Sunday night in Las Vegas

 This was an amazing article from SKIFT we thought we would share it with you!

What unfolded on Sunday night in Las Vegas has become an all too common occurrence, not just here in the United States, but around the world. No place, it seems, is immune to mass shootings or terror.

But what took place on Sunday struck at the very core of what the meetings industry is all about: bringing people together. Those who were targeted in this Sunday’s attack traveled from all over the country, and even outside the U.S., to attend the Route 91 Harvest Festival this past weekend. They came to Las Vegas for what they thought would be a weekend filled with fun, music, and memories — something all of us can relate to.

No doubt this most recent attack strikes a nerve, especially for meetings and event professionals. Las Vegas, in particular, is one of the top destinations in the U.S. for meetings and events. Last year, the city welcomed a record 42.9 million visitors, an estimated 6.3 million of whom came to Las Vegas specifically to attend a meeting or convention. The city hosted more than 21,000 meetings and events last year alone.

In the days ahead

Las Vegas tourism and hospitality officials will be asking themselves plenty of questions. Should metal detectors be placed at the entrances to all of the hotels on the Strip? Do hotels need to enhance surveillance and training methods to ensure security? What needs to be addressed regarding gun laws in Nevada and other open-carry states?

And, more importantly, what can be done now so something like this never happens again?

The meetings industry’s connection to Las Vegas is undeniable. In fact, next week, more than 12,000 people are anticipated to gather in the city for the annual IMEX America convention. For those planners who attend IMEX America next week, it will be a firsthand opportunity to see just how safe and secure Las Vegas can be for their own meetings and events.

Yes, what happened this week was terrifying. And yes, it could happen again, anywhere. But it’s a risk we all take today as travelers, and if we decide to stop meeting, what next?

I’ll leave you with something written in a personal Facebook post from a hospitality colleague who works in Las Vegas. She wrote: “This will be a long road for us in Las Vegas. Please keep us in your prayers, but more importantly perhaps, please keep coming back. We need you now more than ever.

Our police and security teams work incredibly hard to make your vacation safe and to make our community safe. Don’t let one cowardly asshole keep you from enjoying all the beauty and wonder our city has to offer.”

— Deanna Ting

3 Reasons Why Relationships Still Matter

3 Reasons Why Relationships Still Matter. With the recent passing of several industry veterans and friends,I started to reflect upon my

3 Reasons Why Relationships Still Matter

generation of meeting industry leaders. The one thing we all have in common is that during our time in the industry, professional relationships really mattered. I’m not saying that current leaders are not relationship oriented, but I can say with complete confidence that with my generation, the relationship was a primary catalyst for getting things done.

Those relationships were how great industry partnerships and alliances were built. They were the currency for influence. These relationships were not subject to any ROI formulas or quid pro quo analysis. They were based on trust and a legacy of successful results. It was through the power of these relationships and references that people got hired, promoted, fired, or demoted. Individuals who mined those relationships successfully through strong personal branding didn’t need to apply for jobs; they were offered positions—sometimes positions created specifically for the value they brought to the hiring organization.

Good and bad—relationships mattered. Now, whenever industry professionals seek funding for various sponsorships and partnerships, everything must pass a ROI formula before it gets approved. It no longer seems to matter how powerful the partner, individual, association, or media publication may be; if it doesn’t pass the ROI test, it doesn’t get funded and business partnerships don’t happen.

Maybe I’m too nostalgic or glossing over some of the cons of the relationship era, but as more of my peers and colleagues depart for well-deserved retirements or from natural causes, they are leaving a legacy that built this industry and strengthened its foundation. I truly hope the current generation of industry professionals respect and honor the shoulders they stand upon. I am in awe of what was accomplished in my generation, and I look forward to what the next generation will do. Who knows, maybe the bean counters will come to realize the power of relationships even if the ROI is difficult to quantify.

Three reasons why I believe relationships still matter:

1. Relationships are built on your personal brand integrity. Your brand is your most valuable business asset. It’s something you carry with you for your entire career, irrespective of what company you work for.

2. When buyers are making a final decision among preferred suppliers, the final decision (if all things are relatively equal) tends to be affected by the relationship or lack thereof. When I was a buyer, I often relied on the value of the relationship to make key supplier decisions. I also paid attention to the brand and reputation of the sales individuals I worked with, and in more cases that I can remember, these ended up being deciding factors.

3. At the end of the day, your legacy is comprised of the relationships you’ve built. It’s the long-lasting impact of those relationships that speaks volumes about the quality of your life and career. You can buy great public relations. But your legacy will be a direct reflection of your lifelong connections and your personal brand. These are your most valuable assets, so protect, develop, and guard them well.

Kevin has enjoyed over 35 years in the travel industry. He is considered one of the original founders of Strategic Meetings Management . And is a leading subject matter expert in the discipline. Kevin is a former President & CEO of the Board of Directors for the Global Business Travel Association, and is a sought-after industry spokesperson representing business travel and meetings and event interests globally.

New Generation Meeting Space

New Generation Meeting Space

A primary purpose of meetings has always been to provide education as well as business and social opportunities. In recent years new formats are emerging in order to adapt meetings to the new business and consumer reality. The new generation meeting space is all about interactivity, connectivity, collaboration, privacy and comfort.

The setting is an important element which prepares the participants for the objectives and influences the dynamics and outcome of the meeting. The type and orientation of furniture as well as the density of space play a crucial role in supporting the chosen activity – networking, lecture, discussion, brainstorming etc. The setting depends on the culture and the hierarchy of the organisation as well as on the purpose of the meeting and its agenda.

According to Dr. Marla Gottschalk, an industrial and organisational psychologist who analyses how workspaces can influence behaviour, “[a]n often overlooked driver of organizational change – our visual surroundings can energize us to become more creative, innovative and engaged.” Even though creativity is a subjective matter, existing studies support the idea that environments which are perceived as creative inspire and motivate individuals. In this context, creative meeting spaces can help planners prepare participants for the experience to come and inspire particular behaviours.

New standards for best practice

Standard requirements for space, setting and design for meetings are changing – many companies are moving away from the sterile corporate environment in favour of creative or unusual spaces. New standards for set-up and interior design aim at making meetings more casual and interactive. The traditional meeting room is being replaced with a residential look, dynamic spaces and customizable workstations. There is also a growing trend of incorporating outdoor elements into events or holding meetings outdoors. All these approaches are intended to enhance the dynamics, provoke unusual discussions and create memorable experiences.


Another major consideration is the need to accommodate various behaviours, learning and working styles within the same meeting environment. Generally, the architecture of meeting space provides common areas for lectures, collaboration, networking and entertainment. These activities usually involve high density of people and dynamic communication, and such surroundings may have an adverse effect on some participants. Open spaces are ideal for collaboration but providing niches for private conversations and individual work is also very important. Modern meeting design solutions propose a balanced space with zones for working, networking and privacy.


Research shows that people engage in activities as a result of their surroundings. Experts recommend dynamic environments with sufficient circulation space which allow free movement. Taking it a step further, flexible furniture allows participants to transform and adapt the space to the changing dynamics of the meeting. Modular and manipulative design elements make the space adaptable to different companies, audiences and meeting objectives. Furthermore, appealing to the creative mind of participants can lead to the creation of truly meaningful experiences and much deeper engagement.

Digital technology

Interactive meeting spaces and art installations with cutting-edge technology accommodate the growing participatory culture and the demand for experiences.

Smart materials

In recent years, a new class of materials is gaining popularity. The Smart materials include plastics that change shape, paints that conduct electricity, pigments that change colour and fabrics that light up. Any Smart products are already being used in architecture and interior design, however, introduction to mass markets could have a huge impact on experiential design as they allow participants to come into direct contact with objects and equipment and manipulate their properties through external stimuli. Smart materials have the potential to drastically change the meeting experience as they appeal to a more basic form of interaction between humans and technology.

It’s all about… multi functionality

Meeting space design is inextricably linked to the meeting format and vice versa. In order to inspire involvement, learning, networking, productivity, interaction and creativity. Modern meeting planners need to look beyond mono-functional design solutions.

Meeting participants

Meeting participants are often people from different walks of life. And therefore, creating the optimal space and design features can be a challenge despite the common purpose of the meeting. The recipe for success: know your audience and try to envision how they would respond to subtle or subconscious cues. But above all, always try to innovate while keeping the greater context in mind. So that the meeting achieves its ultimate purpose.