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  • A Digital Dilemma for Meeting & Event Suppliers

    By Allan Lynch

    A SPECIAL SECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL

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    There is a digital dilemma in the meetings sector. It’s not about event apps or better presentation technology—it’s more basic. It’s the failure of supplier websites to provide useful—and accurate—information.
    Recently, Marriott and Radisson announced plans for new websites geared toward meetings, but will those sites provide the detail planners and incentive houses need, or will they, like so many other hotel, convention center and other venue websites, miss the mark?
    Meetings account for 30 percent to 40 percent of a hotel’s business, yet the information planners and incentive houses need is often dismissively handled on websites. And collateral print and digital materials don’t compliment websites.

    Supplier Website Accuracy

    Many supplier websites are inaccurate, lack essential information (like number of guest rooms), are hard to navigate (meeting space is hidden under weddings) and overlook local benefits that could help spur interest in a particular property.

    These oversights and errors may be becoming codified by the consolidation in property ownership, which spreads a mistake made at one property across the brand and to all flags within the chain.

    I first noticed it several years ago doing a nationwide project. Research requires we directly contact properties and destinations. Sometimes to qualify a property, I, like planners, go online to tire kick to see if they meet the standards of our readers. For that national project I clicked through 128 websites. Only 11 had information I could trust.

    There’s a staggering amount of inconsistency in destination and property facts. For example, on a September site inspection, the sales director told me they had 725,000 square feet of meeting and event space. However, the press kit fact sheet said they have “600,000 square feet of flexible meeting convention, exhibit and pre-function space.” The property’s website listed 757,478 square feet, while their destination marketing organization’s site showed “more than 700,000 square feet.” Cvent listed its total meeting space as “>100,000 square feet.”

    As for F&B outlets, the property fact sheet listed 17 restaurants and lounges on site, while a glossy resort guide listed 13 on one page and 19 on another. The website said 15. So many numbers, so much inconsistency.

    I wonder if some sales directors ever read their websites. Researching a mountain meetings piece I found the website for a large (470-plus guest rooms), well-known ski resort that listed “in-room bathrooms” under room amenities. Was this a joke or content provided by wildly inexperienced staff? Three years later “in-room bathrooms” are still listed as an amenity!

    Purge Non-Essential Content

    Many companies, events and destinations throw a site on the web and think they’re done. At least that’s how they act. Websites have to be dynamic to get attention.

    According to Tekeye.uk, there are 1.8 billion websites in existence. That’s one site for every four people on earth. And new sites are added, on average, every two seconds. That’s almost the birth rate. Of all these websites, less than 1 million sites account for 50 percent of all web traffic.

    Website owners should consider how often their site is updated or refreshed.

    In an interview with travel aggregator TravelMole, Alex Painter, president of website speed and performance testing company Eggplant, said it’s important for businesses to identify and remove “single points of failure” from websites.

    Painter advised getting “rid of non-essential content. If there is anything on your site that is redundant, get rid of it. It’s the excess baggage to your customers’ serene and speedy journey. Newer features are added more often than older features are removed.” That can contribute to the space and amenity confusion. For example, a hotel re-invents their dining room: new menu, new name, new décor. That gets added to the website, but the former name isn’t deleted and potential clients are confused about what is available.

    Much of the property and venue website messaging has become mind-numbingly generic and repetitive. As a consequence of this repetition, messages get weaker and less relevant to planners.

    In a LinkedIn discussion on the unreliability of hotel capacity charts, the VP of a Texas-based management services company said he cuts capacity by 25 percent: “For some reason most hotels are completely incapable of measuring the dimensions of their rooms accurately.” A hotelier responded, “capacity charts are not intended to be a standalone tool. These charts are used as a point of reference, but, more importantly, to have people engage in a conversation about the event.”

    In Conclusion

    The idea of capacity charts—or a lack of other property details—being a place from which to start a conversation is a passé concept illustrating the disconnect between seller and buyer. Planners today are too time-pressed. They’re often pulling together a client proposal from the road, in the evening or on a weekend. They don’t have time or the inclination to call a property. They specifically don’t want to engage in any conversation with anyone they can’t first qualify.

    We have the technology to communicate well, but we don’t always seem to be doing so.

     

    Allan Lynch is a former newspaper publisher who chucked the office routine to return to his first love: writing. Based near the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy, he specializes in writing about the meeting industry.

  • Big Decisions: Are you considering a broad range of information sources?

    Originally published by Shelley Row, P.E., CSP on 9 December

    We’re learning about the ten skills that technical professionals need when they become a manager. Let’s discuss the importance of having a broad range of information sources.

    Big Decisions: Are you considering a broad range of information sources?

    When you need to gather information for a big decision, who do you go to? Your most trusted buddies. Your go-to people who alwaysOrganization Sources have wise input. Respected leaders outside your organization. These are what I call your “usual suspects.” You talk with them often and you trust their judgment. But what about the others – that argumentative person, the contrarian who always sees a situation differently from you and isn’t afraid to point that out, the inquisitor who asks question after pointed question? Be honest. Do you find that you avoid their input? It’s time to change that.

    Why? Because you cannot make a wise decision by talking only to those with whom you prefer and who are more likely to agree with you and more likely to see the world from a similar perspective. That leads to insular thinking and can cause you to miss key inputs that could sway your decision.

    To lead with insight and make the best decisions, you must push yourself to also engage with and listen to those who are not likely to agree and who are likely to have a different perspective.

    There’s a reason you are inclined to talk with whom you agree. It is easier and less energy-intensive for your brain and theirs to seek out those who agree. Notice the increased energy needed to engage with those with whom you don’t agree. You need more energy to listen and self-manage your reaction in order to remain open to their different ideas. It can be exhausting….and it’s critically important to robust decision-making.  Without considering a wide range of perspectives, you will miss opportunities or miscalculate pitfalls.

    To make good decisions, you must engage with four types of people.

    1. Your closest colleagues.
    2. Your biggest critics.
    3. Those with fringe opinions.
    4. Those outside everyone’s circle.

    Identify people who fit into each bucket. For big decisions, make a plan to gather information from people in each bucket so that you have complete and realistic input.

    1. Your closest colleagues. This is the easiest group. You know these people. They are your buddies, friends and respected colleagues. You probably share a similar world view and leadership approach. Talk with them and push them to consider other perspectives. When you identify a desirable approach, ask, “If this approach isn’t available, what is another approach to consider?” This question forces a conversation that expands perspectives.

    1. Who do you trust?
    2. Who are your go-to people?
    3. Who are your most trusted colleagues?
    4. Who are you comfortable talking to?

    2. Your biggest critics. Who are the people who always disagree with you? They will argue the point, flag all the problems, and ask annoyingly tough questions. Identify them and seek out their opinions. This can be challenging and it will take a lot of energy so be sure to talk with them when your energy level is high and you can use your mental capacity to truly hear their thoughts and ideas. There is wisdom here if you can hear it.

    1. Who are the people who ask pointed questions?
    2. Who are the contrarians who always have an opposing viewpoint?
    3. Who are the people with whom you regularly disagree?
    4. Who are the people who you don’t really trust?
    5. Who are the people with whom you dread talking?

    3. Those with fringe opinions. Consider a bell curve. It’s likely that the people in buckets 1 and 2 are on either side of the mean in the center of the curve. Who are the people on the tail ends of the curve? These are the people with fringe opinions. They probably don’t have a big following behind their opinions, but you need to hear from them. Innovation doesn’t come from the center of the bell curve, it comes from the far edges. While you may not adopt their perspective fully, you may discover a nugget of truth that should be considered, particularly for long-term decisions.

    1. Who are the people on the fringe of each issue?
    2. Who are the people who speak up but are ignored?
    3. Who are the people talking about topics that make others uncomfortable?
    4. Who are the people that others make fun of?

    4. Those outside everyone’s circle. What are industries adjacent to yours? What industries have gone through an evolution similar to yours? Are you able to identify a few people to talk within those industries? If not, can you research that industry and the issues with which it grappled? There may be powerful learning opportunities from other industries that can inform your thinking or open new ways of perceiving your decision.

    1. What other industries are going through changes like yours? What can you research about the evolution of that industry?
    2. Who do you know in other industries who may have a useful perspective?
    3. Who from another industry has a thought process you respect?

     If you want to make a well-informed decision, take the time to identify people in each of these four buckets and consult with them. Hear their ideas without judgment, let their input sink in and weave it into your decision-making process. The result is enhanced decisions from deeper insight. That’s a key to sound leadership. How well are you considering input from a wide range of sources?

    Share your stories about gathering input from others with Shelley here.

    Shelley Row, P.E., CSP works with executives, managers and organizations to develop insightful leaders who must see beyond the data. Shelley helps you grow the bottom line and reduce workplace drama by bringing you practical techniques in decision-making, motivation and teamwork that are grounded in neuroscience and her executive and engineering experience.  Named by Inc. as a top 100 leadership speaker, she is also a consultant and author. Learn more at www.shelleyrow.com.

  • Uncertainties Can Drive Positive Social Change and Success

    By Johnalee Johnston

    A SPECIAL SECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL

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    A wave of global socioeconomic and political uncertainty has international meetings growth balancing on a hinge. But one simple shift in the status quo could change everything.

    The beginning of last year saw many emerging markets either rise from the ashes of recession or stabilize, while consumer confidence helped advanced economies find their footing mid-year. By the end of 2018, however, the global economy began to tip nostalgically like a paperboy’s hat. Chief Economist and Strategist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff touched on this economic weariness in a recent tweet that analyzed the Federal Open Market Community’s (FOMC) excessive use of the words “risk” and “uncertainty” in its July meeting notes, which were “more than what we saw at any meeting during the Great Recession, as well as the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” he said.

    As the committee within the Federal Reserve System that oversees U.S. monetary policy, recession warnings in the U.S. bond market combined with financial fumbling in the U.K., Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany, as recently reported by CNN, would typically prompt the FOMC to cut interest rates. Yet, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has stated that the committee has never been more divided on the subject; never more uncertain.

    Rosenberg’s observation and the Fed’s indecision give momentum to the 2019 Global Uncertainty Index, a report that measures the frequency of the words “uncertain” or “uncertainty” throughout the newspapers of 20 countries in relation to economic policy. Uncertainty reached record high levels this year and has remained a caveat to global business events. An abundance of socioeconomic drivers—tit-for-tat trade wars and the rising dollar to political uncertainty and personal safety—are hampering the evolution of global events and will likely keep the MICE industry in limbo through 2020.

    Hidden among these challenges, however, is one clear opportunity to leverage uncertainty for positive social change, and thus, strategic growth in global business events.

    Make Events Safe for Everyone

    Perceptions of safety sit at the foundation of the human hierarchy of needs, or Maslow’s pyramid. The same can be said of events. In the U.S., reported hate crimes, defined loosely as crimes motivated by prejudice based on race, gender, religion, etc., are on a five-year upward trend, according to the FBI. Research conducted by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino, and by professors at the University of North Texas and Texas A&M, found significant correlations between hate crimes and ramped up political rhetoric.

    This should be alarming given the sheer diversity of domestic and international delegates, as well as the economic impact that international visitors have on the U.S. economy—an estimated $256 billion in export income last year, says the U.S. Travel Association. It should be alarming, but such political provocations are steadily becoming the norm, placing everyday social discourse somewhere between political essayist Christopher Hitchens’ “Those who are determined to be ‘offended’ will discover a provocation somewhere” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of bad people but for the appalling silence of good people.” Not too surprising, despite its monetary might, international visits to the U.S. have been slowing since 2016.

    Consequently, 2016 was also the year that the dark underbelly of data collection, distribution and utilization as they relate to global politics was exposed on a mass scale. Although the ramifications are still being quantified, we now know that businesses, with the help of powerhouse data gurus like Cambridge Analytica, have the technology to amplify and use our personal biases against us in the democratic process and elsewhere. In other words, data protection hasn’t fully caught up with the technology of data acquisition. In the events realm, where the demand for hyper-personalization sifts sensitive information through many hands, data clearly comes with its own bag of uncertainties.

    American Express Meetings and Events’ recent forecast on global meetings added weather and the offshoots of climate change to the mix of worries. According to the report, European planners say that even with great security and a fantastic price, the uncertainty of weather events—heat waves to increased frequency of extreme weather events—now removes many locations from the table. The International Monetary Fund has gone so far as to report that the “U.S. is expected to see its GDP per capita decline 10.5 percent, China’s by 4.3 percent and the European Union’s by 4.6 percent over the next 81 years.”

    Women Must Rise

    The common denominator to all of the uncertainties that plague the events industry is a topic that is so frequently in the media that it has, in many regards, become social white noise. Gender inequality touches every roadblock to success—economics to the environment—and has historically been negatively associated with per capita GDP growth. Dr. Mara Catherine Harvey, Head Global UHNW Germany, Austria and Italy, addressed this need for “feminine finance” in a recent interview with MPI. “The semantics around money are extremely biased and masculine-oriented,” she said, adding that a 10 percent pay gap women vs. men can lead to a 40 percent wealth and pension gap over a lifetime. The pay gap is closer to 16 and 20 percent in the U.S. and Europe, respectively. After studying lifetime earnings of men and women in 141 countries, the World Bank Group actually put a $160 trillion annual price tag on global gender inequality. If women had the same lifetime earnings as men, global wealth would increase by $23,620 per person, on average, according to the report.

    In a similar vein, women earn the majority of university degrees and account for more than half of the U.S. population, yet—corporate boardrooms to the halls of Congress—hold less than 30 percent of executive positions. Asian, black and Hispanic women account for less than four percent. Research on private firms has shown that managerial gender diversity is related to positive performance outcomes, while board gender diversity significantly improves corporate social responsibility. Women also tend to be more collaborative in work and leadership, more empathetic and much less violent than men; a whopping 95 percent less violent in terms of global homicides, according to the “Global Study on Homicide” report conducted by the United Nations. And in terms of safety, research shows that women in positions of power make other women and minorities feel safer than their male counterparts to report violence, sexual harassment or other gender-based crimes.

    Make Finance Feminine

    The dark cloud of gender inequality also looms over a traditional economics model that takes from Mother Nature, makes and later disposes of goods. Clearly unsustainable, one cannot help but connect the devaluing and disrespect of nature, the force that provides life and protection to all living things, to the lack of equality, respect and positive representation of females in society.

    In the events industry, the snail-paced shift toward sustainable supply chains and other practices keeps pace with the level of gender equality found throughout the industry. While the role of the meeting planner is overwhelmingly occupied by females, for example, top management and C-level positions are still overwhelmingly held by men. This inequality gives way to sexism and sexual harassment, two things that most women have experienced in terms of the professional challenges they have faced.

    The Bottom Line

    The future of global events is inseparably linked to our willingness and ability as an industry to uplift women. When women rise, we all rise.

     

     

    Johnalee Johnston is a wildly creative and curious disruptor of the status quo and MPI’s digital editor.

      

  • Finding the Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Meeting Industry

    By Heather Hansen

    A SPECIAL SECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL

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    I spend a fair amount of time working with entrepreneurs, and I could come up with a host of ways to describe them. These come to mind quickly: passionate, messy, talented, crazy, changers of the world. If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m guessing you aren’t offended by this at all. You know this to be true. There is an honor and a pride in embracing the entrepreneurial spirit.

    But you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to cultivate this spirit. Although innate in many, it is a skill and a way of viewing and acting in the world that can be learned. It is especially helpful in the meeting industry, with its ever-changing trends and constant reinvention.

    One of my favorite definitions came from a Forbes article by Jacquelyn Smith where she wrote, “Entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It’s a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement.” This is what we strive for in MPI!

    Using this definition, you can see how beneficial this viewpoint can be if you:

    • Are a planner looking to stand out with innovative events that wow
    • Are looking to design state-of-the-art meeting space or technology
    • Want to take your talent, experience and original concepts out into the world to serve a niche within the event industry

    An entrepreneur finds the gap and fills it.

    “Professionally, I seem to have always worked with organizations entering a transition phase—being the calm in the storm, assuming additional responsibilities as needed, fixing organizational challenges or managing the change process,” says Sue Alexander, founder of Spire Consulting, who decided to take this skillset and niche it to meeting planning. “I have taken the opportunity to be a consultant working as a change agent or fixer—the 911 of meeting planning.”

    There are many minor nuances and gaps in the meeting industry that provide opportunities for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit.

    Less obvious, but just as powerful, is the opportunity to develop the entrepreneurial spirit within a corporate environment. Research the top companies and you will find the thread of this spirit strongly woven into their culture.

    Big, cutting-edge companies such as Apple, Virgin Group and Amazon are joined by newer pioneers such as Marvel Studios, Peloton and Waze. You can see the benefits of innovation and continuous improvement in these large organizations, but smaller companies benefit as well.

    “At DeSilva Meeting Consultants, a DMC Network Company, we select team members who have their own personal talents and strengths to bring to the table. As a small company, our president, Josh DeSilva, values everyone’s opinions and includes everyone on the team when a major business decision needs to be made,” says Lauren Manuel, DeSilva account executive and president-elect of the MPI Aloha Chapter. “He counts on every one of us to shine in our own way, keeping the values of our company in mind. The trust he has for our team allows us to have an entrepreneurial spirit. Because of that, I feel we are more creative and productive, resulting in a higher level of efficiency and quality in our work.”

    The term “Let the spirit move you…” strikes a cord. The entrepreneurial spirit is a moving energy. It isn’t stagnant. It’s driving. Always changing, growing. Like each of us here at MPI.

    If you are looking to generate an entrepreneurial spirit within you or at your company, there are specific tips that can help.

    5 Tips to Cultivate an Entrepreneurial Spirit

    1. Quieting the chaos. Sometimes the noise all around us can mask an inner fire. Getting away and quieting the incessant barrage of technology, requests and demands is exactly what you need to listen and encourage the inner entrepreneur.
    2. Constant development. Reading, researching or experiencing things outside your arena and expertise can stimulate creativity. Take a class that you’ve always been interested in and I guarantee it will trigger an inspired idea.
    3. Physical movement. Often I hear that the first thing that goes in the busy schedule of a meeting professional is exercise. Little do we understand, the time moving your body in a way that you enjoy (this part is important—if you hate running, choose something else!) generates more energy, ideas and dreams than you could even incorporate. Warning: Plan to use your phone or a journal to record your thoughts right afterward because they can be fleeting.
    4. Nurture with nature. Listening to waves, taking a walk or communing with nature in general has a powerful capacity to stimulate ideas. Notice the colors, shapes, sounds and scents outside and incorporate them into your themes—I’d love to hear how this worked for you.
    5. Right connections. Surround yourself with people who know more than you, who are forward focused, optimistic and empowering. Nothing can pull more out of you than the right, positive connection.

    As you can see, fostering the entrepreneurial spirit is beneficial within all areas of the meeting industry. You’ll spark your own imagination. You’ll disrupt the industry with new ideas, technologies and creative solutions. You’ll pave the way to the next generation of meetings. We need your spirit!

     

    Heather is an award-winning keynote speaker, author and connection expert helping associations and companies create better leaders and more cohesive teams. She’s also the immediate past president of the MPI WestField Chapter and a recommended MPI facilitator. Learn more at http://www.HeatherHansenONeill.com.

  • CEIR Announces 2019 Third Quarter Results

    Exhibition Industry Continues to Grow Modestly

    DALLAS, 12 December 2019 – The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports that growth of the exhibition industry continued during the third quarter of 2019. The CEIR Total Index, a measure of exhibition industry performance, posted a modest year-over-year gain of 0.6% (see Figure 1) even though it under-performed the overall economy as reflected in the inflation-adjusted GDP (see Figure 2). While the performance during the third quarter was weaker than the first two quarters of the year, it was a slight improvement over the same quarter in 2018 when it registered a year-over-year anemic gain of 0.2%.

    Figure 1: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2011Q1-2019Q3

    Figure 2: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry vs. Quarterly Real GDP, Year-over-Year Growth, 2008Q1-2019Q3

    “The growth of the exhibition industry should pick up the pace moderately during the fourth quarter of the year through the first half of next year despite uncertainties surrounding trade negotiations with China and slowing world economic growth,” said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

    Communications and Information Technology; Building, Construction, Home & Repair; and Food all registered robust year-over-year gains. In contrast, Education; Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services; and Raw Materials and Science posted year-over-year declines.

    All exhibition metrics in the third quarter posted positive year-over-year gains except net square feet (NSF) (Figures 3 and 4). Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) and exhibitors posted the largest increases of 1.7% and 0.6%, respectively. Attendees rose a modest 0.5% and net square feet (NSF) dropped 0.3%.

    Figure 3: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2019Q3

    Figure 4: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2009-2019Q3

    “In line with the macroeconomy, the growth of the exhibition industry has continued but at a slower pace,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM. “The growth during the first three quarters indicates that the exhibition industry is on track to register a ninth consecutive year of growth, albeit slowing growth as was forecasted by our economist in the 2019 CEIR Index Report.

    In addition to compiling the quarterly exhibition index, CEIR also offers analytical tools, an annual in-depth report and an outlook conference. The CEIR Event Performance Analyzer provides exhibition organizers with a tool to measure how an event is performing in its sector, as well as in the overall industry. The CEIR Index Report provides an economic overview of the exhibition industry, including key indicators for growth, and includes a three-year forecast for the business-to-business exhibitions and events industry. Together, these resources provide insights for developing business strategies and goals.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

    ###

    Media Inquiries:
    Mary Tucker
    +1(972) 687-9226
    mtucker@ceir.org

  • Why You Need Detailed Customer Profiles.

    By MPI

    A SPECIAL SECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL

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    This article was originally published by Planyourmeetings.com

    As an executive, sales professional or member of a large team, you know how important it is to do your homework. More specifically, you need a full view of your clients or customers, so you know what you’re walking into—and what kind of pitch or interaction will work best. After all, how can you engage someone directly, without knowing who they are and what they’re all about?

    SWOT

    That’s exactly where the concept of SWOT Analysis comes into play. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) is a remarkably useful technique to help you identify your audience and get a foothold in the market.

    In business, it’s all about carving and targeting a sustainable niche. You learn as much as you possibly can about a rival party or client, before meeting or interacting. This gives you the resources and the preparedness to land an appropriate deal, pitch or engagement.

    Obviously, it’s impossible to conduct a SWOT analysis before every single meeting or event, but you can integrate this into a mobile app strategy to help facilitate this as much as possible. This is possible thanks to customer profiles or customer profiling. Personalized, customer profiles that allow the storage, organization and retrieval of data regarding a user or demographics.

    Think of it as a 360-degree account view, which provides the big picture, at least as it pertains to your audience and customers.

    How does this work?

    The option to automatically upload customer profile data can open new doors for you and your team. For example, before a meeting, you can look up any user or customer within the app, peruse their profile, read additional insights and connected data and then dive back into the real world. But once you’re prepared, you can face those customers or clientele with full confidence.

    The best part is that the experience and information provided can be customized by the leading company, your business, which helps set the tone for your successes, needs, gaps, revenue, industry and more. And all of this can provide an impromptu pre-briefing of sorts. It’s the pre-game before the big game day.

    This is all a form of customer identity management, which makes interactions and engagement with your audience more personal. This permeates even down to the customers themselves, who can see what meetings, briefings and events they attended, and how they contributed, if at all.

    It’s a simple process, and all the components are streamlined, conventional in a personal profile sense. For example, you have the standard profile image or images, a brief bio or blurb about the person, detailed insights and interactions, and more.

    When a client or potential customer walks right up to you, you will recognize them instantly thanks to the profile data associated with them. This pushes meetings and agendas into the spotlight more, as you never have to walk into a room or venue and learn who is who. You know, simply because you (or someone in your organization) has interacted with them before, in some small way, creating a rich customer insight legacy.

    75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that recognizes them and makes recommendations based on personal history. So, you want them to be more recognizable.

    Not only does this build stronger, more reliable relationships but it also provides a deeper level of context to meeting your customers in-person. Furthermore, you can see how interactions and engagement play out through all the steps across pre, during, and post-meeting touch points.

    A final, more resolute way to look at it is you’re building customer profiles and collective databases for sales enablement. Every team can leverage the insights and data collected on your audience, from marketing and sales to second-level management and board members. This enables a more efficient, more interactive and much more personal community.

     

    MPI is the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide and has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals including more than 18,000 engaged members in more than 90 chapters and clubs in 19 countries. “When we meet, we change the world.” http://www.mpi.org

  • Healthy Giveaways to Get Your Wellness Program Moving

    Workplace stress has risen 20% over the last 30 years, with nearly 60% of Americans saying that work is a significant source of stress. Discover ways to ease workplace tension by offering wellness programs for your employees with 4imprint.

     Editorial Staff on November 18, 2019

    Originally published by 4imprint on November 04, 2019

    Workplace wellness is on the rise, with 80% of businesses offering programs ranging from health fairs to exercise classes to healthy giveaways. However, while many businesses want to help their employees take better care of themselves, they sometimes struggle with employee participation.

    In this edition of our Blue Papers® we talk about the benefits of a strong wellness program, the barriers to participation, and how to encourage employees to take the first step in getting healthier.

    Benefits of wellness programs

    In many ways, employee wellness programs also make companies healthier. Creating and maintaining strong health and wellness initiatives offers benefits for both your staff and your business.

    It can help employees manage stress

    Workplace stress has risen 20% over the last 30 years, with nearly 60% of Americans saying that work is a significant source of stress. Implementing healthy practices, like mindfulness or yoga, as part of a wellness program can help reduce employee anxiety, depression and stress.

    It improves recruiting and retention

    Wellness programs also offer benefits that can affect your bottom line. About 87% of employees consider health and wellness benefits when deciding whether to take a job. And only 25% of employees at a company with a health and wellness program say they intend to leave their job in the next year—vs. 51% of employees at companies without wellness programs.

    P2-4Imprint_US-WellnessPrograms-InlineGraphics-2

    It has a great ROI for employees

    For every dollar you invest in employee wellness, employees recoup between $1.40 and $4.60 in medical costs and productivity losses.

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    It has a great ROI for your business

    When your employees use wellness programs to make important lifestyle changes, you’ll recoup more than $350 in productivity for every employee. Employees are also less likely to miss work, more engaged with their workplace, and 67% more satisfied with their jobs than those who work at a company without an employee wellness program.

    Breaking down wellness walls

    Though the benefits of wellness programs are obvious, getting employees to participate in them can be a challenge. Reasons employees say they don’t participate include:

    • Lack of time: 63% of employees say they aren’t willing to devote more than an hour per day to improve their health and well-being.
    • Lack of interest: If employees don’t know that a wellness program exists, they wouldn’t know which parts might interest them. Or if they feel the incentives to participate aren’t worth the time, they may choose to avoid the wellness program altogether.

    Also, if your company doesn’t dedicate resources to provide a variety of wellness initiatives, employees may become bored or may not be interested at all. Forming a walking group during lunch is a no-cost option, but funding speakers or educational materials would take your program to the next level.

    Breaking down the walls to wellness

    With so many potential benefits, helping employees break down (or climb over) their walls to wellness will make your workplace healthier and happier. Here are some ways to help staff walk the wellness path.

    1. Spread awareness

    Only 60% of employees are aware that their company has a wellness program. Simply making everyone aware of the program and the pieces of it that may interest them—whether it’s free flu shots or an indoor walking group—may be all it takes to get them to take their first steps. Consider:

    • Sharing updates, incentives and wellness challenges through a monthly newsletter.
    • Setting up a wellness portal that lets employees track their progress.
    • Bringing in guest speakers to offer wellness tips or explain the benefits of your wellness program.

    P3-4Imprint_US-WellnessPrograms-InlineGraphics-3

    GOAL High School in Pueblo, Colorado, goes out of its way to get staff involved in their wellness program—and gives them frequent updates about benefits of the program. “We decided that in order for our students to thrive in their blended online educational environment, we needed to make sure our staff was healthy,” said Enrollment & Wellness Coordinator Shannon Lovato. “We send out information about the health benefits that our insurance provides that they might not be aware of. Things like lunch and learns and other content they can use.”

    2. Implement the program gradually

    Presented with a long checklist of wellness items, some people will become overwhelmed and elect not to do anything at all. Consider ramping up your program over months or years to get all the pieces in place.

    GOAL High School takes a “rounded” approach to wellness, using the 8 dimensions of wellness to create a wellness wheel:

    • Emotional
    • Environmental
    • Financial
    • Intellectual
    • Occupational
    • Physical
    • Social
    • Spiritual

    “You really want to get that wheel to roll,” Lovato said. “What do you do well? Eat well, get to the gym every day? Are you struggling on the financial side?”

    To keep the wheel moving, they focus on a different dimension of wellness each month. “This month, for example, we focused on occupational wellness,” Lovato said. “What is it? What things can you do to increase it? Do you have a tidy desk? Are you really in a job that makes you thrive?”

    To get people thinking about the dimensions, they start the school year off with wellness program giveaways that represent each aspect of wellness. “We gave out portion control containers, financial planning sheets, a massage tool and other items to make sure people are thinking about all kinds of wellness,” Lovato said.

    Approaching the different aspects of wellness this way helps people work on every dimension without having to address all of them at once.

    3. Provide time for wellness

    Because employees frequently struggle to find time to devote to wellness outside of work, consider offering them opportunities to get healthy during their workday:

    • Allow employees time for a 30-minute walk or use your company gym.
    • Provide healthy snacks like fruits and nuts to help them eat better.
    • Turn conference room meetings into walking meetings.
    • Start each day with a five-minute meditation.

    4. Find ways to make wellness more fun

    Getting healthier can feel like a chore. Find ways to encourage competition or just make the process more enjoyable.

    • Get employees together for a weight loss challenge.
    • See who can walk the most steps in a day, week or month.
    • Create a healthy recipe exchange group.
    • Compete to see who can create (and eat) the healthiest lunch.

    Offer small health giveaways as prizes for the winners—or even just for competing.

    ChromaScape in Twinsburg, Ohio, used basketball season to create a “March Wellness” challenge using a Basketball Stress Reliever and a themed wellness contest.

    “All our associates got a ball, and it helped to create buzz around the office,” said Employment and Benefits Manager Amanda Hatfield. “Plus, it was a fun way to reduce stress in meetings. We make a bracket, with the goal to pick one habit and stick to it for five weeks.”

    In the first “bracket” everyone chose an activity, from bringing a healthy lunch from home to exercising for 30 minutes a day. Participants who made it through the challenge were entered into a gift card raffle.

    The reminders, wellness program giveaways and incentives from the challenge led to long-term benefits as well. “We definitely had some success stories,” Hatfield said. “People who lost weight and kept it off, people who continue to lose weight, even people who are still making sure they’re drinking enough water in a day.”

    5. Set personalized attainable goals

    Whether it’s walking three nights a week or quitting smoking, let employees choose which wellness goals they want to work on and then monitor it to help them be more successful.

    6. Choose employee leaders

    Having employees encourage other staff members to get involved in wellness challenges and take part in the program can be a powerful motivator to encourage participation.

    GOAL High School uses MicroSoft Teams® to let staff share their wellness interests. “When you get the staff to invest and get them to lead and get them to run with it, you’re able to get staff more involved,” Lovato said. “We have a channel for all dimensions of wellness. There’s one for crafty people, for example, and if you ‘like’ the channel, you can follow it.”

    7. Incorporate wearables

    Offering employees a step tracker can be a simple and creative method to encourage people to improve their wellness. Even if the healthy giveaway encourages employees to take just a few more steps per day, over time those steps add up.

    “We buy Fitbits® for every staff member who wants one,” Lovato said. “The tagline for GOAL is ‘Change Your World,’ so we have a walking program called ‘Walk Your World’ to see how many steps the staff takes, to see how many times we can walk around the world.”

    8. Spread out incentives over time

    Offering a single incentive for achieving a goal is helpful, but not as helpful as offering a variety of incentives over time. By encouraging employees to keep building a habit, you’ll help them make healthy choices that turn into life changes. A single incentive encourages them to do something for a few weeks in order to win a prize.

    Walking the road to wellness

    Healthy giveaways and employee wellness programs offer major benefits to both employee and company health. Every time you encourage an employee to eat better, take a walk or try meditation, you’re investing in their well-being—and yours.

     

  • CEIR Predict Recap 2019

    Have you wondered what insights and trends are shared at #CEIRPredict? Read the recap from our CEIR team.

    By Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM

    CEIR Predict Recap 1

    Using Marketing Disruptors to Launch Innovation, supported by Visionary Partner GES, looked at the challenges facing corporate marketers. Moderated by Arjun Chakravarti, SVP, Analytics & Insights, GES and panelist Mike Lakas, Vice President of Information Technology & Operations, American Foundry Society. Insights provided by Dr. Tom Steenburgh, of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business discussed the sales processes for existing products versus new products entering the market, and the changing nature of selling driven by technology. Dr. Steenburgh notes that the selling process is much more difficult today. As an example, automobile sales in the past were controlled by the sales staff. With the Internet, customers are becoming much smarter, especially B2B customers, making them more knowledgeable than maybe even the salesperson responsible for the sales of the product. Buyers have access to information online and are doing their homework before they make the purchase. He asserts the market will reward companies that give power to the buyer. B2B exhibitions have an opportunity to contribute to the two-way conversation, helping exhibitors save money lost to inefficiencies, as it is getting harder to engage face-to-face with prospective buyers. There needs to be the right mix of product experts and smart salespeople at the exhibition. The biggest marketing opportunity today is content marketing; there is a need to generate more of the right content at the right time. Trade shows are an excellent medium for CMO’s to leverage, they struggle with content generation. Trade shows are rich with relevant content that can be curated for this purpose.

    CEIR Predict Recap 2

    A lively conversation on Trade, Technology and Infrastructure Funding was moderated by Voices in Advocacy Roger Rickard with Nancy Drapeau, PRC, CEIR’s VP of Research; John Paxton, COO & CEO Designate, Materials Handling Industry Association (MHI) and Bill Reinsch, Scholl Chair in International Business, Center for Strategic and International Studies. CEIR conducted a survey assessing the impact of trade tariffs on the exhibitions industry. Seventy-five percent of organizers responding to the survey believe trade tariffs are having a negative impact on the industry. Over half, 56% of surveyed executives at organizations that have held shows in 2018 through July 2019, report their events have sustained impacts as a result of these trade tariff policies. Forty-eight percent sustained exhibitor participation impacts and 36% with attendance. Unfortunately, where impacts have occurred, they are predominantly negative. 82% of those reporting exhibitor participation impacts say they have sustained exhibit sales losses and among those encountering attendance impacts, 76% report lower registration. Declines are coming largely from countries where the trade tariff issues are in play as well as domestically, suggesting negative effects due to global supply chain issues. To access trade survey results, go HERE.

    To counter the impact, organizer executives are using aggressive marketing and sales efforts to maximize exhibit sales and attendance, and they are looking to diversify domestically, as well as international attendance in regions not impacted by the tariffs. Bill Reinsch predicted that U.S. – China relations will most likely be strained for another year.

    The supply chain is shortening with companies having closer access to customers. Exhibition organizers need to focus on their technologies strategies and make their show live year-around. The environment around trade is changing rapidly and organizers need to be agile in order to respond to the current world events as the situation demands.

    CEIR Predict Recap 3

    The Show as a Financial Instrument and Source of Funding was a topic moderated by Andy Macey, EVP of Global Strategy Practice at Freeman with panelists Brett Conradt, Managing Director, Stax, Inc.; Simon Kimble, Executive Chairman, Clarion Events Ltd. And Kerry Smith, Divisional President, Marketing & Media Group, Access Intelligence LLC.

    For most associations, the trade show is their greatest financial asset and yet for many association organizers, consideration has not necessarily been given on investments that can grow their shows. In light of shifting trends, events need to continuously evolve. Corporate events, for example, are marketing events. These events invest in high premium experiences whose purpose is to create a funnel of customers. Association organizers might want to look at a corporate event for inspiration and adapt some of the offerings to deliver more impactful, creative experiences.

    If funding is a challenge, associations may not have considered seeking outside funding to take their show to the next level. Panelists noted that equity partners are open to considering minority investments where the association maintains ownership of the brand and the investor works to grow or expand the event globally, as an example.

    For those who might be interested in exploring an outside investor, some insights shared on helping a prospective funder determine if an event is a candidate for funding:

    • Investors are more interested in making minority investments with the association maintaining control.
    • To help decide whether an investment is worthwhile, prospective funders are looking for discussions based on available data to help discern the growth potential for an event, such as: revenue growth over time, return rate on attendees, attrition and the reason(s) why attendees and/or exhibitors do not return, net promotor score, an understanding on the connection of the community to the event.
    • There needs to be good strategic alignment. Interest in outside investment cannot be based on just the money, but rather a good alignment/interest in making the show better.

    CEIR appreciates the support and partnership with Freeman in producing this session.

    CEIR Predict Recap 4

    A Deep Dive Panel Discussion on Macro Factors Impacting the Economy, as well as trade shows was moderated by Vincent Polito of mdg with panelists Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); Dennis Slater CEO of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist, Stifel Fixed Income. Ms. Piegza provided an insightful look at what is occurring in the economy and indicators to watch:

    • Economic conditions are moderate in the U.S. with waning momentum
    • Companies are still hiring, although less robust. Specific industries are more robust than others
    • Trade tariffs will disrupt business and will result in direct or indirect consumer price increases
    • There is international uncertainty weighing on markets as yields retreat
    • Policymakers are not reaching any type of consensus on most issues

    Both AEM and NAHB have experienced declining international attendance due to the lack of a trade deal. The construction industry is a leading indicator for the exhibitions industry. NAHB has found that building is booming where it is less regulated; the cost of regulatory compliance is 25 percent higher where it exists. Housing, for instance, is robust in urban markets where government compliance is less regulated. In the agriculture industry, tariffs are putting a burden on machinery, increasing cost by seven percent, resulting in lowered earnings. Farmers are not able to sell crops which is contributing to an economic slowdown.

    Jobs in construction and manufacturing are hard to fill with qualified employees. It was the immigrants that helped build America and immigration needs to be addressed. This combined with young people who have a negative view of these types of jobs has resulted in a labor shortage in these sectors. High school counselors are directing students to four-year colleges rather than technical schools. This, along with losing many people to opioid addiction is contributing to the shortage.

    In summary, the economy is poised to sustain slow, low growth, below one percent. Although Ms. Piegza does not see a 2008-style recession, she compared it to more like a balloon that is slowing losing air with lower positive numbers, lower job growth and lower GDP. The U.S. has the largest potential as a global economy, and if it can get its fiscal policy in line, there could be a higher level of growth.

    CEIR Predict Recap 5

    The Harris Poll’s John Gerzema, who is the CEO of Harris Insights and Analytics provided insights into Trends Shaping Our Future. Mr. Gerzema set the stage for the panel discussion by revealing the Top 25 Trends impacting, or beginning to impact, society today. Monitoring trends and being proactive in questioning how emerging trends might impact exhibitions are helpful in developing proactive strategies. Some of the trends poised to impact trade, and consumer events, are being driven by the Gen Z generation, currently ages 13 to 24, who want and expect frictionless, instant and trackable insta-convenience; they expect same day responses from companies. Cashless payments using mobile phones is expected to move fast. Corporate social responsibility is a strong trend, as well as a company being authentic to its brand, reflecting their customer base.

    In the follow up panel discussion between moderator Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes of mdg, John Gerzema joined Michelle Mason, CAE, FASAE, President & CEO, Association Forum and Don Pazour, CEO of Access Intelligence discussed the trends and their possible impact on the exhibitions. The rich content of this session will be shared in articles delving into the trends and considerations for trade shows.

    Thank You, Partners!

    CEIR Predict Sponsors

  • New Research on the Environmental Impact of Uber vs. Traditional Conference Transportation

    Greta Thunberg’s voice is echoing all over the world as she passionately states her case about climate change and its impact on our planet.  This is not a topic unfamiliar to event and meeting planners.  Increasingly, planners are looking at every aspect of the carbon footprint left in the wake of their meetings and events.  Senior management and organization boards are asking planners questions like “How much plastic is being thrown away at our events?”, “How much food waste are we generating?” and “Is ride sharing more environmentally friendly than scheduled shuttle buses?”

    Event Transportation Systems (ETS) has also been thinking about the impact of shuttling meeting attendees between hotels and meeting venues, and recently published the study “A Comparison Between the Emissions of Shuttle Buses and Ride-sharing for Event Transportation Services.”  You might think ride sharing is the more environmentally friendly transportation option, but according to the study, “Once you break down the emissions generated to a per-passenger amount, the numbers tell a different story…scientific analysis of vehicle emissions shows that even at peak efficiency, ride sharing still has a larger carbon footprint than traditional shuttle bus systems.”

    The author considered EPA CO2e (CO2 equivalent) emissions produced for each vehicle type per mile, inclusive of the two other main greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide. It is no surprise that buses produce much more greenhouse emissions on a per mile basis, but when adjusted for the number of passengers on board a bus, the conclusion is that buses actually produce around 35% less emissions per passenger across all occupant capacity utilizations (how much of the vehicle is filled up with passengers).

    It’s not until bus ridership falls below 10 passengers when shuttles catch up with ride share emissions output, but with proper planning of shuttle bus routes and frequency, the number of buses with fewer than 10 passengers can be greatly reduced.

    So, if you’re a planner and are asked about the environmental impact of transportation services for events, you can come armed with data in your response demonstrating that in comparison to ride- sharing, event shuttle buses produce a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

    Lisa Lanna is General Manager of Newsday Communications, the sponsorship division of Event Transportation Systems (ETS), creating opportunities for association clients to generate revenue while promoting organizational and sponsor messaging. She helps clients produce and distribute video content across multiple communication channels, executes the production and installation of shuttle graphics, and provides sales support to associations for video and shuttle bus graphic advertising. As General Manager of Newsday, she manages operations, marketing and an advertising sales team. She also manages marketing and communications for ETS. She has more than 20 years of success in executing new product and program launches in the travel industry, and brings diverse experience in marketing, product development, and implementing technology solutions to support sales and marketing efforts. Previously, Lisa held management positions with organizations including the Global Business Travel Association; US Travel Association; the travel division of National Trust for Historic Preservation; and the Smithsonian Institution.

  • The Expo! Expo! Hosted Buyer Program

    The Expo! Expo! Hosted Buyer Program – The best way to maximize your experience at Expo! Expo!

    • Customized engagement with the solution providers in the Expo! Expo! marketplace
    • Facilitated networking experiences
    • Full access to the Expo! Expo! education program
    • Exclusive amenity lounge throughout the event

    Program Includes:

    • Full Registration to IAEE Expo! Expo! 2019 – valued $1,099 (regular member rate)
    • Includes access to 3 days of educational sessions, general sessions, Opening Reception, Annual Luncheon, Closing Party and exhibit hours (excludes CEM Courses)
    • Up to $500 (up to $750 for buyers based outside of North America) to assist with travel costs (paid after event upon completion of onsite commitments and receipt submission)
    • Access to the hosted buyer lounge (complimentary refreshments and Wi-Fi)
    • Customized hosted buyer show orientation on Tuesday, 3 December at 8:30 a.m. PT
    • Complimentary hosted buyer reception on Wednesday, 4 December at 4:30 p.m. PT

    Qualification Includes:

    • New IAEE Member as of 1 January 2019 or Active Member who has not attended Expo! Expo! since 2015, or Active Member who has never attended Expo! Expo!
    • Event/Exhibition organizers only
    • To qualify for the program, participants must be a decision maker for organizations’ events and/or exhibitions
    • To qualify for the program, participants must be Manager level or higher

     

  • CEIR RELEASES NEW INDUSTRY INSIGHTS REPORT

    DALLAS, 7 October 2019 – The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announces a new Industry Insights Series Report, Demystifying Electrical Services for the Exhibitor, a staple in the CEIR library updated by Immediate Past President of ESCA Richard P. Curran, CEO and President of Expo Convention Contractors. This report was originally authored by Steven Hagstette, Sr., who has since retired from Freeman as Senior Vice President, Nevada Region.

    This report is a must-read for new exhibitors who want to minimize exhibiting expenses, as Curran delineates a step-by-step process on how to determine how much electrical power is needed for a booth; how to clearly lay out where to install power; and other tips and tricks on how to minimize cost and time.

    “With a little knowledge and pre-planning, you can have a smooth set up and save your company money as well,” advocates Curran.

    “The logistics of planning an exhibit booth are essential to do well,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP. “The devil is in the details. Thinking about what electrical power is needed for a booth and ordering it properly helps exhibitors save money and avoid headaches! Read this report to understand what to do. CEIR thanks Rich, Steve and ESCA for offering their extensive expertise on this subject.”

    This seven-page report provides a process to follow to order electrical services in a way that minimizes expenses and helps ensure a smooth installation. It includes discussion on:

    • Determining specifics relating to ordering electric power:
      • Calculating how much is needed
      • Timing of power – 24 hours or less?
      • Placement of power equipment in a booth
    • Submitting an order that clearly delineates where power equipment is to be placed in a booth
    • Submitting labor orders that help avoid higher labor rates
    • A checklist of action items to help save money and time

    Click here to download the full report. IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost – a benefit of IAEE membership.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

  • Why AV in event planning is a priority over food service

    By Scott Stedronsky

    A SPECIAL SECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL

    MPI blue logo

    [This article was originally published by MPI Chicago Area Chapter.]

    It’s one of the first things event planners ruminate over as they get the go-ahead to execute the next big corporate confab: What food to serve attendees. Among event planning priorities, yes, the menu is important, but not at the very outset.

    Of course, in the end everything matters. As you build and execute by securing hotel accommodations, travel, entertainment, decorations, table settings and every other detail imaginable to create a singular experience, none of these should be the initial focal point of your planning concerns.

    First Priority: Know Thy Objective

    Your event should mean business. Consider why this event is being planned and presented in the first place and how it will support, reinforce or alter corporate perception, internally or outwardly.

    Is the company rallying the sales team for the coming year? Launching a new product or brand campaign? Highlighting organization and personnel achievements? Ultimately, every high-impact event has a mission to produce an outcome that management cares about.

    The content and messaging of an event is the most important part of the proceedings. How they’re planned and executed means the difference between delivering a predictable mundane corporate presentation or a real experience that leaves your attendees with a lasting impression, which is where the AV planning comes into play.

    Getting this right is where you’ll ultimately be judged. And that’s the primary reason to sort out how you’ll execute the event.

    So, before spending another second thinking about anything else, consider how the message is conveyed between the people presenting and the people listening, watching and experiencing.

    Why the Audio Visual Matters First

    Why AV in Event Planning is Priority Over Food Service 2

    Here are the reasons why AV and event staging need to be thought of far higher in your event planning priorities.

    AV planning helps you understand if you only need a meeting… or require a show. This goes back to the event objectives we mentioned. Conferring with an event specialist can help you resolve what the event requires. A smaller gathering will mean a less involved plan. The greater the stakes, AV becomes more elaborate and complex. Ultimately, how much goes into an event and its size depends greatly on objective, audience and budget.

    AV planning helps you understand the venue. All event spaces are not created equal. Some are easy. Others, present some rather unique challenges.

    Experienced event staging companies will insist on a site-walkthrough. Adding this process to your even planning priorities can reveal all kinds issues to get an event to the level that you expect it to be, allowing for course corrections and alternatives to be planned well before they present significant issues later.

    AV planning helps you organize. There are all kinds of event planning guides for event planners, but the technical execution requires its own process. High-level event specialists tightly organize every phase of development and execution. They work with planners and walk through the entire AV and staging game plan and event design, detailing what happens before, during and after to anticipate challenges and maintain zero guesswork.

    They should also supply proof of process. Ask for a visible and demonstrable workflow planning and execution procedure that tightly organizes every step of an event, from designing the staging, lighting and sound for the venue, all they way down to post-event breakdown.

    Why AV in Event Planning is Priority Over Food Service 3

    AV planning helps you budget accurately. By understanding event requirements, you arm yourself with the precise equipment, services and technical staff your event needs, contracted up front. Better yet, this eliminates casualty runs for missing or added equipment that can add cost to an event. That reduces last-minute and rush labor charges.

    And as you focus in on what the audiovisual specialists will deliver, you’ll want to ensure the venue dials back on its in-house AV requirements. These hotel packages include equipment and services you won’t need, with hidden charges that can surprise you at the event’s conclusion. AV pros can review the contract and supply guidance on how to reduce or avoid those costs.

    Let us reiterate that nothing is unimportant when planning and executing an event. Every detail matters, including the food. Just bear in mind by prioritizing AV support at the start of your event planning priorities, you’ll increase the likelihood of dishing up an event that satisfies all attendees’ appetites.

    This piece first appeared on the Stage Right, Inc. blog.

    Audiovisual Rental and Staging Professional.
    Principal at Stage Right, Inc.

  • Technology has increased the opportunity for interruption.

    Originally published by 4imprint on September 28, 2015

    Interruption overload—How to minimize distractions at work

    We’re all living in a disruption society. Hundreds if not thousands of new email messages hit our inbox every day. Social media notifications pop up around the clock. With all of these daily distractions how is a professional supposed to stay focused? And to an even greater degree, as a leader how do you help your team minimize distraction to maintain productivity and produce innovative ideas?

    Companies looking to stay relevant need laser-focused leaders who are free from distraction with clear vision, inspiration for innovative new approaches and an environment that fosters teamwork. This Blue Paper® will explore our disruptive culture and provide tools for instilling clarity and calm to your team. We may not be able to escape interruption, but we can learn to manage it!

    Our disruptive culture

    Interruptions have always been a part of life—both personally and professionally. Even during the 1800s, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the effects of interruptions and distractions, writing “[we] … seek out distractions in order to stay mentally busy so we can avoid facing up to the big questions.”[1]

    Interruptions in the workplace may differ from those “big questions” we face in our personal lives, but broadly defined, interruptions are any occurrences that delay us as we attempt to make progress on tasks.[2] They can be categorized as external annoyances and internal, or self-distractions. An external annoyance could be a loud coworker talking just outside your office, and an internal distraction could be your urge to check social media every hour (and, thus, to avoid making progress on a new project).

    Technology has increased the opportunity for interruption in workplaces because social and mobile technologies have changed the way employees create, share and communicate.[3]

    Social media networks have become important communication mediums, as well as integral parts of business and marketing strategies. The use of social media networks among American adult Internet users is highlighted in figure 1.[4]

    P1 4imprint_Interruptions_BPGraphic

    Figure 1: Percent of online adults using social media sites[5]

    Expanding social media platforms increases the opportunity for interruption and distraction among workers, especially since each platform fights for its users’ attention.[6]

    While older than social media networks, email remains an important—albeit often distracting—aspect of the American workplace. It’s estimated that U.S. workers spend an average of 3.2 hours a day devoted to checking and responding to work-related emails.[7] Even with the growth of social media and workplaces trying to explore communication and productivity tools aside from email, Kristin Naragon of Adobe® Systems Inc. says, “Email is and will remain a cornerstone of the workplace culture.” Not only does email take up a significant amount of employees’ work hours, but switching tasks, which often occurs when email notifications interrupt focus on other tasks, reduces efficiency and can even lower intelligence.[8]

    The opportunity for workplace interruption isn’t greater merely because of networks, but because of the technologies that allow us to view those networks’ notifications, messages and correspondence at any time. By early 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone, with Americans of all ages citing text messaging, social networking, using the Internet, making phone calls and checking emails as the top features and uses of their smartphones.[9] Smartphones, as well as other mobile technology such as laptops and tablets, allow us to have most, if not all, of our communications at our fingertips. From responding to email and social network notifications to browsing the Internet to making phone calls, technology allows us to be reached—and interrupted—24/7.

    Mobile and social technology, coupled with more traditional forms of workplace interruptions, make you and your team prone to workplace distraction. Before delving into practical ways for you and your team to adapt to and manage increasing workplace interruptions, leaders must understand the pros and cons associated with such distraction.

    The pros and cons of interrupted work

    Interruptions can, perhaps surprisingly, offer benefits to you and your organization. If an employee is completing a task incorrectly, interruption is a means to intervene, and in work situations where tasks are repetitive or viewed as mundane, interruptions may even increase productivity.[10] Organizations and individuals who find ways to control interruptions and distractions may find them more beneficial than those often associated with a lack of control or plans.

    Despite some potential benefits, interruptions are often viewed negatively—for good reason. Focus is the key driver of employees’ creativity and innovation, leading to increased work effectiveness, performance and satisfaction. Yet, interruptions lead to a loss of focus.[11]

    Gloria Mark, a University of California–Irvine professor who studies digital distraction, notes that studies show employees only have an average of three minutes of consistent focus before they are externally distracted or self-interrupted.[12] These seemingly constant interruptions and subsequent lack of focus negatively affect you, your team and ultimately, your organization. “Interruptions that are unpredictable and cannot be controlled result in more stress and affect task performance,” Mark says. Digital media, such as instant messaging or email, cause greater distraction and stress than face-to-face interruptions.

    Leaders who are number-crunchers and determine actions merely based on the bottom-line may be interested to note that businesses lose more than $650 billion annually in productivity and innovation because of interruptions.[13] Interruptions cost money—a significant amount every year.

    While interruptions may offer occasional benefits to you, your team and your organization, they often negatively affect employees and organizations. With expanding communication mediums and advancing technologies, learning how to adapt and manage such interruptions may improve the health of your team and your organization.

    Disrupt growing disruption: Strategies to get the job done

    While self-awareness is essential in helping individual employees manage workplace interruptions, organizational culture and policies play an important role in minimizing these growing disruptions.

    Marty Martin, author of “Taming Disruptive Behavior,” says some disruptions can be not only minimized, but potentially eliminated from the workplace, if managers help their employees assess and address them.[14] Managers can help employees make a personalized plan to address disruptions, which may tackle disruptions ranging from a noisy cubicle location to a reevaluation of how an entire workplace uses email. Increasing focus and productivity through minimizing distractions should be an employer and employee effort.

    Here are some ways you, your team and your organization can foster a focused, minimally disruptive work environment.

    Manage time and space

    Instead of responding to an email or phone call each time you receive a new one, batch your communications by scheduling a few times during your work day to respond to emails and return phone calls.

    Brian Tracy, a thought leader on personal and business development, explains in his book, “Time Management,” “Batching your tasks simply means doing similar things at the same time … [and] allows you to reduce the time required to complete each task by as much as 80 percent ….”[15]

    Your industry, position, organization and other work tasks will help determine how often you should schedule time to respond to email and phone calls, but as Tracy suggests, you’re losing momentum, clarity and productivity in more important tasks when you are “slave” to your email and phone. With expanding social media platforms, a similar approach should be taken for your social media accounts.

    Aside from emails, phone calls and social media, workplace interruptions can also occur through face-to-face communication. You may be writing a conference report, and a coworker stops by your office to chat. Or, you were deep in research for a new client proposal when your supervisor comes to your cubicle to let you know he wants to see you in his office right away. Schedule “power hours,” or time devoted to making progress on your most important tasks by making yourself less accessible. Some organizations even implement a common “power hour” for all employees, helping standardize quiet time across a workplace.[16]

    How do you make yourself, or encourage your employees to make themselves, less accessible in constantly connected and urgent workplaces? Try shutting your office door, blocking off time in your calendar, putting a sign on your door that indicates you shouldn’t be interrupted such as “On Deadline” or putting in headphones. You may find one approach works better than another in your workplace, but don’t be afraid to be creative and communicate with your coworkers. A former manager at Coca-Cola® used to put on his red baseball cap whenever he was on deadline to indicate to employees that, despite keeping his office door open, he should only be interrupted during those times for an emergency.[17] Try to get your entire department or workplace onboard with a consistent signal, and then don’t abuse it.

    Another way to combat work interruptions is to set up meetings. No worries—these aren’t marathon meetings that already take up much of your workweek. These are scheduled times for seemingly little things like phone calls or getting feedback from your supervisor. Instead of telling a client that you’ll call him back later this week, tell him a specific day and time you’ll call, put it in your calendar and follow through. Instead of just stopping by your supervisor’s office for feedback or with questions, schedule a meeting. This doesn’t mean an “open-door policy” is dead, but as Elizabeth Grace Saunders, the author of “How to Invest Your Time Like Money” and a time coach, explains, scheduling one-on-one meetings or calls can boost productivity.[18]

    “By creating a culture where these regular meetings are respected and dropping by is the exception, not the norm, you create a much more respectful, efficient, and effective culture in which everyone has a better ability to align their time investment with their priorities.”

    Plan breaks

    Boost your productivity by planning breaks—the right kind—throughout your day. To be truly restorative, a five- or 10-minute work break should be active, such as stretching, walking around the office or even taking a short walk outside. Active breaks help restore attention, as well as increase creativity and productivity.[19] Meditation, which helps create inner calm and peace, has also been found to increase clarity and ability to focus, so your active break may consist of meditation.[20] Your options for active breaks depends upon your work environment, but instead of scrolling through your social media feed while slumped over your desk, get up and get moving for at least a few minutes during your day.

    Vacations are another form of work breaks that can benefit employees and organizations alike. However, American workers are using less vacation time now than they have at any point during the last 40 years.[21] Some organizations discourage vacation leading employees to either not use their vacation days or, when on vacation, to still be accessible and working.

    In his studies about employee performance and vacation, Shawn Achor, bestselling author of “The Happiness Advantage,” shows vacation increases worker productivity, leading to increased sales and revenue for businesses.[22]

    “The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain, and to be truly engaged, [your] brain needs a break,” says Achor. Employers can create a culture that encourages employees to take vacation (breaks) and, in turn, have more satisfied and productive employees. This may also help decrease employee burnout and increase employee retention.

    Overall, whether a 10-minute active break during the work day or a weeklong vacation, employers should strive to create a culture where planned breaks are encouraged. Employees, in turn, should then give themselves permission to unplug and take a break or vacation without fear of getting behind on work or being looked over for a promotion.

    Take greater control of technology

    Because technology has changed the way we communicate, we must change the way we manage interruptions. You can’t shut your office door on your phone or email; however, you can turn off notifications and alerts for your phone, email and social media accounts. Much like communication batching, turning off notifications puts you in control.

    An even more proactive approach to combating distractions, particularly digital distractions, is to manage the amount of emails and alerts you receive. How do you and your team do this? Do an audit of your inbox, social media platforms and apps. Can you unsubscribe to any of the email newsletters that fill your inbox? On Facebook®, are there organizations you can “unlike” and, in turn, create fewer newsfeed items you have to scroll through during the day? Do the same for other social media sites. By doing an audit, you cut down on the amount of information you receive and, thus, have fewer daily interruptions.

    Lastly, workplace interruptions can decrease when you choose the correct medium to communicate with your coworkers, supervisors, vendors and other professionals. What is the urgency of your need? If it’s an actual emergency, stopping by your supervisor’s office is most likely a better option than sending an email. Though, don’t abuse “emergency” status situations. Determine the best medium for whatever you need to communicate. When communicating, be sure to include a timeframe for expected response or resolution. If an answer is needed before Thursday, politely say that in your email or when you call. If you’re just passing along information that doesn’t require a response, then indicate that as well. Choosing the best communication medium and method for your message may seem like a simple way to decrease workplace interruptions but may be a starting point to creating a more focused, productive team and workplace.

    Your organization is affected by many conditions and situations that are out of its control; however, you can help manage interruptions, which have shown to negatively affect performance, satisfaction and finances. Try some of the suggested interruption management strategies, and encourage your employees to do the same. Distractions can be quite personalized, so help your team determine where each member can individually decrease interruption and distraction.

    Through managing distractions, you can create an environment ripe for productivity, which is required for success in an increasingly competitive global market and our rapidly changing world.[23]

    Edward Hallowell, author of “Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive,” says managing interruption in the workplace requires creating boundaries on an individual, team and organizational level.[24]

    “Create boundaries. The boundaries have to fit the job situation. It may be email boundaries, closing your door, a schedule where you prioritize and don’t allow meetings to run on endlessly. That’s the key to allowing your brain to work at its best,” says Hallowell. “The point is, I want to invite people to look into their own selves and see, what is their proclivity, what is their vulnerability, and combine that with practical solutions.”

  • U.S. TRADE SHOW EXECUTIVES WEIGH IN ON ISSUE OF U.S. TRADE TARIFF POLICY IMPACT ON THE INDUSTRY

    DALLAS, 17 September 2019 – Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released results at the CEIR Predict Conference from a brief survey fielded this August, assessing U.S. trade show executive perceptions about U.S. trade tariff policies and whether these policies have had an impact on U.S.-based trade shows that have taken place in 2018 through July 2019.

    Though China is the biggest target for trade tariffs, so are other U.S. trade partners including the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and other Asian countries. CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE noted, “Why is this issue of concern to our industry? U.S. trade shows are a gateway to doing business in our country.”

    Government data tracking economic activity is slow to precisely quantify the impact such policies are having on the economy and trade itself. In the absence of this information, CEIR launched a short survey to gauge what impact, if any, these trade tariffs are having on U.S.-based trade shows.

    The results show tariffs are having an impact for over half of surveyed organizers that have produced U.S. shows in 2018 through July of this year. Where impacts have been sustained, they are largely negative. In 2018, U.S. business-to-business (B2B) trade shows contributed $97 billion to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from direct and indirect spending.

    CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, PRC said, “Very careful attention was paid to designing a survey that objectively gauged trade show executive sentiment about the impact of these trade tariffs on the U.S. trade show industry. And as well, to determine if impacts have been felt at U.S. trade shows that have taken place during the period that the trade war has been in play – in 2018 through July 2019.

    Unfortunately, as shown below, 56% of executives that have held a U.S.-based B2B trade show in 2018 through July 2019 have encountered impacts, more so on the exhibitor side, 49%, with 36% reporting impact on attendee audiences. And where there has been impact it is largely negatively. Overall, on average, these organizers have sustained a gross revenue loss of 7.7%.”

    Methodology
    In August 2019, IAEE and SISO members and Trade Show Executive readers who are executives that direct or manage U.S. based trade shows, were invited to participate in this study. A total of 129 executives replied providing results that are statistically valid at the 95% confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus 8.6%. The response rate is estimated to be 3 percent. This sample includes an even mix of executives from association run and independently run trade shows.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

  • Exhibition Industry Continues to Grow

    DALLAS, 9 September 2019 – The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports that growth of the exhibition industry continued during the second quarter of 2019. The CEIR Total Index, a measure of exhibition industry performance, posted a respectable year-over-year gain of 1.6% (see Figure 1) even though it under-performed the overall economy as reflected in the inflation-adjusted GDP (see Figure 2).

    Figure 1: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2011Q1-2019Q2

    Figure 2: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry vs. Quarterly Real GDP, Year-over-Year Growth, 2008Q1-2019Q2

    “In line with the macroeconomy, the growth of the exhibition industry has continued but at a slower pace,” said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

    Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services; Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs; and Communications and Information Technology all registered robust year-over-year gains. In contrast, Financial, Legal, and Real Estate; Consumer Goods and Retail Trade and Sporting Goods, Travel, and Amusement posted year-over-year declines.

    All exhibition metrics in the second quarter posted positive year-over-year gains except exhibitors (Figures 3 and 4). Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) and attendees posted the largest increase of 3.8% and 3.7%, respectively. Net square feet (NSF) rose a modest 0.2% and exhibitors dropped 1.3%.

    Figure 3: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2019Q2

    Figure 4: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2009-2019Q2

    “The growth during the second quarter indicates that the exhibition industry is on track to register a ninth consecutive year of growth, albeit slowing growth as was forecasted by our economist in the 2019 CEIR Index Report,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE.

    CEIR’s annual conference, Predict, taking place at the MGM National Harbor on 16-17 September will address the most current forecast and how it is affecting the 14 industry sectors through a highly anticipated session with Dr. Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist, Stifel Fixed Income; Dennis Slater, President, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM); Jerry Howard, CEO, National Association of Home Builders; moderated by Vincent Polito, Principal, mdg.

    In addition to compiling the quarterly exhibition index, CEIR also offers analytical tools, an annual in-depth report and an outlook conference. The CEIR Event Performance Analyzer provides exhibition organizers with a tool to measure how an event is performing in its sector, as well as in the overall industry. The CEIR Index Report provides an economic overview of the exhibition industry, including key indicators for growth. Together, these resources provide insights for developing business strategies and goals. The 2019 CEIR Index Report includes a three-year forecast for the business-to-business exhibitions and events industry.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

  • Visit IAEE's Blog Station to read: Customer Education—The Marketing Strategy That Makes the Grade

    Learn how you can provide a variety of information to make your organization invaluable to customers with 4imprint.

    Read more here IAEE Blog Station 

  • Marketing Insights Series Report

    Future Planned Use of the B2B Exhibition Channel

    Newest CEIR Head of Marketing Insights Series Report

     

    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released Future Planned Use of the B2B Exhibition Channel, the fifth report in its newest series providing insights from marketing leadership at organizations in North America.

     

    Future Planned Use of the B2B Exhibition Channel reports the anticipated change in the level of spending on B2B exhibitions this year; details how the channel will help achieve urgent marketing and sales objectives in the next several years, and whether roles will continue as is, expand or decrease; and outlines which elements marketing executives plan to add to their exhibit programs.

  • IAEE Rallies Against Human Trafficking as ECPAT-USA BE Champion

    The International Association of Exhibitions and Events® () proudly joined the fight against human trafficking through its support of , the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT-USA focuses on awareness, advocacy, policy and legislation, and is a member of ECPAT International, a network of organizations in 95 countries working together toward one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children.

     

  • CEIR Releases New Industry Insights Report

    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announces a new Industry Insight Series Report, Unraveling the Myths About Material Handling, written by Aaron Bludworth, President and CEO of Fern, with contributions by Neil McMullin, Senior Vice President of Shared Services at Fern and longstanding Executive Director of ESCA, Larry Arnaudet.
  • CEIR Releases Second Report of Head of Marketing Insights Series Aligning Exhibit Sales for Success

    CEIR Releases Second Report of Head of Marketing Insights Series Aligning Exhibit Sales for Success

    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced the release of the second report in its newest series providing insights from marketing leadership at organizations in North America.

    Aligning Exhibit Sales for Success takes a close look at the decision-making process when deciding whether to exhibit at a B2B exhibition. Results are based on surveyed heads of marketing at organizations that use the channel in their marketing mix. The report also pinpoints where these heads of marketing find B2B exhibitions deliver high value in helping them achieve their organization’s urgent marketing and sales objectives.

    "This short report evaluates who is apt to be involved in deciding to exhibit at an exhibition and how the decision-making process varies, contingent upon whether it is a new or repeat event," said CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, PRC. "It includes powerful data that makes the case of the value of using the face-to-face channel to achieve the most popular, important objectives for exhibiting."

    "Business-to-business (B2B) exhibition organizer sales leadership and their staff will benefit from this data," noted CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. "It can serve as the basis to discuss an event’s sales processes and brainstorm ideas on how to refine exhibit sales efforts to convert more prospects to first-time exhibitors. It also speaks to the critical importance of following a game plan that aims to maximize exhibitor retention."

    "Understanding what heads of marketing think about the B2B exhibition channel is critical to the health and viability of the channel," said David Audrain, Executive Director of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), which sponsored the study. "SISO is proud to underwrite this important initiative."
    CEIR Road Map
    To learn the two additional components to a successful sales strategy, download the report here.

    This report includes easy-to-use scripts of relevant CEIR data for exhibit staff to mention when making the case for the value of exhibiting to prospective exhibitors. This data can also be used by marketing to pull the most relevant statistics into their exhibit sales collateral.

    This report provides results relating to:
    • Job titles of those involved in the decision to exhibit;
    • Budgeting process for exhibiting;
    • Departments handling logistics after the decision to exhibit is made; and
    • The value assigned to using B2B exhibitions for the most urgent marketing and sales objectives that tie back to the three most popular important objectives for exhibiting – sales lead generation, branding efforts and relationship management.
    The Head of Marketing Insights Series includes five reports. This is the second in the series to be released:
    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.
  • Business-to-Business Exhibitions Industry Contributed more than $97 Billion to U.S. GDP in 2018

    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announces that the business-to-business (B2B) exhibition industry's direct, indirect and induced contribution to U.S. GDP in 2018 was about $97 billion.

    The yearly analysis, conducted by Dr. Allen Shaw, Founder, President, and Chief Economist with Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc., uses a robust formula and algorithm to calculate direct, indirect and induced GDP impact from the B2B exhibitions industry spending.

    Dr. Shaw explains the methodology when completing the work to establish the economic impact for the U.S. "Direct, indirect and induced impact multipliers of direct expenditure categories such as trade show services, air transportation, accommodation, and food are derived from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis' latest benchmark input/output table for 405 industry groups. This coupled with data from Freeman's 2018 Benchmarks and Trends in Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales Study and input from the 2018 CEIR Index data for organizer revenues, the number of attendees and number of exhibitors make up the B2B exhibition industry's direct, indirect and induced contribution to U.S. GDP of $97 billion in 2018."

    Shaw also noted that the comparable GDP contribution calculation using this updated data and GDP impact multipliers was about $93 billion versus the previously stated $91 billion impact for 2017.

    "I am very pleased to learn that the U.S. exhibitions industry continued its growth in 2018. The $97 billion represents an increase of 4.3% over 2017," said CEIR Chairperson of the board and Promotional Products Association International Executive Vice President, Robert McLean, CPA, CAE. "This growth is an indicator of the power of face-to-face meetings as an important sales and marketing tool," added McLean.

    CEIR's annual conference, Predict, taking place at the MGM National Harbor on 16-17 September will address the most current forecast and how it is affecting the 14 industry sectors through a highly anticipated session with Dr. Lindsey Piegza of Stifel Fixed Income. Registration is open for qualified exhibition organizers.
     
    For more than 40 years, CEIR has been the most trusted and respected source for comprehensive research and analysis on the B2B exhibitions industry in North America. CEIR's solid research process and data integrity is fundamental to enabling exhibition industry professionals from around the world to make sound business decisions when using CEIR economic reports.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.
  • CEIR Launches Head of Marketing Insights Series

    First Report Looks at B2B Exhibitions as Marketing Medium

    DALLAS, 13 May 2019 – The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced today the release of the first report in its newest series providing insights from marketing leadership at organizations in North America. Overview of Marketing and Sales Approaches, Most Urgent Objectives, and Brand Image of the B2B Exhibition Channel to Support Needs takes a close look at the image of the business-to-business (B2B) exhibition channel among heads of marketing, those who are at the helm of decisions that shape the strategy and efforts for their organizations’ most urgent marketing and sales objectives.

    This report assesses how perceptions are the same and different among heads of marketing at organizations that use the channel and those that do not. It offers statistics to promote the power of B2B exhibitions as an effective marketing medium and uncovers areas of opportunity to expand awareness of the channel. This report also examines what to address in B2B exhibitions to enhance their value and relevance to brand marketers moving forward.

     “Study findings indicate the B2B exhibition channel enjoys a strong image among heads of marketing, whether they are actively using the channel today or not,” said CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, PRC. “Sixty-four percent or more of heads of marketing agree the channel is effective for achieving multiple high priority marketing and sales objectives.”

     “These results signal the importance of aligning an event’s offerings with what brand marketers are most looking to achieve,” added CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. “Keeping a pulse on the high priority marketing and sales objectives of prospective exhibitors, and delivering content that helps them hit these goals is an event organizer’s key ingredient for success.”

    CEIR’s Head of Marketing Insights Series is made possible through funding from the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO). “Understanding what heads of marketing think about the B2B exhibition channel is critical to the health and viability of the channel,” said SISO Executive Director David Audrain. “SISO is proud to underwrite this important initiative.”

    This report is the first in a five-report series that will publish over the next several months:


    Research Methodology

    A stratified, random sampling of heads of marketing at North American organizations from ResearchNow/SSI’s (now Dynata) online business panel were invited to complete the survey late summer through fall 2018. This sample was stratified to ensure a representative mix of heads of marketing by CEIR industry sectors as well as by organization size. Half of the sample includes heads of marketing at organizations that have not used the B2B exhibition channel and the other half have included it in their marketing channel mix. In addition to this sample, EXHIBITOR Magazine, HCEA and CEMA invited qualified customers to participate in the study. A total of 382 valid surveys were completed, with an estimated response rate of five percent. Total results are accurate at the 95 percent confidence level, carrying a margin of error of 5 percent or less. For results comparing opinions between heads of marketing at organizations that exhibit and those that do not, the margin of error is 7 percent or less. 

    IAEE members and CEIR subscribers may access Overview of Marketing and Sales Approaches, Most Urgent Objectives, and Brand Image of the B2B Exhibition Channel to Support Needs – as well as the CEIR library and various reports – at no cost.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.
  • CEIR Case Study: An Interview with Kim Palastro of Pittcon

    Head on over to IAEE' s Blog Station to read why increasing engagement on the show floor is a team effort.
  • BREAKING NEWS: CEIR Releases New Industry Insights Report

    How Exhibitors Can Improve Lead Quality and Sales Conversion
    CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announces a new report from the Industry Insights Series, How Exhibitors Can Improve Lead Quality and Sales Conversion. This report was written by Jefferson Davis, President of Competitive Edge, a seasoned consultant in the business-to-business (B2B) exhibition industry with 30 years of experience. 

    This latest Industry Insights report is a valuable primer for exhibitors looking to implement or compare their approach to best practices at every phase of the process, from the outset of defining lead goals to ensuring effective lead follow-up that helps maximize sales conversions.

    How Exhibitors Can Improve Lead Quality and Sales  Conversion demonstrates to readers how the end goal for exhibiting ties back to sales. As Davis writes, “If exhibiting ROI is the name of the game, lead management is an exhibitor’s playbook.” 

    “Jefferson does a great job providing a no-nonsense overview of best practices,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. “It is short, but filled with important advice. There are a number of helpful tips and tricks to help exhibitors maximize sales lead generation and conversion results.”

    This six-page report covers content relating to:
    • The importance of leads and their role as mechanisms to shift internal perception of an exhibit program as an “expense” to an “investment”;
    • Defining what is and is not a lead;
    • How to improve lead quality;
    • The best methods to capture leads;
    • The Exhibit Interaction Capacity Formula, a tool to help set realistic lead goals;
    • How to monitor lead capture to assure goals are met; and
    • Tips on how to get representatives, dealers and distributors to follow up, and report progress and conversion.

    Click here to download the full report. IAEE members and CEIR subscribers may access the CEIR library and various reports at no cost.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.
  • Visit IAEE's Blog Station to read: When Should You Walk Away From a Negotiation?

    You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run. Kenny Rogers, The Gambler. 
  • CEIR BREAKING NEWS: 2019 CEIR Index Report Now Available

    2019 Index Report
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released the 2019 CEIR Index Report. The CEIR Index analyzes the 2018 exhibition industry and provides an economic and exhibition industry outlook for the next three years.

    The U.S. economy accelerated in 2018, rising from 2.2% growth in 2017 to 2.9% in 2018, representing eight consecutive years of growth. Nonresidential investment led the economy, with personal consumption and federal defense expenditures providing support. The widening trade gap partially offset GDP growth. GDP expansion in the next few years will be driven by moderate growth in personal consumption expenditures and private investment spending; higher spending levels of both are helped by recent tax cuts. Moderate increases of government expenditures will provide an additional boost. Nonetheless, personal and business spending growth will soften as the impact of tax cuts diminishes, and a widening trade gap will limit potential overall expansion. According to CEIR’s current projection, real GDP growth will ebb to around 2.5% in 2019 before decelerating further to 2.0% in 2020 and 1.8% in 2021 (see Figure 1).

    Figure 1: Annual Real GDP Growth

    Annual Real GDP Growth
    In 2018, the exhibition industry's performance finally surpassed its last peak and is now anticipated to break new ground performance-wise through 2021. The Total Index, a measure of overall exhibition industry performance, increased by a moderate 1.9%, just slightly lower than the 2.0% gain in 2017. All four metrics rose in 2018, with real revenues leading at 3.6% above 2017 levels. Both attendees and net square feet (NSF) rose 1.7%, whereas exhibitors gained 0.5%.

    Exhibition developments in 2018 varied widely by industry. The leading sector was Government (GV), surging 7.8%. Food (FD) and Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services (CS) also had strong showings, rising by 5.4% and 3.6%, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, the sector most challenged was Financial, Legal and Real Estate (FN), for which the index declined by 2.6%. Consumer Goods and Retail Trade (CG) was the second most challenged sector, dropping 1.8%.

    “Moderate economic, job and personal disposable income growth should continue to drive exhibitions,” noted CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. “However, the downward secular trend in FN, CG and Education (ED) will exert a drag on the overall performance of the exhibition industry. CEIR expects the Total Index growth to slow to 1.4%, 0.5 percentage points lower than the 2018 rate and 1.0 percentage point behind real GDP growth. Exhibition performance will further slow modestly to 1.1% in 2020 and 0.8% in 2021 as the economy settles into a slower but more sustainable growth path.” (see Figure 2)

    Figure 2: Growth in the CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry vs. GDP Growth


    After substantial declines during the Great Recession, real revenue has been the strongest metric since 2011 (see Figure 3). A relatively strong recovery should continue through 2020, in part reflecting a higher revenue per NSF sale.

    Figure 3: CEIR Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry, 2014=100
    CEIR Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry


    CEIR Index provides data on exhibition industry performance across 14 key industry sectors: Business Services (BZ); Consumer Goods and Services (CG); Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services (CS); Education (ED); Food (FD); Financial, Legal and Real Estate (FN); Government (GV); Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM); Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs (ID); Communications and Information Technology (IT); Medical and Health Care (MD); Raw Materials and Science (RM); Sporting Goods, Travel and Entertainment (ST); and Transportation (TX). Click here for information on how to purchase the complete 2019 CEIR Index Report.

    After its initial release, a forecast update of the CEIR Index will be presented at the CEIR Predict conference on 16-17 September 2019 at the MGM National Harbor. The conference will provide exhibition professionals with macroeconomic insights, as well as insights into why things are happening as opposed what is happening. For more information about CEIR Predict, visit www.ceir.org/predict.

    “This will be our ninth annual Predict conference and we are eager to share new information and perspectives that industry executives have come to rely on from CEIR,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. “The data from the latest CEIR Index, combined with the knowledge of guest economist Dr. Lindsey Piezga, along with other forward-looking sessions will provide attendees with an excellent predictive edge to use in their future strategic planning and business development efforts.”

    CEIR sincerely appreciates the support it receives from this year’s Predict partners:

    Visionary
    GES

    Collaborator
    International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE)
    Streampoint Solutions
    Synchronicities
    Visit Anaheim
    Visit Baltimore
    Visit San Antonio

    Associate
    Freeman
    Messe Frankfurt
    Visit Dallas

    Contributor
    Access Intelligence
    Choose Chicago
    Convention Plant Creations
    CORT Event Furnishings
    Experient, A Maritz Global Events Company
    Map Your Show
    Oscar & Associates
    Trade Show Executive
    Visit Phoenix

    For more information about the CEIR Index or CEIR Predict, contact Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE or call +1 (972) 687-9201.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

  • 5TH EDITION OF THE ART OF THE SHOW – NOW IN PRINT AND PDF DOWNLOADABLE FORMATS!

    Art of the Show Textbook












    The new 5th edition of The Art of the Show – An Introduction to the Study of Exhibition Management is now available in both print and downloadable PDF formats.

    Thank you to IAEE members and lead editors Amanda Cecil, Ph.D., CMP (Indiana University – Purdue) and Janet Sperstad, CMP (Madison Technical College) for their hard work and dedication on the project.

    This textbook focuses solely on the elements necessary to produce a successful exhibition. I know many of you incorporate this textbook within your programming. What’s new in the 5th edition, you ask? Lots of great stuff, including:
    • New chapters on the history of exhibitions, careers in the exhibitions and events industry, sustainability, and business ethics
    • Updates in the chapters focusing on technology; legal; and security, risk, and crisis management
    • The inclusion of a glossary of terms which hasn’t existed before
    Unfortunately, desk copies are not available, but you can view the entire table of contents here: Art of the Show Textbook - Table of Contents

    Hard Copy Format - For those in the U.S., visit: www.tradeshowstore.com.
    Pricing is $79.95 for IAEE members and $109.95 for non-members.

    Digital Version Format - Downloadable for all.
    Pricing is $49.95 for IAEE members and $79.95 for non-members.

    To purchase the digital version:
    1. Click on www.iaee.com
    2. Click on LOGIN at the top right-hand corner
    3. If you are a non-member, you will need to create an account
    4. If you are a member, you can log in by entering username and password
    5. Once logged in, scroll down to the online store
      • Click on product search
      • Type in 'Art of the Show'
      • Add the product to your cart by clicking on the plus sign beside the number of copies you would like to purchase
      • When ready to purchase, click view cart
      • Then click checkout
    If you have any questions, please email Marsha Flanagan.
  • IAEE Blog Station: Make Planning Outside Events a Breeze

    Helpful Tips and Outdoor Giveaways Make Planning Outside Events a Breeze
    Do you ever feel like your events need a change of scenery? You’re not alone. More event planners are closing the door on typical locations like a hotel ballroom and opting for more unique locations, like airport hangars or—believe it or not—parking lots.
  • CEM Week Louisville!

    The Certified in Exhibition Management™ (CEM) designation is a globally recognized designation that demonstrates the highest professional standard throughout the exhibitions and events management arena. 

    CEM Week provides participants the only opportunity to take five courses and complete five exams in one week. Along with being able to complete over half of the program in a condensed timeframe, previous attendees have said, “The interaction with other classmates is what makes this worthwhile.” Group discussions and class exercises are structured, so students actively participate and gain practical knowledge of the course material.

    Register here today!!
  • Major American Trade Show Organizers aka MATSO!

    The Major American Trade Show Organizer (MATSO) Council is preparing for its 2019 MATSO Program, scheduled for 12-13 June in Orlando, FL. The program is hosted by AVIXA at their InfoComm 2019 event. The program's agenda is invitation-only for U.S. organizers who produce shows with 200,000 NSF or more.

    Registration for the 2019 MATSO Program is free, but space is limited to 30 qualified attendees! We're excited to announce that keynote speaker, Tamara Ghandour, Founder of LaunchStreet will share how to cultivate a sustainable culture of innovation for large show organizers. Click here to learn more about Tamara and the tentative agenda.

    REGISTER NOW!
  • Explore the Value of CEIR!

    Click here to see the value of CEIR!
  • LAST Day!

    2019 Expo! Expo! Call for Proposals – TODAY is the last day to submit!

    Submit an idea/abstract for the show for shows in Las Vegas taking place on 3-5 December 2019. Submission process closes tonight!
  • IAEE Blog Station! How to Act on Instinct

    Read how acting on instinct can improve your work life with Linda Swindling.
  • Save the Date! 2019 CEIR Predict

    16-17 September | MGM National Harbor

    Predict provides big picture information and data to gain insights through forward thinking content across market verticals and helps to position your organization to be future focused. Even with Hurricane Florence as a threat, the 2018 CEIR Predict Conference saw high attendance numbers. View the recap video below.
  • 2019 Expo! Expo! Call for Proposals – 2 weeks left to Submit!

    Submit an idea/abstract for the show for shows in Las Vegas taking place on 3-5 December 2019. Expo! Expo! education includes programming for our members, by our members. Submission process open until Friday, 29 March! 
  • Johnson & Wales University Sets the Stage at Expo! Expo!

    Visit IAEE's Blog Station to read how JWU set the stage at Expo! Expo! in New Orleans, 2018. By Melinda Hill. Feb. 18, 2019.
  • CEIR - Exhibition Industry Continues to Grow

    CEIR Announces 2018 Fourth Quarter Results
    Exhibition Industry Continues to Grow

    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports that the recent growth of the exhibition industry continued during the fourth quarter of 2018. The growth of the industry, as measured by the CEIR Total Index, accelerated from a year-over-year gain of 0.9% in the third quarter to 2.5% in the fourth quarter (see Figure 1). With this stronger performance, the exhibition industry has narrowed the growth gap with inflation-adjusted GDP (see Figure 2).

    Figure 1: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2011Q1-2018Q4
    Overall Exhibition Industry
    Figure 2: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry vs. Quarterly Real GDP, Year-over-Year Growth, 2008Q1-2018Q4
    Year over year

    "The performance during the fourth quarter shows the resilience of the exhibition industry despite uncertainties surrounding the trade negotiation with China, volatile stock markets and slowing world economic growth,” said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

    Food; Government; and Raw Materials and Science all registered robust year-over-year gains. In contrast, Consumer Goods and Retail Trade; Financial, Legal, and Real Estate; and Transportation posted year-over-year declines.

    All exhibition metrics in the fourth quarter posted positive year-over-year gains (Figures 3 and 4). Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) and attendees posted the largest increase of 4.4% and 3.2%, respectively. Net square feet (NSF) rose 1.6% and exhibitors expanded 1.0%.

    Figure 3: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2018Q4
    Quarterly CEIR Metrics
    Figure 4: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 20Year-over-Year Growth, 2009-2018Q409-2018Q4

    For the year 2018 as a whole, the Total Index increased by 1.9%, just slightly lower than the 2.0% gain in 2017. At 109.0 (2014=100), the Total Index in 2018 surpassed the previous peak of 107.6 in 2007.

    “Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, the exhibition industry in 2018 has finally entered an aggregate size above the previous peak,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. “Barring an unexpected recession, the overall growth for the industry in 2019 will continue, albeit at a modest pace, as the economy remains healthy, even though a little softer than 2018.”

    In addition to compiling the quarterly exhibition index, CEIR also offers analytical tools, an annual in-depth report and an outlook conference. The CEIR Event Performance Analyzer provides exhibition organizers with a tool to measure how an event is performing in its sector, as well as in the overall industry. The CEIR Index Report provides an economic overview of the exhibition industry, including key indicators for growth. Together, these resources provide insights for developing business strategies and goals. The 2019 CEIR Index Report will be released in April and will include a three-year forecast for the business-to-business exhibitions and events industry.

    The annual CEIR Predict Conference, scheduled for 16-17 September 2019 at the MGM National Harbor, will provide exhibition professionals with macroeconomic insights and help attendees understand the economic and political factors impacting the exhibition industry.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.
  • 2019 Expo! Expo! Call for Proposals is now open!

    Submit an idea/abstract for the show for shows in Las Vegas taking place on 3-5 December 2019. Expo! Expo! education includes programming for our members, by our members. Submission process open until Friday, 29 March!
  • IAEE Blog Station! How to Negotiate When You Are Bullied and Harassed

    Negotiating with gossips can make anyone feel uncomfortable. Go to this link to learn how you can negotiate when you’re bullied from Linda Swindling.

     
  • CEIR Releases Final Report in Attendee ROI Playbook Series

    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announced today the release of the seventh and final report in the Attendee ROI Playbook series, entitled, Where Value and Metrics Vary by Event Size.

    “Organizers may think that the larger an event is, the more likely an attendee is to be satisfied,” said CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, PRC. “This report uncovers competitive advantages for B2B exhibitions of every size. It takes a close look at the decision to attend an event, metrics used to determine the value of attending and how well events perform against these expectations by event size.”

    2018 Attendee ROI Playbook
    “The Attendee ROI Playbook series is one of most robust studies CEIR has conducted,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. “This seven-report series contains a wealth of great information for exhibition organizers, as well as service providers, that can help with their strategic planning discussions.”

    Breden further noted, “Many thanks to the PCMA Education Foundation, whose financial support helped make this research possible.”

    This 13-page report provides an analysis of how attendee preferences and behaviors vary by an event’s size including:
    • Objectives for attending;
    • Decision-making process to attend;
    • Pre-planning and tracking activities while visiting an event; and
    • Metrics used to evaluate the outcome of attending and how well B2B exhibitions perform to these metrics.
    Through the generous sponsorship of this study by the PCMA Education Foundation and IAEE, all reports released in this study series are available at no charge on the CEIR website here.

    About CEIR
    The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.
  • Sign up today for one of CEIR's 2019 Golf Tournaments!

    Support received from CEIR golf tournaments provides funding for important industry research and provides great networking opportunities to entertain current and prospective clients and spend valuable face-to-face time with industry peers.

    April 29
    Washington D.C. Area Tournament
    Lansdowne Resort & Spa
    Leesburg, VA

    May 6
    Chicago Area Tournament
    Stonebridge Country Club
    Aurora, IL

    Go to this link to sign up today!
  • IAEE News Blog Station: The Premier Resource for Exhibition and Event Professionals

    Read how to get your brand noticed and remembered using the power of color via Preferred Partner, 4imprint.

    Choose Wisely: The Power Colours Can Have On Your Brand Identity
  • IAEE Women's Leadership Regional Half Day Forum

    We are excited to announce a series of regional Women’s Leadership half-day forums. We’re kicking off the first regional event near you in Los Angeles, CA on Tuesday, 26 February.

    IAEE and MPI are partnering on three regional events focused on women and leadership in the Exhibitions and Meetings Industry. Each regional event will co-locate IAEE’s four-hour Women’s Leadership Forum geared to all women in all stages of career development and MPI’s four-hour Women in Leadership: Executive Leadership Skills Certificate Program offered to those in current executive level positions and those wishing to ascend to executive leadership roles.

    Please note that IAEE’s program is a morning program ending with lunch and MPI’s program begins after lunch at 1:00 PM, concluding at 5:00 PM. There are separate registrations for each program. For any questions, please contact IAEE’s education department.

    The Los Angeles event will feature two keynotes – Jennifer Mueller, Ph.D. on Leading Creative Change and Sarita Maybin on How to Stay Positive and Focused in Uncertain Times – a panel discussion and will end with a networking luncheon.

    For a detailed schedule of events and program information, please visit the WLF Los Angeles page.

    As of today, flights to LAX from major airports in the Southwest region are still inexpensive, around $200.

    Important Deadlines
    Housing Deadline: Friday, 25 January
    Registration Deadline: Friday, 22 February