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.

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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

Travel bans hurt meetings & progress

July 2nd, 2018 @

In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld President Trump’s travel ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority nations as constitutional. As such, it’s an important time to explore a prior travel ban for travelers to the U.S. and how it impacted significant meetings and, arguably, may have hindered important dialogue in the field of HIV/AIDS research. The following originally appeared in The Meeting Professional, March 2017.

People coming together

Lest you think travel bans upending U.S.-based conferences is a new thing, please take a trip with us back to the waning years of President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

In 1987, HIV was added to the list of “dangerous and contagious diseases,” for which, if a person is infected they would be denied entrance into the U.S. In 1990, Congress granted Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis W. Sullivan authority to revise this list of diseases. Sullivan’s new list intentionally excluded HIV, a move in agreement with many in the medical and scientific community. The slow-moving debate on this proposed change began.

In June of 1991, without a revised list approved, officials from the Harvard AIDS Institute notified President George H. W. Bush’s administration that should HIV remain on the list, the planned Eighth International AIDS Conference, scheduled for Boston the following year, would likely be cancelled. Two months later, in August 1991, Harvard announced that due to the uncertainty of the U.S. policy toward HIV-positive people (the revised disease list remained in debate), the Boston conference would not take place. On Sept. 11, 1991, the conference was officially moved to Amsterdam.

keep out

The ban on most HIV-infected persons entering the U.S. was reinforced in 1993 when President Bill Clinton approved the disease’s inclusion on the revised list of “dangerous and contagious diseases.” This travel ban continued for 17 years and, as a result, no major HIV/AIDS conferences were held in the U.S.

In January 2010, President Barack Obama officially ended the U.S. immigration ban on persons with HIV and it was announced that Washington, D.C., would host the 2012 International AIDS Conference.

And that’s how a travel ban effectively killed all major HIV/AIDS conferences in the U.S. for more than two decades, despite repeated appeals from professionals actually educated in the field.

In light of the latest U.S. immigration ban, writers Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus explained on STATnews.com that the HIV/AIDS ban “was a principled stand, but it would be difficult to argue that the [conference’s] move had any real effect on the ban… Its real effect was pragmatic: to make sure that more people could attend the meeting.”

“That points to a broader concern: If conferences don’t move, they’ll likely suffer—not because of the protest, but because of the travel ban itself.”

If you’ve got a story about how the travel ban has affected your business (positive or negative), please contact us.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Meet the New PYM Professional Development Guide!

May 31st, 2018 @

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide!

PYM Professional Development Guide Spring 2018Exploring the meeting and event industry publications landscape, we recognized the need for something more like a career resource than a newsy magazine. While the better industry publications absolutely provide valuable content that can be useful in your business life, any attempt at a one-stop-shop for professional development information appeared to be elusive at best.

With the digital-only Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide, we’ve compiled extensive resources for growth in your career, with an emphasis on free or low-cost opportunities.

  • Scholarships for planners as well as students in the industry to attend conferences in multiple countries, attain professional designations (such as the CMP and CMM), help defray the costs associated with college programs and more. You’ll also find a testimonial from a peer who attended MPI’s World Education Congress thanks to a scholarship.
  • Free and affordable online professional development courses are out there, if you know where to look. Not only can you find info about free Plan Your Meetings webinars here, but the MPI Academy has generously allowed us to build into this edition its “Art of the Deal: Strategic Hotel & Contract Negotiations” webinar—for free!
  • Most meeting and event industry print publications can be had for no cost—you just need to know how to get them. Here, you’ll learn for which publications you can receive a complimentary subscription—and, for those not available freely in print, where you can find much of that material at no cost. With the magazines, blogs and podcasts, you’ll have plenty of free fodder to help you grow.
  • Professional industry events are an integral part of the planner career experience—and that’s where the hosted-buyer format can ease your financial burden. Check out 12 conferences for the duration of 2018 for which you can apply to be a hosted buyer and receive complimentary registration and, in many cases, accommodations and airfare. Beyond that, PYM LIVE is a series of half-day events throughout North America taking place all year long—and those, too, are free to planners!

This is how the Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide story begins; your insight is necessary for the betterment of future adult learners. So, what other information would you look to see presented here? Let me know!

P.S. Don’t miss free education opportunities at PYM LIVE events throughout North America—see future dates and register.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Education and advocacy for GMID 2018

April 11th, 2018 @

Thursday, April 12, 2018, is Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), a dedicated date to focus on and promote the meeting and event industry and enhance your planning skills through free or low-cost professional education (it’s time to get more strategic in your planning). The tagline for the 2018 GMID “Real results, real impact, all around the world.”

MPI has a day-long free live steam planned for 12 hours (7 a.m.-7 p.m., ET), which will explore the GMID festivities from Asia to Europe to North America. This will include educational discussions with experts as well as partners from IAEE, IACC, PSAV and more. Some of the topics scheduled:

  • “How to Prepare for the Next Attack on Meetings”
  • “One Principle That Will Make or Break Your Negotiations”
  • “How to Grow Your Attendance”
  • “Inside the Industry: What’s Really Going on Out There”
  • “Women in the Industry: Challenges and Resources”
  • “Budget Tips for Meeting Organizers”

Check out the full line up of sessions planned for the MPI stream.

If you want education in person, there are countless events, organized by numerous industry associations and destinations. Many of these groups are working together for true community gatherings.

For example, the GMID Spring Training! event in Atlanta (3:30 p.m.) is a collaboration between PCMA Southeast, IAEE Southeast, GSAE, SITE Southeast, the MPI Georgia Chapter and SPIN Atlanta.

Over in Chicago, the MPI-CAC Industry Xchange is organized by the MPI Chicago Area Chapter in partnership with a slew of other professional groups. There, participants will enjoy sessions with notable industry names such as Joan Eisenstodt, Tony Lorenz and Christy Lamagna.

There are so many events you can join this GMID. Meetings Mean Business has a comprehensive list of more than 140 GMID events taking place April 12, most of which are in North America.

GMID 2018 logo

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Free industry magazines, blogs and podcasts (UPDATED)

January 22nd, 2018 @

magazines

The amount of informative, free online content for meeting and event professionals gets more extensive each day. To find real value in it, you’ve got to be able to find this material (needle) in the piles of “content” (haystack). Following are recognized media sources in the industry, so you don’t get stuck in the mire of worthless “content”—and there’s even more available if you venture onto the offerings shared via social media. 

Plan Your Meetings

In addition to the twice-yearly Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide, don’t forget our regularly updated blog, which is completely free and offers hundreds of original posts across all aspects of the meeting and event planning profession. Recent posts include “Contract Trends: What’s Old May be New Again,” “5 Ways to Improve Engagement in Meetings” and “Event Marketing Strategies for Tough Economic Times.”

RELATED STORY: Gain free inspiration and education at PYM LIVE Events

Of specific evergreen note: “The 33 Skills Meeting and Event Planners Need to Succeed” provides a rundown of the Meeting and Business Event Competency Standards (MBECS) categories and then links off from each listing to an original PYM post with relevant education.

MPI Blog and The Meeting Professional

MPI’s blog is more vibrant and accessible than ever, offering news updates as well as destination coverage and best practices for industry professionals. There, you’ll find original content by industry veterans, journalists and subject matter experts (including PYM’s former Chief Storyteller Kristi Casey Sanders). Recent posts on the MPI blog include “The Business Value of Meetings is Greater for Women and All of Us with More Diverse,
Accessible Events
,” “How Planners and Vendors are Collaborating to Accommodate F&B Restrictions” and “Popular Meeting Destinations Rebound After a Difficult Year.”

The Meeting Professional, MPI’s award-winning monthly magazine, is available online in a custom flipbook format (just like the publication you’re reading right now) for members of the association at every level. However, much of each issue is published on a rolling basis on the blog, where it is available free of charge.             

RELATED STORY: Meeting planner scholarships (UPDATED)

12 More Free Mags

All of the following magazines offer free access/subscriptions (print and/or digital) to industry professionals. Some require that you fill out a web form to be “approved” for a free subscription, but their goal is to find and keep new readers, so the process is usually as easy as possible for planners. Many of these websites also offer free live and on-demand webinars and e-newsletters.

Conference & Meetings World

Connect

Convene

EXHIBITOR

Ignite 

M&C

Meetings + Incentive Travel

MeetingsNet

Meetings Today

Prevue

Smart Meetings

Successful Meetings 

RELATED STORY: The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide

15 ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES

BizBash

Cvent Blog

Eventjuice

Event Manager Blog

Event Marketer

Event Planning Blueprint

Event Professionals

Executive Oasis

GatherGeeks Podcast

Midcourse Corrections Blog 

Skift 

Social Tables 

Special Events 

Trade Show News Network 

Unique Venues

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Category : Blog and Industry News

New travel advisory system launched for U.S. travelers

January 10th, 2018 @

U.S. travelers have become accustomed to hearing scary travel advisories for other countries when those locales have experienced natural disasters, terrorist attacks, potential government disruption, increases in crime and/or disease, etc. Sometimes these warnings are warranted, sometimes, many argue, they’re exaggerated.

US State DepartmentAs of Jan. 10, the U.S. State Department has introduced a new system that assigns a travel advisory for every country—not just those deemed to be of special concern. Be aware, this new system replaces the department’s previous Travel Warnings/Alerts. This tiered program includes four advisory levels with Level 4 being “OMG! Don’t go there!” and will be updated regularly based on the changing situations worldwide.

From the State Department:

  • Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel.
  • Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.
  • Level 3 – Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.
  • Level 4 – Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.

Within the advisories, reasons for the categorization will be explained with lettered abbreviations as follows:

  • C – Crime:Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
  • T – Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups or other targets may exist.
  • U – Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions and/or safety risks.
  • H – Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may be a factor.
  • N – Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
  • E – Time-limited Event: A short-term event, such as an election, sporting event or other incident that may pose a safety risk.
  • O – Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators. Read the country’s Travel Advisory for details.

Visit the State Department online for complete details about the program as well as country-by-country recommendations. U.S. travelers can also choose to sign up for the

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and/or follow the State Department on Twitter.

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Leading on-demand industry education (UPDATED)

January 3rd, 2018 @

idea

The resources for your career growth are “out there,” including an endless array of live and on-demand webinars. The amount of free and low-cost education content available to planners online is astounding.

The MPI Academy

MPI AcademyThe MPI Academy, launched in 2015, is a central depot for the well of education and learning experiences available from the world’s largest meeting and event industry association.

Webinars through the MPI Academy are $34.99 each but MPI members get free access to all of them, as well as additional on-demand content and more. You’ll likely find it makes more financial sense to become a member—Student Membership is $40 (only $5 more than a single webinar); an Essential Planner membership is $279. (There are other membership options that can make joining even more valuable for your specific professional needs—learn more.)

RELATED STORY: The latest, greatest PYM Professional Development Guide

Upcoming live webinars include:

  • Building Teams Around Value – Jan. 15
  • Designing Purposeful Experiences – Jan. 29
  • Stop Compromising and Make All the Money You Want! – Feb. 5
  • Maximize ROI of ANY Event (Capture It!) – Mar. 5
  • Inclusion: Beyond the Law for Meeting Professionals Focus on Gender, Allergies, Families, Ability and Class Before it is Legally Required – Mar. 19
  • Inclusive XP: Designing Incredibly Welcoming Experiences – Mar. 26
  • You’re Killing Your Business Because You’re Killing Yourself – 5 Steps to Turn it Around! – Apr. 2
  • Facing Trans: Education, Advocacy and Inclusion of Transgender Needs for Meeting Professionals – Apr. 16

Check out Page 28 of the Plan Your Meetings Professional Development Guide for a free embedded MPI webinar! In the exclusive webinar “Technology: Fad or the New Normal,” Head of Meeting Innovation Jessie States guides professional learners to discover the advantages and disadvantages of leasing and buying tech solutions, how to manage tech risks by exploring the best options and how to move forward with confidence when investing in technology.

RELATED STORY: Gain free inspiration and education at PYM LIVE Events

(Preceding image CC TU DELFT)

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Category : Blog and Industry News

Leading on-demand industry education

January 3rd, 2018 @

In your search for online professional development that provides continuing education credits and/or specialized certification, two excellent sources jump to mind. Give yourself a gift by investing in your own future.

The MPI Academy

MPI AcademyThe MPI Academy, launched in 2015, is a central depot for the well of education and learning experiences available from the world’s largest meeting and event industry association. And engaging with the MPI Academy is now even easier and more intuitive through the association’s new, more interactive website, which launched this summer.

Webinars through the MPI Academy are $34.99 each but MPI members get free access to all of them, as well as additional on-demand content and more. You’ll likely find it makes more financial sense to become a member—Student Membership is $40 (only $5 more than a single webinar); an Essential Planner membership is $279. There are other membership options that can make joining even more valuable for your specific professional needs.

Upcoming live webinars include:

  • What Makes a Meeting Experience Great?
  • Safety & Security: Are Your Attendees at Risk?
  • Art of the Deal: Strategic Hotel & Contract Negotiations

Check out Page 18 of the digital edition of the November 2017 issue of Plan Your Meetings for a free embedded MPI webinar! In “Money Maker: Monetize Your Mobile App,” John Gresham, senior account executive of GuidebookEDU, shares what to look for in a mobile app to help support sponsorship sales, how to think about pricing and ads, how to demonstrate the value of ads with app metrics and much more to help grow your knowledge of strategizing for and working with event apps.

Event Leadership Institute

Event Leadership InstituteFor $25 per month, Event Leadership Institute subscribers get access to a bevy of on-demand video courses covering a wide gamut of topic categories such as business and sales, planning and logistics, creativity and design, strategy and ROI, technical production and more. (An annual subscription is also available for $250—and the ELI has a money-back guarantee if you don’t feel the content is up to snuff.)

In addition to the on-demand content, the ELI also offers scheduled professional development courses and certificate programs online, featuring an instructor-led syllabus and assignments. Recent examples include the five-week-long Technical Meeting & Event Production Certificate and the eight-week-long Fundraising Event Management Certificate courses. Subscribers receive discounts for the professional development courses.

(Preceding image CC TU DELFT)

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Category : Blog and Industry News