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Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) Expands Caribbean Options with its First Member in Cuba and a Legendary Hotel in Puerto Rico

 Cuba’s First New 5-Star Hotel Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana and Puerto Rico’s Newly Renovated El San Juan Hotel Accepted into ALHI

ORLANDO, FL (June 2017) – Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), the leading independent Global Sales Organization (GSO) serving the Meetings & Incentive marketplace, has expanded its Caribbean options with the recent addition of two luxurious hotels to its distinguished membership portfolio. The new 5-Star-quality Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, which just opened in Havana, Cuba in early June, is ALHI’s first member in Cuba. The legendary El San Juan Hotel becomes ALHI’s second option in San Juan, Puerto Rico, joining the oceanfront 319-room Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in the ALHI portfolio. In addition, ALHI also can now coordinate meetings and incentive programs on luxury cruises to Cuba, through its Global Luxury Alliance members Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The announcement was made by Mark Sergot, Chief Sales Officer of ALHI.

With the new additions, ALHI now offers an unmatched collection of luxury-level, meeting- and incentive-focused hotels and resorts in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Caribbean region, with 29 hotels and resorts in 12 countries and territories. ALHI’s worldwide portfolio features more than 250 luxury-level and upper-upscale hotels and resorts, which are either independent or are with an independent hotel brand, and which specialize in serving the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions/Conferences and Exhibitions/Events (M.I.C.E.) marketplace.

“We added these two outstanding hotels to our distinguished portfolio in response to the demand we’ve been experiencing for luxury-level meeting and incentive options in the Caribbean region,” added Sergot. “Beautiful San Juan continues to be a very popular choice for groups, and Cuba is an exciting new option for planners to consider. Now, planners have the terrific option of the newly renovated El San Juan Hotel or the exceptional Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan, and a luxurious stay in, or cruise to, Cuba. We look forward to showcasing these terrific new members to the meeting and incentive marketplace.”

Originally built between 1894 and 1917 as the first European-style shopping arcade in Cuba, the modern and exclusive Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana just opened in Havana, Cuba in early June following an extensive renovation. Located within the famous and historic Manzana de Gomez building in the heart of old Havana, the hotel features 246 large and luxurious rooms and suites, and 2,852 square feet of meeting space. Providing a direct view of the Capitol and the Great Theatre of Havana amidst UNESCO World Heritage sites, the hotel also features Spa Albear by Resense, a rooftop terrace and swimming pool, three restaurants, lobby bar, cigar lounge, fitness center, complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour concierge service, a business center, and 24-hour in-room dining. The hotel is just 10 minutes from the famous Castillo del Morro, and only 30 minutes from Havana Jose Marti International Airport.

The legendary and landmark El San Juan Hotel sits on the longest stretch of white-sand beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Originally opened in 1958 the hotel became known for world-class entertainment and culinary experiences. After a $60 million property-wide transformation, which was completed in February 2017, the elegant hotel now offers 388 newly remodeled guest rooms and suites, and more than 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Venues include the Grand Ballroom and Terrace with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the hotel features nine restaurants, four pools, a spa, a fitness center, and new shops. Located directly on the beach in San Juan’s Isla Verde district, the hotel is just five minutes from San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, and 15 minutes from the historic attractions of Old San Juan.

ALHI’s Global Luxury Alliance partnership includes 23 luxury cruise ships (Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises) appropriate for meetings and incentive programs, with ports of call in exciting destinations around the world. As of this Spring, the destination options now include Cuba’s capital Havana. Groups and guests sailing on all three brands have a selection of shore excursions from which to choose, all of which offer an authentic Cuban experience that explores the people, art, history and culture of the island, which are in compliance with OFAC regulations.

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 GSO 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 local 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 distinguished 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.

Cookie Monsters Converge on the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

 

The Centre Hosts 10th Consecutive Charity Buka Puasa

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) embraced the Ramadan spirit of sadaqah (giving) at its 10th annual buka puasa gathering recently. This year, the Centre welcomed 100 children from Living Hope* and Yayasan Generasi Gemilang* (GG), as well as 50 National Kidney Foundation (NKF)* Malaysia patients and their families to an evening of fun and festivities.

Kicking off the exciting gathering, the Centre’s award-winning chefs, team members and media friends led the young VIPs in decorating giant ‘Hari Raya-themed’ cookies with colourful royal icing, sprinkles, chocolate buttons and an assortment of other delicious toppings! All guests were then treated to the Centre’s ‘Kampung Classics’, a sumptuous buka puasa feast combining contemporary and traditional favourites.

Thanking the Centre for hosting this annual treat, GG Founder, Mr Daniel Tan, shared, “The Centre outdo themselves every year, bringing joy and smiles to the children with their creative and fun activities. The Centre’s fun-filled activities and delicious feast is always one of the children’s top Ramadan moments.”

Congratulating the Centre on their 10th annual buka puasa gathering, Founder and Chairman of Living Hope, Dr Peggy Wong, said “We have been a part of the Centre’s buka puasa festivities since 2008 and every year, the bond between the Centre’s team members and the children deepens. It is always wonderful to see an organisation like the Centre sharing the festive season with the underprivileged and the children love coming to the Centre’s buka puasa treat, especially those (children) who are breaking fast outside the home for the first time.”

Elaborating on the special occasion, the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, explained, “It is always a pleasure to host this event. The children’s smiles and laughter not only warms our hearts, but also brightens up the venue. We are proud to celebrate the hosting of our 10th buka puasa and we look forward to many more years of partnership with Living Hope, Yayasan Generasi Gemilang and National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Malaysia.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Living Hope on their 10th anniversary. I applaud their success in making a difference for poor, needy and marginalised children living in Malaysia. Their efforts to inspire hope for a better future for underprivileged children is truly commendable,” concluded Pryor.

The delightful night ended with Alan Pryor and the senior management team handing out sweet treats courtesy of the Culinary team, and duit raya to the young VIPs from Living Hope and GG, as well as NKF patients and their families.

*Living Hope is a charitable organisation whose mission is to provide food and education and to act as an education resource centre for children from hardcore poor families around the country.

*Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG) is a foundation whose vision is inspired by Love to raise an exemplary next generation and empower families.  Our mission is to improve the lives of under-served children and families by increasing access to quality education.  These are children and families from urban low-income and rural communities, under-served institutions and schools.  Governed by a Board of Trustees, GG is based in the Klang Valley and conducts services throughout Malaysia. 

*NKF is a non-profit charity organisation that opened the doors if its first dialysis centre at Jalan Hang Lekiu, Kuala Lumpur in 1993. Over the years, NKF has grown tremendously with the support of many parties. NKF has expanded its role from being just a dialysis treatment provider, to becoming a one-stop national resource centre for all kidney-related matters.

 

ASAE Launched First Successful Xperience Design Project for Association and Industry Professionals

WASHINGTON, DC – ASAE delivered its newest event, Xperience Design Project (XDP), May 23-24, at the Gaylord National® Resort & Convention Center. Over the two days, XDP brought together 1,816 association professionals and industry partners. Participants collaborated together to co-create ideas and solutions on how to reinvent their meetings, networked at Connections, and had new face-to-face business experiences.

“There was tremendous energy, excitement, and teamwork happening at XDP. All participants had new experiences that provided opportunities to see first-hand how they can apply new learning formats, design and engagement elements, technology, and operational innovations into their organization’s future meetings,” said John H. Graham, IV, FASAE, CAE, President and CEO of ASAE.

On the first day, attendees experienced the Lab—an immersive, facilitated learning journey around five core topics. Participants were led by XDP’s host Lisa Kay Solomon, author, speaker and Managing Director of Singularity University, and each topic was led by prominent industry leaders.

  • Experience: James H. Gilmore, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP and Adjunct Faculty, UVA Darden Business School
  • Learning: Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO, Credly
  • Location: Michael Dominguez, Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International
  • Marketing: Eric Kuhn, Chief Marketing Officer, Layer3 TV Inc. and KiKi L’Italien, CEO & Founder Amplified Growth
  • Technology: Reggie Aggarwal, CEO, Founder of Cvent

Attendees listened to two Pop-Up talks that were designed to spur conversations in the next zone rotation. Shannon Polson encouraged attendees on how they can be a leader from any seat, and Kelly McDonald shared her wisdom on ways they can keep customers coming back for more.

On Tuesday evening, participants took part in the Connections event, a night of networking at MGM National Harbor with the B-52’s.

On day two, participants experienced four key elements: LabX, the Business Exchange, Idea Accelerators, and XDP’s Closing Experience. LabX included entertainment and a recap of the best insights from the previous day. The Business Exchange was a forum for industry partners and association professionals to have one on one meetings.

There were six Idea Accelerators, 20-minute talks, focused on solutions for association professionals that ranged from experience design mapping to incorporating wellbeing principles into an event while rethinking marketing strategies and strengthening an entrepreneurial mindset.

Throughout the conference, ASAE integrated music and performing arts as an intentional experiential element that evokes emotion and triggers memory of the event. Artists included: Live DJ Jamie, Saul Paul, a musician who co-created a song with the audience during LabX, and performance painter David Garibaldi, who created three original paintings during the Closing Experience.

ASAE’s key partners in the research, development, design, and delivery of XDP were: 360 Live Media, Hargrove, Inc.; Steelcase Event Experiences; and hotel partner Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.  

Next year’s XDP will be April 19-20 at the Gaylord National Resort. For information about XDP, visit www.XDPbyASAE.org.

ASAE thanks the following Alliance Partners for their continued support of the association community:

Strategic Partners
Atlanta CVB
Business Events Canada
Choose Chicago
Experience Columbus
Reno Tahoe USA
Visit San Jose

Corporate Partners
Visit Baltimore
DelCor Technology Solutions
Visit Dallas
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB
Fort Worth CVB
GEICO
Louisville CVB
Mexico Tourism Board
Naylor Association Solutions
Visit Omaha
Visit Orlando
Visit Salt Lake

Event Partners
BrightKey
The Broadmoor
CliftonLarsonAllen
Dubai Association Centre
Hong Kong Tourism Board
Johnson Lambert LLP and Vault Consulting
Korea Tourism Organization
Manifest
MemberClicks
Meet In Minnesota
New Orleans CVB and New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Media Contact: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE, skidwai@asaecenter.org, 202-557-1066.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 30,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,400 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit www.asaecenter.org.

Prague Keeps the 11th Position Among the World Congress Destinations

International Congress and Convention Asociation ICCA has released a list of the best congress and convention destinations in the world. Prague retains the excellent 11th position and Prague Congress Centre has contributed the success.  

Results of the statistics, which have been done by ICCA annually since 1963, were eagerly expected as ICCA is not only the global community and knowledge hub for the international meetings industry but also the worldwide authority in the field.

“The eleventh position in the ICCA ranking is not bad at all. On the contrary. If we consider the growing competition and the increasing number of strong Asian destinations on the market, we have to admit that Prague is doing well. After all, in European comparison it took the ninth place. However, our ambitions are higher. We would like to see Prague among the five best destinations,” says the PCC´s Sales and Marketing Director Lenka Zlebkova.

PCC Aims Higher

High ambitions of PCC´s management have a solid base. “We follow new trends and try to keep up with the new congress industry trends or ideally be ahead. The Prague Congress Centre stands in front of an important extension. We are looking forward to a winning study of the architecture-urban design competition which will include the plan of a new exhibition hall and urbanistic solution for the surrounding area. We are currently investing into new technologies which will make the event management easier and will raise the quality of the event. We are investing 15,5 million CZK into AV technology, nearly the same amount of money in digital navigation system and more than two million in mobile technology throughout the building,” adds the General Manager Roman Ray Straub.

New Trends in Congress Business 

According to studies the congress business takes the path of digitalization and aims at so called Y generation – people born between 1980 and 2000, who use internet, smart phones, applications and fast solutions on daily basis. “We take all this into consideration and change PCC in this direction. We carefully chose suppliers of the best technologies and welcome novelties which turn an even into a pleasant unforgettable experience. Everything needs to be quick, effective and fun. We have noticed that the duration of events shortens and we would like to make sure that our clients will be able to organize even in a shorter period of time an event which will be an outstanding experience for the delegates,” continues Lenka Zlebkova.

Unquestionable advantage of PCC is the variety of its space. It can host big as well as smaller events and it can also host more events at a time due to the architecture of the building divided in three logical units with their own entrances. By the end of 2020 PCC will have to current 13,000 m2 of exhibition space a new exhibition hall which is requested especially by clients from medical field.

Will investments pay off?

“Prague Congress Centre pays to the state government and the City of Prague about 400 million CZK every year from standards events which take approximately 2 days and have about 450 visitors. About 300 million CZK it is yearly from irreplaceable events which last about 4,3 days, accommodate 1,900 attendees and because of the requirements on space they cannot be organized anywhere else. Additionally, from the researches done by ICCA it is obvious that the number of events doubles each decade. From the above mentioned it is clear, that to invest into the building, which is very well situated, logically planned with excellent transportation accessibility, makes sense,” closes the General Manager Roman Ray Straub.

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About Prague Congress Centre:

PCC is the largest congress centre in the Czech Republic. It offers a wide variety of space suitable for all kinds of events from small conferences to big congresses, high technical standards and great acoustics.  Its advantage is the location near the city centre, breath-taking views and municipal transportation accessibility. The total capacity is up to 9,300 people and 13,000 m² of exhibition space and the complex also includes the Vyšehrad Business Centre and the 4-star Holiday Inn Prague Congress Centre with 254 rooms.  PCC has been certified with EKO Gold for being supplied 100% of electricity produced from renewable resources.

Advancing Professional Development in Asia

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s Director of Sales & Marketing Appointed to the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) Asia Pacific Advisory Board

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s (the Centre) Director of Sales & Marketing, Angeline van den Broecke, has been appointed to the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) Asia Pacific Advisory Board to help guide their global expansion.

Congratulating Angeline on her appointment, the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, shared, “Angeline’s passion, professionalism and commitment to the business events industry has been rewarded with this wonderful achievement. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience from close to 20 years in the industry, including being heavily involved in the Malaysian Government’s National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) Lab process representing the business events industry. This culminated in the establishment of the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) in 2009. Her experience will serve her well as a board member and then, undoubtedly help guide PCMA in achieving its regional and international goals.”

Angeline commented, “I am honoured to be presented with this opportunity and look forward to working closely with my fellow Asia Pacific board members to advance PCMA’s growth strategy in the region. The formation of the regional board provides the perfect platform for us to generate greater exposure and awareness of Asia Pacific’s advancement as an important player in the global meetings industry and with this growth comes the need for access to education and professional development programmes that can strengthen the capacity of Associations, Bureaux, Venues and more broadly, the business events industry supply chain. We see this advancement as an important part of conveying the value of the business events and this will in turn also benefit Malaysia and the Centre.”

According to PCMA Chief Operating Officer, Sherrif Karamat, “The establishment of our new European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Asia Pacific, Regional Advisory Boards is a signal of our intent to become the predominant global association for the business events industry. We are grateful to the board members, who all have outstanding professional reputations, for accepting our invitation to share their expertise with us.”

Sherrif continued, “I want to welcome Angeline to the PCMA family and am excited to get the Asia Pacific ball rolling. We believe our advisory boards will help us refine our regional strategies and are very confident that the chosen members will guide us in our rollout of educational products and services that will benefit the business events industry.”

Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is the definitive authority in education, business networking and community engagement for leaders in the global meetings, convention and business events industry. With more than 6,500 members and 50,000 customers in 37 countries, PCMA drives innovation through risk taking, research and data driven decision making.

For all the latest news and information on the Centre, visit www.klccconventioncentre.com.

Discover Los Angeles Partners with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to Launch Immersive Destination App

Discover Los Angeles, the city’s official tourism marketing organization, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, today released the Discover L.A. app, a sleekly designed, pocket guide exclusively made for those looking to optimize their experience in the City of Angels. Packed with rich content and tailored for those looking to explore the best of Los Angeles, the iOS app launch coincides with the start of the busy summer travel season and is available for free download at www.discoverlosangeles.com/app. An Android version is forthcoming.

Thematically synced to deliver personalized content based on weather, time and distance, the app culls suggestions from the city’s endless entertainment options—including world-class museums, diverse dining options, and captivating events.

“Our partnership with the LA County Arts Commission allows visitors and locals to have the best of Los Angeles at their fingertips.” says Don Skeoch, chief marketing officer of Discover Los Angeles. “The Discover L.A. app is the first-of-its kind to utilize proprietary A.I. built to enhance the Los Angeles experience. Through smart technology, the app literally knows to serve up soup and indoor dining suggestions on cool days; the closest beaches and ice cream on warm days.”

The app was funded in part by a transportation improvement project grant from Metro. Using the app, travelers can easily traverse the city by clicking “get me there,” which will populate transit options by bike, car, and Metro.

“Arts and culture is thriving in Los Angeles County,” states Laura Zucker, executive director of the LA County Arts Commission. “At any given moment, in every neighborhood throughout our region, there are cultural events happening and we want to make sure everyone has access to them.”

A key feature of the app are seasonal scavenger hunts to incentivize urban exploration, kicking off with an ice cream-themed crawl through the city. The flavorful adventure lands visitors to some of the best parlors in town including Ginger’s Divine Creams in Culver City, Ihwamun in Little Tokyo and Salt & Straw in Larchmont Village.

Discover L.A. App Features:

  • Highlights top daily events throughout Los Angeles County
  • Finds locations featured in film and television
  • Features transportation options by bike, car, and Metro
  • Locates closest, free WiFi locations
  • Develops itineraries based on weather, time and distance
  • Discovers accommodations by neighborhood
  • Creates a passport to save favorite locations
  • Content developed exclusively for the app, including summer standouts like al fresco dining, outdoor music festivals and venues, and Pride events.
  • Currency converter

ABOUT DISCOVER LOS ANGELES

Discover Los Angeles (Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board) is a private, non-profit business association whose primary mission is to market and promote Los Angeles as the premier site for leisure travel, meetings and conventions as the City’s official tourism marketing organization.

One of the world’s most dynamic and diverse destinations, Los Angeles is comprised of more than 30 diverse neighborhoods and considered the cultural hub of the Pacific Rim. Home to near-perfect weather, 75 miles of jaw-dropping shoreline, more museums than any other U.S. city and an award-winning culinary scene, Los Angeles presents endless possibilities that keep its more than 47 million annual visitors entertained. For more information, visit the official visitor information website of Los Angeles at discoverLosAngeles.com and join the more than one million people who follow Discover Los Angeles’s Facebook page at facebook.com/discoverLA. Also follow along on Snapchat @discoverLASnaps or @discoverLA on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY ARTS COMMISSION

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission provides leadership in cultural services throughout the region’s 88 municipalities and nearly 140 unincorporated areas. The Arts Commission funds over 360 nonprofit arts organizations through a two-year $9 million grant program, implements the regional initiative dedicated to ensuring all students receive quality arts education in the County’s 81 public school districts, funds the largest arts internship program in the country and manages the County’s civic art policy. lacountyarts.org,  facebook.com/LACountyArts, Twitter, Instagram.

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) Presents The “2017 Chairman’s Award” To The Broadmoor

 

SAN ANTONIO – Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), the leading independent Global Sales Organization serving the meetings and incentive marketplace, presented Colorado’s The Broadmoor with its prestigious “Chairman’s Awardfor 2017. The award is presented annually to the ALHI member hotel or resort that best displays exemplary leadership and commitment to performance in the preceding year, while epitomizing exceptional property-level teamwork and cohesion with ALHI’s Global Sales team in serving the meetings industry. The award was presented at ALHI’s prestigious Industry Advisory Council (IAC) Conference, recently held at the picturesque 550-acre La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas, which brought together 250 senior leaders from many of ALHI’s accounts, with general managers and senior marketing executives of ALHI’s worldwide membership portfolio.

“The Broadmoor is truly deserving of this special recognition and award,” said Sergot. “It is an exceptional Five-Star, Five-Diamond resort, with an extraordinary leadership team and staff, led by Jack and Barry. They work so well with our valued clients and our ALHI Global Sales team in serving the meetings and incentive marketplace. We are proud to recognize The Broadmoor with this honor.”

Situated at the gateway to the scenic Colorado Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor encompasses 5,000 acres and offers 784 luxurious guest rooms and suites, 185,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, 54 holes of championship golf, a Forbes Five-Star spa, 20 unique dining offerings, and 26 specialty boutiques.

ALHI provides one-call access for its distinguished membership of more than 250 luxury-level and upper-upscale hotels and resorts, which are either independent or are with an independent hotel brand. In addition to offering distinctive hotels and resorts worldwide, ALHI’s portfolio 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 provides 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.

For more information, contact your nearest ALHI Global Sales Office, or call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit alhi.com .

National Conference Center Offers BIG Summer Package “Pairings in the Park” Experience

Summer is just around the corner and meeting planners are looking for space and ideas that are unique and experiential. The National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, is offering the BIG Summer Package (starting at $275/person), including an unforgettable, complimentary 1-hour wine Pairing in the Park reception*, as well as accommodations, three meals each day, conference room, standard meeting technology and ample complimentary parking space.

The National offers a remarkably distinguished wine and culinary program, celebrating summer with its ‘buy local” program. Executive Chef Chris Ferrier purchases from 65 local farms and 35 local wineries in Loudoun County. Summer is truly celebrated at The National’s picturesque outdoor setting on 65 acres of park-like grounds in the heart of Northern Virginia. Many outdoor spaces have been added to the property, including several fire pits, patios, a pergola, redesigned lawn space for outdoor games and receptions, and outdoor meeting rooms.

Food and wine create an indelible sensory experience, and The National’s culinary team incorporates activities for groups to get to know each other in a relaxed, casual culinary environment. “We know that food plays an important role in the overall experience of our guests,” says Chef Ferrier. The National’s well-respected Sommelier & Chief Wine Officer Mary Watson-Delauder brings the tastings alive using her decades of experience and in-depth knowledge, having previously served as Virginia’s wine industry spokesperson.

“Chris and Mary share our mission and vision in working with local farmers and wineries to source food responsibly and for sustainability, freshness and quality,” Geoff Lawson, General Manager and Vice President, explained. “They have brought our culinary offerings to a new and higher level, including within the meeting experience, and we want to share it with meeting planners and their guests.”

*This incentive is available when the Summer Meeting Package is booked for dates between June 1 through September 9. Some blackout dates may apply, and no other discount can be added to the package.

Please contact Jane Davis or call 703-724-6040, and mention the “Pairings in the Park” bonus.  www.conferencecenter.com/summermeetings

About The National Conference Center

Located in Northern Virginia, 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 35 miles from Washington, D.C., The National Conference Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive conference centers and training facility in the nation. With 917 guest rooms and over 265,000 square feet of meeting and group function space, including the West Belmont Place catering complex with its 16,552 square foot ballroom, The National has become the nation’s headquarters for productive meetings and West Belmont Place the hub for Loudoun County and surrounding area social functions and special events.

West Belmont Place was named 2013 Best Venue by the International Special Events Society. The National Conference Center is also on the GSA schedule. The National is owned by NCC PS Enterprises LLC, a venture between PCCP, LLC and Stoneleigh Capital, LLC., which retained LaKota Hotels & Resorts to oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operations.

For information call 800-640-2684 or visit www.conferencecenter.com and www.westbelmontplace.com.

Jane Schuldt of World Marketing Group – Loss of an Industry Icon

The ConventionPlanit.com staff, along with the entire meeting and incentive travel community, is saddened by the passing of Jane Schuldt, Founder and President of World Marketing Group and icon of our industry.

The WMG portfolio of Destination Management Companies around the world was our first DMC supplier member and continues to provide contacts in far flung locations for our event planners.

Maureen Pickell, Director of Global Accounts for CP.com, had the privilege of calling Jane a dear friend as well as esteemed colleague.

In her words, “Being respected by Jane was a badge of honor in an industry held to high standards. She will be remembered for her elegance of spirit as well as her resolute work ethic and will be missed for the warmth and loyalty shown towards her friends and close associates.”

IMEX 2017 – Purposeful Meetings design triumphs in building more business and delivering a better event experience

In a year when the IMEX Group set out to live and breathe its 2017 Talking Point – Purposeful Meetings – exhibitor and buyer feedback suggests the new, experiential approach to IMEX in Frankfurt paid off.

From the launch of EduMonday on 15 May to the creation and expansion of registration, wellbeing, education and food services into Hall 9, this year’s IMEX was defined by positive and highly visual transformations with innovation radiating throughout the show.

Close to 9000 hosted buyers and visitors flocked to IMEX in Frankfurt for four days of focused business, education, connection and community. Total appointments between buyers and the show’s 3500 exhibitors rose to 68,500.

Following a year of planned improvements to the appointment system, focused on educating buyers about the value of giving exhibitors mini RFPs (‘appointment profiles’) in advance, 74 per cent of all buyer/exhibitor appointments were based on an appointment profile, an increase of 42 per cent.

Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group, commented: “The strong level of business conducted here this week is evidence of the wholesale resilience and positive outlook of the market in what are challenging times all over the globe.”

From Monday to Thursday there was innovation at every turn. The introduction of EduMonday added event technology, event design certification and business masterclasses to the options available to every single participant. Along with PCMA Business School, Association Day, Exclusively Corporate and ICCA mid-year meetings, a total of 1500 people took part in the newly integrated programme.

“Our intention was to create a truly democratic pre-show education event – with something for everyone regardless of whether they speak German or English or come as an exhibitor, hosted buyer or visitor,” said IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom. “This unilateral approach has gone down really well, with several people saying they plan to send their whole teams to the show a day earlier next year to take advantage of EduMonday. The superb feedback from participants indicates this is a strong formula for the future.”

The many additions and innovations in Hall 9 also made a huge impact; another of IMEX’s efforts to give hosted buyers, visitors and exhibitors a higher quality of service and care, which included a lot more space to relax and recharge. Once again, the feedback was positive with appreciation of the strong visual links between Halls 8 and 9 and the expanded show being on one level generating a much stronger sense of community and a cohesive experience.

The new food court populated by indoor food trucks, the bigger, more open Media Café, the two Be Well Lounge inflatable domes, plus other inflatable meeting rooms and the creation of ‘white space’ areas generated a chilled-out atmosphere. IMEX’s wellness programme also went down well with attendees, many of whom declared it genuinely refreshed them, providing new energy and an appetite for more business.

The new EventTech Academy in Hall 9, the new TechTours on the show floor, the new IMEX App and the experiment of adding Frank, a Chatbot on the website are further evidence of IMEX evolving its technology offerings ‘on-purpose’.

The keynote speeches by Professor Greg Clark at both the Opening Ceremony and Politicians Forum were totally engaging and inspiring, contributing important ideas about the co-operation opportunities between cities and the meeting industry. Janet Sperstad’s keynote about Purposeful Meetings also provided fascinating first insights into her research prior to the launch of an industry white paper at IMEX America.

Looking toward the future and the industry’s next generation, the IMEX Education team put 20 young professionals through a ‘Rising Professionals Day’ using the Event Design Canvas model to create the conference of the future.

Making new and renewing connections was, as always, an important aspect as IMEX brought the industry together, not only at SITE Nite Europe, Association Evening, CIM-Clubbing and the IMEX Gala Dinner but also at many association meetings co-located at the show this week.

Reflecting on this year’s event, Ray Bloom said: “This has been our largest and most innovative show ever, with new ideas, creativity and new uses of technology everywhere. Our theme is Purposeful Meetings and there was a tremendous sense of purpose about everyone here. There is also tremendous energy and commitment. Thinking of the future and the legacy of our industry, it is heartening to see.”