Archive for Company News

See the Impossible: Visit Orlando

M&IW Summit Sponsor Visit Orlando

Diamond Sponsor Feature – Visit Orlando

Have you had the opportunity to partner with a vendor who has worked hand in hand with you to create an unforgettable meeting? Do you know you don’t need to travel far to offer attendees an extraordinary experience? Orlando, Florida is the perfect event destination thanks to the incredible diversity filled with unique experiences for attendees. Visit Orlando ensure the creation of an unforgettable event!

We caught up with Libby Anderson, CMP at Visit Orlando to find out what See the Impossible means to her and her organization. Please continue reading to see what she had to say about Seeing the Impossible:

This year’s M&IW Summit Theme is See the Impossible. Our message is about going beyond what is possible to uncover solutions to challenges and explore new opportunities. How does Visit Orlando See the Impossible and raise the bar for your clients?

From the initial site visit to the closing reception, our Visit Orlando team works hand-in-hand with groups to create unforgettable meeting experiences. Whether groups are searching for a nontraditional venue, new culinary experiences or world-class entertainment, planners can count on Visit Orlando as a strong partner and an extension of their team. Merging our destination expertise with the planner’s imagination, there are no limits to what groups can accomplish with their Orlando event.

What are some of the trends you are seeing related to your business? Or, do you have any new products or services that are creating waves?

Experiential meetings have become increasingly popular with clients in Orlando, as it allows planners to customize their event experience. Our destination is home to several unique venues that can serve as an incredible backdrop to create memorable events for attendees. Planners can have an event at the foot of a volcano at Universal’s Volcano Bay, enjoy a beachside reception with animal encounters at Discovery Cove or host an outdoor block party under a 400-foot lighted observation wheel at Icon Park. At Universal Orlando Resort, meetings can be kicked off with the help of a larger-than-life character from The Transformers movie franchise. At SeaWorld Orlando, groups can go behind the scenes and watch veterinarians nurse rescued sea cows back to health. The destination is constantly unveiling new event spaces, innovations and upgrades that will give planners great options and keep attendees excited about their next Orlando meeting.

What does Seeing the Impossible mean to you personally?

Working for such a dynamic city for 19 years I would say that I have firsthand experienced the impossible. When I first started with Visit Orlando there were just a handful of convention hotels and the OCCC only had 1.2 million square feet on the West side of the building. International Drive was considered “boring” with chain restaurant and tourist type of shopping.

In my 19 years, I have witnessed the impossible! The addition of the North/South Building of the OCCC adding an additional 1.2 million square feet; the construction of Rosen Shingle Creek, The JW/Ritz Grande Lakes, the Hilton/Waldorf Bonnet Creek, the Hilton Orlando and the expansion of the Peabody to the Hyatt Regency Orlando. These are the significant changes that have occurred over the past 19 years, but that doesn’t even include the Impossible of turning Orlando from a ho-hum food city to one of the Nation’s best cities for fine dining!

As a salesperson for this great city, I have witnessed the impossible when it comes to growth and development, and I have also had to ride the wave of “the Impossible” by meeting as many customers as possible within my market and introducing them to the Orlando as a top business destination as opposed to just a place for families to connect. I also had to work diligently and effortlessly to educate our customers on the value of a CVB. This has come a long way since I started with Visit Orlando and I am so thrilled to have been a part and perhaps made my mark and contribution to the CVB world which at times seemed impossible. I have learned to never use the word “Impossible”, but rather, “Anything is possible”. That is my personal motto.

We invite you to talk with the Visit Orlando expert team at the M&IW Summit Supplier Showcase coming up in August of 2019.

Posted in: Company News, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting, Upcoming Events

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See the Impossible: Hyatt Hotels

M&IW Summit Sponsor Hyatt Hotels

Diamond Sponsor Feature – Hyatt Hotels

Teaming up with the right strategic partners who understand you and your client’s goals can make all the difference. Partners that just get it; think the way you think; and mirror your organizational values and culture. These types of relationships are invaluable. They not only make work fun; they drive better results. Hyatt Hotels is one of those partners. So, it wasn’t surprising when we caught up with Katie Cassidy, the Global Director for the Americas Hyatt Sales Force to find out what See the Impossible means to her and her organization, we couldn’t get enough of what she had to say. Read below to learn how Hyatt Hotels Sees the Impossible:

This year’s M&IW Summit Theme is See the Impossible. Our message is about going beyond what is possible to uncover solutions to challenges and explore new opportunities. How does Hyatt Hotels See the Impossible and raise the bar for your clients?

As we continue to grow, we don’t lose sight of what’s most important, people. Hyatt is a company that was family built. Every day we care for our guests. Care is at the heart of our business, and it’s this distinct guest experience that makes Hyatt one of the world’s best hospitality brands.

At Hyatt, we see wellbeing as the ultimate realization of our purpose, and caring for the wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and guests are at the heart of our purpose-driven work. Together, focusing on wellbeing creates deeper personal connections and experiences, and can be an encompassing effort that benefits everyone. For this reason, we are not only focused on bringing wellbeing to life for our guests and customers both in- and outside of hotel stays, but for our colleagues as well.

Hyatt has committed to a multi-million-dollar investment to inform offerings, programs and services that positively impact the wellbeing of Hyatt colleagues around the globe. We are also collaborating with thoughts-leaders to gain insight and incorporate best practices into our colleague programming because when our colleagues are at their best, they can better care for all of you and your guests and customers.

What are some of the trends you are seeing related to your business? Or, do you have any new products or services that are creating waves?

We are recognized globally by meeting planners for our responsiveness and flexibility. We have the tools and resources to alleviate the pressures of your role and address your most pressing pain points. From our RFP submission process to the Hyatt Event Concierge App and Group Bill, to our exceptional event service teams, we are known by meeting planners for being easy to work with and our timely execution.

The World of Hyatt loyalty program gives you and your organization access to rewards like upgrades and credits to enhance the experiences of both you and your attendees. New this year, we have launched a loyalty collaboration with American Airlines in which World of Hyatt and AAdvantage elite members can link their loyalty accounts in order to earn miles, points, and status when flying with American or staying at Hyatt.

What does Seeing the Impossible mean to you personally? In your role, how are you continuing to bring new, fresh and innovative ideas to forward?

What “Seeing the Impossible” means to me is being committed to my clients by really listening to them, connecting, showing empathy, and by doing so we will make a difference together. I am focused on delivering customized offerings, seamless events that provide meaningful experiences, value for your organization, and support to achieve your goals.

My commitment to Hyatt’s purpose of care allows us to provide a consultative approach so that our team acts as an extension of yours. You can count on us a partner who proactively communicates, stays connected and flexes to execute flawlessly, no matter what comes your way.

We invite you to talk with Katie Cassidy at the M&IW Summit Supplier Showcase.

Posted in: Company News, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting, Upcoming Events

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See the Impossible: Stamm Media

Platinum Sponsor Stamm Media

 

Platinum Sponsor Feature – Stamm Media

 

Event technology is constantly evolving from digital signage and gamification to unified event system integration and much more. Working with the right technology partner can make or break your event. When looking to partner with an event technology company looking for a company that not only offers high tech / high touch but one whose main focus is on thorough customer service and exceeding expectations.

Stamm Media is one of those partners. We talked with the President & CEO, Dave Stamm to find out what See the Impossible means to the Stamm organization. Please read below to learn how Stamm Media Sees the Impossible:

This year’s M&IW Summit Theme is See the Impossible. Our message is about going beyond what is possible to uncover solutions to challenges and explore new opportunities. How does Stamm Media See the Impossible and raise the bar for your clients?

For an event production and audiovisual rental company, ‘seeing the impossible’ and executing it can be a daily task. Meetings of any scale need to be meaningful and memorable – and with that could present seemingly ‘impossible’ goals. We believe seamless service elevates the ordinary into extraordinary and makes those goals possible. At Stamm Media, we understand how important it is for your event to go smoothly and within budget. We help navigate those budgets by providing expertise in total AV production, custom interactive development, and IT services. That is why, along with our first-class level of production and state-of-the-art event technology rental inventory, our main focus is on thorough customer service and exceeding expectations.

What are some of the trends you are seeing related to your business?

Gone are the days of corporate theater for meetings and events. In its stead, Stamm Media places our emphasis on dynamic digital engagement. This provides meetings with flexibility and adaptability for the changing demographics of attendees that the theatrical design couldn’t accommodate. Digital signage solutions have been one of the biggest trends in that direction. This platform provides the client with an abundance of options for consistent branding including meeting agendas, breakout room schedules, and wayfinding to name a few. Digital signage also allows for real-time social media interaction. For example, attendees can post pictures or comments using a designated hashtag and see their participation populated on screen – or multiple screens across the venue. Another trend that will be utilized in future meetings and events is unified system integration. That is to say one overall system for your event tying together badge registration, mobile app, gamification data, etc.

Do you have any new products or services that are creating waves?

New technology can arrive with a high price point, so we’re constantly innovating ways to be cost effective while maximizing impact. One of the model ways we’ve accomplished this is with branded interactive rentals. Stamm Media has developed a dozen plus interactive experiences including; Plinko, Puzzle Master, Match 3, Golf Simulator, Trivia, and many more. Each one allows for a fully brandable game and integrated lead capture. This provides the client with a WOW factor and branded engagement piece without the cost of a built-from-scratch application. Additionally, we would say the move to LED from projection display is creating some waves. While projection has been the standard display for most meetings in the past, more and more general sessions are using LED walls to create unique stage presentations. Further along those lines, a new hardware solution is MicroLED. We now have an HD LED solution to replace the current 3 x 3 seamless monitor walls with one unified LED wall at the same resolution. As the industry continues to change, new technologies will be implemented to further leverage branding. Live streaming and secure WiFi deployment have made it possible to have remote individuals attend and participate. We have also seen emerging technologies like AR/VR experiences and holograms foster unique and purposeful engagements.

What does Seeing the Impossible mean to you personally? In your role, how are you continuing to bring new, fresh and innovative ideas to forward?

Stamm Media helps our partners bring the impossible to life through premier event production, exceptional service, and innovative event technology solutions. We operate at the forefront of our industry in a number of ways. Our team is continually educating themselves and following thought leaders to see what is on the bleeding edge. Technology is ever evolving, and we strive to quickly identify new technology that excels within the meetings and events space. Our charge is to be extremely responsive and receptive to our clients and use the right technology to exceed expectations. Finally, and most importantly, we ensure flawless execution and production with everyone on our team living out our motto of “Whatever it Takes”.

To learn more about innovative, engaging event technology solutions we invite you to talk with the knowledgeable Stamm Team at the M&IW Summit Supplier Showcase or you can visit their website at Stamm Media Website.

Posted in: Company News, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Upcoming Events

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Employee Spotlight: Global Operations

Incentive Trip Team Photo Hawaii Top Performers
Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Lead

At M&IW, we know our culture starts and ends with our extremely talented and dedicated team members who bring their experience, passion, and creativity to each and every client event. One of these amazing employees is Kristi Stephan, Senior Program Manager on our Global Operations team. In her role, she specializes in high-end incentive programs.

We sat down with Kristi to learn more about her career in the industry and current position with M&IW. During our chat, we discovered what she loves most about her position at M&IW is the ability to create unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our clients, winners and their guests. Especially the amazing memories for the individuals who have earned an invaluable trip as a part of a reward for their hard work and accomplishments. Kristi took a bit of time out of her busy travel schedule to give us additional insight into what she values, her journey and what makes her tick.

Q: What do you value most about M&IW and why?
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What I value the most is our work family. Jean and Tina, as well as our leaders and peers, support all of us in our everyday work. More importantly, they value us as workers as well as people. I feel very blessed to be part of this amazing company.

Q: What’s the most interesting destination you’ve had a program at and why?

My favorite program destination is Dublin, Ireland. I feel the city of Dublin gives one the ability to experience the beauty of the countryside, the history of the city, and it offers incredibly unique evening event spaces. It’s the perfect trifecta of destinations.

Q: What is a weird experience you’ve had while working onsite?

Being chased by a monkey in Nevis while on my morning run. That was hands down the weirdest thing that I have ever experienced!

Q: Before working at M&IW, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

While in college, I attended Disney World’s College Program in Orlando, Florida. I was selected for this prestigious internship where I learned about Disney management as well as worked a full-time job at their Hollywood Studios Prime Time Café. It was an amazing learning experience.

Q: What is a quirky fact about you that not many know?

When entering college, I wanted to be a microbiology major and become a doctor.

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice at 13, what would it be?

Life is short, enjoy the moment, and the people around you.

We want to thank Kristi for not only taking the time to share her passion and a little bit about herself; but also for being an M&IW Hospitality Hero. Information about joining our team can be found at www.meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Program Management & Event Design

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Affordable Event Technology in an Experiential World

Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Lead

How do you create an engaging event without breaking the bank? Do you have to sacrifice quality because you’re operating on a shoestring budget? Are you feeling restricted by the limited means you have to promote your event?

When it comes to events, attendees’ expectations have increased leaps and bounds over the past few years. Participants are looking for memorable experiences. They want to be part of the event, not simply a bystander. This is where experiential marketing comes into play. Experiential marketing combines various tools that allow the audience to engage and interact throughout the entire event – pre, during and post.

Here are five engaging event technologies that won’t blow the budget but can create a whole lot of engagement:

1) Hashtags / Social Media

Although social media has been around since the late 1970s with the invention of the Bulletin Board System, it never really took off until almost 30 years later. Over the past 10 plus years, social media has transformed the way the world communicates, interacts and shares content. Hashtag campaigns have added a new dimension, that appeals to the emotional side, which in turn creates engagement and memorable experiences. Great examples of this are the #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola and Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor campaigns.

Hashtags can boost impressions and improve the searchability of your event. Create an event hashtag and use it every chance you can, think of it as Frank’s hot sauce for the social world, put it on everything including printed materials. Hashtags are individually searchable and on some social sites can be followed. They increase social media engagement and attract new followers.

Social media is a great place to promote your event, generate excitement, interact with attendees & followers, and drive traffic to the event website. Encourage sharing, likes and comments. If the budget allows, use the event social media platforms for gamification, offer rewards or bonus points for each interaction that will apply to a final tally and the possibility of winning a reward at the end of the event.

2) Event Mobile App

A mobile app is a digital guide to your event, offering real-time information and updates, nowadays the various uses of event apps are only limited to your imagination. Apps can notify attendees of start times and agenda updates by pushing notifications through. When connected to the event’s social media sites it gives attendees the ability to share their thoughts, ideas and snapshots. Well programmed event apps allow attendees to search, connect and schedule meetings with like-minded peers. They offer the ability to create and manage a personal schedule. In addition, mobile apps can be used for gamification, live polling, and instant feedback.

A properly engineered event mobile app will generate excitement prior, during and after an event.

3) Gamification

Gamification brings attendees together and provides them with memorable, quality experiences. It elevates the emotional experience of your attendees by presenting challenges and point systems. It gives players the ability to complete challenges and adds a competitive, interactive element to your event. Gamification works because it accesses the emotions and motivations of attendees. It can even be incorporated into the event app and applied to social media sites. When using gamification at an event think about the expectations of the audience and what you want to achieve from the gaming experience, is your goal to have attendees gain additional knowledge, perhaps it’s to offer extra networking time or maybe it’s to add a bit of fun to your event. Regardless of what your intent is, you must keep the participants engaged and active throughout the event. Two great ways of achieving this are big screen leaderboards and public shout outs during meals. These are guaranteed to keep attendees in the competitive mode and make your gamification a success.

4) Live Audience Polling

This is another great use of experiential marketing and can very easily be incorporated into an event app. What’s great about live audience polling is how versatile it is. It’s a great way to interact with attendees and offers instant gratification and feedback to the event owners and audience. When using live polling think outside of the box, yes, they are amazing at breaking up the long drawn out PowerPoint. But have you ever considered using them for ice breakers? Ice breaker questions are a great way to welcome, spark conversations and create interaction between attendees. Live polling is also a great way to help ensure all attendees have the opportunity to participate equally. Participants’ answers and questions are anonymous, therefore offering a voice to everyone, including those that are less likely to speak in front of a crowd.

5) Live Stream Event

Reach a larger audience at a low cost. A Live stream provides value and engages audiences. Plus, experiential marketing can be applied easily by simply offering a chat box. The opportunity to interact with influencers and live polling increases engagement to those viewing the event from afar. These points will boost your online audience engagement and assist in keeping the focus of the viewers.

The evolution of event technology is rapidly changing, with these changes prices that were once through the ceiling are more affordable. This gives the event owner the ability to organize a budget-friendly impactful event.

Experiential marketing combines various tools that allow the audience to engage and interact throughout the entire event. The use of any or all the event technology ideas will increase attendees emotional experience and can assist in making events better.

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International Incentives—When to Get a Little Bit Exotic

Written by: Mary Enke | Creative Lead & Senior Buyer, Incentive Services

The best incentive programs are built around the personas of your individual travelers. Is your team repeat winners, well-versed in the intricacies of international travel? Are they hustling Millennials searching for a little bit of adventure? For both of these groups your typical European vacation is either within reach, or a bit ‘basic, motivation-lacking, and routine.’ Perhaps, you can get a little bit exotic by hosting your incentive program just off the beaten path—a short distant from the more standard European vacation destinations of England, France and Italy.

The following locations offer unique options as well as an idyllic, picturesque location that offers adventurous activities for the active traveler as well as a healthy serving of sand and surf for those who prefer the peace and solitude of an island vacation.

Sardinia, Italy

Located in the Mediterranean Sea between the shores of Spain, France, and Italy

Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is beautiful Sardinia. This is not a “cookie-cutter” tropical island. With near-alpine oak, dazzling white sand beaches and crescent-shaped bays backed by limestone cliffs, Sardinia is an exotic, eccentric island adventure… one of Europe’s last!

While visiting, guests have a multitude of activities to experience including water sports galore, sailing, snorkeling, and sea safaris. Or, take on coastline horseback riding…maybe jaunt to the different villages for shopping or secluded beaches. Definitely a destination with a lot to offer to a seasoned traveler or a first visit to Europe.

High Season               July – August                                             Crowds, but great days for the beach

Shoulder Season      April, June, September, October           Lower room rates, weather is changeable

Low Season               November – March                                  A bit colder and wetter, many sights closed

Maldives, Asia

Located in the Indian Ocean off the costs near Sri Lanka

This is truly the ultimate escape for an exotic getaway.  A very non-traditional and different destination. Sure, many destinations boast white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, but how many can say that every resort is on its own island – all 105 of them? No island has two resorts. The only way to get around is by boat or plane.

Some would call this a “drop out” destination – in the best way. Drop out of reality and celebrate the holiday of a lifetime. A pure beach destination. No roads. No off-site venues.  No cultural attractions.  Activities vary from resort to resort. This is heaven on earth … the water, the food, the spas, the resorts … all add up to an experience one will never forget.

High Season              December – February                          Best weather, little rain, low humidity          

Shoulder Season      March – April                                          Good weather, end of April hottest

Low Season               May – November                                   Storms more likely, but only for short periods

Hvar, Croatia

Located in the Adriatic Sea off the costs off the southern coast of Croatia just North of Greece

One of the most beautiful Croatian islands is Hvar. This intoxicating heaven, clouded by the fragrances of lavender, rosemary, and heather and surrounded by the azure sea, is a true year-round destination and inexhaustible treasure chest of sights, experiences and adventure.

Croatia is growing in popularity with individuals and incentives. Be part of the “in crowd”. The entire Dalmatian Coast is buzzing. Split European programs are the ultimate experience and there are so many destinations to consider along this enchanting coast.

High Season              July – August                                          Best weather, followed by Split & Dubrovnik

Shoulder Season     May – June & September                      Great time to visit, Adriatic is warm

Low Season               October – April                                       Storms & rain a bit more likely, lower rates

Madeira, Portugal

Located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of North Easter Africa nearest to Morocco.

Right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is Madeira Island. Geologically dramatic and bursting with exotic color and warmed year-round by the Atlantic sun, Portugal’s most enchanting island is a place that keeps all its subtropical holiday promises. This is definitely the pearl of the Atlantic.

Embark upon the ultimate diving, big game fishing, jeep safaris, or get up close and personal with sea life in the open waters – not to mention the food and wine scene. This tiny volcanic island has so much to offer … and more!

High Season             December & July- August                      Higher prices

Shoulder Season     April – June                                                Weather is best, main tourist season

Low Season              January – March                                       Most rain

Seychelles

Located in the Indian Ocean off the coasts of South West Africa between Madagascar and the Maldives.

Scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is made up of 115 idyllic islands. Spellbinding beaches are the main attraction. Exquisite strips of white sand lapped by turquoise water and backed by lush hills.

Sailing, diving, fishing and relaxing are the main activities for visitors. This is, without a doubt, the perfect spot to go to invoke in your inalienable right to engage in the lovely art of doing nothing at all… or do as much as you like. Mother Nature was generous with the Seychelles, a fabled paradise.

High Season              December, March, July, August           Spikes in European holidays, can be humid

Shoulder Season      April – May/October – November        Great weather for swimming & excursions

Low Season               January – May                                           Lower accommodation pricing, comfortable

Langkawi, Malaysia

Located in the Andaman Sea off the coast of northwestern Malaysia near Singapore.

Discover a faraway island and a true tropical paradise in Langkawi. Alluring and idyllic in its natural beauty. Majestic and spectacular in its culture. Langkawi is synonymous with blond beaches, sandy beaches, and jungle-cloaked valleys. Truly an exotic getaway.

Nature is literally at your doorstep. The recreation options are unbelievable from boat trips to bat caves, bike outings to waterfalls, plunging from a cliff to a pool below. Through all of these adventures, the monkeys are watching and enjoying the show.

High Season               January – March                                     High tourist season, lots of sun and activities

Shoulder Season      April – August                                          Fewer tourists, great weather

Low Season                September – October                            Rainy – but only 2 hours per day

The Choice is Yours

While these destinations may require an extra leg to get to from all US gateway cities, we feel that the experience they provide is well worth the extra travel time. With creative and unique planning and consultation with professionals who know how to incentivize these destinations, one of these may be the most ideal fit for your next program.

“A journey is not about the places you visit, but the stories you bring home to share.”

 

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An Inside Look at the CMP Governance Commission

CMP Exam, CMP Governance Commission, Steve Lorenz

Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Lead

M&IW’s very own Steven Lorenz, CMP, HMCC, Senior Account Lead, and 2017 Chair Exam Development Committee, CMP Governance Commission 2015-2019; along with Liz Dombrowski, Certification Manager, Events Industry Council were approached by the Events Industry Council to co-author an article titled “Why did they ask me that? How a question gets on the CMP Exam.”

In reading this article, it sparked a few questions in my mind about what goes on behind the scenes during the creation of the CMP Exam, what’s the process, how do they come up with the exam questions, and how does it all work? So, I interviewed Steve to find out more about the CMP Governance Commission and how he was selected to serve on this prestigious board along with many other interesting questions about Steve’s journey and how it all links together. It was a thought-provoking conversation and his answers are very insightful.

  • What exactly is the CMP Governance Commission? The CMP Governance Commission is the governing body that oversees the CMP credential. It works to ensure the credential truly reflects the important work of meeting professionals and that the International Standards are current. It also oversees exam development and that all test items pass through a strenuous review process to ensure best in class certification through rigor, relevance, and value.
  • How long have you served on the CMP Governance Commission? It has been my pleasure and honor to serve since 2015 with my esteemed colleagues from all sectors of the events industry, including planners and suppliers. Read more at 2019 Events Industry Council Board of Directors.
  • When did you land this opportunity? One of my CMP mentors reached out and shared with me the structure of the CMP Governance Commission about five years ago. She thought it would be a great fit and suggested I put my name in the ring to serve on the Commission.
  • Why are you passionate about your role with the CMP Governance Commission? I am very passionate about the industry. Serving on the CMP Governance Commission is one of the ways I can give back to the meetings and event industry to keep the CMP current and relevant. It is an important function and I am thrilled to be part of it.
  • What is a unique story you have about volunteering on the CMP Governance Commission? There are so many things I have learned participating on the CMP Governance Commission. I had no idea the amount of effort and work that goes into maintaining a credential. I also had never heard of psychometrics (the science of measuring mental capacities and the key guidance practice of developing the CMP certification) before. I didn’t know this field of study even existed prior to joining the Commission.
  • As a mentor to event professionals looking to sit for the CMP, what are three pieces of advice you have to offer? Participate in educational opportunities, especially those areas that you don’t necessarily work in every day to stretch your learning outside of your current job or role. Study, study, study: the exam is rigorous, but if you accept the challenge, earning the credential and joining the CMP is well worth the effort. Don’t put it off; the application to sit for the CMP can be daunting at first glance, but if you review and start to complete it, you can see the areas that will need more of your attention or surprise yourself that you already meet the requirements to sit for the exam.
  • Give us one last item you’d like to share with regards to your experience with the CMP Governance Commission? Sitting on the CMP Governance Commission has been an incredible experience and a high point in my career. It is amazing to me that I am allowed to participate in the program at this level and I have learned so much. It is an honor to participate and advance the recognition of the CMP Community.

The CMP isn’t just a prestigious set of letters. This test is challenging because being a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is more than knowing how to plan productive meetings, execute exciting events, or even being a subject matter expert. It is also about inspiring and mentoring the next generation of event planners. When you take the CMP exam you know how much thought and care your fellow event professionals put into it and their passion for the industry. The CMP Governance Commission is always there rooting for you!

Read the full article Why did they ask me that? How a question gets on the CMP Exam. It was published on the Events Industry Council website to uncover the CMP Exam creation process.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design

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Engaging your Workforce through Corporate Responsibility

corporate giving, charity, causes, CSR, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Written by Staci Simmons | Manager, Marketing Communications and Creative Services

Over the last ten years, corporate responsibility has transformed from a single act of charity, such as sponsorships, volunteerism and community involvement to complete, brand-centric philanthropy. If done well, modern corporate social responsibility practices engrain themselves into the culture of an organization impacting employees, customers, suppliers, and even communities.

Social impact has expanded into every part of the business, by function, unit, and even geography. CSR programs can no longer afford to simply be charitable — social impact needs to be ‘built into’ a company’s strategy showcased across many aspects of operations.

Transform Your Business

  • Consider B-Corp Strategies – B Corporations build their companies around social impact
  • Encourage Influencers – Offer individual incentives for executives and employees who take social responsibility personally and mentor others
  • Create a Portfolio – Outline a portfolio of outreach programs at each level of your organization
  • Think Locally – Choose local or brand-centric activities and interest that align with corporate goals and interests
  • Promote Thoughtfully – Use consideration when sharing your CSR endeavors without diluting your message

Engage Your Workforce

The more aligned your CSR activities are with the company’s culture and values, the more they will resonate with the employees. Attendees who are personally invested will leave your meeting, conference, tradeshow or event with a sense of purpose and satisfaction. For maximum impact, we recommend starting your CSR activity in advance with some friendly competition — it is a great way to raise both awareness and funds early. Be sure to recognize top achievers and high performing teams during your event and continue to support the cause in other ways throughout the year.

Select a CSR Activity

Our clients often ask us what are the most popular CSR programs? It is a hard question to answer as the options are endless and each program is unique and customized for your group based on your objectives, attendees, location, and budget. However, below are some programs that have been a hit with our clients over the years:

  • Arrange a Scavenger Hunt
  • Build a Beehive
  • Host a Game Show
  • Run a Race for a Cure
  • Create a Charity Match
  • Build a Playground for Kids
  • Host Fitness Challenges
  • Clean the Local Ecosystem
  • Adopt a Local or International School
  • Host a Clean Water Challenge
  • Provide Packages for Rescue Animals
  • Build a Home with Habitat for Humanity
  • Pack STEM Education Kits
  • Build a Wheelchair
  • Pack Food/Medicine bags for Project Open Hand
  • Paint Shoes with Soles for Souls
  • Register for Pledge It Forward
  • Build Bikes or Red Wagons for Children

Create a Culture of Giving

As part of our corporate Global Giveback, every year we select a different charity to support and theme our CSR activity. This year we are supporting the fight against hunger. At our annual company event, our employees packed more 26,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger. Each month, we designate specific food items which makes it easy for individuals to participate and we track our collective impact. Additionally, our M&IW family is supporting a local pantry through monetary donations, food and hygiene items, and volunteering our time.

Corporations with sound CSR practices have access to many benefits — intrinsic and extrinsic. This incentive drives the implementation of corporate programs at meetings and conferences and events. More so, event marketers see that initiatives are good for business and good for the connectivity of their shareholders.

For more information about best practices in selecting, designing and executing a CSR program for your next event, contact us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Top 3 Benefits of Partnering with a Women-Owned Business

Meetings & Incentives Worldwide (M&IW) is honored to be a trusted certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the WBDC-Chicago, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) for the seventh consecutive year. M&IW owned by sister team, Jean Johnson and Tina Madden, are committed to a diverse work environment that backs its words with accountable actions.

“We are very excited to offer this additional value to our current and future clients committed to supplier diversity programs,” said Jean Johnson, CMP, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer. By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations, and government agencies, organizations demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

While there are many benefits of working with diverse suppliers, there are three that stand out as being the most impactful to a business’s bottom line.

Top Three Benefits of a Supplier Diversity Program

  1. The Federal Government Offers Tax Incentives

Partnering with diverse and minority-owned suppliers, including WBENC provides many tax incentives from the federal level. Not only does a business receive a tax break, but they also may be able to take advantage of reduced tax liabilities if minority vendors and suppliers are being used for federal or state-funded grants or loans. As a certified organization, we can provide you with all the information needed to leverage this opportunity.

  1. Diverse Partners Can Increase Procurement Channels

Diverse suppliers have deep relationships with other vendors that may provide additional saving across your business. The strength of these relationships and their commitment to quality and innovation often leads to a tangible increase in savings and resources for obtaining goods and services.

3. Strategic Diversity Aligns Revenue & Economic Impact

Supplier Diversity programs offer an impactful and marketable way to differentiate yourself from your competitors to shareholders, employees, and consumers, which may increase business opportunities. Diversity-leading organizations know they need leaders who both understand and reflect the needs of their customers. Women-owned businesses are also one of the fasted growing sectors of our economy. Showcasing your company’s commitment to doing business in diverse markets increases economic growth in many communities.

Why Diversity Matters to Us

We live in a deeply connected and global world. It should come as no surprise that more diverse companies are achieving better performance. “We need to attract, develop and retain diverse leaders who both understand and reflect the needs of our customers,” said Tina Madden, Co-CEO and Chief Customer Officers. Additionally, as a certified WBE, we are dedicated to a supplier diversity strategy that seeks out and utilizes women-owned and minority suppliers internally and within our customers’ events.

 

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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Top Tips to Streamline Your Conference Marketing Plan

How to Market Your Conference

Written by Staci Simmons | Manager, Marketing Communications & Creative Services

You may be scratching your head and asking yourself what on earth is holistic marketing and how does it pertain to my conference? Holistic marketing is a strategy which considers the business as a whole and not as an entity with various parts. All communication and activities are aligned and integrated throughout all departments to create a uniform and impactful experience. Many companies do not consider the impact of an aligned strategy and many times, only do what they think is vital, creating an agenda, organizing speaker and other tasks associated with operations.

Marketing alignment is a part of your business strategy and just like top organizational goals, a little consideration makes a large impact on experience and your return on investment. Consider the following key marketing strategies for your next conference to bring your message to the forefront of your targeted audience.

Six Marketing Strategies for Your Conference

1. Event Websites are vital. Your website is your online salesperson. You want to target audience to find and engage with your materials.

Encourage readers to spend more time on the website by:

  • Build a mobile responsive website—In today’s market there is a 90% chance your target audience will view your website from their mobile device. If they find this difficult, you may lose their interest.
  • Hyperlink pages throughout the website—Inpage and off-site hyperlinks add to the legitimacy of your webpage and offers useful information for your audience, ensuring you resonate with them as a thought leader.
  • Set up the registration link to open in a new window—This gives the readers easy access to the last web page they were viewing if your registration process takes them off of your website. Pro-Tip: Use a website builder that seamlessly integrates the registration process.
  • Outline an agenda—Even if it is a basic outline. It can be updated and enhanced as speakers commit to sessions and breakout topics. Showcasing that the agenda will update may encourage users to return to the site again and again.
  • Consider SEOs (Search Engine Optimization)—Help improve your website’s ranking in search results by writing your copy with the natural keywords and phrases that your target market is searching for online. (i.e. location, topics, speakers).
  • Create Content —Blog articles, Podcasts, videos will create additional SEO opportunities for your website. So produce content as often as you can while remaining consistent. Post content that centers around your conference, the speaker’s topics, the industry and hot topics your potential attendees may be interested in.
  • Create Shortcuts—If the conference website is separate from the company website, consider promoting the conference on the company’s homepage with a banner that links to the conference website.

2. Marketing Automation is your best friend. According to a 2018 Radicati Group study, there will be more than 3.8 billion email users before the start of 2019.

Here are some tips on email marketing:

  • Build a mobile responsive email template—Do not risk losing a registering attendee because they can’t read the email from their mobile device.
  • Create clear CTAs—Always have a call to action. Make sure it is clear what the intent of your message is and what action you’d like your audience to take. Make sure links and buttons clearly say Register Now, Learn More, View Agenda, Meet Speakers, etc.
  • Be Creative—You have a short time frame to get your point across. Capture your reader’s attention by simplifying your message, adding short videos or linking to more information so you can track interaction.
  • Be Considerate—While email is still one of the highest forms of communication, be sure you respect the inbox and space your emails out accordingly. Spread out your emails by at least a week as to not annoy your audience.
  • Give Thanks—If this is a repeating conference, send emails after your event thanking people for attending. Include a Save the Date for the following year and offer a survey to see where improvements can be made.

3. Social Media is a great place to promote your event, interact with attendees & followers, and drive traffic to the conference website. Like content marketing, post about the conference, but post other topics as well. Keep posts simple and encourage team members and industry influencers to like, share and comment on event posts.
 
4. Event Hashtags can boost impressions and improve the searchability of your conference. Create a conference hashtag and use it every chance you get. Hashtags are individually searchable and on some social sites, can be followed. They increase social media engagement and attract new followers.
 
5. Geofencing and Retargeting may help you reach your audience. Due to the General Data Protection Regulations and other data protection privacy laws, gone are the days of purchasing a list of leads to increase conference awareness and registration. Target users by location or interest using these paid search advertising techniques.
 
6. Post Conference Marketing can be extraordinary. The conference might be over, but there is still marketing to be done. It is very important to gather and file all the collateral collected during the conference. This includes; photos, videos, testimonials, survey results, etc. This year’s collateral is next year’s promotional material.

Promote your Conference with Confidence

Each conference is as unique as the audience that attends. It is important to try a variety of marketing tactics and track its impact on registration and engagement. The key is to ensure you have a dedicated distribution and content plan for your website, email marketing calendar, social media, paid advertising and post-conference goals.

In conclusion, do not over commit. Choose a few of these elements and go all in. Do not spread yourself too thin or you may lessen your impact on your audience. Marketing is an art; not an exact science. The key is to test and measure and then focus on what works for your event, target audience and geographic location. If you are interested in learning more about our conference and event marketing services, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions

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