SPIN Announces Advisory Board

SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network announced the formation of its first Advisory Board. This group will work with the CEO & acting Executive Director, Shawna Suckow to help guide the organization on a more strategic level. “As SPIN enters its 10th year, we have decided to add this team to deliver SPIN’s vision, set priorities and assist with the search for a new Executive Director,” said Suckow.

Current SPIN members applied for the Advisory Board and were selected by Suckow. “I’ve been a SPIN member since its inception, said Tracey Smith, CMP, CMM. I’ve always had some type of leadership role in the organization and am excited to continue in helping to shape SPIN’s future.”  Noted Rachel Clarke, “This is my first foray into SPIN leadership, although I’ve been a member for years and have enjoyed many annual conferences. I am honored to have been chosen to work on the next chapter of this association.”

SPIN has had a larger leadership team in the past, comprised of volunteers at the national and branch levels. The creation of an Advisory Board will allow a smaller core group to work with the Executive Director more efficiently.

SPIN recently changed its planner-only policy to add senior-level suppliers into the association; they will be represented on the Advisory Board as a third of the team.  “I’ve been a SPIN supporter as a sponsor for several years,” said Deborah Cohen, CMP of the Branson Lakes CVB. “When the announcement came that SPIN was inviting senior-level suppliers to join, I jumped at the chance and was flattered to be asked to be a part of the first Advisory Board.”

2018 SPIN Advisory Board members:

Tom Anderson, CMPTechnology Service Industry Association, San Diego, CA
Mozella Brown, CMPM.L. Brown & Associates, Dallas, TX
Rachel ClarkeRachel Clarke Events, Las Vegas, NV
Linda Hurtley Linwood Group Meetings, Minneapolis, MN
Terry Mathews-Lombardo, CMPTML Services, Orlando, FL
Wendy PorterWendy Porter Events, Minneapolis, MN
Tracey Smith, CMP, CMMAmerican Express Meetings & Events, Austin, TX
Greg BriceSmartSource Rentals, Orlando, FL
Deborah Cohen, CMPBranson Lakes CVB, Branson, MO
Dan YamanLive Spark, Minneapolis, MN

The SPIN Advisory Board will have their first meeting preceding the association’s annual conference, SPINCon, in December.

About SPIN

SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network is the world’s third largest association for meeting planners and the largest for senior-level planners. SPIN has recently invited all hospitality professionals who have at least 10 years of experience to join their ranks.

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For more information:

Carolyn Browning, Director of Communications, SPIN – crb@carolynbrowning.com

Shawna Suckow, Founder & CEO, SPIN – shawna@spinplanners.com

Catherine Jensen, VP Operations, SPIN – catherine@spinplanners.com

www.SPINplanners.com

 

KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE’S RECORD-BREAKING VICTORY!

The Centre Wins Highest Number of Medals at Culinaire Malaysia 2017

It was a sweet victory for the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s (the Centre) Culinary Team when they bagged The Most Outstanding Team in Culinary, Most Outstanding Chef, Most Outstanding Artist and Most Outstanding Apprentice at the recent Culinaire Malaysia 2017!

The team recorded its highest number of medals won at the competition, which it has now competed in 5 times, with 10 gold, 11 silver and 6 bronze medals reflecting the Centre’s continuous commitment in developing and nurturing young talent with world-class culinary skills.

The 26 junior chefs proved their mettle in skills, creativity, quality, delivery and presentation as the team won gold in ‘Ethnic Malay Cuisine’, ‘5-course Western Set Menu’, ‘Plated Appetiser’, ‘Buffet Platter’ and ‘Selection of Tapas’ categories, among others.

“We are proud of our junior chefs and these tremendous wins they brought home! Unlike other years when we entered with a full team, this year we gave the opportunity to our junior chefs as it exposes them to higher standards of food safety, hygiene, time management and food presentation skills. The record-breaking victory clearly showcased our junior team’s skill and level of commitment,” commented a delighted Chef Hisham, the Centre’s Executive Chef.

To prepare themselves, the 26 junior chefs began their groundwork some three months prior to the competition under the guidance of their more experienced head chefs to ensure everything from conceptualisation of proportion, taste, colour, texture and cutting were perfect when the time came.

The competing team was led by Chef Nur Mohammad Bin Zahar, Hot Production Sous Chef; Chef Fairus Raudzi bin Mohamad Jabar, Garde Manger Chef; Chef Amir Mohamad, Malay Chef, Chef Dzulkarnaen bin Amiruddin, Pastry Chef and Chef Patrick Ooi, Chinese Banquet Chef.

Playing host since 2005, the Centre once again opened its doors for Culinaire Malaysia 2017 which was held in late September. The Culinaire Malaysia 2017 brought together more than 1,000 chefs, bartenders and F&B personnel from leading hotels and restaurants, as well as students of culinary academies. It is held alongside Food & Hotel Malaysia (FHM) and aims to recognise the country’s best culinary arts and food and beverage service skills.

Creativity is the sizzle of an event – planners discover why creativity is crucial from insightful keynote and immersive new features at IMEX America

Brent Bushnell, self-confessed nerd and CEO of Two Bit Circus, an experiential entertainment company, is a firm believer in the power of events to foster creativity and bring people together. He explains: “Nothing beats the live experience and there’s an increasing appetite for creative events that are interactive and experiential. The key here is to involve attendees. They shouldn’t just be passive observers, but need to actively engage. Hands on projects require decision making and engage more of a person’s brain, leading to embedded learning.”

In his MPI keynote at IMEX America, currently taking place in Las Vegas, he detailed the latest approaches to creating fresh and exciting events supported by technology, innovative thinking and a dose of creativity. He explains: “Creativity – often delivered through games and entertainment – is the real sizzle of an event. It instantly blasts away the barriers and delivers a fresh perspective, leaving attendees open to new ideas.”

Alejandro Moreno from Mussica Live Productions in Mexico, explains why creativity is crucial: “I work in the entertainment sector and creativity is a powerful tool for delivering impactful and immersive live shows.”

Live entertainment acts, designed to inspire creativity and fun, were at the new Lunchtime Live Zone at the show’s Inspiration Hub. Planners could experience first-hand ways to add excitement and innovation with solutions ranging from slow motion and virtual reality photo booths, SongDivision musicians, live painting and virtual games. Many of the activities at the lively new zone transcend all countries and cultures, as they do not require translation, and are highly responsive – tailored in real time to developing content and attendee requirements. Stephanie Centrone, National Meeting Planner at EY, a hosted buyer at the show, explains: “This is one of the main reasons I’ve come to IMEX America – to discover creative new ways to engage attendees and encourage connections.”

Danielle Jardim from Zodiac Produtos Farmaceuticos in Brazil, a hosted buyer at the show, adds: “I work in the pharmaceutical sector, organizing meetings and incentive trips for staff around the world. Fresh ideas that foster the feel good factor and create memorable moments are crucial to the success of my events.”

“Flash learning mobs” were one of the techniques explored at the Play Room, the creative hotbed of the show. Interactive sessions and creative corners including Enigma, an escape room, and a day dreaming wall, enabled planners to get hands on with tools, techniques and resources to develop new ideas and make meetings more interactive.

IMEX America brings a positive outlook and more business opportunities than ever

As 12,000 plus exhibitors, hosted buyers and attendees at this year’s IMEX America said “Farewell,” IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom reflected upon the achievements of the show and a positive, unifying week for the meetings industry.

Over 3,200 hosted buyers and an additional 2,500 plus attendees came to Las Vegas, and Tuesday and Wednesday were the busiest days ever at IMEX America.

With more than 3,300 exhibitors representing 150 countries and a major expansion of the Inspiration Hub, the show’s education area, the seventh IMEX America was the largest ever.

A significant factor in this growth was that 58 booths – 20 per cent of returning exhibitors – had booked larger spaces and the show welcomed 64 new booths.

An RFP gives a strong business focus to appointments at the show. The fact that 72 per cent of appointments were based on RFPs, an increase by 4 per cent, is a powerful measure of how buyers are ready to discuss real business prospects at IMEX America.

As more than 70,000 appointments were made including 60,000 individual appointments and booth presentations, Ray Bloom said, “For exhibitors and buyers this simply means that we’ve created more opportunities than ever to do business.”

“We’re really happy with the quality of the IMEX buyers and we’ve gotten very strong prospects for short and long-term business,” said Darren K. Green, Senior Vice President, Sales for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

Ray Bloom also drew attention to an important milestone; the 150th IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum took place at the show. “We’ve always been committed to actively encouraging students from around the world to make careers in the meeting and incentive travel industry. Over the years more than 7,500 young people have taken part in this program and many have since gone on to positions in the industry. It’s very pleasing to see how far they’ve progressed.”

Discussing the show’s extensive education program, Ray Bloom highlighted the new Event Design Certificate course and the Association Leadership Forum, created by ASAE, a new special education program which had brought together 85 association CEOs and executives on Monday. He also said that the Executive Meeting Forum for meetings strategists working in the corporate sector had attracted 30 senior executives from companies including BP, Allianz AG, McDonald’s, PwC and Toyota with an annual buying power in excess of $2.5bn.

The program started with Smart Monday, powered by MPI, which brought over 1,000 event professionals to engage in a wide variety of learning events. At the first MPI keynote Janet Sperstad provided fascinating insights when presenting key findings newly published in a white paper about the IMEX Group’s Talking Point for this year, Purposeful Meetings. This is now available to download.

During the week, 250 education sessions took place, covering ten education tracks, and attracted several hundred participants. 80% of the sessions were assigned with CEs for CMP certification. Adding to the overall show experience was the new Inspiration Hub which used inflatable domes for the seminars, campfires and white space areas for the first time.

The “power of live experience” was a theme that came to life at the Lunchtime Live Zone, interactive live event experiences including instant personalized song writing, the first Virtual Reality Photo Booth and “Sand Selfies”.

The new CSR & Sustainability initiatives this year by IMEX America included using recyclable carpet in the aisles and in some of the booths and not printing a Show Catalog. The show was also supporting “Spread the Word Nevada” by encouraging participants to donate books to a local literacy scheme. For those taking particular care of their health there was the #IMEXrun which this year attracted over 450 runners.

IMEX America is widely known for its networking opportunities. More than 6,000 peer-to peer introductions were made in advance of the show via the Zenvoy connections software, while a wide range of social activities such as SITE Nite North America, the EIC Hall of Leaders Reception, Shamrock Shootout Golf Classic and MPI Foundation Rendezvous, the IMEX America Night brought thousands of people together.

Ray Bloom added, “It’s not just the associations with their major events. Many exhibitors have also been investing in creating major hospitality events, taking over restaurants and bars across the city. It all adds to the overall value and experience for both buyers and suppliers.

“I’d like to thank all our industry partners for their continuing support and to congratulate them on the many fantastic networking events that they have arranged to take place here at IMEX America. The worldwide industry has been in Las Vegas this week and I look forward to seeing everyone next year.”

Looking to the future, the IMEX Group announced that it has formed a partnership with Skift with its new Skift Cities platform that will examine how mid-sized cities are leveraging their innovation economies to reposition themselves in the meetings industry as catalysts and collision spaces for new ideas. This will result in the publication of a trends report in 2018.

Ray Bloom concluded, saying, “This has been a week when the positive outlook of everyone has ensured that doing business, planning meetings and events continues to be a powerful way to regenerate and drive economies forward.”

Ray Bloom was joined on stage at the show closing press conference by show partner executives Paul Van Deventer, President & CEO at MPI; Cathy Tull, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the LVCVA and Chandra Allison, Senior Vice President of Sales for The Venetian® | The Palazzo® | Sands Expo®.

ASAE Foundation Undertakes New Content Strategy Research Project

ASAE Foundation has recently launched a new research project called, “Association Content Strategies for a Changing World.” It will explore how association leaders are navigating the shifting content development and management landscape. Not only will the project look at the positive impacts of strategic approaches to content, but it will also examine the emerging challenges organizations face when creating content and its dissemination.

This study is made possible by a grant from Angerosa Research Foundation and Stratton Media Strategies. The Angerosa Research Foundation was established by Stratton in 2004 in honor of long-time associate, Angela Angerosa, who was passionate about association media and research.

“Thanks to Angerosa Research Foundation and Stratton Media Strategies, the ASAE Foundation will conduct a robust research project that will help educate leaders in our community on why it’s critical to strategically disseminate content to their audiences. We will outline best practices and provide direction on how to align them with your organization’s business goals,” said ASAE Executive Vice President and ASAE Foundation President, Susan Robertson, CAE.

ASAE Foundation is partnering with three consultants to execute this project: Carrie Hane of Tanzen, Dina Lewis, CAE, of Distilled Logic, and Hilary Marsh of Content Company, who are part of the collaborative research team. The team will use a mixed-methods approach to gathering qualitative and quantitative information through broad surveys as well as in-depth interviews with associations of all varieties, sizes and scope.

“Developing and effectively managing content is critical to an organization’s success. While associations are rich in content, they don’t always have the tools or strategies to harness that resource across the full organization to maximize staff resources and meet member needs,” says Debra Stratton, president, Stratton Media Strategies. “This ground-breaking study will provide essential data to guide associations in developing an integrated approach to creating and disseminating content. I’m so pleased that our foundation and company could underwrite this much-needed effort.”

A final report, tools, and resources will be available next Fall.

Mall of America, JW Marriott, and Radisson Blu Team Up for New Meeting Experience

At IMEX America, JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America and Radisson Blu Mall of America announced a new “Under One Roof” meeting experience.

Under One Roof packages together unique luxury meeting space in partnership with JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America, Radisson Blu Mall of America, and Mall of America® with built-in entertainment and dining in one convenient package.

The three venues together can accommodate groups of 650 peak room nights, with meeting space for up to 1,200 attendees and totaling 60,000 square feet. This combined space provides exceptional opportunities for team building activities, luxurious accommodations, and unparalleled access to a world-famous shopping and entertainment experience.

Seventh IMEX America marked by #VegasStrong start and undaunted business focus

The seventh edition of IMEX America opened earlier today at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Although the preshow week was marked by tragedy in the city, from the moment the doors opened on the leading trade show for the US and global meetings industry, it was clear that North American and international planners, executives and suppliers had turned out in force.

With a record 3,300 exhibiting companies the IMEX show floor represents a truly global showcase of suppliers, including all of the world’s largest hotel groups, mature and mid-sized cities from across North America, Europe, South America, Russia, India, China and Africa, destination marketing companies, convention bureaus and agencies. The number of incentive travel and promotional incentive exhibitors has also increased.

As the show opened, pre-booked appointments between buyers and exhibitors were tracking slightly higher than in previous years. Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group said: “Appointment numbers are an important measure for us and our appointment-led business model is an asset for both buyers and suppliers. By arranging appointments in advance, frequently based on an RFP or event specification, we can see how much business is conducted across the week. And we know from experience that appointments at IMEX frequently lead to big deals, sometime two and even three years down the line.”

Michael Unanue of the Stein Eriksen Collection of hotels said: “Today has been phenomenal. I’ve already got 10 RFPs. We’re meeting decision-makers ready to place business. The quality of buyers here is superb.”

Hosted buyer Chris Brown of the National Association for Law Placement, based in Washington DC, came to meet shortlisted venues for the 2023 convention and look out for destinations for future meetings. “This is the perfect place to progress event projects, having face to face meetings with everyone I want to see all under one roof. I can also arrange my appointments around interesting education sessions. It’s ideal.”

Andrew Lavelle of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine said: “There are many new technology ideas here that I didn’t know about and it helps to talk them over one to one and have them demonstrated to me. It’s been a really good day.”

Record-breaking 250 education sessions

With a record-breaking 250 education sessions on offer all week, the majority of which count towards CMP Certification, IMEX attendees were not short of choice or opportunity on day one.

Education highlights included the MPI Academy’s “How meeting planners can change the world” and “Act like a planner, think like a hotel” with Jasmine Eldeen of HelmsBriscoe. The first day was also strong on technology. Tahira Endean, Event Producer for BC Innovation Council offered planners detailed insights into current event tech plus guided Tech Tours. Other tech sessions included “Event networking 21st century style” with Laura Welsh, CEO of Conference Scheduling Solutions and “Why are you still not snapchatting?” with Tara Thomas, CEO of The Meeting Pool, who also presented “How to host a tech bar.”

The #IMEXpitch rounded off the day’s technology focus with finalists Mixtroz, Sciensio, AtlasRTX, Bizly  and Snöball competing for judges’ votes, free exhibition space and audience praise. The competition was ultimately won by EventBots by Sciensio. Meanwhile at the TechTribe booth dozens of women in events gathered for an end of day happy hour.

The #IMEXpitch rounded off the day’s technology focus with finalists Mixtroz, Sciensio, AtlasRTX, Bizly and Snöball competing for judges’ votes, free exhibition space and audience praise. The competition was ultimately won by EventBots by Sciensio. Meanwhile at the TechTribe booth dozens of women in events gathered for an end of day happy hour.

Earlier in the day an audience of over 500 gathered in the Sands Showroom to hear meetings industry leaders speak about #VegasStrong, the campaign created following the tragic events of October 1st. Ray Bloom, IMEX Chairman, was joined on stage by Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, Roger Dow, President and CEO of the US Travel Association, Rossi Ralenkotter, President and CEO of the LVCVA and David Peckinpaugh, President Maritz Global Events. Murren told the audience “We are heart-broken but not broken” and reminded them that “People here have a job because of you. Meetings and conventions are the backbone of this city. Without them everything else falls away.” Ralenkotter spoke movingly about changing the way he describes the 43 million visitors who come to the city each year as “43 million friends” due to the huge outpouring of support the city had experienced over the past week.

“Strength is our promise for tomorrow”

Echoing the words of the #VegasStrong campaign – “Strength is our promise for tomorrow” – IMEX America will open tomorrow with the #IMEXrun at 6am followed by the 150th IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum and important news announcements from several exhibitors, including SMG World, Royal Lancaster Hotel London, the Department of Sport and Tourism Moscow, Event Mobi, Ovation Global DMC and Tourism New Zealand.

SPIN Announces Big Change: Association Now Welcomes Senior-Level Suppliers

SPIN:Senior Planners Industry Network announces a name change – becoming SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network, along with the announcement that it now welcomes veteran suppliers into its ranks. SPIN was started in 2008 to fill a need for education and networking for senior-level meeting planners. As the association enters its 10th year, SPIN now welcomes suppliers with at least 10 years of experience to join. Supplier membership will be capped at 33% of overall membership – the lowest ratio in the meeting industry.

“We’ve had a 33% supplier ratio at our annual conference, SPINCon, since its inception, and it’s been a great environment for both sides,” said SPIN founder Shawna Suckow, CMP. “We’re looking forward to our membership reflecting the great environment – and participant ratio – we’ve built at SPINCon over the years.”

SPIN has grown robustly since its start as a LinkedIn group and now counts nearly 3000 planner members in North America and Canada.

“Our strict planner focus has resulted in some really one-sided conversations and education,” said SPIN VP of Communications, Carolyn Browning, CMP. “It’s time for us to evolve and bridge the gap, to be the place where the industry’s most experienced professionals meet, connect, and change the industry for the better.”

While SPIN welcomes supplier membership, it’s on-line community fosters a no-selling environment.

“We want to keep the focus on connections and conversations that build relationships, not just transactions,” said Tracey Smith, CMP, CMM, SPIN Advisory Board member. “Any of our supplier partners who’ve been to SPINCon know that the vibe within SPIN is really special, and we all want to protect that. SPIN is the place to foster real relationships.”

Senior-level suppliers are invited to apply for membership today at www.spinplanners.com. Membership is $799 through the end of October, with two bonus months of membership included for a total of 14 months. If supplier membership spots still remain (in keeping with the 33% cap on supplier enrollment), dues will increase November 1 to $899.

About SPIN

SPIN:Senior Professionals Industry Network is the world’s third largest association for meeting planners and the largest for senior-level planners. SPIN has recently invited all hospitality professionals who have at least 10 years of experience to join their ranks.

Brand USA to Feature Seattle Southside in International Tourism Video

Region to Profit Through Promotion, Increased Business and New Jobs

The Seattle Southside region received some international star treatment in July when Brand USA – the United States destination marketing organization – featured the region in captivating short videos aimed at attracting international visitors from around the world.

The videos were filmed in partnership with Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority.

To show the diversity of the destination, Seattle Southside highlights to appear in the Brand USA video include Burien Town Square and Seahurst Park in Burien, Wash.; Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, Wash and Lake Sammaish State Park; Angle Lake Park and the Highline Botanical Garden in SeaTac, Wash.; the Des Moines Farmers Market in Des Moines, Wash.; and Westfield Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, Wash.

Brand USA was established by Congress in 2010 to promote the U.S. as
a premier travel destination for international visitors. Being featured by Brand USA allows Seattle Southside to profit by:

  1. Promoting their local story directly to international travelers through enticing, affordable, authentic and high-quality multimedia.
  2. Increasing business for area hotels, restaurants, attractions, retail and family-owned businesses, which generates Seattle Southside area tax revenues.
  3. Helping create jobs locally.

“Seattle Southside combines the distinctive appeal of many experiences from historic Main Street destinations to beautiful parks and gardens, locally grown produce and big city shopping,” said Katherine Kertzman, President and CEO of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority. “Seattle Southside’s timeless splendor and emerging economic diversity continue to define its inimitable personality, which we will bring to life through these videos in partnership with Brand USA.”

“The enthusiasm for learning about the USA abroad is as strong as it’s ever been,” said Tom Garzilli, Brand USA’s chief marketing officer. “We have the strategy of talking about the iconic places and experiences that make the USA unique, and Seattle Southside is an exceptional destination.”

According to a study released by Oxford Economics, over the past three years, Brand USA’s marketing efforts have generated more than 3 million incremental international visitors to the United States, benefiting the U.S. economy with nearly $21 billion in total economic impact, which has supported, on average, 50,000 incremental jobs each year.

The videos like the one in which Seattle Southside will appear showcase activities and interests unique to the target travelers based upon Brand USA’s extensive research. Brand USA will distribute the videos using their own direct-to-consumer marketing channels:

About Brand USA

Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, was established by the Travel Promotion Act as the nation’s first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. entry/exit policies and procedures to worldwide travelers. The organization’s mission is to increase international visitation to the USA in order to fuel the U.S. economy and enhance the image of the United States worldwide. Brand USA works in close partnership with more than 500 partners to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel. Formed as the Corporation for Travel Promotion in 2010, the public-private entity began operations in May 2011 and does business as Brand USA.

For industry or partner information about Brand USA, visit TheBrandUSA.com. For information about exceptional and unexpected travel experiences in the United States, please visit Brand USA’s consumer website VisitTheUSA.com.

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) Adds Three New Member Hotels to its Southeast U.S. Collection

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) has expanded its worldwide portfolio and Southeast U.S. options with the recent addition of three new member hotels. This includes:  the 450-room The Guest House at Graceland resort, which opened in October 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee; the oceanfront 404-room Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on the Northeast Florida coast; and the grand new Hotel Bennett, opening in early spring 2018 in scenic Charleston, South Carolina. The ALHI Global Sales Organization now represents the hotels to the North American and European meetings, conventions and incentive market, according to ALHI’s Chief Sales Officer Mark Sergot.

ALHI features a distinguished portfolio of more than 250 luxury-level and upper-upscale hotels and resorts worldwide, plus 23 luxury cruise ships appropriate for meetings and incentive programs, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in 100-plus locations worldwide. All of ALHI’s member hotels and resorts are either independent or are with an independent hotel brand, and specialize in serving the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions/Conferences and Exhibitions/Events (M.I.C.E.) marketplace.

“These three new members are very special and unique in their own way, with terrific appeal to both meeting and incentive groups,” said Sergot. “Located on beautifully landscaped property just a few steps from the gates of Elvis’ renowned Graceland, The Guest House at Graceland is a wonderful new option for planners. Featuring a truly picturesque setting overlooking the Atlantic, Omni Amelia Island Plantation provides world-class accommodations, indoor and outdoor event facilities and on-site offerings. While the elegant Hotel Bennett will open this spring in historic and beloved Charleston. We are proud to showcase these fine properties to meeting professionals, incentive specialists and business executives throughout North America and Europe.”

Inspired by the iconic Graceland Mansion, the AAA Four-Diamond The Guest House at Graceland opened this past fall as the most significant enhancement to Graceland since it opened to the public in 1982, and was the largest hotel project in Memphis in over 90 years. In addition to the 450 beautifully appointed and spacious guest rooms and suites, the resort hotel offers more than 17,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes the 10,700-square-foot Grand Ballroom and a state-of-the-art 464-seat theater which is perfect for group presentations and live events. Known for its warm Southern hospitality, the resort also features two full-service restaurants with indoor/outdoor seating, a lobby bar, an expansive outdoor pool, and a manicured lawn space that can accommodate a 400-person tent for outdoor events. The resort is just three miles from Memphis International Airport (MEM).

Nestled on 1,350 acres at the tip of a barrier island just off the Northeast Florida coast, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort features 404 oceanfront guest rooms, each featuring a private balcony or patio facing the ocean. The legendary destination resort also offers 80,000 square feet of versatile meeting space, which includes a new 16,825-square-foot ballroom, 13,200 square feet of pre-function space and a new 11,000-square-foot event lawn.  In addition, the hotel features 10 restaurants, world-class resort pools, 54 holes of championship golf, a full-service spa, 23 tennis courts, kayaking, paddle boarding, and many other recreational options. The resort is 45 minutes from downtown Jacksonville, and 29 miles from Jacksonville International Airport. Private and corporate aircraft charters also can fly directly to Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport, just four miles north of the resort.

Slated to debut this spring, the exceptional new Hotel Bennett features an ideal location on picturesque Marion Square, the most famous green space in the city, which is the site for such events as the Charleston Wine + Food Festival and the popular Charleston Farmer’s Market. Blending unparalleled luxury with a prominent setting, the grand hotel is located on a historic site that formerly housed the Charleston Library and the original west wing of The Citadel. In addition to offering 179 finely-appointed guest rooms and suites with custom furnishings, the hotel will feature 9,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, which will include a 6,600-square-foot ballroom, a terrace overlooking Marion Square, and event spaces with sweeping city views. Plus, the hotel will have a two-tiered restaurant offering outdoor dining, a rooftop pool, a spa, a retail shop and a lobby bar. Charleston International Airport (CHS) is just 20 minutes away.

The Guest House at Graceland becomes ALHI’s second member hotel in Memphis, joining the world-famous and legendary The Peabody Memphis. Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort becomes ALHI’s fourth option in Northeast Florida, joining the dazzling 193-room One Ocean Resort & Spa, the graceful and stylish 66-room The Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach and the AAA Five-Diamond, 249-room Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. Hotel Bennett is ALHI’s second member in Charleston, joining the sophisticated 434-room Belmond Charleston Place.

For more information about ALHI, any of its member hotels and resorts or Global Luxury Alliance members worldwide, contact your nearest ALHI Global Sales Office. For specific contacts, go to alhi.com to identify the nearest “ALHI Team” sales professionals in your area. Or, call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free in the U.S. at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit alhi.com .

About ALHI, with 250 Hotels & Resorts + Alliance Members

ALHI, established in 1986, is the leading independent Global Sales Organization serving the meetings and incentive marketplace, providing one-call access for its distinguished membership of more than 250 luxury-level hotels and resorts, which are either independent or are with an independent hotel brand. Hired and authorized by member properties, ALHI features a distinctive portfolio of exquisite resorts, luxury-level city center business hotels, historic grand landmark hotels, lifestyle hotels, and boutique hotels. ALHI’s portfolio also features a Global Luxury Alliance partnership including 23 luxury cruise ships appropriate for meetings and incentive programs, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in 100-plus locations worldwide. ALHI offers 21 Global Sales offices in the U.S., Canada and now London, providing extensive Global Sales services, valuable expertise, local connectivity, market intelligence, and account advocacy for meetings and incentive programs of any size and scope worldwide, at no cost to accounts. alhi.com