Eved, an online marketplace for the meeting and event industry, today announced it has raised $9.5 million in a series B round led by New World Ventures and MK Capital.
The funding will enable the Chicago-area company to scale and expand its proprietary online platform, which has been adopted and championed by leaders in the meetings community. The $263 million industry, with 1.8 million annual U.S. corporate meetings and events, is one of few that have yet to migrate online. Eved’s global, proprietary online platform provides all companies in the event industry supply chain a complete sourcing, marketing, and e-commerce solution that allows buyers, sellers, and resellers the ability to interact and transact online.
Incentive Travel Exchange, held in partnership with Site, announced it is moving its 2012 event to accommodate the needs of the incentive travel community in North America. The seventh annual Incentive Travel Exchange will be held June 17-19, 2012 at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.
“Every year, we take the feedback from our attendees and apply it toward improving the event," commented show and event director, Jennifer Fernandez. “We recognize the need to move Incentive Travel Exchange into a new date pattern, which opens up availability on the MICE calendar for Incentive Travel Exchange into a unique time frame.”
The National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine, MN has begun construction on a major new facility. The new $3.2 million Sport Expo Center will provide additional indoor space for sports training, sports and education-oriented expos, and large meetings and events. The new building will adjoin the west side of the existing Schwan Center. The Schwan Center is located on the north end of the NSC Stadium.
The total space is projected to be 21,420 sq. ft, with a single clear-span room with projected dimensions of 100 feet x 180 feet and a 26-foot high ceiling. The facility will be able to accommodate up to 130 exhibit booths.
The Aurora Staples Inn has been selected for the 2011 Best of Stillwater Award in the Bed & Breakfast Inns category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to customers and community. Winners are determined based on information gathered internally by the USCA and on data provided by third parties.
Following the ruin that befell the hospitality industry when 9/11 occurred, the market for SMERF - social, military, education, religious and fraternal - groups suddenly became favorable. Destinations that had previously turned down their noses on these types of gatherings began courting them with vigor in hopes of filling sleeping rooms and meeting spaces. What made this market so attractive at the time?
Many SMERF groups will always meet, no matter what happens.“SMERFs have to meet; it’s an emotional as well as bylaws sort of thing,” says independent meeting planner Sue Walton from Evanston, IL. “They need to re-establish their communities yearly. [After 9/11], they had to reassure themselves that everything was okay and that people did not need to be afraid.”
Such resilience is a common thread among SMERF groups. Religious meetings, for instance, are “recession-proof,” according to DeWayne Woodring, CMP, CEM, executive director and CEO of the Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA).
• Sail to new meeting horizons
• Relax aboard a Midwest cruiseSit back, relax and enjoy the deep blue waters with your meeting attendees, business clients or fellow employees. Don’t fret - there’s no need to go coastal to reap the benefits of a cruise getaway. Cruises in the Midwest can be a beneficial addition to your next meeting or event. Imagine sitting through a long day of monotonous meetings entrapped by the same four walls. It can be draining and less-than-stimulating for most. Do you need an idea to get your attendees moving, to liven them up for teambuilding or to simply get them away for a few hours? A cruise in the serene Midwest may be a great investment for your meeting. Throughout the Midwest, cruises are a great pastime for many looking to break away from the ordinary. Cruises generally don’t require specific skills or attire - which is a major plus for meeting planners. They simply provide a place for people to get together and enjoy themselves and those around them and the unique scenery only visible by boat. Not to mention, this atmosphere can be great for networking among colleagues, clients and employees. Take for instance, Free Spirit Cruises of Chicago, IL. Meeting planners can utilize this cruise option to see the world-famous Chicago skyline, featuring brilliant architecture and a bustling city. While aboard the ship, passengers can enjoy a portion of their meeting agenda, celebrate an awards ceremony, participate in teambuilding activities or simply enjoy a tour of the city from an unusual location.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the deep blue waters with your meeting attendees, business clients or fellow employees. Don’t fret - there’s no need to go coastal to reap the benefits of a cruise getaway. Cruises in the Midwest can be a beneficial addition to your next meeting or event. Imagine sitting through a long day of monotonous meetings entrapped by the same four walls. It can be draining and less-than-stimulating for most. Do you need an idea to get your attendees moving, to liven them up for teambuilding or to simply get them away for a few hours? A cruise in the serene Midwest may be a great investment for your meeting. Throughout the Midwest, cruises are a great pastime for many looking to break away from the ordinary. Cruises generally don’t require specific skills or attire - which is a major plus for meeting planners. It simply provides a place for people to get together and enjoy themselves and those around them and the unique scenery only visible by boat. Not to mention, this atmosphere can be great for networking among colleagues, clients and employees.
Amusement Parks When family fun is on the agenda, you can’t go wrong with an amusement park. At Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, OH - the Roller Coaster Capital of the World - group packages translate into savings. “We do a lot of business outings where a business will either purchase tickets or sell discounted tickets to their employees,” says Bryan Edwards, public relations manager.
“It’s a great perk for an employer to give their employees, if they can foot the entire bill for the event. Even if the employer foots half the bill and the employees buy discounted tickets, it’s still a great value.” With full-service catering available onsite, a variety of menus are possible. In addition, live shows perform daily. Cedar Point Amusement Park offers several event spaces for groups, both inside and outside the park.
“We have two outdoor picnic pavilions that are set up exclusively for group events,” Edwards says. “We have a huge ballroom, one of the oldest structures here in Cedar Point, that was used back in the ’40s and ’50s for big bands. We use it for special events now.” Four resort hotels are located on the property, two of which contain meeting centers. All meeting spaces contain standard audiovisual and meeting equipment.
What is the #1 reason a planner should choose an amusement park? “It’s fun!” Edwards says. “The way society and business are today, it’s just stress, stress, stress. It’s difficult for people to get away. Cedar Point provides that opportunity. You can bring your employees out, get some business done and then afford them some family time. You can go almost anywhere to have a meeting, but there are very few places like Cedar Point, where you can have your meeting and have your fun, too.
Unique gatherings often call for special venues. Many event planners search beyond the standard conference center or hotel for their events. From museums to sports arenas to restaurants, you can make your next event out of the ordinary by using an extraordinary setting. A Change of Place While many groups still meet in hotels, some are searching for alternative locations.
“Historically, we began meeting in churches 60 years ago,” says Rev. Dr. John R. Kimball, director of conference care and church redevelopment, Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. “Then college campuses, and, eventually, we began meeting in hotels because our numbers grew for our national conventions. The last few years, we have been meeting in conference [and] convention centers.”
Now, however, Kimball says the costs of these types of venues have become “prohibitive,” resulting in a need for something new. “We are reviewing several other options,” he says. Attendance Boosters The attraction factor of a non-traditional meeting or event venue can result in extra interest from potential attendees. At Castle Farms in Charlevoix, MI, planners can expect fairytale gatherings.
Secondary and tertiary cities have enjoyed recent popularity as meeting and event destinations due to their unique venues and attractions, as well as their oftentimes lower costs. For many groups that don’t fall within the corporate or association arena, such destinations offer just what is needed.Last fall, the Iowa Department of Economic Development welcomed Jeff Spence to the Iowa Tourism Office as the new group/meetings/partnership manager.
The former president of MPI-Heartland Chapter, Spence reports that niche markets such as agricultural and biotechnical meetings are particularly attracted to Iowa.Here, Spence discusses the benefits of the Midwest for these and other niche groups.
Q: Why are agricultural and biotechnical meeting groups particularly attracted to Iowa?
A: [These groups] are definitely niches that stand out above the rest. They work hand-in-hand with the direction the state is going, as far as business development.
Q: Which areas of the state see the heaviest traffic from these types of groups?
A: The nice thing about both of those two niche segments is that they can go to pretty much any part of the state. Accessibility to an airport is not quite as important to them.