Kevin Iwamoto, VP, Industry Strategy, Lanyon

Kevin Iwamoto Kevin Iwamoto, GLP, GTP, guides the strategy for the industry marketplace within Lanyon. As one of the pioneer thought leaders around the creation of strategic meetings management, he also works with key influencers across industries to raise awareness of the benefits of SMM.

Iwamoto is a former President & CEO of the Board of Directors for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). He has been honored with numerous business travel industry accolades, including most recently, the GBTA’s Industry Icon Award, the association’s highest honor, which recognizes contributions to managed travel that are so important as to elevate an individual to the status of an industry icon.

He has a Global Leadership Professional (GLP) Masters designation from the Wharton School of Business and a Global Travel Professional (GTP) certification from GBTA.



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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

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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AT GBTA2014, Catch Lanyon's Anthony Miller Speaking on "Big Data"

It’s that time of year again! The GBTA convention & trade show is just a few short weeks away -- in my old home town of Los Angeles.  LA always holds a special place in my heart, as it’s where I first became involved with GBTA (formerly NBTA – back in the day).  I was elected as President of LABTA, and that same year, GBTA’s annual convention was held in LA. 

Rather than doing a typical "Welcome to LA"speech as local chapter President, I decided to do a video montage welcoming the attendees and celebrating LA’s role as film capital of the world. The video featured travel-related clips of various movies including “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”, “Airplane”, and a few others.  It was the first time any local chapter President did a video welcome versus going on stage; but then again if you know me, I’ve always pushed the envelope.  I truly look forward to returning to the City of Angels for this year’s convention.

There are some great sessions on SMM this year, and I’m proud that Lanyon will be taking a leading role in one:  Big Data for Meetings and Events: Bridging the Gap Between Marketing, Corporate Hospitality, and Procurement, set for Monday, July 28th at 10:30 a.m., Pacific.

At GBTA2014, Lanyon CMO Anthony Miller Will Speak on "Big Data for Meetings and Events"Anthony Miller, Lanyon CMO, will be moderating and speaking, and if you’re a corporate travel or event manager, I highly recommend you attend. Go to learn how companies are consolidating the data from their meetings, events, and corporate transient travel programs so that they can better control costs, save and gain negotiating leverage with their suppliers. Most importantly go and learn how to report true enterprise spend from a singular technology platform vs. merging disparate point solution and supplier data.

Learn first-hand what types of data to collect, and how organizations are using it to engage more deeply with customers, as well as monitor spend, and ensure compliance. Implementing this type of Big Data strategy helps you prove the ROI of meetings, events, and corporate hospitality, as well as tie the strategy back to that of the larger organization.

The reality of today’s business world is that senior management executives globally are demanding that we prove the ROI of travel and events.  The demand for ROI has become the new norm for cost justification; it has truly morphed from a “nice to have” to a must have business requirement.

What sessions do you have on your list for GBTA? Share here why you're going and what you hope to learn from them!

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How to Save Before Your Employees Hit The Road

The following is a post by Don Munro, Senior Content Manager, here at Lanyon. Enjoy reading!

Recently, I sat in on the first of three Business Travel News webinars on implementing innovation throughout the business trip lifecycle -- “Starting Off Right: Innovating with Pre-trip Processes, Technologies, and Strategies.”

The point of the webinar: You can enhance your travelers’ experiences and, at the same time, boost your cost-control and compliance efforts even before your travelers board a plane.

Lanyon's Don Munro talks about how some companies are enhancing their travelers' pre-trip experience. I’m going to focus on one panelist in this post: Eric Baily, Microsoft’s Sr. Travel Manager, Strategy & Technology, because he talked about some fascinating technology that the software giant’s travelers are now beta testing. It’s called MSTravel Companion, a mobile app that “makes it easy for travelers to make decisions” like how to get to Microsoft offices and other destinations in the most efficient, cost-effective way.

Baily explained that Microsoft is developing the capability to integrate travel information into employees’ Outlook calendars based on appointments that they’ve set up for their trips. The information, displayed on easy-to-read maps, shows preferred hotels, car rental deals, restaurants, train options, and nearby MS offices. Based on traveler’s location and time information input in Outlook, Microsoft can give employees suggestions to get their jobs done more efficiently and for less expense.

For example, instead of a traveler deplaning in London, taking a taxi to their hotel, ordering room service, and then making a business call, Bailey said MSTravel Companion can give employees a much more efficient choice. “We can suggest the Heathrow Express (express trains between central London & Heathrow Airport) and a nearby office to make your call.”    

This is an excellent example of how companies today are using “Big Data” to improve the traveler experience and save money, too. Not a bad goal for Microsoft, which spends more than $800 million annually on travel and entertainment!

Expect to see more innovation that targets the pre-trip phase of travel, predicted Elizabeth West, Executive Editor of Content Solutions at The BTN Group.

Do you use any technology that enhances your travelers’ pre-trip experience? Please share here how it’s helping you bring more convenience to your travelers and, at the same time, reach your program savings targets.

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Congratulations to JR Sherman, President of Lanyon

MeetingsNet named Lanyon President JR Sherman a "Changemaker" in the meetings industry. MeetingsNet has named our own JR Sherman one of this year’s 23 "Changemakers."  Many of our clients have been named Changemakers in past years, but this is the first time one of our leadership team has received this honor.

I’m both pleased and thrilled that MeetingsNet has recognized the significant changes that JR has spearheaded on behalf of our organization. He has truly transformed our company through organic and acquisition growth strategies into a real game-changer for all of the many niche point solution technologies that comprise our industry marketplace.  We’ve always felt that it was inevitable that, as one of the original leading meetings and events technology companies out there, we should be the first to provide true enterprise, end-to-end technology not just for our clients, but for the entire industry -- including suppliers, associations, and intermediaries.

The transformation under JR’s leadership started about three years ago through the acquisition of StarCite by ACTIVE Network. Then we migrated to the Smart Events CloudTM, followed by the sale to Vista Equity Partners.  Then most recently, we were strategically split off from ACTIVE Network and merged with Lanyon, the leading and dominant corporate hospitality program technology, followed very quickly behind that by the recent acquisition of Passkey, the dominant technology for group room block management. 

Through it all, JR was leading the charge and executing our strategies to transform our combined companies into a major powerhouse for the industry ecosystem.  Congratulations, my friend and our leader. You have always listened to all of us who surround you. And you've never made any of us feel like our ideas and thoughts were crazy. 

Thank you to Barbara Scofidio and all of the staff at MeetingsNet for making a really great choice in naming our JR Sherman as one of your Top 23 Changemakers. 

Read the MeetingsNet article on JR here!

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