In this issue

In Smart Meetings' January issue, don't miss our feature about Jimmy Buffett's big Margaritaville dream and taking your group to paradise. Don't forget to look ahead to the 2018 annual forecast and what to expect.

This issue also explores beautiful Australia, greater Dallas and Fort Worth, Connecticut and so much more. Check out our new Inspiration Toolbox and IQ Update!

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.

Sports Venues Lure Groups

It’s hard not to be inspired in such a place. Meeting planners, in their search for inspirational settings, are finding this out. An increasing number of them are using these sports venues to energize and inspire attendees. The results are often surprising.

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Purple Mountains Majesty

When the film City Slickers came out in 1991, it was an instant sensation; everyone wanted to be like Billy Crystal and drive cattle into Colorado. But even before Hollywood, the mountains called to travelers. Cold, clean air, along with natural beauty and a simple life, gave hectic urban dwellers a tableau for tranquility. Mountains inspire us to look up, to reach and exceed beyond our grasp. Holding meetings at high altitudes inspires team-building, as well.

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2018 Event Professional Survival Guide

More and bigger. That is the forecast for meetings in 2018, according to a recent Smart Meetings survey of more than 2,000 event professionals. More than 80 percent of respondents said they will be producing the same or more events than last year, and that those events will be larger—including rock concert-quality elements.

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Lost Lessons of Margaritaville

You may think you know Jimmy Buffett and his “Margaritaville.” But we’re guessing that, unless you’ve been paying really close attention, you don’t. Think big…and then think even bigger. The man is light industry. Between his album sales, tours and businesses, Jimmy was estimated by Forbes to have earned $50.5 million last year. (By the way, we are referring to him by his first name, because the “patron saint of the untroubled,” as The New York Times has dubbed him, prefers it that way.) The previous year, his net wealth was said to be $500 million.

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Site Inspection: Columbus, Ohio

A big data analysis this year by Yelp and Realtor.com anointed Columbus the nation’s hottest hipster market. J.D. Power declared it “highest in visitor satisfaction in the Midwest” in 2016. Expedia named it among 17 Places You Must Visit in the United States and Time called it one of the nation’s Six Best Big Cities.

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Can a Meeting Make the World Sweeter?

The Cocoa Symposium pulled off a scientific meeting surrounding the benefits of chocolate in the midst of political, cultural, and international considerations — Jennifer Collins, president and CEO of JDC Events, lets us in on how they did it.

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Air and Water Can Fire Up Your Phone

While traditional charging stations remain relevant, emerging technologies offer alternate ways to juice up batteries—and some of them are so innovative that Apple’s forthcoming wireless charging mat, AirPower, may have a run for its money.

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Storm-Proof Your Flight

Understanding how best to navigate the travel landscape when faced with extreme weather conditions can mean the difference between arriving in time to execute on your amazing meeting and being a no-show at your own event. Whether experiencing unexpected weather, a flight cancellation or delay, here are tips from Andrew Collins, CEO and president of Sentient Jet, to smooth out the travel bumps.

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Incentives Prove Immune to Disaster

 Executives surveyed in the annual SITE Index 2018 forecast say that incentive travel is of increasing importance to driving sales and boosting profitability. “Basically, incentive travel works,” is how John Iannini, vice president of meetings and events America for Melia Hotels International, and 2018 SITE Foundation president, summarizes responses from 574 professionals in 72 countries.

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Smart Dispatch: Una Experiencia Magnifica

Groups meeting in San Antonio have plenty of options for off-site activities, including strolling along the River Walk and enjoying its unique restaurants and shops, as well as visiting the Alamo and other historic missions, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and San Antonio Zoo. But arguably the best place to experience the city’s rich culture is El Mercado (Market Square), a three-block outdoor plaza lined with restaurants, shops and produce stands near downtown.

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7 Self-Care Gifts Perfect for Any New Year's Resolutions

Treat yourself with these self-care gifts that are sure to jump-start your resolutions as we go into 2018! These gifts range from luxurious to quirky, perfect for anyone looking to start off this year right.

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Secrets from a Hotel Designer: Q&A with Barbara Best-Santos

Caesars Entertainment is redesigning 10,000 guest rooms in Las Vegas and thousands more in Atlantic City and across the rest of the country. At The Flamingo Las Vegas alone, $90 million is going to make 1,270 rooms glitter and shine like champagne with vibrant hues of gold and bright pops of flamingo pink. We asked Barbara Best-Santos, associate principal at Forrest Perkins, which managed the design of these rooms, how they determined what would greet visitors when they arrive for their next conference.

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Keeping the Numbers in Perspective

Numbers, numbers and more numbers. They are critically important in analyzing the effectiveness of social media and other online communication, but are merely one tool among many, and often are used by professionals without keeping the bigger picture in mind.

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Employees with Intellectual Disabilities Thrive in Hospitality Industry

Sin City is known for singers, dancers, magicians, card deal ers, celebrity chefs and Elvis impersonators, but the real stars of The Strip keep a lower profile. The next time you pump iron at Bellagio Las Vegas for a meeting, you might be greeted by the friendly face of Paul Brooks (pictured right), a gym attendant at the hotel’s fitness center. He is part of the Best Buddies Jobs program.

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The Meeting Planners’ Guide to Entering New Territory

 Meeting planners are master jugglers. Each event is a balancing act that requires exceptional amounts of research, organization and communication. This can be difficult in your own backyard, where it is easy to swing by and look at the space. Now imagine taking the show to an utterly unfamiliar city.

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Take the Healthy Meeting Pledge

It’s the start of a brand-new year, so what better time to take the Healthy Meeting Pledge? It’s a real pledge, created by National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, and dozens of organizations have taken it. Have you?

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4 Hotels with Rooms and a Brew

According to the Brewers Association, U.S. craft beer makers in 2016 topped 5,000 for the first time, at 5,234, and saw $23.5 billion slid across the bar. So, perhaps it was inevitable that hotels—ever eager to differentiate themselves and provide unforgettable experiences—have edged from merely serving local beers to brewing them.

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Crisis Averted: CSMs Act Quickly

We recently asked a longtime event manager at a large meetings-focused property to share stories about events she serviced that presented on-the-spot complications, requiring her to draw upon their full range of expertise to make things work and avoid crisis.

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Bright Perspective: Welcome to 2018

We have completely reimagined Smart Meetings magazine as an idea book designed to deliver on our mission of Inspiring Brilliant Experiences. You will find a refreshed look engineered to simplify gleaning expert tips about where to bring your groups and what to do to make the most of your meeting time.

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