Author Archives: Ashley Chalmers

About Ashley Chalmers

ConventionPlanit.com is a completely search directory and RFP portal for meeting planners. This blog will feature meetings industry tips and news geared toward meeting planners and an inside look at the tradeshows ConventionPlanit.com participates in.

Join Us for IMEX America in Las Vegas November 9-11, 2021

ConventionPlanit invites you to join the upcoming IMEX America hosted buyer group of our partners, Susan Sarfati and Liz Jackson.  Connect – Learn – Contract.  US and Canadian buyers of meeting location services will benefit from 2 days of a complimentary in-person trade show plus a full day of education earning certification points.  IMEX America will cover your coach air fare, hotel expense and Las Vegas airport shuttle service.  We’re hoping the world will be a safe environment by November and we can get back to work booking the events we have missed so much during the pandemic!  See you in Las Vegas! 

To RSVP:  Contact Liz Jackson ljackson262@msn.com 

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Voted Malaysia’s Best Convention Centre!

The progressive purpose-built venue strengthens its market leadership position

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 November 2020 – The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) was recently voted as Malaysia’s Best Convention Centre 2020 by leading travel and business events industry players in the inaugural World Mice AwardsTM 2020, retaining its market leadership position.

This recognition came on the back of another industry award, ICCA Best Marketing Award 2020 – Recognising Leadership in Transformation, earlier this month.

The Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor said, “We are truly delighted to receive this honour from World Mice AwardsTM. This reinforces our commitment to forge ahead in a spirit of positivity and resilience to progress business recovery and to remain our clients’ preferred business events partner. We regard this award as an encouragement amidst this very challenging year and as an inspiration to continue all our efforts as Malaysia’s leading venue. We would also like to congratulate our fellow winners, One World Hotel for Best MICE Hotel and MEvents for Best MICE Organiser.”

World’s leading MICE brands were selected and nominated in a year-long process followed by a period of voting by travel industry professionals and the public. The nominee gaining the most votes in a category was determined as the winner.

Pryor concluded, “We applaud World MICE Awards’ initiative to recognise the leaders of our industry. It is much needed to keep the industry’s morale up during such turbulent times and this programme has definitely succeeded in this regard.”

Aimed to raise the standards within the business events industry by recognising and rewarding organisations that are leaders in their field, World Mice AwardsTM was developed with a mission to serve as the definitive benchmark of excellence, and help foster a new era of growth, innovation and best practice on a global scale. World Mice AwardsTM is the sister event of World Travel AwardsTM which was launched in 1994.

For all the latest news, visit the Centre’s Newsroom at www.klccconventioncentre.com or follow on social media (Facebook – @klccconventioncentre, LinkedIn – Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Twitter – @klccconvention and Instagram – @klccconventioncentre).

Angeline van den Broecke elected to the ICCA Board of Directors

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 November 2020 – The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s Director of Global Business Development & Marketing has been elected to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Board of Directors representing the Venue Sector, at the 59th ICCA General Assembly recently.

On her new role at ICCA, Angeline said, “First and foremost, I would like to congratulate James Rees, ICCA President, on another leadership term as well as all re-elected and new ICCA Board Members. I am looking forward to continuing the efforts and hard work of the outgoing venue sector representative Anja Stas and very much look forward to working with Jonas Scharf who will be serving another term jointly representing the venue sector.”

“As a Board Member and representative of the Venue Sector, I am committed to driving collective momentum to pioneer business and economic recovery to keep our industry transforming and transacting, and to contribute and grow ICCA’s engagement platform across our industry supply chain and to strengthen ICCA’s membership so we can deliver more value to members.

“Of great relevance to me is for venues to be vocal and demonstrate the value they provide as social and economic drivers, we need to communicate the value of venues as important infrastructure assets to cities and communities. We need to keep our venues operating and delivering business events and ascertain what relevant information and support we can share as a sector to advance our recovery and progressive transformation,” concluded Angeline.

Her key areas of expertise are in global business development and acquisition, strategic marketing and organisational and destination growth initiatives as well as partnership and alliance engagement models, having worked extensively in both the public and private sector.

Alan Pryor, General Manager of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre added, “On behalf of the Centre, we would like to extend our heartiest congratulations. Her leadership attributes, commitment and passion towards our industry is highly respected by her peers. Her appointment is a direct reflection of the charismatic team of experts that is part of the Centre and the ASM Global network. Angeline’s appointment is a recognition for the Centre and an inspiration to all our team members to be steadfast and passionate in their aspirations.”

Rod Pilbeam, Chief Operating Officer Asia-Pacific, ASM Global commended, “During her time at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Angeline has regularly evolved the marketing strategy to ensure the continuing success of the Centre as a leader in Asia. Angeline has also been a valued contributor to our combined group initiatives including our Advantage program around our Asia-Pacific centres. Her experience in looking beyond just her home venue will stand her in great stead in making a contribution to our whole industry, particularly in the areas of data and knowledge about our business that we look for ICCA to bring together.”

Visit Anchorage “Zooms In” on U.S. Meeting Planners


Displaying their unique brand of personalized service to the meetings industry, Visit Anchorage recently held a series of Zoom discussions on how their destination is coping with and addressing the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 2020 was forecast to be a banner year for Visit Anchorage with an economic impact of 90 to 100 million in annual meetings revenue. Fortunately, 78 million of this expected income has moved to future years.

Their presentations began with D.C. planners, 100% of whom are working from home. 30% of those attending were also open to in person meetings with suppliers. Close to 50 planners attended the webinar led by David Kasser, V.P. of Sales and Shelli Stanton, Convention Sales Manager. They were joined by a panel of industry partners from the “A-Team” of organizations representing Anchorage’s dynamic meetings and conventions task force. Included were Alex Wong – Hotel Captain Cook, Kate Sprout – Hilton Anchorage, Gemma Hawley – Alaska Airlines, Alyeska Hotel – Chris Block and Phyllis Rice – William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center & Dena’ina Civic & Convention Center.

Predictably, much of the agenda was given over to the various safety protocols and related mandates in place by the city to make organizers feel comfortable about choosing Anchorage as a viable meeting destination. Each sales manager also discussed the ways their individual businesses were adhering to CDC and local procedures.

But then Visit Anchorage took it one step further by being the first organization to actually host an in-person event in the city since February with the successful execution of their July monthly membership luncheon. Normally 75 to 150 members participate in this event. This time, 75 actually attended the            luncheon demonstrating that networking is still important – especially in times of crisis. And when queried as to whether or not they felt safe enough to be present at a future monthly luncheon, 95% of those attending voted yes.

As always with Visit Anchorage, this was a two way conversation between the CVB and their clients. So, the panel ended the session by addressing inquiries submitted by the attendees prior to the event. These questions revealed the following:

  • “Hybrid” will remain a component of most meetings moving forward
  • Covid-type clauses will need to be part of all future contracts
  • Creativity and flexibility will be the key words in any conversations between planner and supplier

Learn More about Visit Anchorage at https://www.anchorage.net/meetings/

Delta Has a Brilliant Strategy to Eliminate Fear and Get People Flying Again: Instagram

Delta, like all airlines, faces a very real, very big challenge. Right now, the vast majority of people aren’t that interested in climbing onto an airplane with 100 people they don’t know for a few hours. 

It turns out that traveling isn’t as bad as you think it would be. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t very different. For example, when I flew to New York City last month, I had no idea what to expect. Even as a fairly regular traveler during “normal” times, I had more anxiety about getting on a plane than I ever had before. 

That’s entirely natural considering that most people don’t like the “unknown.” We tend to avoid uncertainty as much as possible. Flying simply involves too many variables out of our control for most of us to take what seems like an unnecessary risk during a pandemic.  

But if you’re Delta, that’s bad news. In fact, it’s very expensive bad news. As a result, the company has made an extraordinary effort to keep passengers and crew members safe. 

In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle at The Atlantic Festival, Delta’s CEO made clear the cost of COVID-19 to the airline’s business:

We’re flying today at a 60 percent load factor cap. So that means 40 percent of the seats we fly, we are deliberately not filling and not selling. That is not cheap. But the more important decision we make is we gotta put people over profits. And we know that instilling confidence in our customers, as well as our own employees, is job number one. That’s our priority right now.

I’d much rather people remember Delta as the company that took care of them through the pandemic… Customers are making a decisions about who Delta is by the values that we put out on display.

All of that is great, but the key here is “instilling confidence.” None of the rest of it matters if people are too anxious or afraid to do business with your company. To that end, Delta has a brilliant strategy for providing information for customers: Instagram. This morning, I was swiping through my feed, when I came across the following post.

If you tap on it, it reveals individual profiles for each of the different steps the company is taking to make the boarding process safer. If you select one of those profiles, they provide additional information. For example, if you tap on the Customer.Face.Masks profile, it explains:

For everyone’s safety, customers must wear a mask or face covering, and extra masks and Care Kits will be available if you need one. Those with underlying conditions who can’t wear a mask or face covering are required to complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process before being permitted to travel.

Think about that for a moment. Delta took the time to create a dozen Instagram profiles so that it could better communicate with its followers. Sure, you can argue that Delta has plenty of resources and staff to do this. That’s definitely true. But the thought behind this makes it effective for two reasons.

The first is that it helps create expectations. In that example about face masks, it provides a potential traveler with all of the information they need to know about what is required of them. It even details the process if a passenger has an issue with wearing a mask. (As a side-note, Delta’s CEO says the company has already put 350 people on a no-fly list for refusing to wear masks.)

The second reason I think this is so effective is that it’s not just about creating expectations for someone who has already decided to travel. In my article describing my flight last month, I explained the steps the company is taking to do just that. In a statement, Delta told me, “Our community management team has been highly engaged and very responsive with customers to help increase confidence and reduce anxiety.”

This, on the other hand, is meant to reach people who haven’t decided to travel. It wasn’t on their website or in an email. It was on Instagram. Remember Instagram, that place where we all used to share images of the cool places we visited when we traveled? Delta clearly wants us to get back to that, which is why the fact that it ran this content there is so effective. 

Delta is meeting travelers who have a sense of wanderlust where they are, and is helping them better understand the effort the company is taking to keep everyone safe. That, in turn, helps to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty around travel.

None of that is easy, especially now. And, it doesn’t mean people are going to suddenly start buying plane tickets. This, however, is a creative and interactive way to create expectations. In fact, I think it’s brilliant. 

BY JASON ATEN, TECH COLUMNIST@JASONATEN INC.

Delta Has a Brilliant Strategy to Eliminate Fear and Get People Flying Again: Instagram

Delta, like all airlines, faces a very real, very big challenge. Right now, the vast majority of people aren’t that interested in climbing onto an airplane with 100 people they don’t know for a few hours. 

It turns out that traveling isn’t as bad as you think it would be. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t very different. For example, when I flew to New York City last month, I had no idea what to expect. Even as a fairly regular traveler during “normal” times, I had more anxiety about getting on a plane than I ever had before. 

That’s entirely natural considering that most people don’t like the “unknown.” We tend to avoid uncertainty as much as possible. Flying simply involves too many variables out of our control for most of us to take what seems like an unnecessary risk during a pandemic.  

But if you’re Delta, that’s bad news. In fact, it’s very expensive bad news. As a result, the company has made an extraordinary effort to keep passengers and crew members safe. 

In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle at The Atlantic Festival, Delta’s CEO made clear the cost of COVID-19 to the airline’s business:

We’re flying today at a 60 percent load factor cap. So that means 40 percent of the seats we fly, we are deliberately not filling and not selling. That is not cheap. But the more important decision we make is we gotta put people over profits. And we know that instilling confidence in our customers, as well as our own employees, is job number one. That’s our priority right now.

I’d much rather people remember Delta as the company that took care of them through the pandemic… Customers are making a decisions about who Delta is by the values that we put out on display.

All of that is great, but the key here is “instilling confidence.” None of the rest of it matters if people are too anxious or afraid to do business with your company. To that end, Delta has a brilliant strategy for providing information for customers: Instagram. This morning, I was swiping through my feed, when I came across the following post.

If you tap on it, it reveals individual profiles for each of the different steps the company is taking to make the boarding process safer. If you select one of those profiles, they provide additional information. For example, if you tap on the Customer.Face.Masks profile, it explains:

For everyone’s safety, customers must wear a mask or face covering, and extra masks and Care Kits will be available if you need one. Those with underlying conditions who can’t wear a mask or face covering are required to complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process before being permitted to travel.

Think about that for a moment. Delta took the time to create a dozen Instagram profiles so that it could better communicate with its followers. Sure, you can argue that Delta has plenty of resources and staff to do this. That’s definitely true. But the thought behind this makes it effective for two reasons.

The first is that it helps create expectations. In that example about face masks, it provides a potential traveler with all of the information they need to know about what is required of them. It even details the process if a passenger has an issue with wearing a mask. (As a side-note, Delta’s CEO says the company has already put 350 people on a no-fly list for refusing to wear masks.)

The second reason I think this is so effective is that it’s not just about creating expectations for someone who has already decided to travel. In my article describing my flight last month, I explained the steps the company is taking to do just that. In a statement, Delta told me, “Our community management team has been highly engaged and very responsive with customers to help increase confidence and reduce anxiety.”

This, on the other hand, is meant to reach people who haven’t decided to travel. It wasn’t on their website or in an email. It was on Instagram. Remember Instagram, that place where we all used to share images of the cool places we visited when we traveled? Delta clearly wants us to get back to that, which is why the fact that it ran this content there is so effective. 

Delta is meeting travelers who have a sense of wanderlust where they are, and is helping them better understand the effort the company is taking to keep everyone safe. That, in turn, helps to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty around travel.

None of that is easy, especially now. And, it doesn’t mean people are going to suddenly start buying plane tickets. This, however, is a creative and interactive way to create expectations. In fact, I think it’s brilliant. 

BY JASON ATEN, TECH COLUMNIST@JASONATEN INC.

The purr-fect way to kick off October! The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre all set to welcome its first two consumer exhibitions

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 September 2020 – The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) is looking forward to hosting two consumer exhibitions during October, when the venue welcomes visitors for the Beautylife Bonanza from 1 – 3 October and Ekspo Kucing (Cat Expo) 2020 from the 2 – 4 October.

The inaugural Beautylife Bonanza will provide Malaysians with great value and irresistible package deals from an extensive range of beauty and lifestyle brands.

For all the cat lovers out there, Ekspo Kucing, the largest feline-related exhibition in Malaysia, will be a must visit. With lots of great deals, massive promotions, giveaways and savings of up to 80%, this is one exhibition that your furry friends don’t want you to miss!

Both exhibitions offer free admission and will be taking place in a hygienic, controlled and secure environment with stringent safety and security measures in place, which are in line with the approved Malaysian National Security Council Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

According to the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, “Is it great to be welcoming consumer exhibitions back to the Centre and we are pleased to be kicking off with these two fun events. Being able to host exhibitions again is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Malaysia’s Frontliners and Government in combatting Covid-19 in the country.”

To enhance the visitor experience, the Centre’s Café 88 conveniently located on the Ground Level in the Centre Core will also be open for guests to savour true Malaysian tastes to grab and go or relax and enjoy local favourites with a spectacular view of the PETRONAS Twin Towers overlooking the KLCC Park. With many delicious and affordable dishes, it is the purr-fect place to take a break when attending events at the Centre.

He continued, “Since we reopened our doors on 1 July, we are grateful to have safely and successfully hosted 84 events – two conventions, two entertainment events and 80 meetings and events (up to 25 September). We have been working tirelessly to restore consumer confidence in events and are starting to see signs of recovery, with 10 exhibitions (trade and consumer) in the pipeline for the rest of 2020.”

Gerard Leeuwenburgh, Country General Manager – Malaysia, Informa Markets (Organiser of Beautylife Bonanza) shared, “We are excited and ready to bring our trade shows back in the new normal and are happy to be hosting the inaugural Beautylife Bonanza at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.”

“As part of our commitment to being a socially responsible organisation, we always aim to do more for the betterment of life in the societies we operate in while providing our customers the best possible solutions for their business. This is why we have themed this year’s event ‘Giving Back to Community’ to help alleviate the impact on the underprivileged community and to achieve and maintain a sustainable livelihood through economic opportunities. So, we hope to see a great turn out from the community to support these organisations,” he concluded.

VisitBritain COVID-19 Update & ‘We’re Good To Go’ Industry Standard

While the 14-day quarantine for US inbound arrivals remains
in place, Great Britain is one of only a few destinations in Europe that
Americans can actually enter.  The UK Government re-evaluates the
travel advisories every three weeks. For the latest details, be sure to
check the guidelines on GOV.UK. The new ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard has been a success with 38,000+ applications from UK
businesses received. The “We’re Good To Go” mark signals that a tourismand hospitality business has adapted their operations in line with
respective Government and public health guidance and has a COVID-19
risk assessment in place to aid staff training, social distancing and
cleanliness. Go to https://goodtogo.visitbritain.com/discover to view our new interactive map showing all the businesses which have received
the mark, so you can plan your client’s trips with ease.

















Malaysia Business Events Industry Commits to a Safe Event Environment

Industry bodies and government sectors engage to ensure effective compliance and adherence to Business Events (BE) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) and Malaysia Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) with the support of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) brought together Malaysia’s venue operators to engage with the Government on thorough monitoring and reporting as well as correct implementation and enforcement of the industry Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Present at the co-ordination meeting were Y.Bhg. Datin Sri Norfaliza, Head of Covid-19 Unit, Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC), Dr. Zulhizzam Hj. Abdullah, Deputy Director, Public Health Development Division, Ministry of Health (MOH), En. Hamzah b Ishak, Director of Crisis Management and National Intelligence, National Security Council (NSC), and Senior Assistant Commissioner M.V. Srikumar a/l Madhavan Nair, Department of Homeland Security & Public Safety (KDNKA), Royal Malaysia Police to share insights with the industry players on compliance and implementation of the SOPs.

“We are appreciative of this engagement with the government to help the industry implement effective measures to enforce adherence to SOPs. We would also like to acknowledge and thank Y.Bhg. Datin Sri Norfaliza who played an instrumental role in elevating our SOPs for consideration and endorsement. It is absolutely crucial for all industry players to commit to ensuring that in all stages of an event, from planning to execution to post event contract tracing, SOPs are strictly and ethically implemented and enforced. This will help the industry to instil confidence in the public and government that it is indeed possible to conduct events in a controlled, safe and secured environment,” said Alan Pryor, Chairman, BECM.

Besides emphasising on the importance of adherence to the SOPs, the engagement session also shed light on the Government’s support to the industry. Large Event Organisers were encouraged to liaise with the MOH and the Malaysia Royal Police in the planning phase of any large scale event to ensure a smooth and safe execution while the Industry itself was urged to reach out to all players, big and small, in the supply chain and to provide feedback through MyCEB on any challenges or problems faced in the implementation of the SOPs and to ensure they have access to the SOPs to ensure correct implementation.

BE industry supply chain is directly affected by no less than six SOPs covering the various activities that take place in differing facilities ranging from hotels and shopping malls to convention and exhibition centres and from special and government events to meetings, conventions and trade shows. The highest benchmark for each category was consolidated by BECM and MACEOS which culminated in the launch of the consolidated BE Guidelines late July. “The venue sector has to take the lead in ensuring conformity to the SOPs and it is imperative to ensure event organisers have ‘covered’ all the requirements in their pre-event planning. The execution in adhering to the SOPs is therefore a joint responsibility. Our primary objective is to demonstrate that events and exhibitions can and are being held in a controlled, secure and safe environment. For this, MyCEB, BECM and MACEOS will enforce strict self-regulation to ensure the BE industry can continue to operate in the new normal,” said Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani bin Daud, Chief Executive Officer of MyCEB.

“We urge all MACEOS members and other BE industry players to collaborate and adhere to the approved guidelines and SOPs.  With venue operators taking the lead to implement the best SOP practices, event organisers will be able to abide by the requirements when executing their events in accordance to the standards of our Ministry of Health”, said Dato’ Vincent Lim, President, MACEOS.

Travel bubbles and cross border travel were also discussed and it was emphasized that these developments are highly dependent on the developing trends around the spread and containment of Covid-19 around the region and the world, as the prevention and control of the pandemic remain the most important priority, as such, virtual participation continues to be an integral option in all types of business events.

PlanetIMEX Evolves With a Splash of Fun

The IMEX Group’s virtual experience returns 12 – 16 October

Business event professionals can dive into a full week of learning, networking and a splash of fun when PlanetIMEX returns on 12 – 16 October.  The playful interactive experience, launched by the IMEX Group in May, has been redesigned with a whole new look and feel, plus new functionality and features inspired by audience feedback following the launch edition.

Renowned explorer brings the outdoors online 

The October edition of PlanetIMEX offers a full week of creative content with a series of headliners delivering education sessions across two days: 

  • Monday 12 October: PlanetIMEX launches with a full day of creative virtual experiences. Ever wanted to improve your knowledge of wines, take a dance class or try your hand at cooking a new dish? This is a day for exploring, being curious and meeting new people who share the same values.
  • Tuesday 13 & Wednesday 14 October: Two days of engaging education delivered by experts from around the planet. A series of headliners share their own experiences to shed light on new ways of working, connecting and experiencing the world.  Primary will be explorer, author and photographer Daniel Fox. Fox is an ambassador for LEXUS, ARC’TERYX, SANDISK, and MANFROTTO and has been described as a “modern Henry David Thoreau with the eye of an Ansel Adams”.  Expanding on Nature, IMEX’s Talking Point for 2020 and 2021, the aptly-named Fox will demonstrate how nature has the power to transform both the individual and collective human experience. He explains: “Nature is resilient and a source of priceless teachings. It reminds us that life is not about us, and that there is something far bigger.”
  • Thursday 15 October: A day of specialist education, designed so that event professionals from various disciplines can delve deeper into bespoke learning and dialogue. The Association Leadership Forum is created by ASAE for association leadership, the Executive Meeting Forum is for corporate executives and the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum is for budding event professionals
  • Friday 16 October: PlanetIMEX week is rounded off on with Community Day, an opportunity for connections and content from a range of IMEX Group’s association and other partners including MPI, Site and EventMB.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “We’ve evolved PlanetIMEX so that it continues to deliver really strong content – information that’s vital for the here and now – along with an element of surprise. PlanetIMEX has a whole new look and feel this time around and we can’t wait for business event and meetings industry professionals to dive into our wonderful new world.”

PlanetIMEX returns 12 – 16 October – www.planetimex.com