Scottsdale provided a perfect change of scenery for Meeting & Incentive Forum (M&I Forum), The Americas 2016, which held its first event outside of Florida May 22-26 at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. Previous years’ events were held in St. Petersburg (2015) and Miami (2014).

“We were approached by M&I probably 12 or 14 months ago, and they had polled a lot of their attendees and were looking for a new location, and Scottsdale had really risen to the top of their list, which we were thrilled about,” said Kelli Blubaum, VP of convention sales & services for the Scottsdale CVB. “So they approached us and our community about bringing this hosted buyer event out, and we really worked with them in pulling all of our partners together, helping them understand what this event was about, [and] the value of the buyers coming in."

Blubaum said Scottsdale is a multifaceted destination that boasts an exciting mix of genuine Old West culture and some of the most luxe resorts and premier golfing experiences in the country, all of which provide the variety that keeps groups coming back again and again.

“The cowboy culture is very much alive, and very much a part of who we are, but it’s also a very sophisticated destination with a lot of great luxury resorts. We’re very lucky to have all the major brands really represented,” Blubaum said. “There’s a lot of different experiences here, which I think is what planners love ... and when you’re sitting here on an 88-degree night, the weather [also motivates] people to come back.”

Split into segments that rotate in two separate sets of buyers, the four-and-a-half-day event featured two sets of approximately 100 meeting and incentive buyers and nearly 110 seller tables. M&I Forum, The Americas is part of a larger component of global travel events, named M&I Forums, operated by Worldwide Events, a division of Big Worldwide, a travel, tech, events and media company.

The next M&I Forum, The Americas will be held April 23-26, 2017, at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach in Cancun. It will follow a similar format, introducing U.S. planners to suppliers from across the globe.

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