Connect Spring Marketplace Pulls Off an Inspiring Island Experience for Event Planners
In celebration of the event industry’s revival and promising post-pandemic future, the recent Connect Spring Marketplace provided meeting and event planners with a plethora of business development opportunities, top-notch education and stand-out meetings and event offerings, highlighted by the vibrant island culture of its host destination, Puerto Rico.
Held May 22-24 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC) in San Juan, the annual conference and trade show attracted more than 1,700 event professionals. Highlights included a trade show with 30 exhibitors, one-on-one appointments and showfloor educational opportunities, including a summary of the BizBash Leadership Summit, a boutique gathering of leading industry thought leaders that collocated with the event.
During the show, attendees were treated to unique experiences designed to immerse them in the Island’s rich heritage, including an energetic opening reception at Puerto Rico’s leading new venue, Distrito T-Mobile, an entertainment district just steps from the PRCC, as well as an authentic Puerto Rican fiesta in Old San Juan.
As part of Connect’s renowned “reverse” trade show, event planners sourced future event sites, met with potential business partners, including cutting-edge event technological companies, and took advantage of myriad networking opportunities.
“The energy level and excitement at Connect Spring Marketplace was palpable,” said Chris Collinson, president of Connect, the leading producer of B2B events for event professionals. “It is heartwarming to see everyone back together in person again doing business, making connections and enjoying each other’s company. This event really speaks to the importance of bringing the industry together.”
Collinson added that Discover Puerto Rico, the Island’s destination marketing organization, collaborated hand-in-hand with Connect to create an unforgettable and valuable experience for attendees via rich content, context and experiences designed to demonstrate the powerful impact of face-to-face meetings and events.
For Discover Puerto Rico, the Connect Spring Marketplace was an incredible opportunity to showcase the Island as a top-tier meetings and events destination, according to Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.
“The event not only had an over $3 million immediate economic impact on the Island’s communities, but also showcased Puerto Rico as a world-class destination for hosting meetings and events and generated interest in the Island for future events,” Dean said. “We’re coming off of a record-breaking year in 2021 and the Island is well-positioned to see an even better 2022, with new group leads generated from Jan-April of 2022 103% higher than in the same period in 2021. And, as a unique value proposition, the Island offers an international feel, including a rich history and culture, with the convenience of no passport, currency exchange or new phone plan for U.S. citizens.”
The Spring Marketplace also showcased Connect’s continued integration with the event industry’s leading source for cultivating innovative brand and event experiences, BizBash, which powered the event’s education and whose Leadership Summit brought together top corporate brand officers and leading industry suppliers and vendors for an intimate and insightful discussion about the future of events.
In addition to in-person festivities, BizBash partnered with leading event tech company Hubilo for the BizBash Virtual Summit, in which all of the show’s education was livestreamed across the world and was made available on-demand.
According to Connect officials, Spring Marketplace participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, including from Jaime Risch, corporate director, strategic accounts of Great Wolf Resorts.
“Connect Marketplace will continue to be at the top of our list of trade shows,” Risch said. “We have walked away from each event with a number of successes, new connections, creative activations and new revenue-producing opportunities.”
She continued, “The Connect team has always been immensely supportive of all our Great Wolf properties, and aligned us with opportunities to make more connections with planners. This year at Connect Spring Marketplace in Puerto Rico, we walked away with $1.4 million in new lead opportunities. This is a first for our brand. We look forward to many more successes as we head to Connect Marketplace in Detroit this August.”
More than 3,000 event professionals are expected to attend the annual summertime B2B business development conference, which boasts an exciting lineup for event professionals, including its largest trade show to date. Detroit is planning a stand-out opening reception featuring some of its unique venues, while Jason Sudeikis, the Emmy-award-winning creator and star of “Ted Lasso,” will be the celebrity guest speaker. BizBash will once again present the show’s education, with tracks covering Association, BizBash, Citywide, Corporate, Specialty and Sports.
To learn more and to register, go here.