What's New in Meetings and Trade Shows: A New Racquet Sports Conference, PCMA's Closing Keynote, Sensory-Inclusive Certification for Convention Centers, and More

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

The meeting industry is all in on pickleball. Take it from JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, which has the most pickleball courts of any luxury resort in the country.
The meeting industry is all in on pickleball. Take it from JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, which has the most pickleball courts of any luxury resort in the country.
Photo: Courtesy of JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

In Case You Missed It
This month on the BizBash Meetings & Trade Shows vertical, we tapped Vimeo's head of global events to write a guest column on how to create inclusive events for neurodivergent attendees. We also looked into how the 1 Hotels brand is making on-site events more sustainable

Other related stories from the last four weeks include tips for improving an annual event; a deep dive into Samsung’s tentpole event, Galaxy Unpacked; highlights from Connect Marketplace 2023 in Minneapolis; and what event hosts should know about safety and security

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

1. Miami will host a conference all about racquet sports.
Feel like you're hearing about pickleball and padel everywhere? Still seeing headlines from this year's historic US Open? The popularity of racquet sports might be unmatched right now, and this brand-new event in Miami hopes to capitalize on that. The inaugural RacquetX will take place at the Miami Beach Convention Center March 24-26, 2024.

The brainchild of event guru Robyn Duda and entrepreneur Marco Giberti, RacquetX is the culmination of huge growth across the sector. The conference's three headline sports—tennis, pickleball, and padel—have all experienced surges in participation since the pandemic. The new event promises opportunities for businesses, industry professionals, and sports enthusiasts. Speakers so far include Katrina Adams, the first Black person (and the youngest person ever) to serve as president, chairman, and CEO of the United States Tennis Association; Upswing Sports founder Thomas Shields; and Pro Padel League co-founder and commissioner Marcos Del Pilar.

"Racquet sports is truly one of the most exciting sectors out there right now, and this is the place to take advantage of that, whether you're a seasoned industry professional, an investor, a club owner or parks and recreation planner, or even just a fan—there will be incredible experiences for everyone at RacquetX," said Duda in a press release.

RacquetX will also welcome professionals and enthusiasts of all racquet sports including squash, badminton, table tennis, and cult sports like platform tennis. Tickets are now available. 

At the Detroit Auto Show, an indoor test track from Jeep features a hill with a 40-degree incline. The activation (seen here from the 2022 show) returned for the 2023 show.At the Detroit Auto Show, an indoor test track from Jeep features a hill with a 40-degree incline. The activation (seen here from the 2022 show) returned for the 2023 show.Photo: Matt Christ, courtesy of Visit Detroit

2. Detroit Auto Show goes on amid UAW negotiations and possible strike.
The Detroit Auto Show, one of the most influential annual automotive events in the world, is now open to the public through Sept. 24. And although new additions this year include things like an indoor EV track and more street course ride-and-drives, the hype for the annual trade show is clouded this year. 

According to The New York Times, "The three established U.S. automakers, the anchors of the show, are locked in difficult contract negotiations with the labor union that represents nearly 150,000 of their employees." There's a possibility of the United Auto Workers (UAW) going on strike, meaning showroom owners might have to wait longer to get their hands on some of the new models on the trade show floor this year. 

As of Monday morning, bargaining was set to resume to avoid a strike. According to Reuters, this sees a union strike at all three automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (parent company of Chrysler)—simultaneously for the first time.

This is just another recent example of labor crises affecting meetings and events, from the WGA/SAG strike in Hollywood to Los Angeles hospitality workers on strike. 

3. PCMA's Convening Leaders taps Mayim Bialik for a keynote.
Headed to San Diego in January for Convening Leaders? This year, attendees will be treated to a closing keynote from Jeopardy! host, neuroscientist, and author Mayim Bialik. She'll hit the main stage to combine her academic knowledge and experience to dispel myths and stigma around mental health. ​Bialik, who also starred in the CBS hit comedy The Big Bang Theory, has written two No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular, and the recently released Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant. PCMA's headlining event will take place Jan. 7-10, 2024, at the San Diego Convention Center.

4. Pittsburgh's convention center earns a sensory-inclusive certification.
KultureCity—a nonprofit that focuses on creating sensory accessibility and inclusion—says that 1 in 6 event attendees today has an invisible disability like a sensory-processing issue. That's why it's increasingly important to accommodate neurodiverse attendees at your next event. 

The nonprofit is now certifying event venues to promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with a sensory issue, no matter their age or ability. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) has partnered with KultureCity to ensure that DLCC staff are trained annually by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation.

KultureCity Sensory Bags are also available at DLCC, and they're equipped with noise-canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and KCVIP lanyards. A quiet room is available as well, offering a private room located on level two of concourse A that can be accessed by connecting with security staff. Headphone zones are also marked in areas of heightened noise potential in the venue.

Prior to their visit, attendees can download the free KultureCity app to view what sensory features are available and where they can access them, as well as view a customized visual preview of what to expect while at DLCC.

5. A California DMO rebrands.
The Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau is now See Monterey. The rebrand is meant to signify a new era for the DMO, "characterized by innovation, sustainability, and a deep commitment to responsible tourism that enriches both visitors and the community," according to a press release.

"We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey as See Monterey," said See Monterey President and CEO Rob O'Keefe in a statement. "The rebranding captures the spirit of exploration that defines Monterey County while connecting the entire destination, from the coast to the redwoods to the valley. Our elevated approach to planning and research helps us to better grow responsible tourism that ultimately generates community prosperity.”

Page 1 of 11
Next Page