When Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN) opens SPINCon 2019 at Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa November 3, it will be the realization of 20 years of SPIN Executive Director Tracey Smith’s quest to take the event to one of her favorite California Coastal cities. In previously years, the event was held at The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach, Florida, and Grapevine, Texas. “Those were special locations, but we found that we have a lot of members on the West Coast and it is a great reason for those of us on the East Coast to come to California,” she said.
Focus on Sustainability
Since the opening reception will be held at Monterey Bay Aquarium, Smith is relying on the chef there to come up with some creative examples of ways to be more sustainable in what is served and how. Whether it is plant-based shrimp entrees or an increased effort to limit waste, it will be a chance to learn the latest approaches to conservation against a backdrop of glowing jellyfish.
Game of Planning
Beyond the location, Smith is trying some new things, as she does every year. Planners and suppliers will be grouped in teams to compete in Ellen DeGeneres Game of Games-style competitions that won’t require anyone to dunk themselves in a pool of spaghetti sauce, but close. The theme is “Are you Game?” Competitions will be CMP-relevant, with questions that would be applicable for event professionals, such as, “How many individual drinks in a bottle of wine?” Although it might depend on who is pouring it, there is a correct answer, according to Smith. Housekeeping staff will judge the making of a bed competition and wait staff will judge the setting of a table.
“Silly games are a way to help people be human and break out of the trade show mentality,” she explained.
Solutions for the Whole Planner
Also new last year, and something that will be continued for 2019, is a call for attendees to submit session topic ideas which will be voted on and then scheduled. Smith sees this crowdsourced approach as being in line with the group’s mantra of “by our members, for our members.”
SPIN’s goal has always been to take care of the whole person: brain, body, being and business. The event will end with a celebration of the 40 over 40 awards in keeping with the group’s focus on advanced event professional support. However, Smith is excited about how many new members are earning their decade of experience and bringing their energy and ideas. “We are growing and while we will still address things such as contracts and negotiations with vendors, our membership is also asking for an emphasis on finding unique and different ways to delight attendees,” Smith said.
Related: Brain Health Isn’t Just in Your Head
To that end, she is determined to model innovative approaches that appeal to different learning styles so there is something for everyone. Registration opens in early summer.