Sick of sponsoring cold convention breakfasts and busy coffee breaks? Veterinary Learning Systems of Trenton, N.J. wanted to build awareness of its new Web site and found an unusual--and fitting--sponsorship opportunity at the North Ameri-can Veterinary Conference held in January at the Orlando World Center Marriott.
Tom McCabe, VLS's director of video and advanced media, had been planning on the usual: simply setting up a number of computers on the show floor to demo the new Web site. However, when he visited the property and spied its six, public, T1-speed Internet kiosks all located on the convention level, he cooked up another idea. He contacted the company that runs the kiosks--Orlando-based e-port Public Information Network--and negotiated a deal to give attendees free Internet access during the five-day event.
The vet show draws more than 12,000 attendees, and about a 2,500 users stepped up to a terminal to check e-mail or log on to the Internet. "Those kiosks were mobbed," says McCabe, who explains VSL's three-tiered exposure: First, a screensaver promoted the VSL site before users logged on; second, the VSL site was the default home page, and third, a one-click channel bar sent users back to the VSL site. The VSL Web site averaged 9,000 to 10,000 hits per week before the conference, bumped up to 60, 000 hits the week of show, and has hung on to the momentum, with about 18,000 hits a week in the four week since the event.
The vets go back to the Orlando World Center Marriott next year, and McCabe says he's likely to sponsor the kiosks again, but with a few changes. This year his lead time was too short (basically two weeks between the time VLS execs signed off on the idea and the conference) to customize the e-port cards. Users either swiped their own credit cards to get on (but weren't charged) or used generic e-port cards being passed out around the expo. Next time, he hopes to sell sub-sponsorships to cut his costs, with partners' names imprinted on the e-port cards or as banner ads on his Web site. For more information, visit www.eport.net.
Bob Brown has been promoted to vice president of expositions and conventions at the International Communications Industries Association, Inc., Fairfax, Va. He will be responsible for domestic trade events, including ICIA's INFOCOMM International. Since 1982 Brown has been part of the communications, computing, and consumer electronics industries. He was formerly with Comdex and Consumer Electronics Shows.
Anna-Carol (Ace) Martin has moved into a new position as senior convention sales manager at the East King County Convention and Visitors Bureau in Bellevue, Wash. Martin comes from the sales team at the Meydenbauer Center, also in Bellevue, .
Todd Voelker has been promoted to national sales manager at the Pasadena (Calif.) Convention & Visitors Bureau. He will focus on social welfare, fraternal, and sports organizations, selected national associations, and local corporations.
Daniel J. Rowe has been appointed director of sales for Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center in Peachtree City, Ga.
Cyclonics, Inc., a full-service exhibit design, fabrication, and service company, has expanded its West Coast operations to serve the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Steven Tsutsumi was appointed general manager of Cyclonics' new sales, service, and design operation, based in Morgan Hill, 10 miles south of San Jose. Tsutsumi was formerly with Color & Design Exhibits in San Jose.
Emily Wyse has been named sales manager for Seattle's Kimpton Hotels--The Alexis Hotel, Hotel Monaco, and Hotel Vintage Park. Wyse will be responsible for local corporate sales. Previously, she was senior sales manager at Residence Inn by Marriott-Seattle South.
Jani Lauvrak has been promoted to director of operations for Seattle V.I.P. Services, a meeting and event management company. She was most recently director of sales and was has been awarded "Planner of the Year" by Meeting Professionals International.
Are your travelers more loyal to their frequent traveler programs than to corporate policy? Greg Moore wouldn't be surprised. In his new book, Seduced by a Mile, he argues that these programs not only cost companies money on the front end as employees dodge travel policies, but are also the root of reduced airline competition and higher prices.
Moore is director of the travel industry program for Integrated Technology Research, a division of Syzegph Corp., Wilmington, Del., which published the book last fall. While his subject may appear self serving since frequent flyer impact analysis is among the services ITR sells to corporations, Moore makes a compelling case against the reward programs, bringing to bear his more than 15 years of experience in travel management.
Seduced by a Mile is written as a novel, but in the end, it's a call to action. Moore's prescription is to require that every traveler's airline rewards be turned back to the company. This plan, he says, would be more fair (why allow certain employees to take what amounts to a supplier gift when it's considered unethical under other circumstances?), and also undermine airlines' ability to influence business traveler choices. To order, contact ITR at (800) 596-7727.
fast facts * Attendees spend an average of $231 per day, for a three-day meeting.
* About half of delegate spending goes toward lodging, while a quarter is spent on food and beverage.
* Associations/event sponsors spend an average of $68 per event for each
SOURCE: The International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus 1998 Convention Income Survey, conducted by Deloitte & Touche, LLP. The 99 participating convention bureaus in the U.S. and Canada each surveyed up to 12 meetings from June 1997 to May 1998.