News

May 10, 2021
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater President and CEO Steve Hayes can’t say for certain that the new Amazon Prime Series, “Life’s Rewards,” has a happy ending. While not familiar with all of the plot points, Hayes is certainly hoping for the best out of the series, which debuts May 10. You see, not only does “Life’s Rewards” – comprising eight 10-15-minute episodes – showcase the destination, it is the first original scripted series developed by destination marketing organizations for streaming services. The idea sprung from one simple question, Hayes recalled: “How do we tell our story differently… more
May 06, 2021
Detroit’s TCF Center has landed a new general manager. On April 19, Larry Alexander, board chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority announced that Karen Totaro has been tapped by ASM Global to lead the convention center. In her new role, Totaro will be responsible for the overall management, promotion and operation of the facility, leading its team of professionals, building on key industry partnerships in the community and supporting the overall mission of the TCF Center and the DRCFA.  “Karen Totaro is the right person at the right time to take the TCF Center back to… more
May 05, 2021
With the COVID-19 pandemic hanging over the event industry’s head for more than a year now, creating safe in-person meetings and conferences has become a laser point-of-focus for meeting and conference planners. To meet that demand, event tech companies have been rising to the occasion with new and contactless software tools to provide peace of mind for attendees, exhibitors, event staff and planners alike. Here are a few to consider as organizations welcome back groups in person: Konduko Kontactless Launched in 2013, Swiss-based Konduko provides Kontactless Smart Event technologies that… more
May 04, 2021
The first time Jordan Clark approached Rhanee Palma about working for him, Palma lost a friendship with a fellow applicant over a job opportunity at Caesars Entertainment that she ended up bypassing. Palma didn’t hold a grudge and Clark was undeterred. Years later, the 30-year industry veteran and founder/CEO of FACE2FACE Meetings & Incentives finally got his woman. Palma, arguably the face of Visit Oakland for nearly five years, most recently as chief sales officer, is now running the sales department for the Las Vegas-based meetings and events company. A veteran of Marriott… more
May 03, 2021
As much of the country moves on to their second round of vaccinations, travelers are taking steps to returning to the open road. What used to be old hat — getting on an airplane, stepping into a lobby, etc. — will feel new again. It will be a little scary while at the same time exhilarating, hotel chains like Hilton are expecting. The trick will be balancing all the new with the old, so traveling seems as easy as getting back on a bicycle — even if the path has been altered. Any sense of normalcy will be welcomed. “After a year without travel, people are excited to get moving, but they are… more
Apr 30, 2021
One of the driving factors that led Jim Sharpe to become CEO of leading events platform Aventri was that he saw a chance to work within an industry about to undergo a technological revolution. That was in January 2020. “I didn’t appreciate what that meant,” said Sharpe, who had a grand total of six weeks to become acclimated with events before COVID-19 turned the world on its head. A newbie to the MICE industry, Sharpe was previously responsible for tech-enabled services at companies like Gerson Lehrman Group and Standard Purification. “More than anything, I leveraged my experience as a CEO… more
Apr 28, 2021
Caesars Entertainment is going all-in on Atlantic City. The hospitality giant recently unveiled a $400 million master plan investment in its Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Tropicana Atlantic City casino-resort properties. Already underway, the plans include: Remodeled guest room towers;  Fresh interior design elements;  Casino gaming floor enhancements;  New dining concepts and amenities and more additions over the next three years.  According to Caesars officials, revitalizing the company’s flagship casino-hotel on the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk, Caesars Atlantic City, will be a… more
Apr 27, 2021
With destinations opening up for business and vaccination rates ramping up, flexible and functional outdoor spaces for meetings and events are an appealing choice for event groups who may not feel comfortable gathering indoors just yet. In this reopening, a plethora of resort and hotel properties are rising to the occasion by leveraging their existing open-air spaces in new and inventive ways to service events. And after a year of being cooped up, some extra fresh air sounds good, COVID or no COVID. “Our member hotels have designed some really innovative uses of outdoor space to put… more
Apr 26, 2021
Want to see the progression of corporate events in the past six months? Just track what LeAnn Koenig, vice operations of operations at Vertical Xchange, has experienced. Primarily an organizer of boutique events across myriad industries, Koenig was hosting groups during the pandemic as early as last September. As you might expect, the audience was split about 50-50 between in-person and virtual. The ratio has gradually tilted more toward face-to-face, reaching 90% for Vertical Xchange’s Row Corp Exchange at The Westin Cape Coral Resort in Cape Coral, Florida, in January. In March, the… more
Apr 22, 2021
If remote workers are tired of Zoom calls, imagine how sick they are of virtual backgrounds. Discover Puerto Rico has launched a promotion to turn the beach backdrop into a reality. (Sorry, Zoom still comes with the territory). Deskover Puerto Rico, as the program is known, will award six two-week “workations” to the Caribbean island. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. property, it doesn’t require work visas, passports or insurance requirements for U.S. citizens. The DMO is touting several other amenities not normally associated with beach trips, including 31 internet providers and three 5G… more