ConventionPlanit.com is a complimentary 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 trade-shows ConventionPlanit.com participates in.
Communication breakdown It's always the same I'm having a nervous breakdown Drive me insane ...Led Zeppelin, 1969
Communication breakdown is an obvious reason for delayed RFP responses. RFPs by their very nature relay many details. Suppliers consider factors that go beyond matters of space, dates and rates.
Include Vital Information:
When information is missing, your RFP may be put aside until more data is available, i.e.:
Your decision date is important to suppliers who are juggling other groups that are interested in your meeting/event time-frame.
How is the decision made? Suppliers need to understand the next steps in the decision-making process, including who makes the decision.
What factors will the decision be based upon? A supplier needs to know if they have a real chance to book your meeting/event and may become more competitive.
Where can you be flexible? Tweaking a program to fit the meeting space or shifting the pattern of dates may move things along.
Include information that makes your group more appealing, such as recent room pick-up history, and accurate food and beverage spend.
Current Industry Factors:
Consider the Landscape – The recent volume of meetings and limited hotel staffing has had an impact on our industry. Additionally, the complexity of hotels and variety of destinations has changed the landscape. In an effort to adapt, suppliers have been steadily categorizing the RFP inquiry by room block size, market segment and region.
Lead Spam – When your RFP is duplicated and sent to many unqualified hotels, the RFP is not taken seriously, and response time suffers.
Online Portals – Meeting professionals are not necessarily employed by the organization they plan meetings/events for, and hotel salespeople are not always situated at the property. This is more prevalent in today’s post-pandemic world and not likely to change. To streamline the process, digital portals cut through these complications to connect the buyer with the seller.
ConventionPlanit.com can help streamline the process!
Meeting professionals who are frustrated with RFP response times can save time and get the job done with RFP Valet® – a complimentary sourcing tool with white glove service.
No RFP templates to fill
Effectively communicates your requirements
Facilitates RFP distribution
Collects and compiles quotes and concessions by your deadline
Quickly narrow down to a short list of viable options
WASHINGTON, DC, March 21, 2023 – ConventionPlanit.com, a popular online search directory and RFP portal for the meetings industry, has launched MY Meeting SPACE Calculator, powered by EVENT-IT. This latest amenity is accessible on all ConventionPlanit.com facility listings and under the Resources section.
MY Meeting SPACE Calculator helps meeting professionals quickly and accurately verify the meeting or event space needed for their attendees in any set-up style. The software also factors in variables, such as exhibits, head tables, dance floors and more, with both Imperial and Metric options.
ConventionPlanit.com creates awareness of EVENT-IT technologies developed by its strategic partner, BanquetConsulting.com through its distribution channels. By the same token, BanquetConsulting.com provides awareness of ConventionPlanit.com on its website and numerous social media outlets.
“We are pleased to serve the meetings industry through ConventionPlanit.com.” says BanquetConsulting.com and EVENT-IT Founder, Angelika Bazarnik, CPCE. “Our collaborative efforts offer ample time-saving advantages for busy meeting professionals who must juggle numerous tasks. The calculator is only the first feature of many coming to EVENT-IT.”
ConventionPlanit.com Co-Founder and Principal David Markham adds, “BanquetConsulting.com offers a treasure trove of banquet solutions. We’re delighted to offer their latest EVENT-IT technology as a free amenity to meeting professionals for greater accuracy and efficiency. We look forward to creating awareness of EVENT-IT’s evolving technologies.”
Designed by meeting professionals as an efficient registration-free online search directory and RFP portal, ConventionPlanit.com’s website quickly refines searches to identify appropriate destinations, facilities, and service providers. RFP Valet® combines personalized assistance with a user-friendly sourcing tool to quickly display comparative quotes and concessions. ConventionPlanit.com connects buyers with sellers and there are no commissions, markups, or hidden fees. For more information, visit conventionplanit.com.
EVENT-IT will be a simple event tool kit that brings onsite event management to the 21st century. With our easy-to-navigate mobile app, you’ll have all the tools to execute an amazing event and streamlines venue-client communication and accountability. This way, you’ll be able to focus on the actual event without worrying about all the details. So whether you’re a seasoned event pro or a first-time organizer, EVENT-IT will have a tool for you, no matter the size of the event. #EventToolKitApp. For more information contact Angelika@BanquestConsulting.com or phone 725-253-8368 (725-25- EVENT).
“At the heart of each IMEX show is a living, breathing
marketplace – the fundamental and effective way of doing business that powers
our industry,” explains Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group.
“We’ve carefully curated all elements of this year’s
IMEX Frankfurt show – from the layout, the education and the experiential – to
complement and enhance these in person business conversations. We’re seeing
momentum building all the time and look forward to throwing open the doors to
our friends and colleagues this May.”
Trends-wise the show will reflect many of the big
shifts and changes in the meetings and events industry globally. As a buying force,
the Chinese market is back and Asia in general is flourishing, driving event
demand, locally and internationally. The big tech companies in Korea are one of
several factors behind this growth.
International hotel groups plus smaller boutique
hotels will be making their presence felt on the show floor, many of them
introducing new service offerings or properties. Frankfurt itself has added to
its hotel portfolio with several new openings including
the impressive Scandic Hafenpark and B’Mine, the first WorldHotels
Crafted Collection hotel in Germany, and NH hotels signature Nhow brand which
IMEX is showcasing as hosted buyer accommodation in the city. Many hosted buyer
hotels have also benefited from recent refurbishments including the
Steigenberger Frankfurterhof, the Marriott, Hilton and the Westin.
Destinations, venues and suppliers span the world and
include Croatia, Malaysia, Peru, Portugal, Ras Al Khaimah and Spain. Hotel
groups Hilton, IHG Hotels & Resorts and Radisson are among the exhibitors
expanding their presence onsite as well as Los Cabos and Morocco. Sarawak, the
largest of Malaysia’s 13 states, will have its own stand for the first time and
will also be joined by the region’s Tourism Minister during the show.
Experts from Google, Microsoft & Pinterest
An extensive programme of over 150 educational and
networking events begins with dedicated learning sessions the day before the
show, on Monday 22 May.
Monday’s programme is tailored to specific sections of
the event professional community:
The complexities of delivering events in a hybrid world will be explored in detail at Association Focus, delivered in association with ICCA, AC Forum, AMC Institute, ASAE, ESAE and Global Association Hubs.
A stella line-up of experts from world-renowned companies spearhead Exclusively Corporate, IMEX’s high-level, invite-only event for corporate event specialists. This includes Microsoft’s Bob Bejan and Salesforce’s Charlotte Pedersen who will go head to head in The tale of two titans – the evolution of event strategy and experience design. Moderator Nicola Kastner explains: “Very rarely do we have an opportunity to learn from two massive tech brands taking such radically different approaches.”
Year on year IMEX’s Agency Directors Forum is redesigned to meet the prevailing business needs of senior agency professionals. 2023’s facilitated discussion will focus on business management issues. Hot topics are set to include people and talent management; succession planning; business drivers, trends and technology and new business strategies, plus new revenue generation models.
New co-located events for 2023 include MICE Impact Academy, an exclusive invite-only education event for German planners, and ELX (Event Leaders Exchange), a meeting for this two-year old community of senior event corporate event leaders from 3,000+ headcount organisations with $3billion+ annual revenue.
Human Nature underpins learning programme
The IMEX 2023
Talking Point – Human Nature – provides a steer for education and interaction.
Carina explains: “Our industry is in the business of human gatherings, face to
face connections and building communities, so it felt natural to focus on what
it means to be human in the 21st century. When we meet in person something
special happens – from driving business growth to developing relationships that
span the world. This need to come together and meet is an innate to our human
“Our Talking Point also helps to deliver a positivity
boost – we’re focusing on what’s good, constructive and loving about human
nature; about our potential and ability to change, adapt and thrive in
supportive and co-operative ways,” she says.
The result is a set of education tracks reflecting the
way people live and work now. Event Marketing is a new addition, while
Technology and Innovation; Trends and Research and Experience Design are tried
and tested and always in demand. A new Business Practices track will include
the ever-popular Event Planner Toolkit while a People and Planet track will
specifically address Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Professional and
Personal Development, Leadership, Culture and Engagement, Wellbeing and
Children as crisis management teachers
New headline sessions will feature contributions from
values and human behaviour expert David Allison. From deep inside the data,
David brings a clear and powerful truth to transform the way we work and the
world we live in. “Our values unite us,” he says. “They can light the way for
purpose-driven brands and lead us to a more values-driven world.”
International crisis leader Thomas Lahnthaler will
talk about building successful remote teams. He’ll also join Eszter
Mattiassich-Aszody, Head of Global Events at Siemens Healthineers to explore
leadership and life lessons from children. Thomas explains: “Observing my
children is looking at crisis managers in action. The skills that children
execute daily are what we as adults have somehow unlearned because of our experience. I want
to share these skills that we’ve forgotten how to use.”
Lab returns with both education sessions and bookable one-to-one coaching.
Sessions will explore how people’s individual nature’s influence their
professional personas as Dawn Wray, coach and co-founder of The Listening
Collective, explains: “Everything’s connected. It’s impossible to disconnect
the person and the work issue from who they are and how they show up in the
world. We’re learning that people may say to us ‘I want to work on my
presentation skills’, for example. But once they start talking, they talk more
about how they feel when they’re presenting.”
New, single IMEX account
has also redesigned the online registration process for its shows. With a focus
on improved marketing tools and business insights for exhibitors, to more and
better connection opportunities for all attendee types, the new process means
every participant has a single IMEX account for both shows. Pre-scheduled
appointment functionality has been enhanced while the IMEX app has also been
improved. The result is a faster customer journey intended to connect buyers
and exhibitors to each other in a way that boosts business and networking
IMEX Frankfurt evolves every year and May’s 2023
edition will be no exception. This time around, however, attendees can expect a
few surprises – the IMEX Group is set to evolve even further, with more details
to be revealed onsite.
Submitted by Gary Hernbroth, Chief Motivating Officer, Training for Winners
Amid all of the post-pandemic commerce being done in this industry via new group bookings and the resurgence of industry gatherings and events, many people are still bemoaning the fact that it’s still very tough to build and maintain relationships.
I hear this every week from event professionals and hospitality colleagues alike. People seem insulated, hard to reach, hard to get responses from on a timely basis, and the difficulty of breaking through the wall with many e-leads is still a daunting task in certain cases.
In other words, communication is still clunky in many places.
Who or what
is to blame? No one thing, certainly, and maybe everything. I don’t like the
“blame game,” it’s not one you can win. Rather, let’s admit that we all could
do a better job and that the fix belongs to all of us. Truly, this axiom applies;
“If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
Here is my short
list for improving communication immediately:
Pick up the phone: Just today I got a
call out of the blue from someone who wanted to pick my brain on a business
idea stemming from a recent podcast that I did. We didn’t know each other and
he just took a shot and picked up the phone. We are now going to work on a
project together to help both of us with new business opportunities. The phone
is NOT dead!
Return phone messages, emails, texts,
etc. Don’t ghost people. The Golden Rule works best for great communication. It
takes nanoseconds to type a reply and hit the reply key. That way, the other
party doesn’t feel ignored.
Write and speak clearly: Say what you
mean clearly, both verbally and in writing. Don’t tap dance around a topic or
complicate the uncomplicated, thereby forcing others to figure out what you are
trying to convey.
The 11th edition of IMEX America
held in Las Vegas recently saw an overall participation of 12,000 attendees, of
whom over 4,000 were buyers and 2,500 were suppliers representing 150
countries. Between the easing of travel restrictions and 40% of returning
exhibitors taking more booth space, this year’s version was 45% larger than
last year’s. And, IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom was very proud of the fact
that “hundreds of students, our future leaders, have been here learning
and experiencing the industry first hand and in full color.”
Each year, ConventionPlanit.com
proudly hosts buyers at IMEX. This year we were fortunate to include
a number of student interns from the University of Las Vegas at
our ConventionPlanit.com stand. As future meeting and event planners, the
experience provided ULV students with an overview of the marketplace and
current meeting planning priorities.
traditional excitement, business and sheer energy that are hallmarks of IMEX
were combined with a program attuned to addressing today’s
realities. Along with the themes of sustainability, diversity and
service levels, those of wellbeing and mental health were factored in as
important considerations. Demonstrating these topics were several of the
innovative engagement strategies positioned throughout the exhibit hall.
sponsor brought in trained dogs for attendees to pet and scratch for stress
relief between educational sessions and show-booth interactions. Taiwan
used an inflatable room complete with a faux campfire and a video
screen providing over stimulated planners with a cozy presentation space.
And CoralTree Hospitality won friends and influenced buyers
with a foot massaging station complete with your choice of an essential oil to
take away for an aromatherapy jolt to be applied when energy was bound to flag!
America offers an incomparable opportunity to make connections in the meetings,
events and incentive industry. Mark your calendar and see you next year for
IMEX America #12 – to be held October 16-19, 2023 at the Mandalay Bay
Along with the myriad of challenges today’s meeting participants
must overcome in deciding whether or not to attend an event, air travel (and
its repercussions) presents one of the more formidable issues to consider.
TSA screened 8.76 million air travelers over Labor Day
weekend beating out 2019’s pre-pandemic number by 2%!
Whereby statistics like this were normally used to describe a
holiday weekend, an ordinary mid-week, off peak time to fly now has passengers
experiencing a significantly increased number of fellow flyers. Along with this
higher traffic volume comes more delays and/or outright cancellations. Historically,
deciphering obscure rules as described in the Contract of Carriage relating to
restitution due passengers has been the norm when an airline failed to provide
the service paid for through no action or fault of the consumer.
However, help is on the way! In late August, the
Transportation Department introduced an Airline Customer Service
Dashboard which allows passengers to see what each carrier is
committed to doing for them in cases of “controllable” (meaning their fault)
cancellations or significant delays.
Re-accommodation can range from handing out food vouchers in
case of long delays, providing a hotel in case of an overnight cancellation/delay
to rebooking you on the same airline at no additional cost, or even on a competitor’s
flight. However, not all airlines will offer the same levels of
re-accommodation with the ultra-low-cost carriers less amenable to some of the
above mentioned entitlements.
Now passengers can consult this simple dashboard rather than
trying to read through the excruciatingly small print of the aforementioned Contract
of Carriage on an individual airline’s website to find out what they are
entitled to – or not. What the Transportation Department is saying now is that
more focus in dealing with the aftermath of delays and cancellations is long
overdue and they are laying down the law.
Hopefully this will help to eliminate the attendee’s
question of “should I or should I not rely on an airline to get me to my
meeting, event or convention on time and unstressed?”
After 40 years, the Association of Meeting Professionals (AMPs)
continues to stand strong. Founded in Alexandria Virginia, it sits alone as the
premier local organization of powerful DC, VA, and MD meeting professionals and
supplier partner members from around the country. Even through the height of the pandemic, AMPs
was solid in its footing and did what it does best…provide education and
networking opportunities to its members. I recently had the opportunity to
speak to Annette M. Suriani, CMP, CFMP, DES, Business Events Strategist, AMS
Meetings Solutions, and AMPs’ Executive Director what kept AMPs going.
As the Executive Director, what is your vision for AMPs?
My goal is to move forward the mission of the organization
and that of our current Chairman’s vision.
I believe the passion our leadership and volunteers have for this
organization is its driving force.
What is AMPs’ purpose and what makes it so unique?
It is a true community of industry meeting and events
professionals that gather for quality educational opportunities and networking
with peers and suppliers. We make it affordable so planners who join the
organization obtain complimentary registration for our quarterly education meetings.
Because we’re an independent organization, we do not have to get approval from
a “corporate office” on initiatives that make sense for our members. The Board
is strategically made up of planners and suppliers that have a deep
understanding of what our members face on a daily basis.
How did AMPs cope during
It was hard, especially for smaller organizations like
AMPs. We held monthly virtual education programs to
stay connected. When we couldn’t meet in
person, we held 5K fun runs/walks. Everyone enjoyed the camaraderie and just
being outside even though we required them to wear masks! AMPs truly is a
community in unity.
Who can join AMPs and how do they sign up?
Anyone in the meetings and hospitality industry can
join. We are very affordable and don’t
charge extra for most of our programs.
Just visit www.ampsweb.org or email
us at email@example.com. We have a very active committee scene and
we’re always looking for members to join and provide new ideas and insight.
As PCMA’s Capitol Chapter President in 2015, Annette reinstated
the government relations committee because she saw a need to educate our
representatives and even those in our industry of the importance of the
meetings and events industry. Who knew
how much more important this committee would
be in 2020?
According to Annette…“The meetings and events industry
provides a major impact for local, national and global economies. Yet, we are
often overlooked when it comes to legislation that can help us. In the most
simplistic terms, It is incumbent upon all of us in this industry to stay on
top of our elected officials and educate them on the numbers of jobs that
employ their constituents, let alone solutions and discoveries that are made
when people collaborate when they meet face to face.
The IMEX Group is set to remodel the professional learning programmes delivered at both of its global trade shows with the appointment of Tahira Endean as Head of Programme.
Vancouver-based Tahira’s new role signals a new era for IMEX. A three-year education strategy will capitalise on IMEX’s free to attend programming to meet the industry’s thirst for knowledge and continuous development while embracing a growth mindset.
The IMEX education programme was envisioned and developed in 2005 by Dale Hudson, Knowledge and Events Director. It has grown in size and quality over the last 15 years, adding substantial value to the visitor experience. Tahira’s addition to the team will build on that legacy. She’ll work with both the IMEX Marcomms and Knowledge and Education teams to design learning programmes that enrich the show’s value proposition and deliver measurable business benefits.
Tahira explains: “We’re focused on designing learning with buyer requirements in mind first and foremost as we want them to have meetings that are enhanced by education at the show. Our combined aim is for attendees to leave each session with tangible takeaways that also support their meetings onsite. IMEX’s legacy of tailored education that meets the particular needs of agencies, associations and corporate event professionals has always been strong; we’re looking to build on that too.”
“As a veteran of the MICE industry and self-confessed event nerd, I recognise IMEX as the professional home for our global industry. The opportunity to provide knowledge that helps us all develop and grow through turbulent times is important and to do it with a team as committed, passionate and talented as IMEX is really exciting.”
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Tahira to our team. Her extensive industry experience, large network of contacts and fresh approach supports our aim to keep on innovating and provide powerful, purposeful and multi-faceted experiences for all attendees.”
Changes to education programming are already in place for IMEX America which opens with Smart Monday, October 10 in Las Vegas. IMEX has announced an education theme for the 11th edition of the show – ‘Pathways to Clarity’. Its learning tracks have been consolidated and redesigned. Details will be announced in the next few weeks.
IMEX America 2022 takes place at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, and opens with Smart Monday, powered by MPI on Monday October 10, followed by the three-day trade show October 11-13. www.imexamerica.com
Tahira, former Head of Events at SITE, is currently studying for a MSc in Creativity and Change Leadership. She lives with her family in Vancouver, enjoys cooking and immersing herself in nature.
Best Business Practices Between Meeting Professionals and Hospitality Sales Executives
Another year has passed and with the
marketplace in constant flux. We decided to survey our network again to gain an
updated understanding of the current trends and challenges to provide up to the
minute helpful advice.
The four questions we
asked in our survey:
of salesperson are you today as compared to a year ago?
you see as the biggest challenge in responding to inquiries?
your biggest obstacle while adding new clients?
the biggest hurdle in contract negotiations?
We are happy to share
the responses today compared to a year ago indicate that salespeople are
feeling positive and optimistic, they are truly ready for customers. As a
bonus, they feel they are more personable and better in their roles overall.
We have compiled and
analyzed the data and have shared the results in the form of common themes and
experiences, as well as our recommendations with you below.
and understanding of how to navigate the current climate and COVID-19
skills overall and are more optimistic in booking business
barriers or obstacles when it comes to growing client list or negotiating
spend time building relationships and seeking aligned clients
people skills to work within shorter timeframes and smaller budgets
from reactivity to proactivity, particularly as it pertains to maintaining
relationships and earned trust of clients
has transitioned to email and away from verbal communication or in-person
capabilities to respond to inquiries in a faster manner, clients are becoming
increasingly time sensitive
emphasis on contracts and conditions with COVID-19 making it difficult to
predict and navigate potential cancellations
arise with delayed responses and inquiries which are more general in nature
on resources as calendars are becoming increasingly full
budgets and expectations don’t match the value provided
to move towards more digital resources as manual processes including credit
cards, estimates and contracts are now inconvenient
in diligence and determination to close sales
and adjusting to the time investment required to respond to all inquiries
for creativity to ensure potential client replies and increased communication
focus on problem solving and negotiating skills
the time to go through processes thoroughly
skills like patience and understanding are more valuable in client and supplier
staffing levels pose a challenge
feeling more hopeful as to the current and future state of the industry
need to balance flexibility with forward planning as event calendar fills
entrants into event positions sometimes mean communicating with less
experienced potential clients and contacts, requires thoughtfulness and
creative ways to understand a potential client’s vision for an event via
written forms of communication, previously was easier via in-person meetings or
tune with the need to pivot and provide virtual content and services
require more consultation to understand needs and move towards being ready to
from administration to the need for marketing with the increasing need to
identify buyer audiences, purchasing habits, preferences, and unique needs
the best practices to qualify leads for best use of time and resources
to the short-term nature of more opportunities compared to last year
navigating how to be flexible and adaptive during COVID-19 times and potential
professionals are realizing they are now more cautious while others are
experiencing frustration, and for some they have learned to become patient
Given the responses to
this year’s survey, we have revised our recommendations to remedy some of the
challenges and issues.
All themes explored in
the survey play an important role in each person’s development as they reassess
their skills to move forward effectively. A noteworthy observation is that
goals are shorter than they have ever been before and that the market and environment
have truly changed.
Contract negotiations are
becoming more tedious making salespeople stressed as clients strive to cover
every little detail, particularly as it pertains to COVID-19 regulations. This
has meant that contracts take longer to finalize. We highly recommend ongoing
contract reviews for both sides to identify realistic terms and conditions with
a quarterly review before negotiations are final.
When it comes to
building better relationships, flexibility and adaptability are key skills that
require continuous improvement to have the ability to fulfil each client’s
specific needs on an ongoing basis; this will be a major factor in negotiations
and successfully securing business.
If you’re interested
in learning more about securing and growing your business in these new economic
times, please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are
more than happy to chat to you about how we can help.
Lynne Wellish, CMP, CHSE Sales Activator with a focus on unique boutique businesses in the Hospitality Industry. Lynne@cplanit.com
Both are life-long learners and hospitality educators at Scottsdale
Community College. Each year they collaborate on a survey to stay current
with trends as they update and curate content for their students. Please email your experiences regarding the survey
results or to inquire about customized recommendations
to help grow your business.