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What's New in Meetings and Trade Shows: Puerto Rico Travel Updates, New Rideshare Company Targets Conventioneers, EIC's Latest Barometer, and More

BizBash rounds up the latest news related to meetings, trade shows, and CVBs/DMOs.

What's New in Meetings and Trade Shows: September 2022
Pop-Up Rideshare has launched in Las Vegas, targeting large-scale event and convention attendees.
Photo: Courtesy of Pop-Up Rideshare

We're rounding up the biggest meeting, trade show, and CVB/DMO news of the month—in one convenient place. Got a tip? Get in touch! Want more content like this sent directly to your inbox? Then sign up for our brand-new BizBash Meetings & Trade Shows monthly newsletter to stay in the know on the latest meetings and trade show news.

In Case You Missed It
September has been a particularly busy month for BizBash's Meetings & Trade Shows vertical, and we took a deep dive on two high-profile conferences. Our senior contributing editor Claire Hoffman was on-site at Vox Media's 2022 Code Conference, which featured high-profile speakers like Pete Buttigieg, Tim Cook, Mark Cuban, and Issa Rae—plus a fond farewell to 20-year host Kara Swisher. And senior editor Shannon Thaler got an exclusive preview of C2 Montréal 2022 that gave readers insight into what to expect at this year’s event, themed "IGNITED."

We also caught up with meetings veteran Lisa Messina, who began a new role this month as the first-ever chief sales officer at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). In this Q&A, she touches on plans for the new role, the highs and lows of working in the industry, and what it’s like working in one of the country's top tourist and meetings destinations.

On the trends side, we covered the fast-growing sport of pickleball and how it can be incorporated into programs as a team-building activity, plus we looked at six hotels and resorts around the U.S. that offer pickleball courts. As for strategy, we also took a look at smart ways to incentivize early registration for your next event or conference.

Here are five more things you should know about this month...

1. Discover Puerto Rico gives travel updates after Hurricane Fiona.
The DMO for the island of Puerto Rico, Discover Puerto Rico, is giving real-time travel updates following Hurricane Fiona, which made landfall in southwestern Puerto Rico on Sept. 18, causing infrastructure damage and flooding. According to Discover Puerto Rico, the metro area of San Juan is operating normally—and points of interest to planners such as the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport (SJU), Old San Juan, the Puerto Rico Convention Center, and DISTRITO T-Mobile are open.

"With our robust crisis preparedness plans in place pre-storm, we quickly mobilized our teams and agency partners to pause and/or pivot plans and tactics," Discover Puerto Rico CEO Brad Dean said in an email to island partners.

He added, "Our overarching message is that this is a setback—not a reset, as we build confidence while remaining sensitive to the varied impact across the island. We are communicating with transparency what we’re learning from the private and public sectors, as we know messaging must be accurate and thoughtful, given the circumstances."

According to the New York Timesas of Tuesday morning, about 490,000 customers in Puerto Rico are still without power.

The DMO advises "visitors currently in Puerto Rico or with upcoming travel plans to contact their travel providers, hotels, and local business directly to inquire about potential changes in operations."

2. Pop-Up Rideshare launches in Las Vegas, targeting large-scale event/convention attendees.
All convention attendees have likely been there: Too many people are trying to order Ubers and Lyfts at the same time during peak start and end times of a convention, causing prices to surge and wait times to climb. Pop-Up Rideshare hopes to alleviate those challenges, offering a first-of-its-kind transportation resource operating in conjunction with large-scale events—and it's now available in meetings mecca Las Vegas. 

What's New in Meetings and Trade Shows: September 2022Along with rideshare service and lead generation through mobile app downloads, package features also include vinyl car wrapping (pictured) and tablet video marketing.Photo: Courtesy of Pop-Up Rideshare

The company was created to motivate event attendees to download mobile apps from an event's corporate partners in order to redeem complimentary rides during major conventions and events. For example, next month during SITE NITE North America on Oct. 10—held at Allegiant Stadium during IMEX America—Pop-Up Rideshare will provide 50 cars from its fleet of 500 luxe, branded rideshare vehicles during the event. Event attendees will be eligible to redeem free rides via mobile app throughout the evening.

“Pop-Up Rideshare brings a completely new concept to the transportation industry while providing corporate sponsors the unique opportunity to have up to hundreds of thousands of users download their apps to redeem complimentary rides,” said Pop-Up Rideshare CEO Dave Evans in a press release.

3. Events Industry Council releases latest Global Business Events Barometer.
Last week, the Events Industry Council (EIC)—which comprises more than 30 member organizations in the events industry—released its latest Global Business Events Barometer. This quarterly barometer, launched last year, was created by Oxford Economics on behalf of EIC to monitor the changes within the market relative to pre-pandemic (2019) levels.

This latest barometer represents Q2 of 2022, and shows that hotel group room nights and business event RFPs increased strongly. Some key findings include:

  • RFP activity increased to 81, representing RFPs sent by event planners during the quarter for future events equivalent to 81% of 2019 levels.
  • Hotel group room nights increased to 83, representing stays during the quarter equivalent to 83% of 2019 levels.
  • RFP activity for events with short lead times has recovered faster than requests for events with longer lead times.
  • Both RFPs and hotel group room nights improved in all global regions in Q2—but recovery has been strongest in the Middle East and North America.
  • Longer-term forecasts anticipate a cautious economic outlook, as several countries face risk of recessions in coming quarters. 

In a press release, EIC CEO Amy Calvert said, "It is incredibly heartening to witness the significant momentum in the second quarter of the year. However, with rising inflation rates, the impact of the energy crisis, and ongoing socio-political events, we must remain confident in our capacity and yet prepared for all possibilities, continuing to build upon the momentum and celebrating what we have achieved thus far.”

Stayed tuned for an upcoming episode of GatherGeeks, where BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Calvert to discuss the barometer, why inspiring young people to enter the industry is more important than ever, and how the CMP is changing as a result of the pandemic.

4. Aviation financial leaders convene for 2022 IATA World Financial Symposium in Doha, Qatar.
From Sept. 19-22, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), along with Qatar Airways, hosted the largest gathering of the aviation industry’s financial leaders since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the airline. This year's IATA World Financial Symposium, held in Doha, Qatar, focused on reshaping airline resilience in the wake of the pandemic's damage to the industry.

One of the highlights of the conference was a fireside chat between IATA's director general Willie Walsh and Qatar Airways group chief executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. According to IATA, Al Baker said his biggest short-term challenges right now include political upheaval, high oil prices, a lack of manpower, and infrastructure inadequacies. He cited sustainability as a long-term concern.

Al Baker and Walsh agreed that poorly thought out regulations have affected the airline industry, both when it comes to reaching sustainability goals and the fallout from the pandemic. They also agreed that collaboration within the industry and external partners (such as oil companies) is essential, especially in regards to sustainability and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

5. Clarion Events will welcome a new CEO on Oct. 1.
Earlier this month, global event organizer Clarion Events announced that Lisa Hannant will become the company’s new CEO, succeeding Russell Wilcox, who will move to the position of executive chairman. The changes will take effect Oct. 1. Hannant joined Clarion in 2008 and was appointed to the board as group managing director in 2013, with responsibility for driving international expansion. As CEO, she will continue to work closely with Wilcox as chair of the board.

“It’s a huge privilege to be leading the company as it enters the next stage of its growth and evolution," Hannant said in a press release. "Like the rest of the industry, we’ve been through a challenging time since the outbreak of the pandemic. However, the commitment and resilience of our team in delivering value to customers has been outstanding.”

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