3 Intriguing Takeaways from Smart Meeting West National

The Phoenician

Business getting done is always front and center at a Smart Meeting, and that was certainly true at the just-concluded Smart Meeting West National. It was held May 23-25 at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The resort, which was eager to show off a top-to-bottom transformation, hosted Smart Meetings and an elite group of meeting planners and suppliers from across North America.

Over the course of three action-packed days, new relationships were forged and friendships begun. In between team-building activities, creative cuisine and lively socializing, attendees were treated to exceptional keynote speakers. Here are some intriguing takeaways.

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1. Stress Is a Laughing Matter

Judy Carter, self-described Goddess of Comedy and author of The Comedy Bible and The Message of You, quoted Carol Burnett, who defined comedy as “tragedy plus time.” Carter shared her own “messes,” which included an alcoholic father, a sister with cerebral palsy and a mother who refused to deal with reality. Her response, which she urged planners to emulate, was to learn to use humor to diffuse life’s stresses. In particular, she says, friends and foes alike will be disarmed if you are able to make fun of yourself.

2. Business Relationships Really Do Matter

Mike Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer of MGM Resorts International, effortlessly traced the upward trend line of the hospitality industry. In the top 25 U.S. markets over the past seven years, he said, “We are so far north of the previous highs.” The biggest challenge for everyone—hoteliers and planners—is the speed of change, according to Dominguez, who cited Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s comment, “Speed is the new currency of business.”

At the same time, Dominguez stands firm in his support of MGM’s decision to resist lowering third-party planner commissions, as other major suppliers have done recently. “Relationships still matter,” he said in an exclusive interview. “In my world, my partners have always stood behind us. And so, we at MGM are working with our partners to make things work for both of us.”

3. Building Speedy Rapport with a Prospective Business Partner Is a Learned Skill

Steve Steinhart is recognized as one of America’s leading sales consultants, and his team has assisted more than 5,000 hotels, convention and visitors bureaus, hotel management companies and others be more successful by mastering the art of building personal relationships. Personality types, in his view, can be grouped into four categories: relator, socializer, thinker-analyzer and director-driver. By learning to pick up on clues that every prospect unconsciously reveals, anyone can gain trust quickly.