travel and sales appointments across the country, including attending the Mexico Showcase & Travel Expo.  She shares the following show reflections in part 1 of this series.

It was indeed a celebration time at Mexico Showcase this year!

Ten years and still a premier event to not just promote Cancun, Riviera Maya and Mexico in the convention, meetings and incentive marketplace but to set the bar for quality of accommodations and service.   As always, organizers, led by Andy Ortiz with Global Incentives, constantly dazzled attendees with the great program, myriad of facilities, services, activities and the tropical ambiance available throughout the peninsula.

Thank you to all for all your hard work.

Cancun displayed its appeal to meeting planners as the host city.   With pros such as Eduardo Chaillo, Mexico Tourism Board, Executive Director, Meeting Industry, based in Washington, DC, to act as your guiding light, just ask and all involved deliver.

The business of doing business was evident at Showcase, which is still one of the most productive, appointment scheduled, exchanges of information, requests and relationship building events in Mexico.   Throughout the event, speakers addressed industry trends and issues while delivering useful information for planners and ideas for the future.

If you read the ConventionPlanit.com newsletter, you know what a Prezi is…but probably would not have thought one could be projected onto a building!  Area experts like RocÍo Cárdenas with Cenacolo restaurant (if there’s a cuisine, Cancun has the restaurant) and Global Incentives Solia Juvonen were available to assist in arranging a fabulous “dine around” event for your group.

It has to be the setting in Mexico.  I marvel at how a tradeshow can have such a feeling of tranquil communication instead of a hectic, harried pace.  Everyone was prepared to learn about products.

From the warm greeting of our most professional transportation crew to the final showpiece reception at the ME Cancun (mmm), the settings, entertainment, themes, and presentations made me want to bring everyone I know south-of-the border.  It’s temptingly easy to do because airlift to the Cancun International Airport is so excellent.

Stay tuned for more details from the showcase!