Cvent is the global meeting, event and travel technology leader. Cvent offers software solutions to event planners for online event registration, venue selection, event management, mobile apps for events, e-mail marketing and web surveys. In this blog you will find Event industry Tips, Trends, and Best Practices.
It was a day of connecting at Cvent CONNECT, as hospitality professionals set up shop at Wednesday’s trade show to meet planners and highlight their group services.
The timing was perfect, since connections were on everyone’s minds after an inspiring morning keynote by Abby Wambach. The soccer legend — an Olympic and FIFA World Cup champion — earned a standing ovation even before launching into her speech, which encouraged the crowd to ask themselves, “What do you believe in? How have you come to believe it?”
She emphasized the need to surround yourself with people who can support and push you, using stories about the U.S. women’s soccer team as examples. “We have to stop being OK with the status quo,” she said, speaking candidly about the challenges she and other women face.
Embracing failure and enjoying success were also among her themes. “I don’t think, especially in the business world, that we celebrate our wins enough, even the small ones,” she said.
Endless Meeting and Greeting at Cvent CONNECT Trade Show
After Wambach finished, the trade show floor filled up with planners exploring all the venue and sponsor booths — this year’s event had more exhibitors than ever before. Lines formed at the Clean the World station, where participants assembled hygiene kits to be sent to those in need. VisitDallas’ Margarita Mile also proved to be popular — especially once they actually started serving margaritas during the afternoon happy hour.
All around, hoteliers were welcoming planners to one-on-one appointments, capturing leads left and right. Others were finding innovative ways of attracting additional walk-up traffic: The representatives from one Nashville property, for instance, were promoting their bachelorette party suites, so they were eyeing attendees’ fingers, looking for engagement rings!
Ending With a Call to Action
All in all, nearly 3,500 attendees and 330 exhibitors hit the trade show floor. After that, it was time for another amazing keynote, this one from chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian José Andrés. His message was one of compassion and activism — anyone can change the world, one step at a time. For him, it was one meal at a time, as he fights against hunger. “The beginning of tomorrow starts with a humble plate of food,” he said.
Andrés kept the crowd laughing, too: “I welcome everyone (into my restaurants). I even welcome Yelpers!”
Coastal Mississippi, the Secret Coast, is a hidden gem that is often overlooked as a meeting destination. The tricounty region, recently rebranded from Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, offers everything that meeting planners need, including a variety of meeting spaces, nearly 15,000 hotel rooms, and a destination services team to help along the way. Attendees have a plethora of leisure options as well, including gaming, world-class entertainment, fishing, golfing, outdoor activities, and so much more. Here are a few of the many reasons why your upcoming meeting should be held in Coastal Mississippi.
Your next meeting can feature a sailing excursion, round of golf, or brewery tour. For a unique experience, your attendees can kayak, paddleboard, or fish in one of the Secret Coast’s many waterways. If you are looking for an indoor option, multiple cooking classes are offered to let attendees prepare a classic coastal dish. The options are endless!
Coastal Mississippi has meeting venues to suit any event. The Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center offers over 400,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space and can comfortably house groups of up to 6,000 people. Food and beverage provider Levy serves up dishes with delicious local ingredients and inspiration, such as fresh Gulf shrimp and freshly picked blueberries. Our 12 casino resorts offer a multitude of meeting spaces, with square footage up to 66,000, along with a variety of fine dining and headliner entertainment. Coastal Mississippi also offers an array of options for smaller groups seeking less than 6,400 square feet of meeting space. For more information about meeting facilities, visit coastalmississippi.com.
Take advantage of all that Coastal Mississippi offers, including assisting groups with their planning, promoting, and managing of meetings. Our staff prides itself on providing outstanding service, and we are eager to help. We also offer various hospitality services, a seamless hotel reservation system, onsite registration assistance, media assistance, and more. Contact our sales team today for more information.
Incredible keynote speakers, a Trade Show like no other, hundreds of appointments and educations sessions, all capped off with an evening attendees will never forget. This was Day 3 at Cvent CONNECT 2019 in Las Vegas.
As her beloved USWNT was being celebrated with a ticker-tape parade in New York City, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, & FIFA World Cup Champion Abby Wambach delivered the morning keynote driving home a message to all women: If we keep playing by the Old Rules, we will never change the game. Her focus on equality, acceptance, hard work, and the importance of finding your “wolfpack” to help lead you to success resonated with our audience. She kicked off Day 3 with the perfect dose of inspiration and motivation to tackle life’s biggest challenges and celebrate the small wins together. We think it fits perfectly with our #TogetherNow theme. Thank you, Abby!
Chef, Restaurateur, & Humanitarian José Andres wrapped up the day with his afternoon keynote. Through his stories of living as an immigrant in the United States and dedicating much of his life now to giving back to those less fortunate, he brought a message of extreme humility and compassion. His ability to balance the heavy images with genuine strokes of humor had the crowd laughing, crying, and sitting on the edge of their seats. He also shared his newfound focus on his health – he has lost 40 pounds in the last two months and shared his weight loss secret with us.
The #TogetherNow theme was never more evident than it was at our bustling Trade Show. Every year at Cvent CONNECT, event professionals have the chance to attend pre-scheduled appointments, providing the opportunity to meet with and source Cvent’s extensive network of hospitality, destination, and other key event industry partners. This year’s Trade Show brought together nearly 3,500 attendees who engaged with more than 330 exhibitors.
A Rock Legend and Dancing the Night Away
We capped off the day with an evening sponsored by MGM Grand at the incredible Hakkasan Nightclub where Steven Tyler’s band (yes, of Aerosmith) Loving Mary kicked things off gave us an opening performance to remember. And then the DJ took over to bring the house down. The party was extended until 1:00am because let’s face it – it’s Vegas!
We are always amazed and inspired by the way our customers use our products to drive success in new, innovative ways at their respective organizations. That’s why it’s always such a great pleasure to recognize and reward these efforts through the Cvent Excellence Awards, held annually at Cvent CONNECT.
The Cvent Excellence Awards feature 12 unique categories which reflect the wide impact technology has on the meetings, events, and hospitality ecosystem. The winners were announced at a live ceremony at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The 2019 winners include:
Meetings and Events
Best Return on Event
Morningstar Winner: Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area
Best Event Marketing Strategy
USC – Cultural Relations & University Events Winner: BlackRock
Best Use of Mobile Event Technology
Gore & Associates
One10 Winner: MDVIP
Best Onsite Attendee Experience
New York Presbyterian
Sensus, a Xylem Brand Winner: University of Rochester
Merck & Co.
Pearson Winner: Lincoln Financial Group
The Best in the U.S.
Cvent’s Top Meetings Destination
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Winner: Visit Orlando
The Block Buster
Excellence and Ingenuity with Room-Block Bookings
Ft. Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa
Portola Hotel and Spa Winner: MGM Resorts International
The Business Intelligencer
Outstanding Achievement in Analytics
Melia Barcelona Sarria Winner: Visit Dallas
The Group Game Changer
Best Group Sales and Marketing Strategy
Paradisus Playa del Carmen
Kimpton EPIC Hotel Winner: IHG
Since 2013, Cvent has been celebrating their customers through an awards program at their annual user conference, Cvent CONNECT. The organizations, event planning teams, and hospitality professionals recognized have established themselves as thought-leaders within the events and hospitality space. Winners are recognized in front of thousands of industry professionals each year, and their work is highlighted through case studies and thought leadership content.
From a new digital magazine to Business Intelligence Lite to enhanced Social Tables Diagramming, Cvent’s Hospitality Cloud product team detailed the new solutions and features available now and coming soon for hotels, venues, and destinations. Vice President Jim Abramson highlighted all the recent acquisitions that have created a more robust platform. In fact, estimates show that $19 billion dollars of group business will be sourced through Cvent channels in 2019.
Here’s a roundup of Tuesday’s product announcements.
After acquiring Social Tables last fall, Cvent will soon integrate those floor plans and layout tools into the Cvent Supplier Network (CSN). It’s a big boost for venues, since 48% of planners see floor plans as the most relevant information in a proposal. With the integration, they will be able to see that information directly in a CSN profile.
Cvent Microsites, announced last year to help chains and brands reach planners in a new way, are now available for individual profiles. Built with the user-friendly Site Designer, they also have a new home in the keyword-based Discover search engine within the CSN.
Another new way to browse and find hotels in the CSN — this one focused specifically on luxury properties — is the completely revamped Cvent Meetings digital magazine. It’s packed with luxury venue profiles, as well as insightful industry content that will keep planners coming back.
An extensive redesign of Cvent’s Destination Guide will soon add a number of new features to the platform. For instance, destination organizations will be able to edit their own profiles, allowing them to keep content updated and engage more with planners.
When it comes to the numbers, it’s all about constant monitoring. That’s why new Business Intelligence (BI) Custom Alerts are an amazing tool to allow hoteliers to get notifications based on certain metrics, comparisons, and thresholds.
Think your property is too small for Cvent’s BI tools? Not anymore. A new “lite” version will still offer quick metrics and sales manager insights — but at a lower price point.
With the new Lead Scoring Proposal Assistant, current Lead Scoring customers are able to create a proposal in less than five minutes, thanks to prepopulated templates that fill in suggested rates, dates, and spaces.
Following the overhaul of Cvent Passkey’s homepage in March, the team has moved onto attendee booking websites. The new design will be more intuitive with an improved visual layout, allowing for a faster booking process.
Social Tables’ Diagramming tool adds new features, such as photo-realistic 3-D renderings; commenting and annotating functionality to improve hotels’ collaboration with planners; and streamlined processes that cut diagramming time in half.
Also on the Social Tables platform, the Sales and Catering CRM offers a modular solution for small venues. It encompasses three areas: catering tools, customer management, and sales reporting.
Another day at Cvent CONNECT 2019 is in the books!
Following an incredible opening performance, and with some serious screen envy thanks to our partners at Upstage, Reggie Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Cvent, delivered the first keynote of the week, where he focused on the incredible 20-year Cvent journey – and what the lessons of the past have taught him about how to continue achieving success in the future. Attendees then broke out into their respective clouds’ product roadmap sessions, which highlighted how robust Cvent’s roadmap truly is and how we continue to expand our technology and solutions in new, cutting-edge ways.
On Tuesday we also had the first four sessions of our new Women in Leadership track, each with a packed house! Throughout the rest of the afternoon, attendees participated in nearly 100 breakout sessions and tech tours, 1:1 appointments, and saw in-depth demos of Cvent solutions in the Innovation Pavilion. We wrapped up the day with the Cvent Excellence Awards and our Retro Vegas Revelry-themed evening event.
Our Founder and CEO set the tone this morning with a look back at what 20 years of Cvent has meant to him – and what we’re doing to stay ahead of the curve for the next two decades moving forward. A focus throughout the morning was on the role Cvent plays in supporting an attendee experience that is more immersive, engaging, and impactful – much like the one our own Cvent CONNECT attendees are experiencing this week.
Cvent’s own Senior Directors of Project Management Brett Fitzgerald and McNeel Keenan kicked off the in-depth Event Cloud Product Roadmap session that showcased our incredible pipeline of offerings (from an equally robust mix of speaker talent) including the Cvent Marketplace, Social Tables + Cvent Supplier Network, Speaker Resource Center, Universal LeadCapture + Universal Appointments GA, Universal Check-In, Flex updates, and more.
The Innovation Pavilion
The Innovation Pavilion was bustling all day with more Feature Flash Theater trainings, some tough competition in the “Cvent in Virtual Reality” gamification experience, lots of interest in the CSN + Social Tables enhancement, and so many attendees eager to sign up to be Cvent Celebrities.
Cvent Excellence Awards
The invitation-only Cvent Excellence Awards kicked off after the day’s sessions with an Oscar-worthy performance from the incredible “Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper” and the multi-course dinner and exclusive setting were the perfect way to celebrate the incredible work our event and hospitality customers are doing with the Cvent platform.
Planners can use all the help they can get, and hotels that make their job easier are more likely to earn their business. That’s the conclusion from the just-released 2019 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: Global Edition, which is based on a Cvent-commissioned survey of 2,650 qualified planners worldwide.
Among the survey respondents, 69% manage at least 11 events a year, and 37% organize 50 or more. Combined with a reported increase in attendance at most types of events, this growing workload underlines the importance that hoteliers should place on making every planner interaction quick and service-oriented.
Communication Is Key to All Relationships — Even With Planners
Bad communication was cited by 44% of planners as the reason for choosing to not submit an RFP to a venue. Even if they do, an incomplete proposal can prompt them to quickly turn down a venue. They don’t have time to track down additional information, since they still have to deal with ever-increasing expectations from attendees and executives.
If a response has the wrong name or dates in the wrong month, “clearly you didn’t really pay attention to the proposal at all,” AxoGen planner Leanna Mosquera told us in our Meet the Planner series. “I don’t have time to go through 30 incorrect responses for each program that we do,” so venues that provide inadequate information are more likely to get rejected right off the bat.
Our 2019 survey respondents agree: 32% want hotels to improve attention to detail in their RFP responses, while 20% want faster responses.
What About the Venue Itself?
Cost will always be a top influencer on planners’ booking decisions, but in this year’s report, event space layout was just as important. They tied as the top factors (45%), slightly ahead of location and availability of preferred dates (42% each).
While the bottom line is still a major influence, the results show the growing importance of other considerations. Case in point: Over 70% of planners expect cost savings of at least 6% before they would consider switching to their second-choice venue. That means hotels and venues are no longer likely to win group business solely because they offer the best price.
Hoteliers can also attract planners by helping them create more “be here now” experiences. When asked about their strategies for making events memorable, 56% of planners say they leverage live entertainment such as music, and 35% use pop-up events and surprises.
Great Hotel Space Isn’t Enough: Service Helps Generate Loyalty
While appropriate meeting space and unique experiences can get a planner to book with your hotel, service is key to earning repeat business. More than half (59%) of surveyed planners cite a lack of professionalism among hotel staff as the reason they won’t return to a venue.
Those results echo the concerns expressed by MeetingAdvice veteran Steve Goodman in our Meet the Planner series. He said he looks for “a level of professionalism from the minute you pull up to the hotel and you meet the doorman, to the front desk, all the way through housekeeping. The level of professionalism that is shown by the staff typically resonates on what type of event you might have at that property.”
Get More Planner Insights by Reading the Full Report
Networking may be the foundation of Cvent CONNECT, but Day 2 also brought the opportunity for hospitality professionals to learn not only about the Cvent solutions coming their way, but also about how to reach and collaborate with planners better.
Before splitting up for their respective roadmap sessions, the crowd got pumped up at the opening general session, which celebrated the conference theme: Together Now. Singers, musicians, and dancers — not to mention an amazing, full-width digital screen — reflected the people, places, technology, and experiences that converge to make great events.
Marking Cvent’s Anniversary by Looking Back
After 20 years of success and struggles since starting Cvent, founder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal had five lessons to share. In his keynote, he highlighted the importance of people and culture. “Believe in yourself, but also surround yourself with people who believe in you,” he said.
Aggarwal’s secrets to his success:
Find a pain point and create an aspirin.
The DNA of your company is your people.
Fall down seven times, get up eight.
Create a bold, intrapreneurial culture.
Hire, build, and listen.
During the difficult times, he said, “that’s when the Cvent culture was created.”
On to the Hospitality Professionals Program
After the Hospitality Cloud roadmap session, which covered new Cvent innovations for group marketing, sales, and operations, the focus shifted to helping hoteliers and destinations representatives connect better with planners throughout the event life cycle.
Starting with the big picture, Warren Marr, managing director at PwC, showed planners what economic factors they should be monitoring to get a better idea of the hospitality and meetings industries: GDP, unemployment, consumer confidence, and inflation. “Keep on top of these, and you’ll stay a step ahead of the advanced uncertainty,” he said.
To increase the certainty that you will reach and attract planner business, William Alvarez, director of organic search for Catalyst, said suppliers need to understand the importance of search-engine optimization. “Effective digital marketing starts and ends with search and content,” he said.
Search is just one way that Cvent is marketing to planners, said Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for the Cvent Hospitality Cloud. He outlined the four priorities on which Cvent has focused to reach planners and connect more of them with suppliers:
Using more marketing channels.
Creating and distributing relevant, compelling content.
Going digital to scale efforts.
Establishing Cvent as an authority.
Building Stronger Relationships With Planners
One common thread that emerged throughout the day: Communication is the key to better hotelier/planner collaboration. “It’s about going in being truthful about what your event is trying to showcase,” said panelist Melinda Burdette, events director for Meeting Professionals International. “Planners are looking for experiences — experiences for themselves and for their attendees.”
Dan Berger, vice president and general manager of Social Tables, also emphasized communication. In fact, according to a new Social Tables report, 37% of planners cite bad communication as the No. 1 reason they choose another venue. How can hotels communicate better with planners? “It goes back to trust,” he said, with a combination of sincerity, competence, and reliability.
It was a busy day of training, networking, sharing, and socializing as the conference kicked off at the MGM Grand.
At the Leadership Summit, more than 300 planning and hospitality professionals gathered to share ideas and experiences. Focusing on the theme of Leading, Together, the day revolved around the idea of using both the analytical and the personal to lead effectively. Early sessions concentrated on the analytical, including one from Piyanka Jain, president and CEO of Aryng, a data science consulting firm.
Later, the floor was open during a roundtable data discussion that covered topics ranging from pain points to the process of creating personalized experiences. The general consensus: Using data requires not only numbers but also a human factor and a clear objective.
SoulCycle Founder: Community Is the Key
To wrap up the Leadership Summit, Ruth Zukerman, co-founder of SoulCycle and Flywheel, told the group about the fundamentals that led to the success of both companies. Tapping into the human connection was key, she said, particularly factors such as empathy and compassion — traits she learned from being a mother of twin girls. Even those characteristics that are typically considered too soft, “for me and our business, they were assets.”
Ultimately, her time spent building two successful brands unlined “how important it is to connect with people, make people feel good about themselves, and just be kind,” she said.
Before everyone called it a night (or headed out on the town — this is Vegas, after all!), they filtered into happy hour at the Innovation Pavilion, where the technology solutions were swarming and the drinks were flowing. Event planners, hoteliers, destination representatives, speakers, sponsors, and Cventers mingled in the packed ballroom, building those face-to-face relationships that make Cvent CONNECT so special.
The hospitality industry is jumping on the wellness bandwagon, creating innovative programs to help meeting attendees maintain physical and mental health. It’s paying dividends for everyone involved.
Recently, Venetian Meetings partnered with Skift to produce an in-depth report titled “The Future of Wellness in Meetings and Events.” Check out this summary of some of the report’s findings. (The full report may be accessed on The Venetian’s website.)
The supercharged pace of modern life is prompting many people to put a premium on self-care and work-life balance. The pursuit of health and wellness has become a daily routine for most adults, and people are finding ways to address mental as well as physical health. In addition to workouts and spa treatments, people are practicing meditation and yoga, eating healthier foods, and spending more time in nature. The quest for health and well-being has fueled steep growth in what is now a $4.2 trillion global wellness industry.
Once consumers make fitness and wellness part of their routine, they don’t want to give it up when they’re on the road. For decades, hospitality companies have “checked the wellness box” by providing guests with access to fitness centers and spa treatments, but in today’s environment, those facilities are simply minimum requirements. Hotels and resorts are being challenged to broaden and personalize wellness offerings, and they are responding in creative ways.
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is a prime example of how an orientation toward wellness can take hold across an entire resort, becoming integrated into decisions about all aspects of the resort’s facilities and programming. Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales at The Venetian, has seen the wellness trend evolve in real time and has encouraged her team to evolve along with it. “Research tells us that when wellness is built into a company’s culture, the company’s employees are happier and more productive,” says Allison. “Therefore, meeting planners are wisely looking for ways to incorporate wellness-related programs into their events, and we’re eager to help.”
The Venetian now has a broad-based and ever-expanding wellness initiative, offering programs that touch on physical, mental, and environmental health.
Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness is a 134,000-square-foot facility with 90 treatment rooms, a 40-foot rock-climbing wall, and dozens of classes, such as poolside yoga. Canyon Ranch offers wellness programs for groups that feature healthy snacks, fitness breaks, and customized “express” spa treatments that help meeting attendees relax and rejuvenate. Other options cover everything from meditation to bike races to hikes away from the Las Vegas Strip.
The resort’s Honest Food program is designed to address the latest trends in wellness and sustainability; it gives meeting planners flexible and diverse menu options that include vegetarian and vegan choices. In addition, a variety of no-alcohol or low-alcohol options are offered for evening functions.
The Venetian is known for its sustainability leadership, which includes major initiatives in recycling, water filtration, green energy, and more. Now, all of the resort’s bathroom products contain 0% paraben, gluten, silicone, and dyes, and none are tested on animals.
The resort offers meeting planners innovative programs that combine wellness, sustainability, and community service. For example, through The Venetian’s partnership with Clean the World, meeting attendees can team up to build hygiene kits from unused hotel inventory; these kits are then distributed by Clean the World to families in vulnerable communities. The Venetian gives meeting planners the opportunity to integrate these hygiene-kit-building programs into their events, giving attendees a powerful and eco-conscious way to create wellness for others.
Allison points out that these initiatives are just a few of the ways The Venetian is helping meeting attendees maintain wellness while they’re onsite. “We want to make sure our guests have plenty of options to meet their wellness needs,” she says. “Our wellness programs reinforce our uniqueness as a fully integrated resort: We always emphasize that attendees can work, play, relax, and stay fit — all under one roof.”
Early indications are that the availability of wellness programs improves event outcomes: Meeting planners are reporting increased attendee engagement and productivity, and The Venetian has also noticed the positive impact. “Meetings and events can be taxing on attendees,” says Allison. “We recommend that meeting planners schedule time for attendees to participate in wellness and mindfulness activities, because we know that it will pay off.”