In this issue

In Smart Meetings' February issue, don't miss our feature spilling the secrets of top planners with tips and trick you're going to love. Don't miss our coverage of the "well-being wars," where hotels are competing to keep meetings healthy.

This issue also explores the gorgeous Bahamas and Caribbean, enchanting New Mexico, Mid-America's sprawl, and more. Don't forget to check out our seven ways to design cross-generational meetings so you can stop catering to millennials!

Smart Meetings is an event planning publication covering meetings, industry news, including expert opinions and interviews, topical articles, coverage of destinations and venues in the U.S and worldwide, and features stories on incentive, corporate, government and association meetings.

The Well-Being Wars

There I was, on the battle’s front line. My coordinates: room 1664, Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco. Outside, all seemed calm. In fact, the view was lovely. But inside, I shuddered involuntarily and began to check my gear. Medicine balls, 4 to 6 pounds. Sandbells, 8 to 20 pounds. TRX suspension system. Bosu ball. Powerbands. Yoga mat. More stuff I couldn’t readily identify. And there, dominating and powerful-looking, was the mighty Wattbike, a stationary bicycle used by Olympic athletes.

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The Future Belongs to Perennials

Stop worrying about millennials. That’s the advice of meetings veteran Mike Dominguez for event professionals struggling to design gatherings relevant to a new generation of attendees. As chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International, he has seen a lot of approaches to engaging people, and he has learned that the year on a birth certificate is less relevant than the measure of how they connect in person and on social media.

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Downtown Meetings Show Their Urban Green

As America’s downtown districts keep evolving, they offer more options than ever for environmentally friendly meetings. These major downtown hubs show off how their grass is greener and their meetings are, too.

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Tips, Tricks and Tools We Love

Event professionals have long had to fill a company directory of job titles, from CMO and CFO to CGP (chief garbage picker-upper) and occasionally, therapist. But today’s planner is almost always also required to also grasp the role of technology for improving meetings. We asked 55 veteran planners about the high- and low-tech tools that allow them to continue to love their jobs while delivering memorable experiences. The answers ranged from deeply technical and insightful to experimental and desperate. Hopefully these responses will inspire you to try a new trick or add a tool to your belt.

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Q&A with Jim Wood, President and CEO of Meet AC

Meeting destinations ebb and flow, and that couldn’t ring any truer for Atlantic City. After undergoing a period of economic struggles, the “Vegas of the East” has re-emerged as much more than a gaming town, taking on a new identity as a conference and convention hub.

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Tech Savvy Ways to Check-In

 The on-demand culture is infiltrating travel, hospitality and events. Walking up to a counter or desk to check in is becoming obsolete. Here are a few ways meeting professionals and hoteliers can incorporate sci-fi to get guests to their rooms and meetings in a flash.

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5 Gifts That Will Make You Fall in Love

Treat yourself or a loved one to any of these gifts that you will just fall in love with!

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4 Tips for Making Incentive Travel Meaningful

 Rewarding sales success is one of the few universally accepted rules for ensuring continued high performance. While an Aberdeen Research study showed that all top companies offer group travel incentives, programs are evolving along with shifts in the meetings industry to focus more on unique experiences and wellness.

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5 Hotels Serving Mighty Meat

Vegans and vegetarians, kindly avert your glance. Even as meeting attendees clamor for ever-more healthy dining and chefs find new ways to deliver huge flavor with plant-based creations, counterpoint is inevitable. It’s a yin and yang thing—so here are five hotels delivering mighty meat.

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Love in All the Right Places

Looking to fall in love with your next meeting location? The RFP Whisperer teamed up with Cupid to share our thoughts on loving your next destination. Working with the sourcing experts at Smart Meetings 360 Inc., we will take you on a romantic walk through the site-visit experience.

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The Rapid Rise of Transformative Meetings

Not so long ago, meetings and conferences were pretty much all straight-forward business, organized in a somewhat standard itinerary format that included long sessions and breaks offering generally unhealthy food and drinks. Downtime activities included meals and entertainment at some of the most popular local establishments. My, how things have changed!

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How to Negotiate Like an Event Boss

As expectations for extravagant meetings balloon and budgets shrink, event professionals need to wring every drop of value they can out of their resources. One of the biggest expenses is always venue, so we asked the experts for their secrets to make every penny count when partnering with properties. No surprise, just about everything is open to negotiation if you know how to ask.

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Life’s a Beach

While the world is fighting over sand, The Ranch at Laguna Beach is making its own and moving toward a sustainability-focused future that everyone can enjoy.

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Engineering a Lounge that Fosters Global Unity

Pyrotek, an aluminum engineering company, needed a sales conference that would bring employees together for a face-to-face meeting to empower employees scattered all over the world to work as teams on global sales accounts — all while uniting them under one brand. Here's how they did it.

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Navigating a Red-Hot Hotel Market

 There’s no getting around it: For 2018 and likely for 2019, as well, the sellers’ market will remain in full force. According to industry analyst STR, revenue per available room (RevPAR) for hotels has risen for 30 consecutive quarters, due to a combination of rising occupancy rates and rising average daily rate (ADR). And even though the number of new guest rooms rose by more than 1.5 percent in 2017 and will do so again in 2018—well above the historical average—demand from transient business travelers, leisure travelers and groups alike is so strong that occupancy rates likely won’t decline, but simply flatten out at just above 70 percent nationwide.

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