News

Jan 14, 2021
Swapcard, the Paris-based leading AI-powered engagement and matchmaking platform for premium virtual and hybrid events, has acquired Avolio, Inc., a registration platform headquartered in Atlanta and its event management software, IPReg. This move is the first step in Swapcard’s answer to the biggest challenge organizers are currently facing: finding one technology partner that can run all their virtual, hybrid and face-to-face events throughout the year. Swapcard, which ran more than 1,570 successful virtual events in 2020, experienced unprecedented growth in 2020, with a 400% growth in… more
Jan 14, 2021
In cities across the United States, as well as south of the border, hotels and resorts are under construction, coming online or completing remodel projects. The work comes just in time to start luring group business as the hospitality industry begins its recovery. Take a look: In December, Indianapolis welcomed the Bottleworks Hotel, a new 139-key boutique property occupying the top two floors of the historic Coca-Cola Bottling Co. administration building in the city’s downtown. Featuring a glamorous art-deco aesthetic that weaves historic architectural features with modern hotel amenities… more
Jan 13, 2021
Not so long ago, corporate meeting planners were dreaming up impressive off-site events for their groups to attend. Cirque Du Soleil, anyone? One of the key measures for engagement were Instagram photos and shares. When live events return in full force (hopefully this year), it may be time to re-think whether it’s best for attendees to immediately pull out their phones when the grand moment strikes. Consider a new book e-book, “Wired for Wonder: The Transformative Power of Awe,” written by NeuroCognitive Fitness founder Dee O’Neill, M.S., LPC, BCN and available on the Expo Group website. “… more
Jan 12, 2021
If any destination knows about comebacks, it’s Puerto Rico. “We have a Pd.D. in recovery,” joked Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “We’ve seen this movie before.” First, it was Zika—that mosquito-bred virus that targets pregnant women and their unborn children. Hurricane Irma then brought its category 5 winds to the island. For good measure, Hurricane Maria brought Puerto Rico to the brink, putting water and electricity in short supply for months. And to think all of that was a warm-up act to what 2020 brought upon the entire world. Through prior adversities, the island that could… more
Jan 11, 2021
 Imagine an event in which attendees are not skittish to touch a surface. While many never gave such a simple movement a second thought before, it will be a point of interest in a post-COVID world. But a new technology, XTI-360, could put the fear factor back in Pandora’s box. Through nano-coating, seeping into the pores of surfaces, the product kills germs essentially on contact. The company pledges that any product sprayed is safe for up to one year. “The general idea of this is to substitute technology with human behavior,” explained Joel Hartstone, CEO and chairman of XTI-360. “This… more
Jan 07, 2021
It was a dark and stormy night. The internet connection in Maor Ezer’s Israeli home kicked out only for the senior vice president of marketing at WalkMe to return to a Zoom call via a mobile hotspot. The scenario speaks to 2020’s challenges and the rewards that can be reaped by those agile enough to quickly adapt from business as usual. In the case of WalkMe, a digital adoption platform, the decision was to build fast, with company leaders like Ezer believing their product is a solution to challenges that have been amplified during the pandemic. Conceived when CEO and Co-founder Dan Adika… more
Jan 06, 2021
Since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. last Spring, more and more convention centers have been demonstrating their commitment to protecting health and safety in the “new abnormal” by achieving GBAC STAR, a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention accreditation program designed for facilities of all types and sizes. Launched on May 7 by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division of cleaning industry trade association ISSA, the GBAC program establishes requirements addressing work practices, protocols, procedures and systems to control risks associated with infectious… more
Jan 05, 2021
It was like the good old days at Elvis Presley’s Graceland and The Guest House at Graceland resort when Miss USA and Miss Teen USA came to town Nov. 6-9, 2020. Banquet and front desk staff resumed their old positions, albeit temporarily for preparation and the event, as more than 550 attendees masked up to ensure the country’s marquee beauty pageants went on—not as scheduled, but better late and a little different than normal. “It was kind of bittersweet,” said Traci Franzone, Graceland’s director of sales and catering, who supervised the three-day extravaganza. “It just shows how much you… more
Jan 05, 2021
Casandra Matej has been tapped as the next president and chief executive officer of Visit Orlando, effective Feb. 1. She assumes the same position she most recently held with Visit San Antonio. Matej is credited for rethinking the structure of the San Antonio CVB that she served nearly a decade, first as executive director and then as president and CEO. During her tenure, Alamo City achieved record highs in convention sales and marketing programs. She also developed one of the largest tourism ambassador programs in the country—with over 2,000 CTAs brought aboard to ensure memorable visitor… more
Dec 29, 2020
One of the biggest challenges facing event planners as the world reopens are the inconsistencies between states regarding health and safety guidelines. The difference between say Florida and California are worlds apart. Trying to keep it all straight adds to the already stressful job of putting on meetings, conferences and trade shows. Meetings Mean Business, the industry-wide coalition focused on advocacy, is trying to simplify the learning curve. Its new Meet Safe platform is a portal for event organizers to share recent experiences. A re-opening tracker is another valuable information… more