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Vegas, Baby! Here's What to Look Forward to at Connect Spring Marketplace 2024 in Sin City

From a planner gifting suite to a country-themed opening reception, here's what attendees can expect this year.

Last year, Connect Spring Marketplace brought attendees to Drai's Nightclub for a fun-filled, only-in-Vegas reception.
Last year, Connect Spring Marketplace brought attendees to Drai's Nightclub for a fun-filled, only-in-Vegas reception.
Photo: Oleksandr K

If you're a repeat Connect attendee, you know its events are unlike any corporate conference. Where else can you get a week's worth of business done in two days, while dancing the night away at a Vegas nightclub or snuggling a puppy on the trade show floor?

At Connect, attendees can expect a B2B event that, above all, values one-on-one appointments and purposeful education—but planners and partners who take time out of their schedule to attend deserve an experience too. That's where lively networking events and other perks come in.

Wondering what's on the docket for Connect Spring Marketplace 2024, taking place April 2-4 at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas? Below are a handful of things to look forward to this year. If you're interested in attending as a hosted buyer, applications close March 22. Apply here.

A Gifting Suite for Planners—Plus Other Cool Trade Show Activations

During the trade show, head to booth 113 for a planner gifting suite, curated by corporate gifting platform Cultivate.

"I'm so excited to partner with Cultivate for our spring 2024 gifting suite," says Rachel Jackson, Connect's director of hosted buyer experience. "Their gifting solutions gave us such awesome options to choose from, and they're so easy to work with. We decided to change it up a little this year and use a gifting suite to make it more of an experience on site for our hosted buyers to show our thanks for taking the time to join us, as we know how valuable their time is."

An example of a gift that planners will find? Allbirds shoes that can be fitted on site and taken home. But those aren't the only goodies on offer this year. Connect's trade show floor is always packed with engaging activations and fun freebies for all. Get ready for:

  • Puppy love. Yes, the Reno Tahoe Puppy Lounge returns! The CVB is once again giving attendees the chance to cuddle with adoptable dogs of all ages at their booth on the show floor. By the end of our Minneapolis show last year, seven dogs had found new homes. 
  • Pickleball. Visit Myrtle Beach's pickleball court also returns. It's the perfect way to team build with colleagues and peers while engaging in some friendly competition. 
  • Airstream. Connect's bringing a real airstream travel trailer from Popjoy onto the show floor this year. Expect it to serve signature cocktails on day one and turn into a photo booth on day two.
  • Hors d'oeuvres. For a little show floor pick-me-up, 50 Eggs Hospitality Group is crafting special hors d'oeuvre for attendees to enjoy while they're meeting and networking.

Get ready for a grand ole time at Connect's Gone Country, the event's opening reception held at new Vegas venue Ole Red.Get ready for a grand ole time at Connect's Gone Country, the event's opening reception held at new Vegas venue Ole Red.Photo: Courtesy of Ole Red

A Country-Themed Opening Reception

Ready to slip into your cowboy boots? Connect's Gone Country, hosted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and Ole Red, is the event's opening reception, taking place at the brand-new Vegas restaurant, bar, and performance venue at the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard. The venue's name is a nod to country music superstar Blake Shelton’s hit “Ol’ Red." (Shelton will even perform for the venue's official grand opening, taking place just a few weeks after Connect Spring Marketplace.)

Connect encourages attendees to don their best Western duds to mix, mingle, and dance the night away. Expect live music entertainment, refreshments, and Southern-style desserts. Proceeds from a specialty cocktail, a lavender mule, offered during the opening reception will go to the SEARCH Foundation, an organization that assists events, meetings, and catering professionals faced with a life-threatening illness.

TAO Beach Dayclub is a 47,000-square-foot tropical, Asian-inspired venue located within The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.TAO Beach Dayclub is a 47,000-square-foot tropical, Asian-inspired venue located within The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.Photo: Oleksandr K

A White Party at TAO Beach Dayclub

If you attended Connect Spring Marketplace back in 2022 in Puerto Rico, you might remember that Connect hosted a buzzy white party—where guests are encouraged to wear all white—at a beachside venue. The tradition will return in 2024 at TAO Beach Dayclub, a venue within the event's host hotel, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, for day two's reception. 

At Connect Spring Marketplace 2023, DEI author and speaker Raven Solomon took the education stage.At Connect Spring Marketplace 2023, DEI author and speaker Raven Solomon took the education stage.Photo: Oleksandr K

Inspiring Education

Along with one-on-one appointments, the foundation of Connect events lies in its education offerings, and this year's Spring Marketplace is no different. This year, expect a new speaker showcase layout and furniture from Quest Events. A few session/speaker highlights include:

  • Building a Strong Event Brand: Looking for ways to create a distinct brand for your event? In this session, Shepard's Taylor Elliot and Sarah Cappuccitti will share strategies on how to use marketing to do just that. They'll also share ways to intentionally incorporate that identity into the experience for a standout event that leaves a lasting impression. April 2, 2-2:30 p.m., Quest Events Speaker Showcase Stage.
  • Powerhouse CVB Panel: LVCVA's Rebecca DeLuca and Visit Myrtle Beach's Bob Harris will allow audience members to "ask the experts" in this session, where attendees can engage directly with leaders, explore case studies, and find new ways to collaborate with CVBs for seamless planning. April 2, 2:30-3:15 p.m., Quest Events Speaker Showcase Stage.
  • Michael Dominguez: ALHI's president and CEO returns to Connect to share his perspective on trends in the hotel industry. He'll also help attendees gain a better understanding of the industry's economic environment and how structural changes will have an impact in 2024 and beyond. April 3, 1:30-2 p.m., Quest Events Speaker Showcase Stage.
  • Jason Dunn: Hear from this longtime CVB veteran and the president of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals on the power of collaboration, partnerships, and leading by example. Dunn will also touch on how embracing DEI principles not only enhances organizational culture but also drives innovation and fosters growth. April 3, 2-2:30 p.m., Quest Events Speaker Showcase Stage.

Wellness Offerings

It's all about balance at Connect events. Days might feel long, so it's important to provide opportunities for attendees to relieve stress. At this year's Connect Spring Marketplace, expect a quiet room for those who need a break from the noise and stimulation, plus pods on the trade show floor for meditation provided by Champagne Creative Group.

The Visit Orlando team was all smiles at Connect Spring Marketplace 2023.The Visit Orlando team was all smiles at Connect Spring Marketplace 2023.Photo: Oleksandr K

And Don't Forget...

It's a national show.
A misconception we've heard about Connect Spring Marketplace? That because Vegas has played host for the past two years, it's just a West-focused event. That couldn't be further from the truth—expect vendors and partners from around the country, including Topgolf, Meet Boston, Discover Puerto Rico, Pixis Drones, and more.

Planners get to stay put for appointments.
At Connect events, the planners sit tight. During one-on-one appointments, supplier partners are the ones who move from table to table. Planners get their own "desk" to get business done during appointments and work done during breaks.  

Connect Marketplace 2024 heads to Milwaukee in August—with a special guest.
Thought this year's halftime show broke the internet? Wait until you see what Connect has in store for its main event in Milwaukee Aug. 27-29. Grammy-winning rapper, producer, and Usher's best halftime show cameo Lil Jon will take the stage at Connect Marketplace 2024 for an unforgettable closing party. Connect is even giving all attendees the chance to win a coveted meet-and-greet and photo op with Lil Jon. All you have to do is register for both Connect Spring Marketplace and Connect Marketplace to be entered to win.

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