Virtual Edge to Launch Certification Program
The Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) said its new Digital Event Strategist (DES) certification program is scheduled to launch this spring as a result of recently acquired funding. The DES certification is specifically designed to help develop the skills that organizations need to effectively engage audiences using online events. Bxb Online, a company that helps to develop online strategies for meetings, committed $100,000 to development of DES and called on others to match the pledge
“The digital events community is an important and fast-growing category within event marketing,” said Michael Doyle, founder of VEI. “The scale of this industry, when compared to the available talent in the digital events category, calls for investment in the talent base.”
Book Gives Social Media Meetings Tips
A “crowd sourced” book called The Tweeting Meeting is being published by the Meeting Support Institute. Among the topics are the use of Twitter during events; leveraging the power of LinkedIn and Twitter for networking; the use of structured crowd sourcing tools for more effective meetings; crisis management through social media; and how to accommodate Generations Y and Z into events. For a free sample and to order the book, go to: www.meetingsupport.org/content/free-sample-tweeting-meeting.
MGM Resorts Reports Vegas Meetings Revival
Meetings business is on the upswing in Las Vegas, according to a report from RRC Associates with statements from executives at MGM Resorts, the city’s largest hotel operator.
“We finished 2011 with our wholly-owned strip convention mix at about 14.7%, which was higher than our expectations coming into the year,” said Dan D’Arrigo, CFO for MGM Resorts International.
Jim Murren, CEO of MGM, said the company is now able to command higher group rates. “The conventions that we’re booking today and the ones that we booked last year are at much higher rates,” he said.
The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas was one of the company’s top convention business performers so far during 2012, according to Bobby Baldwin, president and CEO of MGM’s CityCenter complex. He said the Aria experienced a 20% growth in occupied convention room nights and a 9% increase in average daily rate when compared to the same period a year ago.
“For 2012, we have over 100% of our planned convention room nights already booked,” Baldwin said.
Booking Windows Still Shrinking
"The booking windows for meetings are even shorter this year than in 2011. We have meetings of substantial size booking three months out." – Jack Horne, vice president-sales, Hyatt Hotels
Hilton Hires Meeting Planner for Executive Post
Hilton Worldwide announced the appointment of meeting planner Sherry Romello as senior director, Hilton meetings and product management. She was most recently vice president, meetings and conventions for the National Association of Convenience Stores. In her new post, Romello will lead efforts to advance the positioning and product development for the meeting and convention segment across all Hilton Worldwide brands. Prior to her work with the convenience store association, Romello served in senior management meeting planner positions with several other associations including the National Recreation & Park Association.
Suppliers, Planners Both Essential for Sustainable Meetings
“Suppliers can do their part, but if the planner doesn’t also perform at the same level then neither group can say they’ve planned an environmentally sustainable event.” – Amy Spatrisano, principal of MeetGreen and founder of the Green Meetings Industry Council