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What's New in Meetings and Trade Shows: WEC Louisville, Convene 4 Climate, and Fontainebleau Miami Beach's New Convention Center

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

Later this year, Fontainebleau Miami Beach will open the Coastal Convention Center.
Later this year, Fontainebleau Miami Beach will open the Coastal Convention Center.
Rendering: Courtesy of Fontainebleau Miami Beach

In Case You Missed It

This past month on the BizBash Meetings & Trade Shows vertical, we delved into event mission statements. How and why should you clearly define them? Mission statements not only articulate the purpose of your gathering, but also act as a north star for all planning decisions. Clearly defining the "why" behind your event helps you align your team, attract the right audience, and enhance every aspect of the experience. Read more here.

Looking for an out-of-the-box venue for your next meeting? Try booking a stadium or arena. This month we chatted with two experts on how to do it right. We also looked at six emerging hotel trends for 2024, after time spent in Nashville with Hilton. 

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

1. MPI WEC takes place this week.

Today, it's likely that some readers are tuning in from Louisville, Ky., the site of this year's WEC, MPI's largest annual event. WEC Louisville kicked off yesterday and runs through May 22 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. This year, the event expects more than 2,000 attendees and over 70 sessions.

Keynotes include "Broadway to Boardroom: Business Best Practices from Backstage" with Broadway Plus. The session, taking place tomorrow, will offer attendees an intimate look at the intersecting worlds of Broadway performance and business acumen. The event will feature a panel of distinguished Broadway performers: Jessica Lee Goldyn (A Chorus Line, Moulin Rouge!), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory), and Fergie Philippe (Hamilton, Camelot). The discussion will be moderated by Shawn Parker, executive director of strategic accounts and corporate group sales at Hilton. 

Other speakers on the docket include MPI's Melinda Burdette, Louisville Tourism's Cleo Battle, IAEE's Marsha Flanagan, and Encore's Bret Fendt. The popular, interactive 100 League Game Show, hosted by Brent Bushnell, also returns to WEC.

2. Amex GBT unveils its top five event marketing trends.

American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) recently surveyed more than 300 marketing and communications professionals who plan meetings and events to better understand the evolving event landscape. The survey was compiled by The Experience Studio, a specialized team within Amex GBT dedicated to crafting events. The resulting report identified five event marketing trends: "the power of relevant content," "the wonders of technology," "strength in partnerships," "sustainability and inclusivity as amplifiers," and "the engagement advantage."

Notable findings include:

  • If overall meeting budgets increased by 10% in 2024, 20% of respondents said that they’d improve content delivery and increase their use of technology, including leveraging AI.
  • 59% of respondents said they expect to use mobile apps in their meetings and events; 47% say they expect to use QR codes; 35% expect to use on-site check-in tools; and 34% expect to use AI.
  • 78% of companies are expected to have corporate sustainability goals by the end of 2024.
  • 51% of respondents said their organization has not set a defined corporate net-zero goal but are planning to in the next year.

Read the full report here.

At IMEX Frankfurt last week, PCMA's Sherrif Karamat (pictured) and the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe's Matthias Schultze shared more details about Convene 4 Climate.At IMEX Frankfurt last week, PCMA's Sherrif Karamat (pictured) and the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe's Matthias Schultze shared more details about Convene 4 Climate.Photo: Courtesy of IMEX

3. PCMA announces Convene 4 Climate during IMEX Frankfurt.

One of the top headlines out of IMEX Frankfurt, which took place last week: PCMA and the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe (SANCBE) announced the name and agenda for an exclusive sustainability conference first announced in January. Convene 4 Climate will take place in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 2-3 and is being billed as "the global business events industry’s inaugural sustainability conference."

“Together with SANCBE, PCMA is co-creating a way forward for a regenerative future that empowers the global business events industry to continue to operate in a commonsense way while driving positive change for a new economy,” PCMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat said in a statement. “Now is the time to embark on this transformative journey to reimagine the future, inspire sustainable progress, and ignite a movement toward a more resilient tomorrow.”

The gathering will explore three central themes—reimagine, inspire, and movement—to address "climate impact mitigation, long-term profitability, and inspire optimism as a continued global movement, transforming what this industry offers and how it produces business events."

Interested in attending? You can submit an Expression of Interest; the event is targeting "a diverse and influential community of sustainability leaders." 

4. Cvent names top destinations for meetings for 2024.

Meetings giant Cvent released its annual lists of the top meeting destinations and top meeting hotels worldwide. These annual lists are issued regionally—North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa—and are compiled using sourcing activity through the Cvent Supplier Network.

For the seventh year, Orlando, Fla., clinched the No. 1 spot in North America; followed by Las Vegas at No. 2; Nashville, Tenn., at No. 3; Dallas (ascending three places from last year) at No. 4; and San Diego at No. 5. Here's the list of the top 10:

1. Orlando, Fla.
2. Las Vegas
3. Nashville, Tenn.
4. Dallas
5. San Diego
6. Chicago
7. Atlanta
8. Denver
9. Phoenix
10. Austin, Texas

According to a press release from Cvent, "these higher rankings can be credited to the continued growth and prioritization of innovative offerings to attract meetings and events to their cities. For example, Dallas leads the country in hotel rooms in the pipeline and recently announced plans to expand the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, while Denver unveiled a $233 million expansion of the Colorado Convention Center."

5. Fontainebleau Miami Beach will open a new convention center later this year.

If you're considering Miami as a future meetings host, you might have a major new venue to consider. Fontainebleau Miami Beach says it will celebrate "one of the most significant expansions in its seven-decade history" with the opening of the Coastal Convention Center in Q4 2024. The new facility will span five stories and 45,000 square feet.

It aims to be "a new, magnificent home for business and leisure events along the oceanfront,” said Fontainebleau Development Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer in a press release. “This is the next evolution of our brand, further solidifying our role as a global hospitality leader, and we look forward to showing guests the world-class features and unparalleled service that are synonymous with the name Fontainebleau.”

Expect an interior with decorative art and murals by Kevin Barry Art Advisory and Jean-Paul Philippe. The convention center will also feature a 16,500-square-foot divisible ballroom with an outdoor terrace; a 9,500-square-foot junior ballroom; 15 total meeting rooms; and 15,000 square feet of prefunction space. Other details include a grand staircase; floor-to-ceiling windows; outdoor, street-level meeting space; LED walls and wayfinders; and the 7,000-square-foot Tides Rooftop Terrace with ocean views.

It will be connected to Fontainebleau Miami Beach by a pedestrian bridge—the only sky bridge over Collins Avenue—that links to the hotel’s Trésor Tower.

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