Category Archives: Blog

Working with Independent Meeting Professionals

The marketplace is saturated with 3rd party RFPs. To expertly sell to this market, it’s important to differentiate site selectors from independent meeting professionals. We went to the source.

Meet’s new partner, the Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals (AIMP).  

What is the Alliance of Independent Meeting Professional’s Unique Mission?

AIMP’s start began four years ago when the third-party commission structure changed. In an interview with AIMP’s Founder, David Bruce, we uncovered a passionate quest to support independent meeting professionals. As a 50-year industry professional, David’s unique mission is to bring the independent planner and hotelier together by understanding the needs of both. We want to give independent meeting professionals a voice within the marketplace. Distinguishing our members is the first step. As their advocate, we create enormous awareness for destinations, hotels, and resorts. By raising awareness of their intrinsic value, we can transform the marketplace.

With many third parties aiding in the planning process, how do your planner members differ?

The independent planner has adapted to the end user’s needs with numerous services. Independent meeting professionals have existed for over three decades, and our members are meeting professionals who generate over $450 million annually in group room revenue.As active consultants throughout the process, independent meeting professionals manage multiple aspects of the meeting besides site selection. Their services often include on-site management, coordination, budgeting, and billing, as they are an active consultant during the decision process as a client representative. In today’s marketplace, more companies focus solely on-site selection, and they rely on salespeople to generate and process RFPs. Due to competition for leads with national sales offices and destination management organizations, site-selection companies often distribute an RFP to an excessive number of properties to protect a commission. These RFPs are only sometimes fully qualified and sent to facilities that may be unsuitable to meet the client’s requirements.

How does AIMP support its members?

The independent meeting professional needs a centralized voice and standards. AIMP provides standard operating procedures, contract clauses, and best practices for our members. Our industry yearns to return to face-to-face negotiations that help establish trust. David Bruce believes the independent planner-hotel relationship will improve by understanding the needs of each entity through enhanced collaboration; we can help carry out this by clarifying the enduring relationship benefits with independent meeting professionals.

Interested in joining or learning more about AIMP? Click here.

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Sustainable Meetings

Showcasing innovative approaches by destinations, venues, hotels and more.

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Sustainable Meetings is a brand new report from Skift Meetings. It explores the ways the business events industry is embracing sustainability and how organisations are addressing the world’s greatest social, environmental and economic challenges.
The guide features case studies and practical guidance that supports ending poverty, protecting people and planet, and ensuring peace and prosperity by 2030.

Download the guide and be inspired by the ways the business events community is responding to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. And feel free to share this with your colleagues!

The IMEX Team

PS: Joining us at IMEX Frankfurt? You can catch Skift Meetings editor Miguel Neves speaking as part of our education programme, in his session Smart innovation powering sustainable meetings. Register now!

Expedite RFP Response Time

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. 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

Press Release

For Immediate Release Launches

My Meeting SPACE Calculator

WASHINGTON, DC, March 21, 2023 –, 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 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. creates awareness of EVENT-IT technologies
developed by its strategic partner, through its
distribution channels. By the same token,
provides awareness of on its website and
numerous social media outlets.

“We are pleased to serve the meetings industry through”
says 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.” Co-Founder and Principal David Markham adds, 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

Designed by meeting professionals as an efficient registration-free
online search directory and RFP portal,’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. connects buyers with sellers and
there are no commissions, markups, or hidden fees. For more
information, visit

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 or phone 725-253-8368 (725-25-

MY Meeting SPACE Calculator

A trade show with heart for an industry with muscle – IMEX Frankfurt 2023

“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 nature.

“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 Sustainability.

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.”

The Listening 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

IMEX 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 return.

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.

IMEX Frankfurt takes place 23 – 25 May 2023. To register click here.

Travel and accommodation details – including new hotel booking discounts – can be found here.

“The single biggest problem in communications is the illusion that it has taken place.”

(William Whyte)

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:

  1. 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.
Connect with Gary Hernbroth 

IMEX Round Up & Future Leaders

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, 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 stand. As future meeting and event planners, the experience provided ULV students with an overview of the marketplace and current meeting planning priorities.    

The 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. 

One 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!

IMEX 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 Convention Center.

Relief for Airline Passenger Inconveniences Has Arrived!

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?” 

Submitted by Maureen Pickell

Forty Years of Serving the DMV and Beyond!

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 the pandemic?

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 or email us at  We have a very active committee scene and we’re always looking for members to join and provide new ideas and insight.

Advocate for the Meetings Industry

Maintaining a thriving meeting industry is a personal passion for Annette M. Suriani, CMP, CFMP, DES, Business Events Strategist, AMS Meetings Solutions, and Executive Director for Association Meeting Professionals (AMPs).

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.

IMEX supercharges show learning programmes with appointment of industry veteran

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.

Tahira Endean, Head of Progamme, IMEX Group

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.

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.

Press information, please contact: Emma Blake: