News

Feb 17, 2021
Last year wasn’t exactly a great one for Nashville. The popular music and events destination not only suffered fallout from the pandemic, but also a Christmas morning suicide bombing that injured eight people, severely damaged more than 40 buildings in a historic downtown district and crippled telecommunication systems throughout the Southeast for days. While some cities might still be reeling from the one-two punch of such overlapping misfortune, the Music City is doing anything but ruminating. In the almost two months since the bombing, Nashville has been picking up the pieces, focusing on… more
Feb 16, 2021
Arne Sorenson, the third CEO in Marriott International’s history, died unexpectedly on Monday, the hotel giant announced. Sorenson was diagnosed in May 2019 with pancreatic cancer and earlier this month took a leave of absence to battle the disease’s resurgence. He was 62 years old. Among Sorenson’s largest accomplishments was the 2016 completion of the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which immediately made Marriott the world’s largest hotel chain, with more than 5,800 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. “During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Sorenson was… more
Feb 15, 2021
It’s noon on a Wednesday (somewhere) when Intrado Digital Media President Ben Chodor jumps on a Zoom call. There is no ballgame to catch, rush hour to beat or train to hop on. Gone are the days of the easy excuses to take a break from work. Chodor is, for better or worse, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On the bright side, Intrado employs 1,500 workers in 17 countries. The flexibility to meet with a team across multiple time zones has distinct advantages. It allows for more brainstorming sessions, which, in turn, facilitates innovation. Given Intrado’s crucial role in advancing… more
Feb 11, 2021
When General Motors rolled out its new electric battery capabilities at CES last month, the car advancement was only part of the story. The presentation, viewed by thousands at the entirely virtual trade show, was a case study for how the world will consume information in the future. INVNT, an innovative branding and events company, partnered with GM to create virtual environments to simulate the car company’s research and development laboratory. The keynote team used 3-D imagery to take a deep d(r)ive into the inner workings of the technology. Making this all possible was a mixed-reality… more
Feb 10, 2021
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then the love companies feel for their employees working remotely must be at all-time high as we approach the first Valentine’s Day of the pandemic era. Given that the recovery isn’t going quite as fast as we would like, a little prick from Cupid’s arrow can go a long way right now. It doesn’t take much to show appreciation to staff adapting to a new reality that very likely includes kids homeschooling and Zoom burnout. While there is certainly more than one way to show the love this year, here are a few choice ideas for V-day gifts to help sweeten… more
Feb 09, 2021
The city of Chicago is getting ready to lure back meetings and convention business in 2021 with a little help from digital technology. Launched Jan. 21 by Choose Chicago in collaboration with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, Healthy Meetings Chicago is an interactive digital platform designed to showcase the health and safety advantages of hosting events at the McCormick Place Campus. Currently available in Phase 1 for desktop or laptop viewing, the new platform illustrates the extensive new protocols and processes put in place by the city’s convention center and hospitality… more
Feb 08, 2021
How do you guarantee a new experience for your next meeting? Book at a hotel that is not even open yet. That’s what Sandra Geiger, a global account executive with ConferenceDirect, opted for when planning an Alabama association’s annual membership meeting. The June 2021 event will be held at Hotel Effie in Destin, Florida. The boutique property opened its doors the first week of February. From all accounts, the hotel appears to be the latest gem along the Emerald Coast. Geiger is certainly counting on it—as she signed the contract without setting foot on the property. “We have never… more
Feb 04, 2021
The late President George H.W. Bush famously detested broccoli. But you know what he liked? “Oak grilled duck breast with lychee sauce,” said Bill Hansen, caterer to the stars in South Beach, Florida. “It was on a buffet and he asked if could have some more. Of course, we brought more over. He loved it.” That’s just a taste of the stories Hansen can cook up when detailing his experiences managing his catering company for 40 years. He’s managed the kitchen for golfing greats at the Masters (16 ordered milkshakes, part of Tiger Woods’ requested menu), hosted four U.S. presidents (Reagan, both… more
Feb 03, 2021
Need proof events are learning to adapt to the new world? Black Hat Asia 2020 scored remarkable feedback from attendees at last fall’s tech/cybersecurity summit. Held virtually for the first time in its existence, the conference scored well above the norm for 2020 virtual events. The takeaway: Virtual events can be extremely effective—if executed correctly. Citing engaging speakers, high-end production, exclusive and relevant content, survey results found: 95% of respondents were satisfied with Black Hat Asia 2020; Close to 90% would attend another event organized by Informa Tech The… more
Feb 02, 2021
When discussing the future of events, Convention Data Services President and CEO John Kimball draws an analogy to Walt Disney World. With one click of a button, a guest has for years been able to gauge the length of ride lines and determine his or her group’s next stop. “Nobody wants to wait in line,” Kimball said. This is especially true when registering for a conference. Before, long lines were a mere (or more) nuisance upon arrival. But in the coronavirus era, annoyance turns to unsafe as congestion in exhibition halls risks the spread of a once-in-a-century disease. What if those lines… more