Category Archives: Industry Buzz

IMEX announces a new reason to Smyle

The IMEX Group has partnered with award-winning creative agency Smyle to produce a series of digital activations for the global business events community leading up to IMEX America in November.

The full programme, which will run between May and September, will be announced next month.

The new concept is designed to give tangible business value to IMEX’s traditional buyer and supplier audiences who have now missed a year of face-to-face trade shows. It also aims to unlock fresh business opportunities and attract a new online audience.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, says: “Where 2020 was all about massive disruption and creativity in the face of chaos, in 2021 we’re focused on delivering digital experiences that generate business momentum and connections as we look towards IMEX America in November.

“Together with Smyle, and having learned huge lessons from PlanetIMEX, we’re planning a four-month activation with two clear advantages for the industry. First, it will be a time and a place for buyers and suppliers to build networks, nurture business leads and enjoy a sense of community and camaraderie. Second, for those who wish to use it this way, it will be a springboard for face-to-face engagement at IMEX America. Our partnership with Smyle, with their strong creative heritage, will enable us to deliver this ‘best of both worlds’ in a way that’s powerful, relevant and responsive to current business needs.”

Dominic Thomas-Smith, Managing Director of Smyle, adds: “We’re really excited to be working with the IMEX Group in building an all-new communications platform for event professionals globally. The boundaries of digital know no limits – we can’t wait to bring innovative thinking and a load of creativity to deliver engaging, interesting and rewarding experiences for all who participate.”

More details about the IMEX Group’s digital solutions will be announced next month.

IMEX America takes place 9 – 11 November at its new home of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

#PCMACL – Convening Leaders: Recovery, Discovery, Resiliency Heading into 2021

As a long time attendee of the PCMA Convening Leader’s annual January event, this year’s “virtual remake” Jan. 11-15 did not disappoint. Noted as the best way for participants to kick off the New Year, its traditional format of stellar education and networking was only slightly diminished by the lack of face-to-face interaction.

A total of 3,500 people from 36 countries registered to watch the content online through the Juno AI platform, interacted in The Kitchen conversations and as part of micro-communities and satellite gatherings keeping the level of engagement very high.

The event moved from its planned location in Houston to Singapore, with 19 official network partners hosting watch parties from United Arab Emirates, where 300 people joined the event, to a Marriott International gathering in Denver and a Hilton event in Dallas with 50 attendees each.

For those accustomed to the standard industry vernacular that we’re used to hearing from speakers, a new vocabulary surfaced as a result of the various education sessions highlighting the new virtual reality. Terms such as Gamification, Tik-Tok, Zoom Room, Fun Format, Bandwidth Considerations, and Twitch and Cyberpunk 2077 as streaming platforms (a.k.a. video games) are on track to become part of our professional conversations.

Counteracting these highly technological assemblies were opportunities to join wellness groups practicing Guided Meditation, Zen Yoga, and a Pranayama Breathing Session all sponsored by Puerto Rico. For the virtual side of this hybrid event, in person networking was replaced by chat rooms and scheduled groups for conversations highlighted by the opportunity to replace your facial expressions with those of various emoji’s when conversing online.

In conclusion, PCMA retained its reputation for soliciting a high level of involvement from the attendees. This was aided by the fact that the virtual format produced an enhanced number of global speakers as well as those participants able to attend due to the elimination of the travel component. It’s a testimony to the organizers that the energy of the audience was not diminished by the pivot to a hybrid event.

Sherrif Karamat, President & CEO of PCMA said face-to-face meetings are starting to come back…with full recovery in 2023. “Recovery is on its way, but we can’t expect to go back to what it was. We have changed, and we have to help people face that new reality.”

See you (hopefully in person) Jan. 9-12, 2022, when PCMA Convening Leaders brings its flagship education and networking event to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, be safe – innovate!

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 

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 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.”

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 –

2020 ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition Breaks Event Registration Record

The 2020 ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition had the highest registration number in the 100-year history of the event. With 14,108 association professionals, consultants, and industry partners registered for the meeting taking place August 10-12, 2020, with 71 percent of those being first-time attendees. Participants were inspired by three engaging keynote speakers and participated in more than 92 education sessions, five Game Changers, and explored 57 virtual exhibit booths representing technology, business, hospitality, and meeting services.

The final attendance breakdown included: 12,813 executives, 544 exhibitors, 207 industry partners, 433 consultants, and 111 others including press, vendors, and staff. The ratio of buyer to sellers was 95 percent buyers to 5 percent sellers.

“I am proud to lead an organization which, even during unpredictable times of change and uncertainty, can provide a much needed space for the association community to come together, share ideas, and have critical conversations that will guide associations to future success,” said Susan Robertson, CAE, ASAE President and CEO. “Throughout the last year of ASAE’s Centennial celebrations we looked back at the lasting impact associations have had on society over the last 100 years. If the overwhelming response to the 2020 ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting is any indication, we can expect the association community to act when called upon, starting with COVID-19 response and legislation, along with the fight for racial equality. I hope the theme of Virtual Annual Meeting will inspire other associations to ‘Make Your Mark’ in this next chapter of history.”

COVID-19 is impacting the association community at all levels. When determining the pricing structure for the event, ASAE considered the potential effect on individuals’ economic ability to participate in professional development programs like the Annual Meeting. The decision to offer a free or discounted virtual experience allowed over 10,000 individuals, who had previously not been able to attend due to travel or budget restrictions, the opportunity to participate for the first time.

Throughout the event attendees shared that the price point and virtual setting made the content, and connections with fellow association professionals, accessible to them for the first time. Another benefit of the virtual event attendees took advantage of was the on-demand session recordings. Many commented that unlike the in-person experience, they were not forced to choose between sessions as they could go back to view sessions taking place in overlapping time slots, or re-watch those that they found of particular interest.

On Monday, Leon Logothetis, Global adventurer, motivational speaker, philanthropist, and author/creator of book and Netflix show, The Kindness Diaries, set the tone for the meeting with his opening keynote presentation about using kindness to find the good in others and individually. He used excerpts from his adventures traveling the globe on a yellow motorcycle to encourage attendees to stop leaving their kindness at the door as they walk into work, but instead bring it to the forefront in order to achieve goals, and create a ripple effect of kindness that will touch all areas of their organizations and beyond.

Shiza Shahid, Co-Founder of Our Place, Founder of NowVentures, and Co-Founder & Founding CEO of the Malala Fund, began the second day of the meeting with a keynote that offered attendees a glimpse into how growing up as a female in Pakistan laid the foundation for how she approached her role as a leader in uncertain times. Shahid called attendees and the organizations they represent the guardians of civilization and implored them to choose to be guided by hope, and not fear, to have the greatest impact on society.

The event’s closing keynote speaker, Duncan Wardle, former head of innovation for Disney, shared insights on how to innovate during a time of crisis. Wardle began by stating that diversity is innovation. If someone doesn’t look like you, they don’t think like you, and they can help you think differently. In addition to highlighting the importance of diversity, he shared a list of tools to encourage creativity and innovation among teams. This included scheduling time to talk through successful ideas inside and outside of your industry with your colleagues once a week. Not having time is the biggest barrier to innovation, and when you dedicate time, creativity and innovation will follow.

Next year’s ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition will be held in Dallas, Texas, August 14-17, 2021, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.

ASAE thanks the following Alliance Partners for their continued support of the association community:

Strategic Partners
Atlanta CVB
Destination Canada Business Events
Choose Chicago
Experience Columbus
Community Brands
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB
Naylor Association Solutions
Discover Puerto Rico

Corporate Partners
Visit Austin
Caesars Entertainment
Destination Cleveland
Visit Dallas
DelCor Technology Solutions
Louisville Tourism
Visit Omaha
Travel Portland
Visit Salt Lake
Visit San Jose

Event Partners
IMIS by Advanced Solutions International

Higher Logic

Maritz Global Events

Mighty Citizen
Discover the Palm Beaches

Global Partners
Dubai Association Centre
Korea Tourism Organization
Singapore Tourism Board

Winner of IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award Announced

“A unique and innovative approach to driving sustainability through competition – and with potential beyond the industry.” This is what judges had to say about the winning entry to the IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award.

The Award was given to GDS-Index, the world’s leading benchmarking and performance improvement programme for business tourism and events destinations. The judges scored the programme highly for collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement. The GDS-Index produces a performance improvement report for each destination it surveys as well as sharing best practice through whitepapers. The vision of the GDS-Index is to engage, inspire and enable destinations to become more regenerative and sustainable places to visit, meet and thrive in, and it has grown – now implemented in 58 cities around the world.

The IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award is presented annually by IMEX Group and the Events Industry Council. It was independently judged by Amy Spatrisano, President, AZano; Chance Thompson, ASM Global, Salt Palace Convention Center – Senior Manager, Sustainability and Public Relations / Green Team Committee Chairperson; Courtney Lohmann, CMP, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at PRA Business Events; Jan Peter Bergkvist from sustainable business advisors SleepWell and Roger Simons, Associate Director of Sustainability at Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd. Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of GDS-Movement, was scheduled to receive the Award at IMEX in Frankfurt earlier this year, but he will now be honoured at the Gala dinner at next year’s show in May 2021. 

“The IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Awards are the Oscars of the Sustainable Event world,” Guy says. “It’s a real honour to receive this recognition for all the amazing work that the team, the partners and all the destinations have been doing over the last four years. Together we have catalysed change and are extremely proud of the work we are doing inspiring and enabling DMOs to create more resilient, sustainable and regenerative destinations to visit, meet in and live in.”

Guy is an expert in the circular economy and is leading IMEX’s current ‘NATURE’ research project, which is exclusively sponsored by Marriott International. He is set to discuss his findings as part of a panel session on PlanetIMEX  during its October edition, taking place 12 – 16 October.