#EventCanvas FTW!

May 13th, 2019 @

EventCanvas-scroll

For three days at the tail end of February, I joined a couple of dozen meeting professionals—all either from Caesars Entertainment or invited by that organization—in a window-filled room beside the High Roller in Las Vegas to learn how to plan with the #EventCanvas.

I walked in curious and skeptical—my base approach to most things. Not a fan of boring social ice breakers, this gathering with, primarily, strangers proved early on to be different, with compelling approaches to inter-personal communication and brainstorming. I drew a cartoon character I created as a child to represent me. This segued into a brief, unexpectedly personal discussion about the character’s origins and suddenly these strangers knew me better than many people I see daily.

Once I realized how significantly different this introduction was compared to, well, every instance of professional education in which I’ve participated, my natural skeptic shell began to soften. “I still don’t totally understand how these Dutch guys are going to use some sort of formula and graphical charts to suss out the best and most appropriate event goals,” I thought…but benefit of the doubt was starting to be supplanted by successful first-person experiences.

The “Dutch guys” referenced are Roel Frissen and Ruud Janssen, creators of the #EventCanvas methodology and this Event Design program—the goal of which, for most, is to earn the CED designation.

RELATED STORY: The effects of meeting space design

Introductions aside, we learn the bones of the process, marveling as Frissen and Janssen transform a large paper scroll taped to the floor into a visual event roadmap. Each step for each of the various stakeholders is right there, complete with directional arrows, illustrations representing actions, locations and desired behavioral changes—and more. Then we boarded a cabin on the High Roller for each participant to pitch an event—real or hypothetical. Two were selected and would be the armature around which our work for the coming days would revolve.

The very full Day 1 came to a close around 5 p.m., yet there was still some uncertainty in my mind about how this whole thing could work.

“Trust the process,” Frissen told me as we chatted while packing up for the day.

Rather than become overwhelmed with questions and lingering elements I didn’t yet thoroughly understand, I metaphorically threw my arms in the air and resigned to the fact that in the morning, I’d be closer to my goal of complete understanding.

EventCanvas

Day 2 was incredibly busy in smaller groups. Having selected the two events to design, the room was split into two groups—one for each event—and then those groups were further split into smaller factions, each tasked with plotting the event experience for specific stakeholders.

At one point, we were all instructed to split up into pairs to prototype ideas. I felt confident about the activity until speaking with my partner—she understood our task to be something different. Seeking clarity from Frissen, my partner seemed reassured; I was now confused. The task was to just last a few minutes, so I again metaphorically threw my arms in the air and we got down to business. As our group reconvened, it sounded as though each pair had a slightly different understanding of what we were tasked with achieving prior to going over our mental output together. Before my mind completed the thought, “Oh crap, we wasted those prototyping minutes,” a connection was made. All the parts were somehow coming together. One pair discussed a specific event component and their thoughts about it…suddenly the misdirected prototyping I’d done fit it! Yes, I got excited because the seemingly disparate pieces were coming together. Quickly. This all seemed much more than serendipity. When Frissen walked by to ask how we were doing, I surely acted like a school kid who finally understood a pesky algebra formula.

The level of detail can be overwhelming if you focus on the vast expanse of everything needed to structure a successful event and, of course, the prospect of mapping it out in two days. Dedicating set amounts of time to focus on each of the countless tasks involved in planning an event, and then moving on in an orderly fashion to the next task, indeed seemed to resolve the anxiety of too much. This process certainly saves time, as well as stress, in the long run—but don’t get me wrong, this was a long, mentally exhausting day. Longer than Day 1. The progress was evidenced by the oversized Post-it-covered sheets labelled “Empathy Map” and “Prototyping Area” covering the walls and windows in the meeting room, hallway and outdoor patio.

RELATED STORY: 7 ways to flex your creative muscles

Participant chat over dinner at Mr. Chow revealed the need for some cognitive rest prior to the upcoming, concluding day. I was becoming slap happy.

After some coffee/tea, the activity began swiftly on Day 3, each group picking up right where it had left off. Day by day, more ah-ha moments manifested, sometimes seemingly out of the blue. More clarity and more exhaustion. By that afternoon, we’d created thorough Event Canvases for two very different events, including video walkthroughs shared on WhatsApp to explain the desired—and anticipated—event experience for each of the stakeholders. “How would you like the behavior of so-and-so to change once the event is over, and how will you accomplish that? Well, it’s all (or mostly) right here!”

Having gone through the process, I realized that my feelings/instincts of curiosity and skepticism formed a significant piece of my Entering Behavior—the “baggage” or notions that I brought into the Event Design experience—and it’s likely that the event facilitators had mapped out the possibility of a participant coming into this program with these exact thoughts. After three days of active education, I walked out of this experience—my Exiting Behavior—wowed and converted from skeptic to evangelist. I recognized this same sort of change in some other participants—that shining ah-ha clarity in the eyes is a giveaway. As I think back, I’m still unsure how exactly that transformation happened, but I’m a now unquestionably a believer in the formulas established by Frissen and Janssen—the #EventCanvas process is an effective blend of structure and freedom.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a skeptic, the Event Design Certificate program will fundamentally—and positively—alter your planning process. Learn more as the number of Event Design certificate programs is growing, and they’re taking place all over the world!

The post #EventCanvas FTW! appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

#EventCanvas FTW!

May 13th, 2019 @

EventCanvas-scroll

For three days at the tail end of February, I joined a couple of dozen meeting professionals—all either from Caesars Entertainment or invited by that organization—in a window-filled room beside the High Roller in Las Vegas to learn how to plan with the #EventCanvas.

I walked in curious and skeptical—my base approach to most things. Not a fan of boring social ice breakers, this gathering with, primarily, strangers proved early on to be different, with compelling approaches to inter-personal communication and brainstorming. I drew a cartoon character I created as a child to represent me. This segued into a brief, unexpectedly personal discussion about the character’s origins and suddenly these strangers knew me better than many people I see daily.

Once I realized how significantly different this introduction was compared to, well, every instance of professional education in which I’ve participated, my natural skeptic shell began to soften. “I still don’t totally understand how these Dutch guys are going to use some sort of formula and graphical charts to suss out the best and most appropriate event goals,” I thought…but benefit of the doubt was starting to be supplanted by successful first-person experiences.

The “Dutch guys” referenced are Roel Frissen and Ruud Janssen, creators of the #EventCanvas methodology and this Event Design program—the goal of which, for most, is to earn the CED designation.

RELATED STORY: The effects of meeting space design

Introductions aside, we learn the bones of the process, marveling as Frissen and Janssen transform a large paper scroll taped to the floor into a visual event roadmap. Each step for each of the various stakeholders is right there, complete with directional arrows, illustrations representing actions, locations and desired behavioral changes—and more. Then we boarded a cabin on the High Roller for each participant to pitch an event—real or hypothetical. Two were selected and would be the armature around which our work for the coming days would revolve.

The very full Day 1 came to a close around 5 p.m., yet there was still some uncertainty in my mind about how this whole thing could work.

“Trust the process,” Frissen told me as we chatted while packing up for the day.

Rather than become overwhelmed with questions and lingering elements I didn’t yet thoroughly understand, I metaphorically threw my arms in the air and resigned to the fact that in the morning, I’d be closer to my goal of complete understanding.

EventCanvas

Day 2 was incredibly busy in smaller groups. Having selected the two events to design, the room was split into two groups—one for each event—and then those groups were further split into smaller factions, each tasked with plotting the event experience for specific stakeholders.

At one point, we were all instructed to split up into pairs to prototype ideas. I felt confident about the activity until speaking with my partner—she understood our task to be something different. Seeking clarity from Frissen, my partner seemed reassured; I was now confused. The task was to just last a few minutes, so I again metaphorically threw my arms in the air and we got down to business. As our group reconvened, it sounded as though each pair had a slightly different understanding of what we were tasked with achieving prior to going over our mental output together. Before my mind completed the thought, “Oh crap, we wasted those prototyping minutes,” a connection was made. All the parts were somehow coming together. One pair discussed a specific event component and their thoughts about it…suddenly the misdirected prototyping I’d done fit it! Yes, I got excited because the seemingly disparate pieces were coming together. Quickly. This all seemed much more than serendipity. When Frissen walked by to ask how we were doing, I surely acted like a school kid who finally understood a pesky algebra formula.

The level of detail can be overwhelming if you focus on the vast expanse of everything needed to structure a successful event and, of course, the prospect of mapping it out in two days. Dedicating set amounts of time to focus on each of the countless tasks involved in planning an event, and then moving on in an orderly fashion to the next task, indeed seemed to resolve the anxiety of too much. This process certainly saves time, as well as stress, in the long run—but don’t get me wrong, this was a long, mentally exhausting day. Longer than Day 1. The progress was evidenced by the oversized Post-it-covered sheets labelled “Empathy Map” and “Prototyping Area” covering the walls and windows in the meeting room, hallway and outdoor patio.

RELATED STORY: 7 ways to flex your creative muscles

Participant chat over dinner at Mr. Chow revealed the need for some cognitive rest prior to the upcoming, concluding day. I was becoming slap happy.

After some coffee/tea, the activity began swiftly on Day 3, each group picking up right where it had left off. Day by day, more ah-ha moments manifested, sometimes seemingly out of the blue. More clarity and more exhaustion. By that afternoon, we’d created thorough Event Canvases for two very different events, including video walkthroughs shared on WhatsApp to explain the desired—and anticipated—event experience for each of the stakeholders. “How would you like the behavior of so-and-so to change once the event is over, and how will you accomplish that? Well, it’s all (or mostly) right here!”

Having gone through the process, I realized that my feelings/instincts of curiosity and skepticism formed a significant piece of my Entering Behavior—the “baggage” or notions that I brought into the Event Design experience—and it’s likely that the event facilitators had mapped out the possibility of a participant coming into this program with these exact thoughts. After three days of active education, I walked out of this experience—my Exiting Behavior—wowed and converted from skeptic to evangelist. I recognized this same sort of change in some other participants—that shining ah-ha clarity in the eyes is a giveaway. As I think back, I’m still unsure how exactly that transformation happened, but I’m a now unquestionably a believer in the formulas established by Frissen and Janssen—the #EventCanvas process is an effective blend of structure and freedom.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a skeptic, the Event Design Certificate program will fundamentally—and positively—alter your planning process. Learn more as the number of Event Design certificate programs is growing, and they’re taking place all over the world!

The post #EventCanvas FTW! appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Industry trends from WEC

March 25th, 2019 @

trendsDuring MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC) in Indianapolis last year, SocialTables Founder Dan Berger explored a variety of current and upcoming trends impacting the meeting and event industry. The following edited excerpt covers a few of his topics—but keep on reading to watch the entire presentation here for free!

Commissions

The industry we’re in is changing in front of our eyes. The hospitality powerhouses are going after the industry’s third rail: commission. We’ve seen, just in the last few weeks, pretty much the three largest hotel groups with a thousand plus hotels in their portfolio, cut commissions by 30 percent. At the same time, we’ve seen some chains increase their commissions.

Red Lion just went from 10 percent to 11 percent on group commissions. So, they’re seeing an opportunity, it’s really interesting to see that. Also, other chains have renewed their commitments to third parties. Hotels themselves have been investing in direct booking technologies, so they’re saying we don’t need these third parties necessarily, because we can take that money we’re paying for booking and invest it in technology or invest it in our own sales force.

RELATED STORY: Out of commission: Future of planner business models

Consolidation

On the buyer side, American Express GBT, just bought the sixth-largest demand side planning group. On the vendor side, PSVA bought Hargrove, they’re a GES kind of competitor. And on the tech side, Cvent just announced another acquisition of QuickMobile. So, they bought Matthews CrowdCompass, a few years ago and they just bought QuickMobile because they wanna make sure that they have a stranglehold on the mobile application category.

Prices will increase due to consolidation, as more hotels consolidate, as more hotel chains buy out one another, as more private equity firms buy hotel operators, you’re gonna have prices continue to increase because there’ll be less competition, so prices will only go up. Some chains will drop commissions for group business even further, I think that 7 percent is only the beginning, I think they would ideally like to get to a much lower number. But did you know that actually, hotels charge commission if a corporate chain gives a group lead to a hotel property? They charge them commissions sometimes, much lower than 10 percent, but corporate charges commission for leads they source, and that’s sometimes around 4 percent.

I think some chains will double down on the third-party relationships and say, “You know what, my money is more worthwhile going to a third party to outsource all my group business, as opposed to me investing in my own marketing strategy,” so that might happen too. This is something that we haven’t seen yet, but I think private equity, the really big players when it comes to money, will start moving into the events industry and I think we’ll see consolidation happening with event planning firms.

RELATED STORY: Third-party procurement can cost you your commission

market movement

So, we’ve seen that happening in the DMC world, right? Allied PRA, and other DMCs have purchased small DMCs and consolidated, that hasn’t happened in catering so much because catering is super local, but I think it can happen in event planning firms. So, when you have somebody’s wedding and event planning company, somebody’s meeting planning profession, they can buy that, that’s happened in doctor’s offices, when you go to doctor’s offices, it’s most likely owned by a group of financial investors, not just by the doctor anymore.

So, all this means that there will be seismic shifts to our industry’s structure. Generally speaking, when seismic shifts happen, they happen because of business model shifts, not because of other things. So, we’re seeing the business model shift, where different people are caring more about the money than they used to.

Disruptors

New ways to travel are changing behavior. [Referencing chart] Airbnb is much cheaper than a hotel, so it’s not surprising that it’s competitive, and it’s not just competitive in the United States, it’s competitive all around the world.

By the end of this year, we should see over 50 million Airbnb listings. So, the way you think about it, that’s 50 million additional sleeping room in the world, right? When just 10 years ago, that supply, that sleeping room supply wasn’t available.

And then we’re also seeing another interesting trend: luxury managed departments. There’s a company called Sonder and they essentially do Airbnb, but they actually take the lease, so they’ll lease the apartment, give you a hotel like experience in an apartment. So, more and more interesting business models are coming online, creating more inventory.

RELATED STORY: Contract trends: What’s old may be new again

So, what does that mean for meetings and events? Well, I think one thing that it means is that remote destinations will compete with traditional ones, you’ll suddenly be able to go to a city that had didn’t have the number of sleep rooms that you needed, but now it does because it has another 100,000 sleeping rooms, thanks to home sharing. And home sharing will add inventory in every corner of the globe, so you can have meetings in places you didn’t think about having them before.

Berger covers a number of additional, important subjects related to industry trends—including a lot of tech elements, such as AI, AR, blockchain, virtual experiences, etc. Watch the entire session—for free!—below.

Loved this content? Don’t miss this year’s WEC, DATE in Toronto. Register and learn more!

The post Industry trends from WEC appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Traits of great meeting planners

March 4th, 2019 @

skills

After 950 presentations at conference and conventions, I have a fairly good idea of what type of meeting planner is best to work with. Here is the unvarnished truth, (solely on my experience), based on 12 criteria. It’s not all-encompassing, but if you focus on the accomplishing the elements on the left, you’re off to a great start.

RELATED STORY: 33 skills meeting and event planners need to succeed

Best clients

Less-than-best clients

Complete my pre-speech survey Do not complete my pre-speech survey
Have accurately gauged audience needs Have inaccurately gauged audience needs
Are skilled planners Are first-time or unskilled planners
Have one person serve as prompt liaison Manage by committee with no one in charge
Do not over-schedule their attendees Over-schedule their attendees
Allow me free reign beforehand Hog my time beforehand
Allow me free reign with handouts Micro-manage the handouts
Offer a good flyer and good write-up Offer a poor flyer and/or poor write-up
Provide a hands-free lavalier microphone Do not provide a lavalier microphone
Arrange the room as I requested Ignore the room arrangement request
Have adequate food, restroom breaks Have inadequate food, restroom breaks
Are prompt payers Are slow payers

RELATED STORY: 8 signs your work-life balance is looking good

The post Traits of great meeting planners appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Fyre Festival and planning in cinema

January 28th, 2019 @

fyre festival typewriter

Remember that glorious 2017 music festival in the Bahamas that garnered headlines for its excellent planning, exceptional execution and gorgeous attendees? Fyre Festival was all the rage, until it was supposed to happen and attendees found themselves stranded on an island with no infrastructure, F&B easily surpassed by your average soup kitchen, leftover FEMA tents for housing and, well, no festival.

With so many outlets for fresh streaming content, we’re blessed with two documentaries chronicling the disaster that was the Fyre Festival, which was more of a Ponzi scheme than an actual event. Start with Fyre Fraud on Hulu to get a solid background of the characters at play, their previous dealings/money shuffling and the dream of this beautiful event.

As that concludes and the cringe-chills remain, got over to Neflix for Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a piece that acts more as a companion—or extended DVD extras—to the Hulu offering.

Rest assured, both films are sure to induce anxiety in planners. Don’t believe me? Check out the Reddit thread, “Watching the Fyre Festival doc as a former event planer feeling TRIGGERED.”

“I have experience in event planning too and the time frame got me so perplexed. 6 months is barely enough time to plan a neighborhood festival,” said redditor 1nformalStudent.

However, watching these movies did make me wish the event—or at least a multiday, island-based music festival more in line with my tastes—was on the table. Turns out, planners thought about that, too: “I am also an event planner and Fyre Festival goer who got stranded on the island,” redditor taytotz said. “This doc made me want to actually throw this festival. Totally doable with the proper team, planning, and expectations.”

Of course, the main problem with Fyre Festival was that the big-picture organizers were experienced con artists more interested in getting large investments for the festival to pay off investors from their other schemes, all to prop up an online talent-booking service (Fyre) that was actually a really good idea. This situation is more about financial fraud than event planning—but since events are such a visible highlight, many people see it as though the event itself was the problem.

After biting my nails and laughing for three hours watching the pair of Fyre docs, I thought more about the representation of meeting/event planning in film. There’s no shortage of feature films that prominently (if not always accurately) depict the chaotic life of meeting and event planners. Think back to the last time you sat in a theater (or chilled on your comfy couch) and cringed as you watched a snippet of your life—wine and all—portrayed on the big screen.

After 16 years in this industry, my antennae still twitch when I get a hint of the meeting/event life while watching a movie. In order to manage my thirst for fodder on this topic, I reached out to a selection of meeting and event industry friends to commiserate and identify more movies that you can add to your queue.

Weddings & parties

Of course, you’ve got the wedding angle—perhaps the most prevalent and more easily accessible to non-planner humans.

wedding couple

“One that I do like a lot is The Wedding Planner. Why? Mathew McConaughey…and it does portray the job somewhat well,” says Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, president and chief connecting officer of thrive! meetings & events.

Something Borrowed with Candace Bergen as the wedding planner. This is a complicated story about two best friends who are getting married but who have a fight and then learn they’ve chosen the same wedding planner and venue,” says Kim Estep, founder and CEO of ConventionNation.com. “I love that Bergen’s character is able to satisfy both brides and delivers a memorable experience despite the emotional turmoil between the main characters. A true professional.”

Courtney Stanley recommends a pair of wedding-based movies to consider.

My Best Friend’s Wedding. I love a good romantic comedy, especially one starring Julia Roberts! The drama around a big wedding, hilarious scandals and a great soundtrack make this movie one of my all-time favorites,” says Stanley, owner of CS Consulting.

“And if you haven’t seen the movie Bridesmaids, it’s time to check this comedy off your list. This hilarious film portrays the events leading up to a wedding in a whole new light. From competitive and dysfunctional bridesmaids to food poisoning and bridal showers gone wrong, Bridesmaids never fails to make me laugh myself off the couch,” Stanley says.

“Additionally, this movie inspired some seriously great memes and GIFs that I throw into conversations and presentations every now and then.”

RELATED STORY: Say ‘I do’ to these wedding planning tips

MPI’s director of community Kristi Casey Sanders, CMP, CMM, DES, HMCC, gives a nod to Four Weddings and a Funeral as, “a delightful exploration of how events, especially pedestrian life events, can bring people together and change how we see the world.”

This movie also got two thumbs up from Andrea Driessen, chief boredom buster of No More Boring Meetings, “in part for a very funny bit about catering and mitigating guest ‘issues.’”

While we’re looking at social-party-type of events, one recommendation came in for Office Christmas Party, along with some activities you can go through to actually learn and better your professional self.

“From a safety and security perspective, Office Christmas Party is horrifying, but it is also a fun adventure in impromptu emergency planning,” says Jessie States, CMP, CMM

head of meeting innovation for MPI. “Watch it with your team, and every time an incident occurs analyze the risks associated with it, set some SMART objectives and detail what tactics you would take to protect life and property.”

F&B

OK, enough about weddings and parties. Over on the F&B/catering side of the world, Big Night, got multiple props.

food disaster

“I LOVED Big Night, it’s about two brothers whose Italian restaurant is not going well as a rival Italian restaurant is out-competing them. In a final effort to save the restaurant, the brothers plan to put on an evening of incredible food,” Stuckrath says. “The first time I saw this was at an ILEA (ISES at the time) event in Columbus, Ohio. We watched a portion of the movie in a theater, then went to the lobby to eat that same course. Went back in for the next part and then again to the lobby to enjoy the next course. The movie event was hosted within another event.”

Casey Sanders says Big Night, “really captures the anticipation and all the work that goes into creating a memorable event and some of the fires that happen behind the scenes.”

RELATED STORY: F&B shortfalls? You have options

But then her consumable recommendations get a little disturbing with The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover: “Probably one of the creepiest illustrations of the effect of revenge being best served hot. In this case, through one of the world’s most disgusting catered events.”

Conventions

Of course, the bit convention and trade show side of the industry deserves some play here, especially as pop culture cons continue to grow.

“One of my all-time favorites is Galaxy Quest. I love that the main character, played by Tim Allen, uses Trekkie-like conventions to showboat and feed his ego. He is found at one of these convention by actual aliens who confuse his fictional character as a real character and ask him to come save them in an intergalactic battle. The drunk egomaniac actually goes, involving his bitter co-stars along the way,” says Tyra W. Hilliard, Esq, PhD, CMP, a speaker, professor and attorney with Hilliard Associates.” Of course, the convention attendees who witness part of this just think it’s part of a stunt. Convention magic!”

Shawna Suckow, author, speaker and founder of SPiN, notes, “There are several Apple-like events, with Tom Hanks as the Steve Jobs-type character, in The Circle starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and others. Aside from being Paxton’s last movie, I really like the plot of this movie. Lesser known and not loved by critics, but I love the storyline about our growing lack of privacy. I love it both from an event planner standpoint and a tech geek standpoint. They have elaborate meetings with huge crowds, big tech reveals and cool effects.”

On the political side, Hilliard is fond of The Manchurian Candidate, in which, “The action crescendos at the political convention with the assassination attempt. You don’t know just how badly the convention is going to be affected until you see who he takes a shot at and whether he’s successful. Risk Management Girl (me) thrills at this one, of course.”

Back to the real world

For a conclusion, this fun list circles back around to another Netflix documentary around the world of big-name professional speakers.

I am Not Your Guru. A behind-the-scenes look at Tony Robbins and his events. It’s interesting to watch his team create these events, get the audience insanely fired up, and then try to get Tony Robbins to listen to them and their suggestions. AND his team are entirely volunteers from what I understand,” Suckow says. “Worst-paid, hardest working, toughest boss. Ugh.”

Now, what are you waiting for? Step aside from your spreadsheets and cloud-based organizational apps and grab some snacks…and get you’re binge on!

What are some of your go-to planner-related movies? Share with your peers in the comments!

RELATED STORY: Event planning at the movies

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Essential conferences to attend in the next 6 months

December 31st, 2018 @

business meeting

If you’re growing your professional education while on a budget, hosted-buyer programs may be just the kind of initiative you need.

Speak with colleagues and search the web to learn first-hand about the particulars of each event’s hosted-buyer program as they do differ and some can feel onerous—but in general they offer excellent opportunities for you to attend the industry’s leading events at little or no cost. The following events have hosted-buyer programs worth checking out (and even if you’re not hosted, the education and networking is the best in the business and certainly worth attending) and take place in the first half of 2019.

RELATED STORY: Value of hosted buyer programs for planners

PCMA Convening Leaders

Jan. 6-9 – Pittsburgh

European Meetings & Events Conference

Feb. 9-12 – The Hague, The Netherlands

Asia Pacific Incentives Meetings Event (AIME)

Feb. 18-20 – Melbourne, Australia

Global Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange

April 10-13 – Park City, Utah

IMEX

May 21-23 – Frankfurt

World Education Congress 2019

June 15-18 – Toronto

Latin America Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange

June 23-27 – Guanacaste, Costa Rica

RELATED STORY: 10 essential IMEX America hosted buyer tips

success tree

The post Essential conferences to attend in the next 6 months appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide

November 5th, 2018 @

PYM PDG Fall 2018 cover square

A path forward

The response to our first edition of the Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide was better than we could have expected. This new resource saw the most traffic of any Plan Your Meetings publication since Meeting Professionals International acquired the company in late 2015. It’s clear we’ve found a niche that you’ve been seeking!

The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide delivers updated details about scholarship, online education, live events and news resources of specific import for planners, plus additional, all-new material to help grow your skill set and professional sphere.

MaryAnne Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM, an industry professional with more than 20 years of experience in association and meetings management, brings forth her wealth of knowledge to help you get up to speed in “Grants and other funding processes: The devil is in the details.” We’re thrilled to share lessons from a true expert.

This Professional Development Guide also offers top tips on how to help people justify attending your meeting or event, as penned by veteran industry journalist Jennifer Juergens, and “9 strategies for last-minute event planning” by experienced meeting facilitator and speaker Anne Thornley-Brown, MBA. Thornley-Brown is a regular and much-loved contributor to the Plan Your Meetings blog.

Of course, there’s even more to be found in these digital pages, including a free embedded webinar from the MPI Academy.

As you explore this latest Professional Development Guide, please think about the topics that are most important to you and your business growth that are not currently included and then let me know. The purpose of this publication is to offer a one-stop resource for the professional development-related subjects that are most essential for you.

Read the Guide

P.S. Don’t miss free education opportunities at PYM LIVE events throughout North America.

The post The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Redding offers planners new options, incentives

October 29th, 2018 @

Lake Shasta Dinner Cruise

It’s business as usual in the Shasta Cascade region of northern California, following a summer of high-profile wildfires in the state. While the fires did cause problems throughout the affected areas, less than two percent of the Shasta Cascade region was burned.

The area boasts stunning natural beauty and one-of-a-kind outdoor spaces for group activities—including 50 nearby waterfalls, national forests and parks, historic mining towns and more. The focus on this impactful component is being highlighted in the Redding CVB‘s new “What’s on the OUTSIDE counts, too!” campaign. Connected to this, the CVB is offering complimentary site visits to planners, new incentives and personalized tours.

“The industry trend right now is finding those nontraditional venues for conferences and meetings,” said Jennifer Fontana, group coordinator for the Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Redding not only fits perfectly into that mold but it will leave a lasting impression. Redding’s distinct outdoor beauty and local flavor provides the opportunity for attendees to add variety and depth to their experiences that can only come from outside the usual conference room.”

You’ll likely need what’s on the inside, as well. For that, Redding alone offers more than 55,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, more than 2,500 hotels rooms and hundreds of restaurants.

Castle Crags State Park hikingFor more information about the Redding CVB’s “What’s on the OUTSIDE counts, too!” campaign, to schedule a visit or to learn more about the area’s meeting and event options, contact Jennifer Fontana (530-225-4105), the CVB’s group coordinator.

The post Redding offers planners new options, incentives appeared first on Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

Category : Blog and Industry News

Value of hosted buyer programs for planners

October 25th, 2018 @

IMEX America 2018 Smart MondayAs reports continue to fill the meeting/event industry media and the social media posts of its members, in the wake of the record-breaking IMEX America last week, it’s worth examining the opportunities available to you through hosted buyer programs.

What did you miss by not attending IMEX America? First off, they were immersed with more than 13,000 industry colleagues and 3,500 exhibitors representing 150 countries. Education on offer—including Smart Monday, Powered by MPI, and daily keynote speakers—ran the gamut through more than 250 sessions and 150 speakers. (To explore a thorough, on-site experience from this year’s IMEX America, read Rich Luna’s MPI post.)

There is a litany of live events that planners can attend for free thanks to the hosted buyer format. Find the one best suited for your needs (suppliers you may legitimately work with in the future, education sessions/keynote speakers, location, etc.), sign up and start planning.

RELATED STORY: 10 essential IMEX America hosted buyer tips

IMEX America 2018Starting with “Identify your priorities,” the above post offers advice for planners to be prepared entering the hosted buyer realm. If you qualify as a fully hosted participant, sure there will be no (or minimal) direct out-of-pocket expense for you, but your time certainly has a value—and to get the most out of going to a massive event such as IMEX America, you need to do your homework and actively engaging with the community before, during and after the event.

So, you missed IMEX America 2018. Well, now’s the perfect time to start planning a hosted buyer visit to IMEX in Frankfurt next spring (May 21-23) and/or MPI’s World Education Congress next June in Toronto, which will also have a robust hosted buyer element.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Overlooked smart tools for onsite productivity

July 16th, 2018 @

You’ve already got a laundry list of necessary and/or helpful accessories that you pull out of storage and ship to your meetings and events. Here are some more options that you may have overlooked or not previously considered—and better yet, the functionality of these items are useful beyond on-site management, they can all be incorporated into your daily job to enhance productivity and/or just make life easier.

Smart power strips

Setting up your base or office onsite comes with a variety of simple tech challenges that vary from venue to venue—connecting to the net, printers and securing enough power plugs for all of your essential devices. Power strip surge protectors have eked into our daily lives over the years, yet, too often, are left out of the onsite travel kit. If you do bring a surge protector along to your event, chances are it’s old (maybe the indicator light blinks incessantly, not a characteristic that inspires confidence), or ugly (its once-clean off-white color deteriorated into a sickly yellowed plastic that looks like a 1990s tower PC from the room of a chain smoker?). If that sounds familiar, then it certainly doesn’t have the now-necessary USB charging plugs required to power the myriad of portable devices found onsite.

My power strips fit the above bill, so I was excited to try Accell’s Powramid Air ($35.99), when they offered a trial.

Powramid Air

Not only does it look awesome—like a sleek UFO, with a softly glowing center—but the six outlets are perfectly spaced to accommodate large plugs (you know, the kind that would typically overlap other ports, limiting the number of devices you can connect or requiring you to shuffle plugs around like a puzzle trying to find the positioning that allows the most plugs to fit). And there are two USB ports!

The Powramid Air is lightweight, yet solid and simply works. The price is slightly more than your standard power strip, but due to the design, you can actually utilize every port. The next step will be an equally attractive device with more USB ports and a built-in wireless charging component.

Smart watches

As we’re increasingly connected to everything and on the receiving end of constant auditory signals screaming, “Look at me—you’ve got an important message!” I’ve managed to find some semblance of peace for more than three years thanks to the Moto 360 smart watch. How so?

Moto 360When smart phones first came out, like most people, I was quick to apply custom ringtones and notifications—the sounds were fun for about a week, then I’d change them repeatedly, bored or annoyed quickly. Over time, I grew to despise the demanding sounds and increasingly kept my phone on silent-vibrate—unless urgent messages were expected. Like many users, I even began feeling phantom vibrations—there was no call or notification, but my expectant senses told me the device was buzzing.

That was all resolved after I began using a first-generation Moto 360 Android smart watch in 2015. I’ve always loved watches, but the miniature hockey puck-looking thing now on my wrist acts as my lifeline to the connected world while freeing me from the beeps and rings. You see, my phone is now on “silent-vibrate only” 24 hours a day, but I don’t have to keep it on my person because my Moto 360, connected via Bluetooth, gives a little vibration on my wrist when my attention is being summoned. From that point, I just quickly glance at the watch for calendar reminders, to read and respond to text messages and to answer (or decline) calls. All the while, the phone—taunting my attention with promises of breaking news, Words with Friends opportunities, Twitter mentions, etc.—remains untouched somewhere in my general vicinity. When working conferences and in my daily life, the effect is one of less distraction and greater focus on what’s important—if I’m not looking at my phone’s screen, I’m not being pulled into unnecessary tasks.

Since the introduction of smart watches a few years ago, prices have plummeted. Worried about the lasting functionality of such a device? Don’t be—my Moto 360 is the oldest model Android smart watch, yet it still does everything promised when it debuted in 2015. Even the battery and wireless charging base continue to function perfectly. After about a year, I did replace the leather band with a silicon version, for both comfort and appearance, but that was merely a $10 enhancement via Amazon that took about 60 seconds to change out.

First-generation Moto 360 smart watches are now available for $40 or less, refurbished. The slightly thinner newer generations sell for as little as $200 new ($70 used). Of course, there are a bevy of other Android smart watches, many virtually identical to the Moto 360, save for cosmetic differences, from manufacturers such as LG, Huawei, Fossil, Samsung, etc. The Apple Watch offers the same benefits to the end user—potentially more benefits if you’re dedicated to that operating system landscape—starting at around $150 for Series 1. Regardless of the brand, just remember, these wearables can’t do everything you’d ideally like (not yet, at least); they are, first and foremost, watches.

Smart locks

I’ve not yet tested such devices, but I can envision the usefulness especially onsite during a meeting or event. You need to secure items (think of materials left overnight at exhibition booths or even in rooms), usually you just have to trust onsite security or remember to swap keys between whoever is closing a room at night with whoever is opening the room in the morning.

Enter the Tapplock one, a super-versatile smart padlock that can be accessed by numerous routes. Tapplock one can store the fingerprints of up to 500 individuals, or you can use the smart phone app to remotely unlock (and even view access history!).

The world of smart locks is one I hope to explore the next time I’ve got the need.

What do you recommend?

What devices do you find enhance your onsite productivity that you think peers have overlooked? Let us know in the comments below!

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Category : Blog and Industry News