& Incentives: What are your expectations for this year's show?
Erickson: We had more than 13,000 attendees last year, and anticipate registering at least that many this year. Our exhibitor count is on track to be slightly higher than last year, which was more than 2,000, including all the destinations and properties (from more than 60 countries).
CMI: You've brought in Donna Oldenburg (former publisher ofmagazine, who for several years directed VNU Business Media's Incentive Show in New York) as conference director this year — what does this mean for the program?
Erickson: We have worked with Donna for many years, and we were fortunate to get access to her expertise. She's put together an outstanding program that includes the most comprehensive education we've ever offered at any incentive industry.
CMI: Can you give us a preview?
Erickson: We're introducing the Motivation Show's Executive Leadership Conference Program, which includes four learning tracks: employee engagement and recognition, motivating sales and channel partners, consumer, and meeting and incentive travel strategies. What's interesting is that many of the seminars involve case studies from some of the best-known companies in the country, including Microsoft, DHL, Avis Budget Group, and John Deere. So attendees will be getting some great firsthand information from their purchasing peers.
We're also offering half-day workshops on incentive program design, which will cover results-based incentive program design and incentive travel.
CMI: Tell us about the luncheon programs.
Erickson: We've never really offered this level of keynote-type luncheon programs at the show, and we're very excited about it. We've got three strong luncheon programs; the one that will interest your readers the most should be the MPI-CAC Luncheon on Wednesday. They've booked Matthew Kelly, founder of Beresford Consulting, to present “Dream Manager — Driving Your Organization.”
We're also bringing in Chester Elton, a New York Times best-selling author in the recognition community, who will talk about the “carrot principle,” which is the title of his new book. He uses research from a 200,000-person study to look at how businesses get results through effective recognition techniques. And don't forget the IMA [Incentive Marketing Association] Circle of Excellence Luncheon on Tuesday, which each year recognizes the best of the best in program design.
CMI: You've also been able to broaden the show's reach to include the performance improvement, promotional consultant, and recognition industries.
Erickson: We've been able to attract new audiences when associations such as the Promotional Products Association International and the Recognition Professionals International co-locate events. This year PPAI is offering the inaugural PPAI Promotional Consultant Academy and Learning Lab, which runs all three days, and RPI is holding its Fall Summit on Tuesday.
CMI: In July, you also launched MotivationConnect. How does that work, and what are the benefits?
Erickson: MC is a suite of Web-based tools that match registrants with the most relevant people, products, destinations, and events at the show and create a personalized “My Event Plan” portal. Registrants are updated by e-mail as new matches are calculated before the show.
There are multiple benefits. First, it's free with your registration. You don't have to wait until the show begins to start connecting with the people and products you're really interested in; you can start booking appointments in advance through an Online Introductions Network. And while you're at the show, you can use the tool's interactive event planner to build your own to-do list or agenda.
It's also a powerful search engine. Let's say you're interested in a specific product. Just type in the keywords and you're able to easily identify what you're looking for. It's really an exciting, very powerful tool — and it will improve the attendee experience.
On September 12, about 30,000 Las Vegas culinary workers working without— mainly at MGM properties — will vote on whether to strike.
Arcaneo is partnering with Visa to allow meeting expenses billed to a Visa credit card to flow directly into its strategic meeting management technology.
By the first quarter of 2008, StarCite expects to have a new travel-booking feature: a direct link to Orbitz for Business and Travelport for Business from its attendee-management application.
HRG (Hogg Robinson Group) North America is working with Registered Traveler-provider FLO Corp., Kirkland, Wash., to provide customers with RT services.
Corporate Meetings & Incentives columnist Bob Nelson and Celebrity Service Institute have released The Spaced Repetition Learning System, research-based management training, delivered over the Web.
The Transportation Security Administration now allows lighters on airplanes, but screeners must examine DVD players and gaming consoles outside their cases.
Corporate Meetings & Incentives' Editor Barbara Scofidio will lead a panel called Green Power: Your Strategic Role in Creating Eco-Friendly Meetings and Incentives, September 25 at 1:30 p.m.
Panelists will include Marge Anderson, associate director, Energy Center of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.; Ron Vlasic, regional director of operations for Kimpton Hotels in Chicago; and Kim Boriin, CMP, Guardian Investor Services, New York.