Showcase unites CVBs, PCMA Visionary winners announced, DI’s new collaboration with Groups360 

In a show of strength, the joint Power of Purpose Business Industry Week 2023 produced by Destinations International and PCMA in partnership with IACC, EIC, ASAE, National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals and the LGBT Meeting Professionals Organization brought the industry together at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland this week.

Read More: First Business Events Industry Week Showcased Purpose.

Celebrating Excellence

Winners of the PCMA Visionary Award were announced on Thursday, March 8th and included: Jodi VanWoerkom, senior event manager, Association for Talent Development for Digital Experience Strategist of the Year; Tim Mathy, senior partner, SpeakInc. for Supplier of the Year; Gary Murakami, GTP, GLP, CMP-Fellow, CMM, DES vice president of sales and industry relations, Teneo Hospitality Group for Groundbreaker of the Year; Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad, accessibility advocate & consultant, Accessible Travel NYC for Community Advocate of the Year: Megan Finnell CMP, director, meetings & conferences, MGMA for Event Designer of the Year; Leah Lewis, director of meetings, American Gear Manufacturers Association, (Capital Chapter) for Outstanding Service to a Chapter or Region and Kristi Casale, vice president for meetings and continuing education, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry for Business Event Strategist of the Year.

Booking Insights

Destinations International presented its 2023 Showcase and also made an announcement that it would be forming a “strategic alliance” with Groups360, the technology company that offers online booking strategies for meeting planners and connects group travel organizations and hoteliers.

Read More: National Harbor Site Inspection.

In a release, Destinations International said that “the partnership will drive a more efficient group process by aligning destinations with their planner customers and their meeting attendees quickly and easily using innovative booking technology powered by transparent data insights.”

“Streamlined solutions for destination organizations are here to stay,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, in the statement. “This new partnership provides our destination organization members with unparalleled, streamlined solutions to meet the evolving needs of their stakeholders. We are excited to offer our members access to the GroupSync platform with advanced data insights and technology.”

Groups360 and Destinations International will work with its over 650 member organizations across 23 countries and territories to research, develop and deploy technology to allow more efficient distribution of hotel room blocks and meeting spaces to meet the needs of event organizers, bringing groups to member destinations. The groups jointly said that the alliance will “empower destination organizations to better serve other destination-specific hospitality and entertainment providers with more effective means to fulfill the needs of event attendees.”

All Together

Along with game-changing technological solutions for meeting planners and award presentations, the POP event also included a PCMA Foundation Fashion Show, the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum and Reception, and Destination International’s Convention Sales and Services Summit.

The mood among participants at the Showcase was decidedly upbeat with Showcase presenters like Alex Hurd, CMP, director of sales with Visit Newport, anticipating a new groundswell of interest in his historic venues this year on the debut of the second season of HBO’s “The Gilded Age” which is largely set in Newport.

Read More: 2023 Smart Women in Meetings Awards.

Tracy Stuckrath, president and founder of thrive! meetings & events and Juanita Metzler, CMP, CGMP, SEPC, senior director of conventions at Travel Lane County-Eugene, Cascades & Coast were proud to display their Smart Women in Meetings Award winner status on laptops at their presentation booths while heralding the fact that meetings were indeed thriving in our post-post-Covid climate.