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Entering into its eighth year, IMEX America’s Smart Monday Powered by MPI delivers a full day of free education Oct. 15 available for registered IMEX America meeting planner attendees. The day focuses on the professional development that is critical for many planners to justify even getting out of the office to travel to Las Vegas to attend the Oct. 16-18 main event that focuses on buyer-supplier appointments. The two key MPI staffers who take a leading role conceptualizing Smart Monday are Lori Pugh, manager of global education and event production, and Jessie States, head of meeting innovation.


Travelers at Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport were plunged into darkness Wednesday, August 15, 2018, around 10 p.m., a situation that provides an opportunity for meeting planners to think about and assess their own risk management strategies for power outages. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said a Dominion Energy issue caused the outage, according to a report from Washington, D.C.’s NBC4.


As all-inclusive properties in Mexico, the Caribbean and beyond trend toward luxury experiences, meeting groups are taking advantage of the added amenities in addition to the convenience and cost-savings.


A mountain setting can take away the distractions of the office and city life and allow for a connection to nature, which often can spike productivity, creativity and collaboration. Unplugging, bringing the meeting room outdoors and creating new experiences seem to be on-trend for 2018, according to four experts dialed in to mountain meetings. 


Meeting and event audiovisual is one of those things as an attendee you often don’t notice until it blows you away—or blows up a meeting when it doesn’t work. Following are some key observations by meeting planners and AV suppliers on how planners should enter the audiovisual void and negotiate with confidence, with an eye on the bottom line.


It's been nearly a year since actress Alyssa Milano reignited the #MeToo movement, persuading millions of people to take a stand against sexual harassment. Today, two women are moving the conversation forward in the meetings and events industry, helping planners and organizations fight and address misconduct. Sarah Soliman Daudin, president and CEO of Soliman Productions, and Courtney Stanley, speaker, writer and business consultant at CS Consulting, created #MeetingsToo and launched a presentation, How to Prevent and Manage Sexual Harassment at Events, at the recent 2018 MPI World Education Congress (WEC) in Indianapolis. 


The TWA Hotel is gearing up for its spring 2019 opening at John F. Kennedy International Airport by offering planners a first look at its 50,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces. The overall project, led by MCR and MORSE Development, is restoring and reimagining Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport and transforming it into a 512-room hotel.


Germany’s Frankfurt Airport was evacuated Tuesday afternoon (August 7, 2018), local time, after a security lapse in which a French family was released into a security area following a positive test for explosives. After being located and answering questions, the family was allowed to travel further.


Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking (MPAHT) marked the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons by becoming a signatory to The Code. The Code, short for “The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism” is an industry-driven initiative to provide awareness, tools and support to combat the sexual exploitation of children.


The Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) hosted a grand opening ceremony, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 following a two-year, $207 million renovation and expansion project. State and local government officials, along with KICC facility officials and staff welcomed meeting clients, local stakeholders, interested citizens, and media to an open house that showcased how the new facility will host small to large-scale events.


Total U.S. government conference spending for fiscal year 2017 decreased 15.7% after three consecutive years of growth, according to an analysis by STR’s Market Insights team. Total conference spend in 2017 was $140 million after the government spent $166 million in 2016. Previous yearly totals were $121 million in 2015, $120 million in 2014, $100 million in 2013 and $276 million in 2012.


AccorHotels signed an agreement to acquire 85 percent of 21c Museum Hotels, an award-winning hospitality management company that melds the hotel world with a museum experience. The 21c company features a multi-venue contemporary art museum, boutique hotels and chef-driven restaurants, with 11 properties currently open and under development across the U.S.


Sue Wigston, COO of Eagles Flight, outlines five ways meeting planners can make their meetings more interactive and build attendee engagement.


Former Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) CEO Kevin Hinton was hired as vice president of strategy for Minding Your Business (MYB), an agency focused on creating business opportunities and engaging target audiences for associations, DMOS and other hospitality industry partners.


Cvent released its annual lists of the top cities for meetings and events worldwide. Three new regions were highlighted this year: Caribbean and Latin America (CALA), Canada and Europe.


Marriott International is merging its three customer loyalty programs August 18, 2018, according to the company. On that date, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs will be combined into one program.


It didn’t take long for Las Vegas to turn 2017 legalization of adult-use cannabis in Nevada into a glitzy new attraction. Planet 13 Holdings, which currently runs an off-Strip dispensary, is building a 40,000-square-foot cannabis superstore and entertainment space slated to open in phases starting in November 2018. No event space is planned for the facility yet, but it’s a possibility for Phase 2.


Meetings Today Destinations Content Director Marlene Goldman sat down with Destinations International President & CEO Don Welsh during its 2018 Annual Convention in Anaheim in July 2018 to find out how the organization is helping DMOs adapt to the next generation of meeting planners, and the challenges DMOs face in areas such as destination boycotts and the “weaponization of travel.”


Travel costs are expected to rise in 2019, with hotel prices rising 3.7% and flight prices increasing 2.6%, according to the Global Travel Forecast, published by Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) with the support of the Carlson Family Foundation. This fifth annual report, which was released on July 24, 2018, cites a growing global economy and rising oil prices as the drive behind this predicted rise.


Companies are planning more meetings and larger meetings, and spending more in the process, according to a new study by Cvent, which is holding its four-day Cvent Connect show in Las Vegas through July 26, 2018, with more than 4,000 hospitality professionals in attendance at the event.


In light of the July 19, 2018, duck boat tragedy near Branson, Missouri, consider these five areas, each with a few questions, to include in your RFPs regarding boats, cars and buses, and also for hotels and off-site venues. These are items that are likely taken for granted by meeting and event planners organizing group excursions and transportation.


In December 2018, the newest Gaylord Hotels property and latest member to Marriott’s Convention & Resort Network is set to open its doors. Just after leaving the Denver International Airport you can’t miss the massive structure standing alone in the distance that will soon debut as the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. Less than 20 miles from downtown Denver, the resort offers easy access to and from the airport, downtown Denver and the outdoor playground that are the Rocky Mountains.


Caesars Entertainment broke ground on its $375 million, Caesars Forum conference center on Monday, July 16, during a ceremony for trade press, industry executives and Caesars staff members. The ceremony was also livestreamed by Caesars so that people could tune in from all over the world.


Just planning and executing meetings is deserving of a medal in many cases, but there are some in our industry who truly go above and beyond to set the bar higher. Following are 20 professionals—selected by polling our readers, consulting with past Meetings Trendsetters and our editors and contributors, and reaching out to others in the industry—who have taken a leading role in the last year.


Las Vegas police are conducting a criminal investigation into the mishandling of funds by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), according to reporting published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.


The UNITE HERE labor union rolled out travel advisories on Marriott hotels in eight major American cities, where contracts have either expired or are set to, for over 12,000 unionized workers.


Meetings Today reached out to Joe D'Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel, to discuss a major medical association’s decision to opt out of a longstanding contract with the city due to open drug use on the streets and other safety concerns voiced by those visiting the city for meetings.


A major Chicago-based medical association is moving its $40 million convention out of San Francisco due to safety concerns for attendees. The city’s—and in particular the Moscone Convention Center’s SoMa neighborhood’s—open drug use and homelessness issues are being blamed for the decision.


The former Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama in Panama City will be managed by Marriott International as a JW Marriott. Ithaca Capitol took control of the property from the Trump Organization in March 2018 following a fight that included court cases in the U.S. and Panama and Trump Organization lawyers asking president of Panama to intervene in the dispute.


California’s Santa Clara CVB had its funding suspended for 60 days by the City of Santa Clara until a new management company can be found. Employee salaries and benefits will be paid during the 60 days.


Joint venture partners the Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties broke ground on the new Marriott International headquarters complex and adjacent Marriott hotel in downtown Bethesda, Maryland.


Teneo Hospitality Group identified the top concerns and trends within the meetings industry so far in 2018, according to its recent poll of planners in the U.S. The results presented by Teneo identify budgets, quality control, cost and reliability of audiovisual and technical services, security of content and the challenges of meeting increasingly complex dietary demands as the most prominent concerns of planners.


Urban districts are heating up in a multitude of places around the country. We asked meeting planners for input on what cities they think are up-and-coming and why the locations are trending nowadays.


The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a judgement on June 21, 2018, in favor of RockStar Hotels and rejecting claims of trademark infringement in a suit brought by Hard Rock Hotels. This allows the hotel company to continue using the RockStar Hotels name.


Kalahari Resorts and Conventions owners the Nelson family and company executives gathered with more than 100 attendees to break ground on the expansion of the company’s Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, convention center. Scheduled to open in late 2019, the addition will more than double the size of meeting facilities on location, adding 105,000 square feet of space to the convention center.


Now more than ever, people want to be immersed in destinations and have a sense of well-being when they visit. When it comes to incentives at resorts, the same holds true. Authentic experiences, locally inspired food and design, and plenty of wellness options are high in demand, according to five industry experts we contacted to get their take on 2018 market trends.


PSAV, an event production company with branches across the U.S. and beyond, has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by private equity and real estate funds affiliated with Blackstone from affiliates of Goldman Sachs and Olympus Partners.


Caesars Entertainment Corporation was recognized for the fourth year as one of the most community-minded companies, and for the third time as the leader in the consumer discretionary industry, by Civic 50, a Points of Light initiative.

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