Midwest Meetings Summer 2009

Page 1

Peoria, IL

Peoria Civic Center Robin Barnes 201 SW Jefferson Ave Peoria, IL 61602 309-680-3517 Fax: 309-673-9223 www.peoriaciviccenter.com RBarnes@peoriaciviccenter.com • 3-building complex connected by glass arcades • 12,000-seat arena • 2,200-seat theater • 110,000 sq. ft. of continuous exhibit space • 27,000 sq. ft. ballroom • 15 additional breakout rooms totaling 17,000 sq. ft.

Fort Wayne, IN

Shipshewana, IN

Grand Wayne Convention Center Michael Coffeen

Shipshewana/LaGrange County CVB

120 W Jefferson Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46802 260-426-4100 • Fax: 260-420-9080 www.grandwayne.com michaelc@grandwayne.com

780 S Van Buren St Shipshewana, IN 46565 800-254-8090 • Fax: 260-768-4091 www.VisitShipshewana.org jodee@lagrangecountycvb.org

• 240-room attached Hilton Hotel • 18 meeting rooms • 80,000 sq. ft. of meeting space • 50,000 sq. ft. largest meeting room • Reception capacity: 7,000 • Onsite and nearby restaurants • Golf courses nearby

• 731 area rooms • Shipshewana Town Center • Farmstead Inn Conference Center • Country Inn & Suites • Blue Gate Restaurant & Theater • Splash Universe Water Park Resort

The Peoria Civic Center is an SMG-managed event facility located in central Illinois, halfway between Chicago and St. Louis on the banks of the Illinois River. The Civic Center is located just off I-74 with easy access for patrons and clients. The facility is within walking distance of several hotels, restaurants, shops and a beautiful Riverfront that offers year-round activities in downtown Peoria. The Peoria Civic Center’s $55 million expansion and upgrade makes it the largest convention facility in downstate Illinois with more than 900,000 sq. ft. in the entire complex. The Peoria Civic Center provides its clients with exceptional service. The sales, event and catering staff promises to make your event a success. Please contact Robin Barnes or Jo Stowell for more information on booking your next event at the Peoria Civic Center.

With 225,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, Grand Wayne Convention Center offers a 50,000 sq. ft. carpeted, multi-purpose exhibit hall, two elegant ballrooms, 18 meeting rooms, 30,000 sq. ft. of public areas, a 12,000 sq. ft. kitchen with the capacity to serve 3,000 guests in a single banquet setting and the power and expertise to connect, coordinate and create any event. Other features include individually climatecontrolled meeting rooms; automated, remote, dimmable lighting; theater-quality sound system; drop screens with remote operation; data and telecommunications in every room; and wireless and wired options throughout. Every event and meeting space is fully equipped with the most accommodating features for uncompromising comfort and creativity.

LaGrange County, in northeastern Indiana, is the perfect place for meetings, seminars, retreats or small conventions. Home to the second largest Amish settlement in the United States, Shipshewana is surrounded by quiet and tranquil farms, yet offers a unique experience rooted in family and traditions. The area offers over 20,000 square feet of meeting space between three facilities, over 700 rooms and some of the best home-style food in the world. Contact JoDee Hooley for more information toll free at 800-254-8090.

Morton, MN

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Wausau, WI

Bridgeport Waterfront Resort Dave Holtz

Jefferson Street Inn Debbie Rice

50 W Larch St Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 800-671-9190 • 920-746-9919 Fax: 920-746-9918 www.bridgeportresort.net stay@bridgeportresort.net

201 Jefferson St Wausau, WI 54403 866-855-6500 715-845-6500 www.jeffersonstreetinn.com gm@jeffersonstreetinn.com

Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel Colleen Marcus PO Box 420, 39375 County Hwy 24 Morton, MN 56270 800-946-2274 Fax: 507-697-8017 www.jackpotjunction.com colleen.marcus@jackpotjunction.com Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel, an Enterprise of the Lower Sioux Indian Community, offers over 44,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, accommodating groups of 10 to 1,400. Located in southwestern Minnesota, approximately 110 miles from Minneapolis/St Paul, receive attractive group rates and full-service catering. AAA three diamond rated hotel, offering 378 deluxe accommodations, which include Poolside, Jacuzzi, and Fireplace Suites. Hotel amenities include: Indoor Heated Pool, Kiddie Pool, Spa, Sauna, Fitness Center, Room Service, childcare. 440,000 square feet of live casino action; 1,250 video slot machines, 28 table games, 375-seat bingo hall, pulltabs and lottery. Four restaurants, four lounges. Live regional entertainment weekly, national acts regularly, 18-hole championship golf course.


• 59 rooms/suites • 5 meeting rooms • 3,406 sq. ft. of meeting space • Reception capacity: 50 • 8 golf courses nearby Located in historic downtown Sturgeon Bay, in popular Door County, WI - Bridgeport Waterfront Resort features suites with many options including full kitchens, double whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and water views. Amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpool, sauna, fitness room, game room, indoor playground and splash park. There are three different conference rooms to accommodate every group’s needs. Catering and complete audiovisual equipment is available. The entire property is smoke free. Wireless internet access is available in the suites and conference rooms and an internet center. The resort is walking distance to popular restaurants, shops and activities.

Jefferson Street Inn is a meeting planners dream. A full-service boutique hotel located in Downtown Wausau which offers boutique shops, Performing Arts, Granite Peak ski area and golf. This luxurious property has expanded meeting and banquet space to accommodate up to 600 people. The Jefferson Street Inn now has 100 guest rooms including a variety of one and two bedroom suites. Corporate and Association meetings and retreats find this the perfect site in Central Wisconsin. Suites feature fireplaces, whirlpool baths, and kitchenettes. All rooms enjoy complimentary European breakfast, high-speed internet, mini bar with refrigerator and microwave, exercise facility, pool and “on-site” spa. Enjoy room service from City Grill, an American Bistro, also offering upscale contemporary dining, serving lunch and dinner daily with great American fare.





Dining, theater, art, music, shopping and more are only a short walk from our lake views. So no matter what’s on your agenda—seminar or sushi bar, breakout session or jam session—Monona Terrace in Madison can accommodate you. For more information, call 608.261.4000 or visit mononaterrace.com.



© 2009, City of Madison


A place to begin... • Launching a planning business. • One planner strikes out alone. This is part of an ongoing series. To read Part One, visit www.MidwestMeetings.com

January 7, 2009

Today I am planning an event…for free. I’m not sure if that is progress or not, but I am trying to keep myself busy. A good friend of mine asked me to plan a bridal shower for someone that we know. It was both fun and easy to pull together the plan. We are starting the night out with dinner and I found a perfect little Italian restaurant to handle our group. At the restaurant we will have gifts and then a few small games, then after dinner we’re going out to a comedy club. I sent out the invitations today and am feeling a bit proud of myself for getting the party planned so quickly. Yes, of course, I wish I was getting paid to plan this event, but at least I am keeping my mind occupied and my head in the game.

January 10, 2009

Planning my friend’s shower this week was a taste of what I want my life to be like on a day-to-day basis. Events are just so much fun to plan, I love coordinating all of the little details. Taking an idea for an event and building it from the ground up is such a great feeling. Last week, the party was a mere thought, and today I have people sending in RSVP’s and getting excited about coming. If I could capture this and somehow translate it into paying customers, I would be so happy. It is frustrating to constantly be told by people how well I can plan an event and still feel like I am getting nowhere. It’s hard not to get discouraged, but I work on a small project like this, and I keep going. It was nice to get a taste of what things could be like for me once I get my business off the ground.

January 16, 2009

I’m in a rhythm with my day job and my event planning business. It’s been nice to have my work-fromhome job; it keeps that steady stream of income coming in twice a month. Now that I’ve got that job down, it’s not taking so much of my time and I can focus more on my planning business. It was tough to juggle both the first few months. Many times I had to put my business plans on the back burner for the sake of my day job. That was tough to do, but necessary. I obviously couldn’t risk losing my only source of income for my event planning hobby. Yes, at the moment it is more of a hobby than anything. Sad but true. I can’t imagine trying to start a planning business without continuing to working at least part time. So I have to keep making it work, even if the day job is not exactly how I want to be spending my time.

January 31, 2009

Every week, I continue to get emails from people who want my advice on becoming an event planner. I wonder if I am the best person to ask, since I am far from a success at this point. Well, maybe that is not quite true. I have to give myself a little credit here. I may not have established myself as an independent


Midwest Meetings suMMer 2009

planner at this point, but I do have solid event planning experience. It’s just all experience as a planner working for other people.

February 10, 2009

I am targeting four different types of events and hoping that this is not a mistake. I feel strongly that my business will grow better if I am not trying to be all things to all people. Whether it’s right or not, I just decided what kind of events I would most like to plan and put it out there. My main focus will be helping everyday people plan big events in their homes. I think this market could be huge for me; I just need to get established and find clients that will refer me to others for more home parties. Referrals are going to be the best advertising for this specialized service – and it can all start with just one satisfied client. I will also focus on destination weddings, corporate holiday parties, and meeting planning for seminars. These are all events that I am good at and enjoy planning. I can bring a lot to the table in these areas, more so than other types of events. I realize that someone could easily view my list of services and decide to walk away because I don’t specialize in what they want. But I’ll take that risk because I’d rather grow the business in the direction I want than just leave it to chance.

February 21, 2009

My company website is up and running, but I’m not sure anyone cares. Hopefully that will change soon. I have a professional writer sprucing up my web pages a bit and then I’m going to do a huge marketing blitz to try and get my website noticed. Everyone that I’ve ever met at a networking event, collected a business card from, or worked with in any capacity is going to get contacted by me to go check out the site. This is purely a numbers game now. The more people I contact the better my chances are of finding a client who needs my services. It is amazing to see how many people I know, once I actually sat down and got the names organized into a list. There really is so much opportunity out there! A lot of people on my list are clients that I planned meetings for, back from my days working in hotels. These people have all seen my abilities first hand, so these are the most valuable names on this list. I can’t believe that I didn’t bring all these business cards out before. I had marketing gold sitting in a shoebox, collecting dust. Now that there is a website I can direct people to, my marketing should make a little more sense. Before, I was just contacting people out of the blue, no website, no brochure, just me and all my excitement. This was clearly not working. People want to look at your website before they believe that you’re running a legitimate business.

March 1, 2009

Another month begins and once again I redouble my efforts. This is only going to take one big break for me, and then the business will start flowing. I’ve helped so many people over the past several months. There was the bride who, due to a last minute emergency, had to relocate her wedding, which was taking place in 4 days. I found her a picturesque resort that would accommodate her tight budget and allow outside catering, which was no small feat. The wedding turned out beautifully, and I do take some of the credit for that. There was also a friend, who owns a computer business, that needed help finding a place for a seminar to launch his new software product. He waited until the last minute and was almost in a panic when he called me, but I quickly stepped in and arranged his entire meeting in a few hours. He liked the hotel I chose so much that he was considering turning the meeting into a monthly seminar. So, yes I can do this job no question about that. I just have to do it in such a way that I’m not working for free anymore!



Top Ten Meeting Trends By Benchmark Hospitality

tality management company, announced its “Top Ten


Across Benchmark Hospitality’s portfolio, the first half of 2009

Meeting Trends for 2009,” as observed by its proper-

is proving to be a challenge with a lot of in-the-month-for-the-


month meetings booked. Push-back on pricing is universal and

enchmark Hospitality International, a leading hospi-

Trend #1 The Business of Meetings is Business

Trend #3 We’ll Get Back to you in Six Months

meeting lengths are being shaved by a day, on average.

This year more than ever before, the business of meetings is

Things are looking up in the second half of 2009. Booking pace

straight-up ROI. There’s not a lot of room for leisure and extracur-

is in recovery for the second half of the year and 2010 is on target

ricular play in the current meeting environment where every single

and looking healthy.

dollar is measured for its contribution to the success of the overall

Trend #4 Stuffed, Packed, Studded with Value!


The demise of the complete meeting package is greatly exagger-

Meetings have never been more serious, focused, or strategic -

ated! For the most part, demand remains strong and the value of

or more regional, for that matter, as transportation expenses are

the package is recognized. But packages are expected to be loaded


with value, add-on benefits, and, get this, there’s a growing demand

Trend #2 It’s Not Easy to be Green…

for double occupancy.

It’s not easy to be green… or at least it’s not easy to be green in

Although packages are negotiated with the usual rates, dates

a challenged economy! It isn’t that planners no longer care about

and space considerations, today’s negotiations linger on and on and

the green status of a property - it’s just that they are a whole lot

on with planners watching every penny as meeting budgets are cut

more focused at present on securing that property at the best price

from 10 percent to slash & burn proportions. Every meeting dollar

possible for their next meeting.

must be measurable and welcome receptions, afternoons of leisure,

In 2009, price trumps green.

and special dinner events are out. Working lunches and dinners,


Midwest Meetings suMMer 2009

MM: Any suggestions to clients on how to make the biggest impact when trying to reduce or maintain their budgets?

TN: The key is remembering a company can achieve priceless results on any budget. There does not need to be a direct correlation between the ability to move hearts, souls, minds and the amount of money a company must spend. It is about the personal experience itself. Every client has a different vision or set of needs, so this business does not involve a magic formula. The industry has recently aggregated best practices and prudent guidelines for companies engaged in the planning process, which will allow event professionals and clients to partner in budget allocation

development and carefully reducing program components all

designed to yield high value results.

add savings to the bottom line. For example, we have a client

Companies have branding to consider as well as the overall

combining four nights of room gifts into two - limited to the

expectations of the winners and attendees. In order to reduce

first and last night of the program. The overall cost is less, but

budgets and continue to be fiscally responsible for upcoming

the perceived value of the two amenities is greater.

programs, we have seen a trend in the selection of more all-

Bottom line, there are hundreds of ways to save money on

inclusive hotel properties as well as longer programs shortening

your meetings, events and incentive programs that all add up

up. For some we are incorporating more free time into the agen-

to big savings.

da, which incidentally, is often welcomed by the participants.

It’s a fine line to walk. We have to be very careful to protect

Seasonal shifts in program fulfillment, providing optional ac-

the integrity of the program so any cuts are undetectable to

tivity credits vs. fully hosted programs, creative theme event






Carol Galle, CMP, president of Special D Events in Royal Oak, MI.

Dawn Penfold, CMP, president of the Meeting Candidate Network, Inc.

What to do and not do… • Industry job hunting advice. • Common applicant errors.


t some point, you have probably read - and giggled at - one

placement agency. “The industry has been hit real hard. There’s

of the many, many “Worst Resume Mistakes” articles cir-

nothing safe out there right now. There are a lot of people looking,

culating around in cyberspace. However, if you have ever

and there are a lot of people looking who have never had to look

seen yourself in any of the examples set forth under such headlines, you might want to revisit your resume… and you might want to do it sooner than later.

before.” Whether you are looking for employment or seeking greener pastures, you can stand apart from the crowd by revisiting some job-

Across the board, times are tough for job seekers. According

hunting basics. As an industry professional, you probably already

to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Sta-

know better than to submit your resume on fluorescent pink card-

tistics, the unemployment rate reached 7.2% in December 2008.

stock or chew gum during your interview. However, a few common

That figure represents 11.1 million unemployed individuals across

gaffes can disqualify job candidates from the beginning. The typical

the nation.

hiring manager skims a resume for a dozen seconds or so. You want

Current employment woes have not spared the meetings and events industry. As many companies and organizations have scaled

the items that leap off the page in those seconds to highlight your strengths and qualifications.

back on the number and size of their gatherings, some industry pro-

“We post jobs all the time,” Penfold says. “I’ll admit you can plan

fessionals have seen an already-competitive job market undergo

on a quarter of the responses probably not following directions, not

shrinkage in recent months. In other words, more qualified profes-

having a professional cover letter, or [having] an unprofessional

sionals are applying for fewer open positions.

email name. Then, I would say, probably the next half would be

“There are a lot of people out of work and a lot of people scared

just not qualified for the position. They’re not from the area, they

about their jobs,” says Dawn Penfold, CMP, president of the Meet-

don’t have the number of years’ experience, they’re overqualified…

ing Candidate Network, Inc., an industry-specific recruitment and

there might be something. And, they lose out because of it.”


Midwest Meetings Summer 2009

Carol Galle, CMP, has interviewed many candidates throughout her 16 years as the owner of Special D Events in Royal Oak, MI. She recently posted two opportunities for administrative positions with her company. In response, she received 718 resumes in 36 hours.

“I think people are just in a hurry and don’t read directions, and they’re in a panic situation.”

“I actually opened up every email and am sad to say that only a small percentage of the emails and/or resumes were deemed accept-

information is incorrect or missing.”

able,” Galle says. “Although they may have had the qualifications,

For Galle, an important factor in evaluating job candidates is

there were one or more problems with their submission. It was in-

whether or not they demonstrate an understanding of her company

credible, and I was dying to reach out to all those candidates and

and the requirements of the available position.

help them improve their submissions in the future, but that just wasn’t practical.” In Galle’s experience, common applicant errors fall into two areas: “incorrect information and unprofessional responses.” Her pet

“It’s really not rocket science,” she says. “Read the ad or job description closely and review the employer’s website. Then tailor your response accordingly. A generic cover letter isn’t enough to get your foot in the door these days.”

peeves include typos, grammatical errors, cut-and-paste errors, ir-

Penfold believes, above all else, candidates need to follow the

relevant content and inappropriate contact information (such as

application instruction outlined in job postings… even if the ca-

an email address reading hotbabe@gmail.com, she says).

reer advice resources say otherwise.

“I received one email that included a dancing unicorn at the

“Every book will say, ‘Never give them your salary,’” she says.

bottom, and also one with a strange quote from Star Trek,” Galle

“With the number of people responding to positions right now, the

says. “Those were pretty bizarre. But what is most shocking to me

hiring official is overwhelmed. If [hiring officials] request [candi-

is to receive a resume from someone whose contact information

dates’] salary range, salary requirement, or current salary, and they

is out of date or incorrect. I’ve had candidates who put together a

don’t put that down, ten to one, they will be put in the ‘B’ pile be-

very professional package, but when I try to call or email them, the

cause they can’t follow simple directions. That is one of the biggest



“I received one email that included a dancing unicorn at the bottom, and also one with a strange quote from Star Trek. Those were pretty bizarre.” mistakes candidates make: not responding according to the directions.” Applicants who don’t pay attention to those all-important details can find them-

Meetings Industry Job Resources The MeetingConnection www.themeetingconnection.com The

MeetingConnection recruiting




selves in some pretty embarrassing circumstances. Penfold recalls a candidate who


neglected to note the instructions on an electronic application, which stated that

placement service, focusing specifically


submissions would be sent to the hiring official once the candidate clicked save.

on meetings industry positions.

“They didn’t get the confirmation they were expecting (and nowhere did it say they would get a confirmation), so they kept on trying it,” Penfold says. “They sent


35 resumes to this hiring official, and if they would have just read the directions, they


would have seen that it [was sent].”


The candidates, who earned further consideration at Special D Events, had a few common denominators that set them apart from other applicants. “Let’s start with the basics: they applied to the right company and for the right po-





industry’s largest job boards, offering a network of more than 22,000 candidates for permanent and temporary placement.

sition!” Galle says. “Beyond that, the winning resumes had no spelling or grammatical errors, and the candidate demonstrated experience and/or enthusiasm for the job

Meetings Community (meco)

requirements listed in our ad. If a cover letter also communicates that the applicant


researched our company before applying, it goes to the top of the pile.” “Make sure your cover letter is professional and meets the needs of the ad or

The Meetings Community is an independent online group of meeting

the opening,” Penfold stresses. “Make sure your resume is professional, and look for





grammatical [and] typo errors.”

support, discussion and a free job board.

If you have ever wondered why employers care so much about writing and spelling skills in resumes or cover letters, Galle has the answer. When it comes to securing employment in the meetings and events industry, resume errors indicate potential for work-related errors.





Directors www.intdonline.com

“Successful event and meeting planners must be detail-oriented,” Galle explains.

The International Network of Travel

“If a candidate has errors in their resume - one of the most important documents they

Directors connects independent planners

will ever create - it conveys they are not detail-oriented and, consequently, not the

and travel directors with the meeting

right candidate for the job.”

professionals who need them.

“That is the killer, because this is supposed to be a detail-oriented industry,” Penfold agrees. Once you have your first impression squared away, think about the next steps in the process. “Make sure your voicemail is professional,” Penfold says. “After they like your

MPI Career Connections www.mpiweb.org MPI offers a job board where any company






resume, the next contact will either be by email or by phone. If you have some weird

hospitality industry position, and job-

message on your phone... I myself have hung up and said, ‘Uh-uh, no way.’”

seeking members can post resumes.

How do so many errors and missteps tend to slip through the cracks? “I think people are just in a hurry and don’t read directions, and they’re in a panic situation,” Penfold says.

PCMA Career Center www.pcma.org

Before you seal up that envelope or click send, stop. Take a breath. Review every

The PCMA Career Center allows

word of your cover letter and your resume. Ask yourself if you would hire you. By

candidates confidential access to job

taking just a little bit of extra time in the job-hunting process, you might be able to

listings from employers, who are hiring for

avoid the common mistakes that knock candidates out of the running right out of

industry-specific positions.

the gates.


Midwest Meetings Summer 2009




Business has never been so pleasurable.

At Tan-Tar-A, we want your business meetings to be successful, but also peaceful. It all starts with our tranquil location … nestled in a wooded setting along the Lake of the Ozarks. Plus, you’ll relax knowing we’ve got you covered on every detail – from our award-winning service and experienced staff, to our 850 guest rooms and flexible exhibit space, to our large event hall and in-house audiovisual and catering. Best of all, you’ll love treating yourself to all our resort amenities that make business even more pleasurable – a full-service spa, championship golf, tennis, boating, swimming, horseback riding and more. Tan-Tar-A … where productive and pleasurable come together. For reservations or more information, call 1-800-TAN-TARA (1-800-826-8272) or visit us at www.tan-tar-a.com.

State Road KK, Osage Beach, MO 65065

Where Your Mind, Heart & Budget All Agree The location and facilities will speak to your analytical side, the unmatched hospitality and service will surprise and warm your heart, and the city’s affordability will benefit your and your attendees’ bottom line. Call








your mind, heart and budget will all agree.

800-678-8767 www.Meet-Me-In-Springfield.com




Midwest Meetings suMMer 2009



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Exhibition Hall •

Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Willow Island

More than meets the eye •

Full service facilities with professional event planning, audio visual equipment, exhibit services all on site

20,000 gsf of expandable meeting space

100,000 gsf of unobstructed exhibit space

5,800 paved parking spaces

140 Room attached— Clarion Suites Hotel

Customized menus, food & beverage services from Centerplate catering

Contact: Shirley Kaltenberg 608-267-1549 • kaltenberg@alliantenergycenter.com OR Ted Ballweg 608-267-3991 • ballweg@alliantenergycenter.com

w w w. a l l i a n t e n e rg yc e n t e r. c o m • M a d i s o n , W I

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888-948-4748 meetings@visitwausau.com www.visitwausau.com


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