Explore The Attendee Journey at MPI's WEC 2014

We’re in the thick of convention season! So, I wanted to remind you that, if you’re attending WEC 2014, please don’t miss my interactive educational session on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2:15 pm to 3:45 pm: “The Attendee JourneyTM: Before, During, and After the Event.”

In this session, I’ll moderate a panel of experts, including Jim Kelley , Vice President, Industry Relations for PRG; Beau Ballin, Vice President, Marketing & Client Strategy for MotivAction; and Donny Neufuss, Senior Account Manager for Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Event Services.

We’ll share some great advice on how you can create an outstanding event for your attendees throughout the entire event lifecycle. For example, before the event, you can create dynamic websites, online registration pages and email marketing campaigns. During the event, you can deploy mobile apps, onsite check-in, gamification, and lead management. Meanwhile, after the event, you can create online surveys and social media-based communities.

While at WEC 2014, please stop by Lanyon's lounge in the “MarketSquare Elite” section of Minneapolis Convention Center – located next to registration. You can chat with a Lanyon rep and see demos of our transient and meetings and event management solutions. While there, grab a snack on us.

What sessions do you plan on attending at WEC 2014, and what key learnings do you hope to take away? 

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Hurry! Nail Down Your Sessions for GBTA

GBTA 2014 is just a day away!

Still picking your sessions to attend? Don't forget to put one of these on your list for Monday, 7/28, at 10:30 am:

Looking forward to seeing you all in L.A.! Stop by our booth, #701, to say "hi," enter a chance to win a free iPad, and pick up our new whitepaper on "Big Data."

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Malaysia Air 17 Tragedy -- A Reminder to Mitigate Travel Risk

I am so incredibly saddened by the shocking, tragic loss of life on Malaysia Air 17 that was mysteriously shot down over the troubled Ukraine – Russia border. There were 100 medical researchers, health workers and activists on the plane that went down, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange.

The passenger plane had been flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down, killing all 298 people on board. It was due to connect with another Malaysia Airlines flight scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Friday night. Many medical researchers have expressed sympathy online upon hearing that both World Health Organization (WHO) staff and well-known HIV researchers had died in the crash.  Indeed the people behind the many advances made in the fight against AIDS are now lost forever. I wonder how many years we’re going to lose because of the impact of this tragedy and the loss of experience and research knowledge. 

A couple of things immediately came to mind for me when I heard this tragic news.  The main reason why many companies prohibit employees from the same departments and senior key executives from flying together is to avoid the scenario that I just described above.  The loss of so many individuals and their collective intellectual property is devastating no matter what industry vertical your company falls under. 

Secondly it’s so critically important that you mitigate as much as possible, especially when it comes to policy and processes, your number of employees traveling to conventions and meetings.  You should put processes in place with your meeting management companies, TMCs, OBTs, etc., that identify and alert you whenever you get clusters of bookings for employees traveling together.  Your master meeting calendars should also alert you when you have a big meeting or conference registered -- so that you can work with your intermediary partners to proactively check reservations and bookings in order to avoid what just happened with Malaysia flight 17.

You’ve heard me speak and blog about risk mitigation many times; I’m going to keep doing that until all of you have a risk mitigation process and policy in place to enforce your limitation of company employees traveling together. 

I care that much and so should you!

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How to Engage All The Generations at Your Company

I was very thrilled a@Lanyon VP Kevin Iwamoto Advises on How to Engage All The Generations at Your Companynd honored that Barbara Scofidio, Editor of one my favorite industry publications, MeetingsNet, asked me to be a regular guest contributor for her media publication. My first contribution is now online and will be part of the August edition, which you can download here.

My first submission is about the multi-generational workforce that’s in play right now in the U.S. In it, I share some personal experience and observations that I am hoping readers will find useful to apply in their own jobs and companies.

I am already working on my next contribution. So, stay tuned and I will share future story links in my blog space.

Let me know what you think of the article!

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Register for WEC 2014 and Come Learn About The "Attendee Journey"

Are you coming to the World Education Conference, WEC 2014, in Minneapolis, from Aug. 2-5? I highly recommend that you register for this annual Meeting Professionals International (MPI) event.

At the conference, we’ll have a lounge in the “MarketSquare Elite” section of the Minneapolis Convention Center – located next to registration. Please stop by to see Lanyon’s meeting, event, and travel management solutions. Come and have a snack while you learn about our comprehensive solutions.

I’m going to WEC, and I’m looking forward to seeing Deepak Chopra speak in Sunday’s keynote address. I’ll also be attending the many wonderful educational sessions – on everything from risk management, RFPs, and global event management. As for speaking, I’ll be co-leading an interactive educational session on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2:15 pm to 3:45 pm: “The Attendee JourneyTM: Before, During, and After the Event.”

In this session, I’ll share some great advice on how to create an outstanding event for your attendees throughout the entire event lifecycle. Before the event, create dynamic websites, online registration pages, and email marketing campaigns. During the event, deploy mobile apps, onsite check-in, gamification, and lead management solutions. Finally, after the event, create online surveys and social media-based communities.

I know you’ll find this all fascinating information, and I hope you’ll join me.

What other sessions do you plan on attending at WEC 2014, and what key learnings do you hope to take away? 

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Hurry! Register for M&C's SMM Webinar Now

Please join my dear friend, SMM guru Debi Scholar and I on July 16th, when we are featured in a Meetings & Conventions webinar:  How to Succeed at Strategic Meetings Management.  The one hour webinar will start at 2:00 PM Eastern Time and will be moderated by Michael J. Shapiro, Editor, Meetings & Conventions

Debi and I will be sharing lessons learned and best practices from our combined years of experience working with corporations and their SMM programs.  Register yourself and your team members here

We look forward to your questions too, so bring your current SMM challenges to us, and we will do our best to share  some ideas that may help you with your SMMP.  In addition, all audience members who contribute questions or share current challenges will be eligible for free SMM books from Debi and me -- based on a random drawing by Meetings & Conventions

Please make the time to join us!

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GBTA Report: 2014 Business Travel Spend to Rise Nearly 7%

It’s finally here!  The latest GBTA Foundation Business Travel Index (BTI) is a very solid resource for corporate travel executives but also meeting strategists.

GBTA is forecasting that U.S. business travel spending is projected to top $292 billion in 2014, and anticipates a nearly 7% year-over-year rise in spending.

This indicates rising management confidence in the U.S. economic recovery -- which tends to accompany increased travel budgets and fewer travel restrictions.

The report’s other key findings include:

  • The total number of domestic person business trips in 2013 was revised upward to 468.8 million from the previously reported 448.7 million, a 4.7% year-to-year gain. Spending remained consistent with the previous forecast at $241 billion, indicating a lower-than-estimated spend per trip.
  • Group business travel significantly outperformed individual business travel in 2013, growing 8.6%, a significant indicator that the business travel industry is recovering from the Great Recession and increasing discretionary spending.
  • While individual business travel volume is only expected to grow 2.3% in 2014, spending is expected to increase 5.6%, driven by higher prices and additional spend-per-trip.
  • International outbound business travel continues to rise, with trip volume expected to grow 6.6% and trip spending increasing 10.3% in 2014.

This data indicates that the global economic recovery is underway. Although things appear to be on the upswing, GBTA continues to be cautious. Lower-than-expected inflation poses risks for advanced economies, there is increased financial volatility in emerging market economies and increases in the cost of capital will likely dampen investment and weigh on growth.

The GBTA BTI™ Outlook – United States report is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing pyachnes@gbtafoundation.org.

Are you seeing business and events travel costs rise? What kind of strategic changes are you making to meet your budgetary and cost-control goals? Please share here.

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Going to GBTA? Catch Lanyon's Jeff Hillenmayer Speaking on Hotel Rate Auditing

Wow … the official kick-off of GBTA2014 starts soon – Sunday, July 27th. Besides the fact that I’m going to catch up with many of my good friends from around the industry there, I’m really looking forward to the educational content. This year, there are several, quite good sessions scheduled about meetings management.

At GBTA 2014, Lanyon VP Jeff Hillenmayer Will Speak on the Importance of Auditing Hotel RatesPlus, Lanyon’s own Jeff Hillenmayer, who is VP of Managed Services, is going to talk about something I think is quite important: hotel rate auditing. Too many times, I’ve heard corporate travel managers tell me that their hard-won negotiated preferred rates with hotels were not loaded into GDSs properly – undercutting their travel management goals.

As a former corporate hotel program category manager, I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to spend so much time negotiating rates, only to find out that they are not available in the various booking tools and GDSs because the discounted rates weren’t loaded! 

I highly recommend going to Jeff’s session, “Rates Loaded? Check Please! A Hotel Rate Auditing Discussion,” which will be on July 28th at 10:30 a.m., Pacific. Travel professionals from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and Biogen Idec will be on hand to explain how they’ve implemented comprehensive rate auditing procedures and how they’ve benefited.

What sessions look good to you? Please share here.

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Read About PCMA EduCon's Big Data Session

If you weren’t able to attend PCMA’s Education Conference in Toronto, this high-level overview of the session, “5 Things To Know About Big Data And Your Attendees” was published by Daniel Metz, and I thought it was a great recap of the main information points shared throughout the session.

To read Daniel’s overview, click here.

Big Data is still very mysterious for many in our industry, and this article is all about separating the buzz words and honing in on the reality of all the data you have, and how best to utilize it in both a utilitarian and strategic way. 

Do you have a Big Data strategy? Please share here how you're using Big Data to reduce costs, improve supplier relations, better engage attendees, and manage risk.

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Thank You Successful Meetings!

Imagine being on personal time off, trying to relax and get away from the pressures of work when you receive the best affirmation possible that what you do is making a big difference. I am still surprised and humbled by being named one of Successful Meetings magazine's Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry for 2014. 

Last year when I received the news about getting on the 2013 list, I was really surprised and happy about the recognition.  This year is truly a surreal experience being named for the second year in a row.  When I read the rest of the list of my fellow Top 25 honorees for 2014, I felt incredibly humbled to be included in such a worthy group of well-recognized leaders who have done much to advance our industry.  I also noticed a common thread throughout the list: a passion each person expressed for their personal work as well as their contributions for the advancement of our industry. 

Speaking for myself, moving the needle on best practices, better processes and industry advancement has been ingrained into me by my career mentors as a major part of everything that I try to do for my employer, as well as for partners, clients, and the industry as a whole. The bottom line is, I’ve been blessed by many great people, employers and, yes, even horrible bosses who taught me how not to behave in a leadership role. It does indeed take a village to move the needle on anything. But I have always been willing to take on that challenge because, underneath it all, it’s the right thing to do.

My parents taught me at a very young age, that if you make a decision that will benefit others, you can never make a bad decision for yourself.  That’s been my guiding principle throughout my career which brings me back to this special moment in time. I want to congratulate the 24 other listed individuals on this year’s Top 25 list; I am humbled to be listed among them.

Most importantly, I want to sincerely thank Successful Meetings for raising the bar and inspiring people in our industry to break paradigms, challenge processes, incorporate best practices and, most importantly, never settle for the status quo. It truly inspires me to do more and keep raising that bar! 

Read Successful Meetings' Top 25 story here! 

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