My head is spinning. It seems every destination management organization and hotel brand I have met with during IMEX in Las Vegas this week has had tons of exciting news to share with me in hopes of reaching our Smart Meetings readers.
The IMEX trade show floor is absolutely buzzing, with international meeting cities trying to steal attention away from their U.S. counterparts. Apologies in advance if I didn’t make it to your booth yet, but here are nine key takeaways I’d like to share with meeting professionals and anyone else invested in the meetings and events industry.
1. The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board is about to make the lives of meeting planners a lot easier with the debut of a meeting-centric website next month. One of the coolest features, in my humble opinion, is the fact that you can click a button on the site that will trigger your phone to call the sales department. If you’re like me, you probably despise having to search for contact info and now you won’t have to. The ability to virtually tour the city with a device that turns a phone into the imagine finder is another neat thing I learned about during a breakfast meeting on Wednesday.
“L.A. Tourism understands the importance of the meeting industry to the destination and that’s why we made the creation of a new, standalone website for meeting professionals an absolute priority,” said Darren Green, senior vice president of sales. “We’ve taken detailed measures to truly focus on the meeting planner and are confident our B2B website effectively captures their voice and caters to their needs.”
2. Visit Orlando is pushing out its “Share Orlando” campaign to its B2B customers. The campaign’s goal is to showcase attendee stories through posts on social media in order to excite and inspire planners to see themselves and their attendees doing really fun things throughout the city. Attendees are encouraged to use the hashtag #OrlandoMeeting to share their experiences.
“Whether visitors are here on business or pleasure, Orlando is a place they look forward to visiting and one that quickly turns them into storytellers,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando.
3. NYC & Company tipped me off to something that really surprised me. The Javits Center, with 840,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, has a 6.75-acre green roof that has become a bird sanctuary. It’s the only green roof in New York City that is known to be used by nesting herring gulls. With at least 11 bird species, the roof is host to more than 500 birds at a time. Who knew? Also, a new subway station opened at the convention center last month, making it more convenient than ever to meet at Javits.
4. Global Association Hubs Partnership is a new team of destinations that aim to bring international associations to their markets. The partnership is made up of Visit Brussels, Dubai Association Centre, Destination DC and Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau. Brussels and Washington D.C. have had a partnership since 2011.
“By leveraging this new partnership, international associations now have the opportunity to roll out global strategies and take advantage of local opportunities in key partner countries in a manner that is simple, well-coordinated and highly convenient,” said Herve Bosquet of Visit Brussels.
5. For something fun, consider a team-building event coordinated by Cirque du Soleil. The new program is called Spark and the mission is for attendees to become the show, with costumes, makeup and coaching by real Cirque performers. Sessions can last from two hours to 6.5 hours and are currently available in Las Vegas, Montreal and Riviera Maya, Mexico.
6. Hyatt Regency has just launched a multimillion dollar campaign that highlights how the brand helps guests make the most of being away from the home. “It’s good not to be home” is aimed at business travelers, who make up 50 percent of the brand’s users.
“We are celebrating the simple human truths about travel that sometimes being away from home can actually be good,” said Sandra Cordova Micek, senior vice president for Hyatt’s global brands. “The Hyatt Regency brand gives guests everything they need in one place–fantastic hotels and resorts around the world, caring staff, excellent food and the list goes on.”
7. Fairmont Hotels continues to expand by taking over and managing several magnificent properties that are already well-known. Last spring, the brand added the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego to its portfolio. In December, The Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa in Berkeley, California, will be rebranded as The Claremont, a Fairmont Managed Hotel. (The Fairmont Claremont didn’t work for some folks.) The model for infusing capital for renovations and bringing in Fairmont management had been successfully tested in London, with the famous Savoy in London, which was rebranded six years ago.
8. The Trump Hotel Collection has spread across the pond to Scotland, with the purchase of The Turnberry Resort last year. As one can imagine, there’s a major renovation underway, with an expected grand opening next June. The renowned golf course hosted the 2009 British Open, which was no doubt one of many reasons the Trump’s bought the prized property on 800 acres.
9. Hilton has a meeting-oriented campaign underway called Ideas by the Cup. The global corporation polled business professionals in the United States, United Kingdom and China to find out the role of coffee and tea in productive meetings, and course, the value of face-to-face meetings. The study found that more than half of those responding believe coffee and tea make meetings more productive. Note to planners: 85 percent of U.S. respondents drink coffee.
I’m finishing up a cup of coffee right now so I can make a few more passes throughout the showroom floor. Just want to keep my buzz going to maintain pace with all that’s still happening in Vegas this week.