The 1997 New England Meetings Industry Conference & Exposition (NEMICE) drew more than 1,200 attendees to the World Trade Center Boston in April--the biggest NEMICE ever.
Among the highlights attracting the 500-plus meeting planners: a lively, informative keynote from Richard Whiteley of The Forum Corporation, a Boston-based consultancy; educational sessions on legal issues, planning basics, and small meetings; and some 350 exhibiting companies.
Mike Bloy, director of sales for the World Trade Center, welcomed attendees to Whiteley's keynote address. By spring 1998, he said, meetings held at the World Trade Center will have a new, 427-room hotel to book--The Seaport Hotel, owned and managed by the World Trade Center.
Whiteley spoke on customer-centered growth, highlighting the performance of such customer-focused and employee-focused companies as Saturn, Southwest Airlines, and New England's own Malden Mills. "We're in a period of massive change," he said. "And it's not going to go back to calm." The challenge for organizations is to maintain their "laser focus" throughout the turmoil.
Following the keynote, Scott Corey, past president, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) New England chapter and director of marketing for the Sonesta Beach Resort Bermuda, presented the first-ever NEMICE Founders' Award to Michael J.C. Neagle, vice president, The Bay Tower Room & Club in Boston. Corey thanked Neagle for his key role in creating NEMICE.
New Net Resource Representatives of New England CVBs were happy with the results of a poll taken during a morning NEMICE session, moderated by Leslie Mathieu-Hogan, vice president of marketing, Greater Boston CVB. The poll of planners attending the session revealed that
* 65 percent prefer to work with suppliers who have e-mail.
* 35 percent use the Internet frequently to do research.
* 100 percent of those who never use the Internet for meeting research do not have Internet access.
In June, the New England CVBs will launch a Web site called MeetingPath, at www.meetingpath.com, where planners can get information from 2,000 New England suppliers and send those suppliers information about their own meeting requirements. A planner using the site would create a list of potential suppliers--hotels, for example--that meet his or her meeting criteria. The planner would then send RFPs to that list. Those suppliers would send back a yes-or-no response, along with the date they expect to e-mail a proposal to the planner.
NEMICE is sponsored annually by MPI/New England, in association with the New England chapters of several other meeting and hospitality organizations.