Monthly Archives: March 2012

Affinia Hotels Takes the Lead in Customer Satisfaction for 2011

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire – March 2012) – Boutique hotel company Affinia Hotels, with seven properties in midtown Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D.C., leads in customer service, advancing faster than any single brand in the service category. In addition Affinia was named the 2011 leader in customer satisfaction among upper upscale hotels, beating top competitors, such as Kimpton Hotels, Hyatt and Marriott Hotels.

This was revealed in the Market Metrix Annual 2011 Hospitality Index Results, the largest and most in-depth measure of hotel and casino performance available, based on 35,000 independent customer reviews.

In 2011, Affinia Hotels’ set out to amplify its customer-centric brand with the launch of Tender Loving Comfort(SM)(TLC), a movement rooted in exceptional customer service, increasing guest engagement and encouraging feedback to enrich each guest’s stay.

“Customer service is always at the core of what we deliver, and this recognition reinforces the hard work of our team,” said John Moser, chief brand and marketing officer for Denihan Hospitality Group, Affinia Hotels’ parent company. “Our staff is using their skills, learned from TLC trainings, to interpret guests’ body language and make them smile.”

Affinia Hotels is dedicated to providing ‘comfort by design’, and a promise that is reflected in the services and amenities featured on Affinia’s website (My Affinia, Hotel Special Offers) and onsite at each hotel (Comfort Hour, signature drink at check-in and unique city-centric partnerships). Travelers have different needs, and Affinia Hotels offers something for all types of guests: a guitar for down time, a yoga mat for training time, Wi-Fi for crunch time and more.

Affinia Hotels is owned and operated by Denihan Hospitality Group, a privately-held hotel management company with more than 50 years of hospitality management expertise.

The annual Market Metrix Hospitality Index Awards are coveted by lodging and travel enterprises around the world. These benchmarks, delivered through its flagship product Customer Metrix™, enable Market Metrix clients to compare their results to competitors by STAR segment, AAA classification, Brand, SMSA, industry averages, performers in the top 10 percent and other classifications. For more information, visit

Fairplex ‘Makes Waves’ with Grand Opening of $28 Million Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center

Grand opening ceremony for new eco-friendly Conference Center held on March 14, 2012

Pomona, CA – Fairplex officially opened the doors to its new high-tech Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center on March 14. Just as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause waves around the world, the opening of the new Center will make a global impact by hosting world-class national and international programming elements in one of the most versatile and customer-friendly Southern California event locations.

The new Center is I.A.C.C. certified and is engineered for Silver LEED certification to enable the Center to make maximum impact in the community but minimal impact on the environment. While March 14 marks the official opening of the new Center, several organizations have already experienced the versatile Conference Center floor plan and amenities.

“Our team hosted over 300 key retail partners at the new Conference Center for a product launch and they were astounded by the ‘high end’ service and facilities at the new Fairplex Center,” said Mark Di Girolamo, Venue/National Account Management, Anheuser-Busch Inbev.
This ambitious project was funded by $28 million raised in conjunction with the Economic Development Administration, Small Business Administration, county of Los Angeles and city of Pomona, and resulted in more than $155.6 million in economic impact during construction.

Versatility played an important role in the design of the new 85,000-square-foot Center. This can be seen in the spacious seminar rooms and breakout rooms with interactive white boards, video-conferencing and high-speed Wi-Fi, all serviced by an expert team of meeting and event specialists. Adding a delicious dynamic to the Center are the various catering options ranging from fresh table-to-farm produce grown at our FairView Farms, to the decadent ballroom with dining capacity for 1,000.

Numerous events have already been scheduled with leading organizations such as the Special Equipment Market Association (SEMA), Southern California Edison and Kaiser Permanente. For more information about the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center, please visit

The National Conference Center Reveals Top 10 Ways to Conduct More Productive Meetings

(Leesburg, VA) – March 2012 – The National Conference Center compiled ten tips for conducting more productive meetings. According to Sarah Vining, marketing manager at The National Conference Center, “To conduct the most productive meetings, smarter conversations should occur with venue contacts and on the site-tour to ensure the right factors are being addressed.” Vining notes that there is reassurance in knowing that your meeting is going to go off without a hitch, however there are certain steps in order to guarantee its successfulness.

1. Planners are serious about meetings, is the venue equally serious?
– Choosing venues that are focused on the meetings business will ensure your group has a productive meeting. According to the white paper, “Why Conference Centers are More Conducive to Learning” facilities dedicated to meetings and training produce the best results.

2. Distraction-free meeting space

– As a planner, be wary of air-walls and ask about who will be in the room next to you. In an ideal situation, any other groups on property during your training or meeting will also be there with similar organizational goals. For distraction-free meeting and training space, conference centers prove to be more conducive for learning due to their dedicated focus on the meetings business.

3. Ability to control the comfort of the meeting room
– Attendees are the most productive and attentive if the room temperature is “just right” at 70 degrees. A room that is too warm will send your attendees to sleep or frustrate them and a room that is too cold will prevent them from fully focusing. Ask if the room has individual climate control during your site tour. On the day of the meeting, set the room at 70 degrees for the optimum learning temperature and keep in mind that the room will warm up due to participant body heat.

4. The intention of your chairs

– If your meetings are long, participants will have a hard time focusing more than a few hours in the chairs are not comfortable. Ergonomic chairs for meetings are best because they are designed for the best possible learning experience, specifically in an upright position at a table level, whereas banquet chairs were intended for shorter events such as a wedding reception.

5. Don’t overlook visual obstructions

– Avoid rooms with pillars and other obstacles that could prevent attendees from focusing. Natural light is good but if the room backs up to the golf course or the pool, your attendees mind may be elsewhere. During site tours, look for meeting rooms that are free of visual obstructions but provide enough light (natural or otherwise) for a healthy learning environment.

6. Functioning audio-visual equipment
– A/V equipment that is up-to-date and functioning is just as important as an A/V staff that is in-house and readily available. An in-house A/V team will be able to answer questions, be readily available, anticipate future opportunities and can provide their expertise and ensure the execution of your audio-visual is seamless.

7. Flexible break service
– It can be difficult to determine when you’ll need a break and your meeting schedule will often change to adapt to learning needs of the attendees. During your site tour, smart conversations include, “How flexible is the property in adapting to changing timeframes for coffee breaks? Can I negotiate continuous breaks throughout the meeting day?” It’s also pertinent to cater to the needs of attendees and give them the flexibility to visit a break station when need be, even when not on an official break.

8. Separate the meetings from the meals

– While working lunches on the surface seem like a good use of time, research shows your attendees need a break. Try to schedule lunch in a pleasant dining environment with lots of natural light. Your attendees can also utilize this time for more face-to-face interaction and networking; remember, contact is now one of the most popular reasons why attendees travel to conferences.

9. Provide variety at meals
– Private banquet service tends to limit the variety you can offer. With the explosion of special dietary needs, the most productive meetings will be at venues that can provide for those attendees. Another smart conversation to have with the on-site venue contact is if the property has a restaurant or dining hall that can offer variety and expediency for the group’s meals.

10. On-call venue support

– One of the most important factors to ensuring your meeting does go off without a hitch is the reliability of an on-site venue contact that you can go to for all your facility needs. This person should be empowered to solve your potential concerns, so you can focus more on the objectives of your program. Overall, the accessibility of an on-site liaison via Nextel radio or phone for immediate access improves the meeting experience.

Without question, these ten factors can help create the most productive meetings. As a planner, the more you connect with the needs of the attendees, the more likely you’ll exceed their expectations. The trick lies in devoted meeting environments, venue flexibility and reliable support from the venue’s team. Regardless of the loyalty points and the free nights, the way to keep an attendees’ excitement about your meeting year-round is to give them an experience they couldn’t have gained from being in the office.

More about The National Conference Center
Just 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 45 minutes from Washington, DC, The National Conference Center, operated by ARAMARK Conference Centers, features a secure, distraction-free setting with self-contained buildings surrounded by 100 scenic acres in Leesburg, Virginia. One of the largest conference centers in the United States, the entire facility was purpose designed to accommodate larger meetings and conferences that concentrate on training.

Each of the 250 meeting rooms – representing 265,000 square feet of flexible meeting space — features high-speed Internet access, individual climate control, advanced conference technology, and sophisticated presentation technology with on-site audio/visual and IT support. The 917-room facility (including 78 suites) can accommodate meetings and events up to 1,800 people. Dining options include the popular Black Olive Sports Bar, and the 800-seat dining facility which features a wide variety of healthful buffet selections as well as specialty selections. Recreational options include a fully equipped fitness center along with volleyball, basketball, racquetball, tennis, and more. A fully staffed Business Center is conveniently located to provide administrative support service throughout the course of each meeting and a professional conference support team is available. Free onsite parking is provided.

ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. In FORTUNE magazine’s 2009 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies,” ARAMARK was ranked number one in its industry, consistently ranking since 1998 as one of the top three most admired companies in its industry as evaluated by peers and analysts. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 260,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at the company’s Web site,

DMC Network Announces New Chairwoman

The DMC Network is pleased to announce the appointment of Laurie Z. Stroll, CMP, DMCP as its new Chairwoman. Linda Thompson, CMP, Past Chairwoman stated, “It has been a rewarding experience to have served as the Chairwoman of the DMC Network, LLC over the past four years. The DMC Network has grown in scope and depth and is recognized as the leader of DMC services throughout North America and globally with our valued strategic partner, Ovation Global DMC. Laurie is the perfect person to step into the chairwoman position. She is a highly respected leader in her destination and community, is recognized throughout our industry and is strategically focused to ensure the continued growth and nurturing of our clients and company.”

Laurie Stroll, CMP, DMCP is the President of Newport Hospitality, Inc. a DMC Network Company, Newport, RI. About her new role with the DMC Network, Laurie stated, “I am passionate about our industry and the value that DMC’s provide in creating extraordinary and effective meetings. As a member of the DMC Network Board for the past four years, I have been focused on growing our business and ensuring that we are at the forefront of providing customer solutions and great value. Linda has been an amazing leader for our organization and I look forward to working with her, our Board of Managers and headquarter staff to continue building on the foundation of success.”

The Managing Director of the DMC Network, Dan Tavrytzky, stated, “The future of the DMC Network could not be brighter. Our companies continue to be recognized as the best in their destinations and globally. We have the credentials to prove it with more than 95% of our companies accredited through ADMEI and over 150 awards to support the fabulous work they do for their clients. I’m inspired to have Laurie stepping into the Chairwoman role and having Linda as a mentor and visionary for the organization. Together with our members, Board of Managers and headquarters, we are an unstoppable team! ”

About the DMC Network, LLC:
Unique in the industry, the DMC Network is an LLC of the top-performing, independently owned DMCs throughout North America. Through their alliance with Ovation Global DMC, it extends their reach across five continents. With an average of over 25 years in business and more than twice as many accredited DMCs as any other DMC consortium or company, each DMC Network member delivers unsurpassed knowledge of their market and a confidence that they are a sound, professional organization that consistently exceeds clients’ expectations. With an insider’s knowledge, the DMC Network makes it effortless for our clients to produce meetings and events around the world. We are your knowledge network and are dedicated to doing business your way, in every way. As a network, we represent many destinations, but only one relationship — the one with you.

ALHI Expands To The “Down Under” With First Members In Australia & New Zealand Added To Its New “Associated Destinations Worldwide” GSO Unit

. . . ADW Is ALHI’s New Global Sales Team Serving Planners In North America As Outbound Specialist For International Group Programs

CHICAGO, IL (March 2012) – Associated Destinations Worldwide (ADW), the new Global Sales Organization (GSO) launched by Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) in October 2011, has expanded to the Down Under with the addition of luxurious meeting focused hotels in Melbourne, Australia, and in Auckland, New Zealand. The Langham, Melbourne and The Langham, Auckland, respectively, become ALHI’s, and ADW’s, first member hotels or resorts in Australia and New Zealand, according to David Gabri, president and CEO of ALHI and of ADW. The two hotels are widely recognized as among the very finest hotels in the South Pacific. The Langham, Melbourne was just named the “Top Luxury Hotel in the South Pacific” in TripAdvisor’s “Travelers Choice 2012 – The Best Hotels Awards,” as chosen by TripAdvisor’s extensive online community, and was followed closely by The Langham, Auckland in third place.

Built upon ALHI’s more than 25 years of National Sales and service experience, ADW specifically provides local Global Sales Organization (GSO) services to U.S. and Canadian meeting professionals, incentive/recognition specialists, association and corporate executives, for its world-class member destinations, upper-tier hotels, and first-class convention facilities from around the world.

Associated Destinations Worldwide ( is a dedicated business unit of well-trained specialists that jointly serves North American companies and associations by providing incremental expertise, guidance, and local authorized sales services as an extension of their international members, specifically for outbound international group programs. ADW works in concert with the 16 ALHI National Sales Offices (NSO) and the ALHI NSO professionals providing incremental sales intelligence, account advocacy, and assistance to the accounts they serve.

ALHI ( is a prestigious National Sales Organization (NSO), which for over 25 years has specifically provided dedicated and professional NSO services and sales support for its distinctive portfolio of more than 130 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts to the meetings and incentive marketplace. There is no cost to planners’ organizations to utilize the ALHI NSO or ADW GSO services, expertise, and account advocacy, as members’ dues fund the organization to best serve planners with local professionals.

“Australia and New Zealand are incredible destinations that are increasingly popular for North American meeting and incentive/recognition programs,” said ADW Executive Vice President Kevin Hinton, who oversees ADW day-to-day sales operations and services. “The destinations are absolutely beautiful, exciting, and very enticing for attendees. Add in that these are truly exceptional Langham Hotels in vibrant Melbourne and breathtaking Auckland, situated where you want them to be. Planners will know that these are outstanding world-class options for their programs, as they learn more about these new Members.”

Added Gabri, “We are very proud to add these fine hotels to our worldwide Membership, and pleased that we are now able to address the needs of North American planners with great venue options in Australia and New Zealand, in addition to other options across the Pacific. Planners can now easily and quickly learn more about these destinations and wonderful hotels with one-call access to their nearest ADW global sales professional, and by asking their ALHI team currently serving them.”

Hinton added, “ALHI has been successfully serving the meetings and incentive marketplace in North America for more than 25 years. Planners can be assured that these are exceptional hotels in first-class destinations, which – importantly — know how to host and welcome meeting programs and incentive groups.”

Exceptional Offerings In Melbourne & Auckland

Providing panoramic city views from its ideal location on the famous Southbank Promenade, The Langham, Melbourne is located in scenic Melbourne, Victoria, which hugs the hip of the Australian east coast. Boasting an ideal setting overlooking the picturesque and tranquil Yarra River, the hotel features 387 elegant rooms and suites, and 11 meeting rooms including the Clarendon Ballroom that can accommodate up to 400 people. Additional offerings include: Chuan Spa with 8 private treatment rooms; a fitness studio; an indoor swimming pool; the popular Melba restaurant overlooking the Yarra River; and the chic ARIA Bar & Lounge. Voted the “Top City Hotel In Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific” by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine (USA), the extraordinary riverside hotel is close to such area offerings as the Eureka Tower Sky Deck (providing the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere), the impressive Melbourne Aquarium, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Giant Sky Wheel, and the Flinders Lane shopping and art district. The hotel is just 25 minutes from Melbourne International Airport.

Embodying timeless elegance, the Five-Star The Langham, Auckland is located in vibrant and sophisticated Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. Famously known as the “City of Sails,” Auckland features three harbors, numerous volcanic sites, scenic mountain ranges, and more than 50 surrounding islands, making it an aquatic paradise. Recipient of the “Best Hotel Award” at the New Zealand Tourism Awards, The Langham, Auckland provides 411 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, as well as 17 breakout rooms and two ballrooms (including the 12,605-square-foot Great Room that can accommodate 1,400 for a reception). The hotel also features Chuan Spa with six lavish treatment rooms; a fitness studio; an outdoor swimming pool; and the distinctive Barolo restaurant. The hotel was recently named “The Top New Zealand Hotel” in the prestigious “Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2011,” and the third best hotel in the Oceania region. The hotel is just 30 minutes from Auckland International Airport.

In addition to these new Members, the ALHI/ADW team also features such other exceptional hotels and resorts in its portfolio as: The Grand Resorts at Cap Cana collection in Dominican Republic, which includes Fishing Lodge Cap Cana, Sanctuary Cap Cana, and Ocean Club Cap Cana; and the popular Punta Cana Resorts in Dominican Republic with the Paradisus Palma Real Resort and Paradisus Punta Cana Resort. Elsewhere other outstanding Members include the luxurious Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and the incredible Paradise Island, Bahamas ATLANTIS, including The Cove, The Reef, The Royal Towers, and more.

Offerings in Mexico include five unique resorts: the AAA Five-Diamond Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa (Cancun); the chic Live Aqua (Cancun); in Playa del Carmen the brand new Paradisus Resorts with the Paradisus La Perla, and the Paradisus La Esmeralda; plus in Los Cabos the magnificent Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort. Canadian hotels include the Four-Diamond Loews Hotel Vogue Montreal and the exceptional Loews Hotel Le Concorde in Quebec in the east, and the sophisticated Pan Pacific Vancouver along the west coast.

ADW now features 6 Members in China: the chic Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing; The Langham, Xintiandi , Shanghai, located in the heart of vibrant Shanghai’s entertainment hub; the glamorous Five-Star The Langham, Yangtze Boutique, Shanghai in Shanghai’s central business district; the soon-to-open The Langham, Shenzhen in Shenzhen in southern China; the grand The Langham, Hong Kong in Hong Kong’s upscale Tsimshatsui, Kowloon district; and the Five-Star Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong in the Kowloon Peninsula.

Plus in the Middle East, ALHI/ADW serves as GSO to the famed Atlantis The Palm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

For more information about Associated Destinations Worldwide, call (312) 346-5768, and visit . For information about ALHI, contact your nearest ALHI National Sales Office, call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit

Resort Marketing Veteran Joins Team at Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (CVB)

Joanie Flynn – a 15-year resort marketing executive – becomes vice president of marketing for Alabama’s Gulf Coast

GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH, ALA. – “After growing up close to the California coast, spending time promoting Hawaii, Florida, and Arizona resorts and leading the marketing for beaches from Delaware to Florida, I am convinced that you will not find a better beach destination than the product that we promote along the Alabama Gulf Coast,” said Joanie Flynn, who became the vice president of marketing for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (CVB) effective March 19, 2012.

This leisure subject matter expert has 20+ years of hotel and vacation rental marketing experience and has played an instrumental role in destination marketing at the international, national and regional levels with an emphasis on beach resorts the last 15 years.

“Throughout the years, I have broadened my skill set by gathering experience with meeting/convention sales support, public relations and internet marketing plus served on a few CVB committees and formative association board positions too,” Flynn added.

Prior to joining the CVB, Flynn served as the vice president of marketing and sales at Professional Hospitality Resources, Inc. Based in Virginia Beach, VA, this company is a timeshare resort, hotel and restaurant development/management firm. Other past positions include executive level marketing roles at Gaylord Hotels, ResortQuest and Hilton Hotels Corporation. She has also worked at Four Seasons Hotels in Newport Beach, Calif., and L’Ermitage Hotel Group in Los Angeles.

Fluent in French, she holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California Santa Barbara, a MBA in marketing from UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management and attended Université de Bordeaux for a year as part of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Joanie to our team and to our CVB family,” said Herb Malone, president/CEO of the CVB. “Her wealth of marketing knowledge and enthusiasm for our beach will be great assets as she leads our destination promotion to the next level.”

Flynn and her husband will be relocating to the area soon from the Nashville, Tenn. area. The couple’s two children are recent graduates of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and are starting their own careers but are already planning their first of many visits to the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Marriott International Becomes First Hotel Company to Join Hotels For Heroes

Soon Marriott Rewards members will be able to donate points to help wounded warriors and their families.

United States Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (both D-MD) today announced that three major hotel corporations have agreed to participate in a new national program that will allow American citizens to donate their hotel reward points to wounded warriors and their families. Marriott International was the first hotel company to agree to participate in the program, followed by the Wyndham Hotel Group and AmericInn Hotels & Suites. Event participants called on the rest of the lodging industry to follow their lead and agree to participate by Memorial Day, when organizers hope to open the program to donations.

“Hotels for Heroes” will be modeled off the national “Hero Miles” program, which provides free
round-trip airfare to wounded warriors traveling to receive care through the military health system, as well as to friends and family visiting them. Flights are made possible by frequent flyer miles donated by the American public. “Hotels for Heroes” was created by bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman Ruppersberger and Senator Cardin that passed in December.

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Meeting Professionals International’s 20th Annual Southeast Educational Conference

Meeting Professionals International’s 20th Annual Southeast Educational Conference takes place August 8th -10th in Orlando, Florida.
A collaboration of the four Florida chapters of MPI, and this year hosted by Greater Orlando Area MPI, the conference attracts on average 550 meeting planners and suppliers. Meeting Forward, this year’s theme, is all about moving onward and upward in an industry that is experiencing change at lightning speed. Every element of the 2012 SEC will encompass the Meeting Forward brand.

The SEC is the prime opportunity for networking amongst all facets of the events industry, suppliers and planners alike, as well as obtaining the knowledge event professionals require to be competitive and successful in this ever-changing industry. The 2012 SEC is being held in Florida’s hub for innovation, Orlando. Conveniently located in Central Florida, this three-day educational, networking and social extravaganza will take place at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

“Meeting Forward offers the perfect mix of fun and education. This year’s SEC will bring a mix of classic topics, such as CMP Credits and How to Get Them, as well as cutting- edge topics including Meeting Architecture and Health on the Road. We are also providing sessions focusing on meeting and event technology. In our ever-changing world it is hard to stay ahead of the curve, so the SEC plans to fill the gap for attendees through our forward thinking and engaging sessions. New speakers and sessions are being added everyday. “It is going to be Meeting Forward at its finest,” Francesca Radabaugh, SEC Manager.

With one of the most reasonably priced event-industry conferences (under $400 for full conference access) you are guaranteed a return on investment. Sticking to its theme of Meeting Forward, this year’s conference will offer its 1st annual Appointment Show. Planners and suppliers will have a chance to meet one-on-one with pre-qualified matches of their choice.

Meeting Forward also offers a 100-booth tradeshow for the more traditional attendee, over 20 educational sessions and of course the fun, social networking aspect that everyone anticipates. Mix and mingle with over 500 event industry professionals at the social media lounge, cyber café, happy hour socials and at nightly entertainment events over fabulous cuisine.

“With a list of some of the highest achievers in their field, the 2012 SEC Sponsors are sure to dazzle and delight every guest, and there is still time to add your company to the list. Have a look at our Sponsorship Packages and we think you’ll agree that the value for the exposure is the best deal around,” Bonnie Brownell, SEC Sponsorship Co-Chair.

The Meeting Forward 2012 SEC promises to apply new approaches to building ROI and equipping attendees with the innovative tools, techniques and technologies guaranteed to propel each and everyone’s business initiatives forward.
Register Now to take advantage of early bird pricing. Contact Francesca Radabaugh, 2012 SEC Manager, with any inquiries at 561-243-3073 or

IMEX in Frankfurt Number 10 – Signs Strong for a Great Show to Mark Anniversary Year

Continued strong interest from buyers across Europe and the emerging economies of Brazil, China and India is fuelling demand for places on the sought-after IMEX in Frankfurt hosted buyer programme. Exhibitor numbers are set to match or exceed 2011, and organisers have taken a new approach to the show’s education programme.

As a result of a positive knock-on effect from IMEX America, IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom has also confirmed that several new US intermediaries will be bringing their key clients to the Frankfurt trade show for the first time. Despite a challenging past year for many European countries, demand from European buyers also remains high. With over 20 new hosted buyer groups being added, the hosted buyer programme is on target to beat all previous records.

Plans are also in place to attract more corporate buyers to the show through a new Executive Meeting Forum for C-level buyers; many of whom, although influential in buying and budgetary decisions, do not usually attend industry exhibitions and events.

Exhibitor interest has been healthy, especially among the anticipated 50 hotel groups, boosted by larger stands from many of the major groups including Fairmont Hotels, Starwood and Kempinski. ATA Hotels will be taking a stand for the first time, whilst Best Western are returning to the show with their own stand.

Demand for space from across the world is also extremely strong with a broad sweep of destinations increasing their presence at IMEX in Frankfurt including Boston, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Moscow, Paris, Slovakia, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Meanwhile, Visit Pittsburgh makes a welcome return to the show.

This, the tenth anniversary of the award-winning trade show, will also see a reworking of its hallmark Association Day for association meeting planners. Three new education tracks – ‘Executive’, ‘Operations’ and ‘Meetings’ plus crowd-sourced discussion topics and ‘Ask the Expert’ clinics have all been introduced to give participants more choice plus extra time to take part in more sessions throughout the day. The provisional Association Day programme is now online.

100 seminars on offer
The IMEX in Frankfurt education programme is also set to provide over 100 different seminars, workshops and learning opportunities. 2012 education tracks will include marketing communication, Apps, health, sustainability and social media plus a new ‘visionary events’ series.

Among the impressive speaker line-up for 2012 are: Martin Suiter, business consultant, who will talk about “Using sport and tourism to push your brand”; Michael Luehrs, Sustainability Services Manager at MCI, who will present on “Engaging stakeholders for change”; Charlie Banks of Positive Impact who will address “The business case for implementing sustainability” and Johanna Fischer, Managing Director of tmf dialogmarketing GmbH, who will present on “Social Media in the Meetings Industry – what exactly do we need it for?” In addition, David Bancroft-Turner, Managing Director of The Academy for Political Intelligence will run a session on “Political intelligence™ – How to use positive organisational politics to get results.” The full education and seminar programme is now available online.

The tenth IMEX in Frankfurt will take place 22 -24 May at Messe Frankfurt.

Fairfax County in Bloom

Go Beyond the Basin During the National Cherry Blossom Festival® – March 24 – April 27, 2012

Fairfax County, VA – March, 2012 – It’s been a century since Japan presented the National Capital Region with the iconic Cherry Blossom trees that grace our landscape each spring. This year, Visit Fairfax partners are
celebrating the splendor and majesty of these national treasures with exhibits and self-guided garden tours that showcase the natural beauty of Fairfax County during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival®

Garden Tour
Between March 24th and April 27th, Festival visitors are invited to plan a self-guided tour of the area’s splendid gardens. In addition to the District’s iconic Tidal Basin and the U.S. National Arboretum, plan stops at the following not-to-miss sites:

River Farm
A historic 25-acre site on the banks of the Potomac River, River Farm was once part of George Washington’s original five farms, and currently the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. The grounds offer
spectacular river views, a wildlife garden and delightful children’s areas.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
More than 100 cherry trees surrounding a lovely lake, an extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos,
birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and foliage. Also be sure to visit the singular Korean Bell Garden while
you’re there. There is a nominal entrance fee.

Green Spring Gardens
There’s something here for everyone: a wooded stream, valley with ponds, a native plant garden, over 20
thematic demonstration gardens, and a greenhouse filled with tropicals. It’s an outdoor classroom, a museum
and a national historic site.
During the Festival, visitors are encouraged to check in at the main desk at each location to receive a special
memento. Log onto the individual websites or call for hours and directions.

Cultural Events
March 31 – Celebrate Japanese Culture at Green Spring Gardens
Make an elegant Shoji table lamp with wood and rice paper for a warm accent light anywhere in your home.
Materials are supplied, and refreshments of Japanese teas and sweets will be served. From 10 am – 12 pm.
Fee is $35 per person (adults only please). To register, follow the Celebrate Japanese Culture link online or
call 703-642-5173.

April 5-6 – Children’s Cherry Blossom Celebration at Green Spring Gardens
Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Gift of the Cherry Trees at Green Spring Gardens. This open house
format includes hands-on activities from artful origami to finding the flowering cherry trees in the gardens.
From 12 pm – 4 pm. Fee is $6 per person (free for children 2 and younger). To register, follow the Celebrate
Japanese Culture link online or call 703-642-5173.

April 21 – Bonsai Demonstration at Green Spring Gardens
Jack FitzSimons shares examples of different bonsai types and their ancient history, and discusses styling
methods, trees that are suitable for bonsai in our area, proper care and suitable containers for bonsai.
From 9:30 am – 10:30 am; Fee is $15 per adult and free for children. To register, follow the Celebrate
Japanese Culture link online or call 703-642-5173.

April 21 – Japanese Art and Culture Day at the Workhouse Arts Center
Enjoy an afternoon from 12 pm to 4:00 pm of free workshops, demonstrations, performances and talks
featuring Japanese art, culture, music and food by horticulture and fine arts professionals. The Japan-America
Society of Washington, DC, also will host a Japan Festival Booth featuring a kimono fashion show, traditional
children’s games, and more. That evening, the Workhouse Film Institute will present a Japanese Film Festival
double feature, including an anime matinee (4:30 pm) followed by a 7:30pm screening of a film for more
mature audiences. $5 for each film; $8 to see both. Due to limited seating, advanced purchase of tickets is
encouraged. For questions or to order tickets, please call 703-584-2900 or order online at

April 22 – “Wabi-Sabi: Embracing Imperfection” at Green Spring Gardens
Discover your sense of wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of finding beauty in the naturally imperfect world. Then
enjoy a Japanese tea-tasting in the garden and contemplate the perfect imperfection all around us!
From 1 pm – 3 pm; Fee is $25. To register, follow the Celebrate Japanese Culture link online or call 703-

March 31-April 22 – Dinner for the Washingtons Tour at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
In honor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, visitors who participate in the new Dinner for the
Washingtons walking tour will receive a taste of cherry punch, adapted from Martha Washington’s recipe,
through April 22. The Dinner for the Washingtons one-hour walking tour goes behind the scenes to showcase
food, hospitality, and dining at Mount Vernon with an in-depth look at locations around the Estate. The tour
ends in Mount Vernon’s greenhouse with a special 18th-century cooking demonstration and tasting. This
special tour costs $5 per tour in addition to Estate admission. Dinner for the Washingtons is offered at 11
a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only. Tickets are available online at or in person at the Ford
Orientation Center.

March thru April – “Japan’s Gift to Nature: Oriental Brush Painting” Exhibit at Green Spring Gardens
Oriental Brush Paintings by Darlene Kaplan have captivated art lovers everywhere. Experience purity in
painting the snow, brightness in the moon, fragrance in the flower, sound in the waterfall and spirit in people.
Two free simultaneous exhibits run March 1-April 29, 2012: Monday-Saturday, 9 am – 4:30 pm and Sunday
12 pm – 4:30 pm in the Horticulture Center; and Wednesday-Sunday at the Historic House, 12 pm – 4:30

March 20-April 27 – Petal Pass Discounts at Tysons Corner Center
Show your Petal Pass card at Guest Services anytime during the festival and receive a free discount book to
take advantage of some great discounts. The Petal Pass program is a part of the City in Bloom campaign,
presented by Capital One Bank. Petal Passes will be available at area Capital One Bank branches across the
region, and serve as an interactive guide to the many area attractions providing special offers.

Fairfax County’s Festival Center
The official Fairfax County Capital Region Visitor Center in Tysons Corner Center (on 2nd level outside
Nordstrom) is “Festival Central” in Fairfax County. The public is invited to stop in for free gifts, Festival
schedules and information on activities throughout the region. The visitor center will also host a special event
on March 31st from 12 to 3 pm with cultural demonstrations of origami and calligraphy.

Visit Fairfax is the official tourism organization for Fairfax County, Virginia. Charged with destination marketing and
tourism promotion, it is directed by many of the County’s top tourism and hospitality leaders. For more information on
deals, events and more, download the free Visit Fairfax app at

The National Cherry Blossom Festival® is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2012 Festival, March 20 –
April 27, includes five spectacular weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and
contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. The 2012 Festival commemorates the 100th
anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.