The annual Industry Xchange (IX2014) was held July 9 on Chicago’s beautiful Navy Pier. With weather fully cooperating, over 500 professionals from the meetings and convention industry assembled for this educational and networking event. In addition to an informative panel discussions, attendees were treated to rooftop dining and an after dark fireworks display.
The success of the event was a collaborative effort from top industry associations, including EDPA Midwest, MPI Chicago Area Chapter, Professional Convention Management Association Greater Midwest Chapter, International Association of Exhibitions and Events Midwestern Chapter, International Special Events Society Greater Chicago Chapter, National Association for Catering and Events, Global Business Travel Association, HSMAI Illinois Chapter, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence and Green Writing Industry Council.
This tremendous networking opportunity was enhanced with a presentation on the state of business travel in the U.S. supporting the theme of “UnPlugged: a dialogue on today’s meeting trends.” Keynote speaker Nan Marchand Beauvois, senior director, U.S. Travel Association, made the case for improving our travel infrastructure to benefit the meetings and convention industry. This impactful presentation included powerful statistics on how major airports in the U.S. are exceeding capacity while business related travel continues to increase.
“There are so many compelling initiatives happening in our industry, it is important that we speak with one voice,” said Beauvois.
A powerhouse of industry professionals participated in a panel discussion lead by Katie Callahan Giobbi of Minding Your Business. Panelists included Bill Grusish (ALHI), Julie Larson (McDonald’s Corporation), Patricia Perez (SITE), Deborah Sexton (PCMA), Alec Rosofsky (ACHE), Paul Van Deventer (MPI), Chris Perry (Hilton) and Sue Tinnish (Kendall College).
Chris Perry, area director of sales and marketing, Hilton, brought up an interesting statistic. He stated that while business travel has increased to pre-recessionary levels, meetings and conventions have yet to recover. Perry elaborated that the meetings and convention aspect of the industry has not grown proportionately compared to the amount of travel.
Julie Larson, director of worldwide meetings, McDonald’s Corporation, followed up by stating that while the number and length of meetings has not fully recovered, the quality of face-to-face interaction continues to provide businesses with the best opportunity to reach their respective audiences.
The Industry Xchange provides valuable information to the tradeshow and convention industry, and an invaluable opportunity to network with industry professionals seeking to advance.