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THE CELEBRATION GOES GLOBAL
By Elaine Pofeldt
by Mar 18, 2016
In 2015, the Convention Industry Council and Meetings Mean Business coalition expanded National Meetings Industry Day—a wildly successful event created by MPI’s Canada chapters—into a North American celebration, and the rest of the world took note. Last year, North American Meetings Industry Day included 88 events across the continent. Global organizations soon reached out to say they wanted the event, which calls attention to the local economic impact of meetings, to go international.
To learn about Global Meetings Industry Day celebrations near you, visit MPI's
Global Meetings Industry Day page.
The culmination of those conversations is a first for the industry—a new event called Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). On April 14 and thereabouts, members of MPI and their counterparts in other industry associations will celebrate the event together, from locations around the world.
“What’s fascinating is it’s been organic,” says Michael Dominguez (MPI Southern California Chapter), senior vice president and chief sales officer at MGM Resorts International and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business coalition, which was created in 2009 to highlight the value business meetings, events and travel bring to the U.S. economy.
At one key 2016 event, meeting professionals will rally at the Texas State Capitol as part of a two-day global celebration that starts on April 14. Hosted by the MPI Texas Hill Country Chapter in collaboration with Meetings Mean Business, the event will include a press conference to call attention to the economic impact of meetings at the local level. At least 300 meeting professionals from MPI and other organizations are expected to attend.
“We have 12 industry associations joining us,” says Marcia Williams, CMM, CMP, an independent planner and president of EVENTive, who is planning the event for the chapter. “It’s truly one industry. Everyone I’ve talked to says we are making history here.”
The rally will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Dominguez, as well as Paul Van Deventer, MPI president and CEO; Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA; Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, executive vice president and COO of IAEE; and Ken Sanders, president of Freeman AV. The chapter will be streaming it live.
“If you’re not in Texas, not to worry—you can watch it anywhere from your computer,” Williams says.
Thousands of miles away, in Canada, both the MPI Toronto and British Columbia chapters will be celebrating the international expansion of the event, which started out in Canada 20 years ago.
The MPI British Columbia Chapter has planned an all-morning event on April 14 with sessions on meeting trends, technology and contracting at Anvil Centre, a new gathering place in New Westminster, British Columbia.
“It has really opened up business and economic development in the new Westminster corridor,” says Melissa Moskal, CMP, CMM, vice president of education for the chapter, as well as chair of the chapter’s GMID 2016 efforts. “We want to celebrate that by taking the event away from a normal convention center and help them garner some exposure, as well.”
Kevin Kirby, immediate past MPI board chair and principal of the Kirby Consulting Group in Orlando, is expected to deliver a keynote on brand reputation and marketing, Moskal says. The chapter is expecting 100 to 140 attendees.
The organizers of GMID in Canada also plan to continue the National Meetings Industry Day Influence Award Program, which recognizes people or organizations outside the industry who have supported the development of meetings and conventions or the development of policies and programs impacting the industry.
“It helps us with advocacy,” Moskal says. “It’s really trying to bring together the outside influencers of the industry to this event and show a full-circle approach.” Meanwhile, nine associations will gather for GMID in Toronto.
“There is a sense of pride,” says MPI Toronto Chapter President Geoff Mak, CEM, CMP, senior account executive at the event space Exhibition Place. “We’re proud to see it spawn into what is now a global event.” Last year’s speakers at the Toronto event included Michael Coteau, Canada’s minister of tourism, culture and sport, and MPI Chief Business Development Officer Darren Temple.
The event has also spread to Europe. The MPI Spain Chapter will celebrate on April 12, in conjunction with “Dia Del Orgullo MICE,” an event for which the meeting industry has come together since 2014. “It was launched two years ago to try to create noise about what our industry is and what we are trying to achieve,” says Phil Cross, the chapter’s vice president of membership and president-elect, as well as head of corporate events at the conference destination CCIB. This year, the celebration will take place in 12 locations in Spain. The chapter is inviting anyone connected with the meeting industry—such as hoteliers, event planners and convention bureau personnel—as well as local politicians, Cross says.
In Italy, MPI will celebrate the event April 15-16. On April 15, participants will gather at a business “speed dating” event for planners, corporate meeting professionals and representatives from government embassies, says Elisabetta Caminiti, vice president of education for the MPI Italia Chapter and managing director of MINE (Meeting Incentive New Events), which has offices in Sicily and Venice.
“They will have two minutes to present to each other and exchange business cards,” she says of the event, which is expected to attract 70 to 80 participants. The MPI France-Switzerland Chapter will be preparing for the giant ComInTech event the week before GMID, so it is getting resourceful about piggybacking on it, says Julien Carlier, chapter president and CEO/founder of Social Dynamite, an online platform to enhance digital marketing. The chapter is organizing a collective Big Tweet on Twitter the day of GMID and expects about 300 participants.
“All together, we will tweet and retweet automatically one sentence advocating for meetings,” Carlier says. “The key message to the world is look at the number of people supporting it.” The message will be shared on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well.
Meanwhile, Meetings Mean Business is pushing forward on a new video initiative to interview a dozen well-known CEOs about why they believe in the value of meetings. The six CEOs interviewed so far include Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. The goal is to complete the video series by the end of the year.
“What will happen if we have a downturn in the economy is I’m not going to be able to get them on camera at that point,” Dominguez says.
Pofeldt, Elaine. "The Celebration Goes Global." The Celebration Goes Global. 2016 Meeting Professionals International, All Rights Reserved, 18 Mar. 2016. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.
How Airbnb Is Working With the Meetings Industry
by Kate Mulcrone
February 17, 2016
We recently caught up with Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb's chief marketing officer, for an update on how the sharing-economy giant is courting the events industry.
When Airbnb’s chief marketing officer, Jonathan Mildenhall, took the stage at The Gathering, a meeting for more than 600 marketing and brand managers at the Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta, on Feb. 3–4, he gave attendees the inside scoop on some of the company’s most successful marketing campaigns. Mildenhall’s focus in his tenure at the sharing-economy giant has been to showcase spectacular properties and build community among Airbnb users.
I attended The Gathering courtesy of Travel Alberta, and was lucky enough to interview Mildenhall just after his rousing session — “Airbnb – Building A 21st Century Community-Driven SuperBrand.” He explained how Airbnb increasingly is courting business travelers and meetings business. “We observed that people can now travel for business and meet in a more interesting way,” Mildenhall said. “People want to feel they’re living when they’re working.”
Attendees who use Airbnb for leisure travel are beginning to book homestays for business travel as well. What does this mean for the traditional room block? “If businesses don’t listen to the consumer need, they’ll lose out in the long term,” Mildenhall said. “The consumer mindset around meetings is changing, and the industry needs to stay relevant.”
In the past, Airbnb has partnered with big-box events like SXSW in Austin and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the company is now targeting smaller markets as well. A new portal for corporate travel managers offers up-to-the-minute reports on booking, spend, and even the average daily rate attendees will pay for their Airbnb rentals. The tool also offers some of the comforts of traditional room blocks: centralized billing and an at-a-glance map so planners can see who’s staying where.
While the room-block model is likely to predominate for a number of years, offering attendees the choice between a hotel and a home rental upfront could help planners keep tabs on sharing-economy devotees who likely would book outside the block regardless. “People get used to not owning things,” Mildenhall said. “They change their perception of value, and that’s going to continue to influence where they choose to stay.”
KENNEDY ANNOUNCES EXPANSION, REBRANDING
AUSTIN, TX – Austin’s well-known trio of event planning and destination management brands – Kennedy Creative Events, Kennedy DMC Austin, and Kennedy Weddings – announced the launch of a new website, KennedyCreativeEvents.com, and the addition of two new brand offerings: an event marketing services platform and a designer furniture collection.
The site launch and brand expansion arrive on the heels of the company’s recent logo redesign from its familiar flower wheel to a custom-designed hummingbird, whose symbolism reflects the brand’s work ethic and aesthetic prowess. The rebranding also follows a handful of new hires and a move earlier this year to a new south Austin space twice the size of its former headquarters.
“The hummingbird is known for its speed, its ability to fly in all directions and its inclination to work twice as hard as others in its species,” said Natalie Kennedy, the brand’s founder and CEO. “It made perfect sense to incorporate it into our rebranding, particularly since we love the fact that it always retains its elegance and beauty, no matter how intensely it’s working. We've designed our new branding and website to convey that same sensibility as we keep expanding and strengthening our foothold in the event planning and DMC markets.”
As for its newest offerings, the brand’s event marketing specialists will tailor and promote events to communicate specific brand messages, while the company’s high-quality furniture collection will provide illuminated elements, lounge furniture, specialty centerpieces, vignettes, backdrops, and themed props to make events shine.
Working to offer an effortless, engaging experience through the new site, the redesign team kept its focus on highlighting the company’s trademark attribute: its ability to plan, produce and perfect events at an impressive pace. Likewise, the site’s new format allows users to digitally dive into all aspects of Kennedy in just a handful of clicks. The addition of high-quality photo galleries and richer content allows visitors to be immersed in some of Kennedy’s best work, helping them envision the possibilities for their next event.
Founded in Austin in 1998, Kennedy is an events industry leader in Austin, Texas, adding creative vision and flair to client events and transforming them into memorable experiences. Known for its private events, weddings, corporate functions, galas and more, Kennedy provides unique, extraordinary experiences for its local and global clients.
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