Planners and suppliers pull together for meeting industry success.
Each year, Missouri Meetings and Events’ St. Louis Expo kicks off your summer business season with the best of both worlds in event planning – excellent industry networking, and top-notch education. This year’s two-day Spring Expo, held May 18 and 19 at the beautiful DoubleTree Hilton Hotel St. Louis-Chesterfield, took “Igniting Team Spirit” as its theme and appropriately, attendees came away from the event with a renewed sense of community in the industry.
Exhibitors set up their booths on Monday, May 18, and registration opened for attendees that afternoon. At 3:30 pm, police detective and MM&E columnist Trent Koppel launched the Expo’s educational agenda with a presentation on keeping team members safe and secure in the modern workplace. And at 4:30 pm, attendees enjoyed a session on encouraging teams to be stellar performers, presented by Maritz Inc.’s director of training and continuous improvement, Ann Gravette, CMP, CSSBB, EECE.
At 5:30 pm, the DoubleTree hosted a planners-only reception complete with food, beverages, and a hotel and meeting-space tour. As a crowd gathered outside the Great Ballroom, attendees were curious about a life-size living “statue” of a baseball player, provided by Vivant Entertainment. Then at 6:30 pm, MM&E threw open the doors to its Opening Reception, welcoming all attendees. It included the always popular Meet® Business Exchange event, where planners confer one-on-one with suppliers by special appointment.
MM&E’s new Meet Elite Awards program debuted at the reception, honoring planners and suppliers who elevate the business of event planning through creativity, hard work and high standards. Industry members voted for the top contenders in seven inaugural categories:
Yoga & Spa Magazine Health, Beauty and Luxury Lifestyle Award presented to Overlook Farms, Clarksville, MO.
Best Eco-friendly Event award presented to Overlook Farms, Clarksville, MO.
Best New Venue award presented to Ballpark Village, St. Louis, MO.
Best Resort award presented to Innsbrook Resort & Conference Center, Innsbrook, MO.
Best Revitalized Venue award presented to Moulin Events, St. Louis, MO.
Rising Star (Best New Planner) award presented to My Events Coordinator, St. Louis, MO.
Shooting Star (Best Independent Planner) award presented to AnnaBelle Events, Columbia, MO.
Missouri Meetings and Events was honored to present the 2015 Educator of the Year award to Craig Mueller, M.Ed., CTC, CTA. Mueller is associate professor and program coordinator in the Hospitality and Tourism Studies Department at St. Louis Community College – Forest Park. Congratulations to all the award recipients.
On Tuesday, May 19, the Expo resumed bright and early, with registration and breakfast beginning at 7:30 am. At 8 am, attendees were treated to remarks by general session speaker Patrick Tuttle, director of the Joplin CVB. Tuttle spoke about preparing team members to anticipate and prevent crisis situations in event planning. Following his presentation, the exhibit hall opened, allowing planners to learn about venues, products and services to benefit their clients.
The Expo’s 10:30 am concurrent educational sessions featured Ann Gravette and Trent Koppel, and there was a panel discussion with Richard Avdoian of the Midwest Business Institute Inc.; Lethia Owens, marketing and branding strategist; and Cathy Sexton, productivity coach. The panel centered on bringing cohesiveness to meetings with the help of professional speakers. After the sessions, prize drawings, networking and exhibits kept attendees busy until lunchtime.
MM&E Expos are known for their excellent attendance prizes and “Grand Finale” giveaways, and this spring’s event sent many happy attendees home with valuable winnings: A Kansas City getaway for two on Amtrak; a 22” flat-screen LCD TV; a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablet; overnight packages from Tan-Tar-A Resort, the Inn at Hermannhof, Aerie’s Winery and Resort, and Inn at Grand Glaize/Lake of the Ozarks CVB; an overnight stay from Penny Moon Entertainment; table and chair rentals from My Events Coordinator and Party Rentals; and a ticket gift basket from the St. Louis Zoo. Door prizes were a Landry’s Restaurant gift card and two round-trip St. Louis-to-Chicago tickets on Amtrak.
The luncheon opened by recognizing three exhibitors with the following awards:
The first exhibitor to be recognized with the “Igniting Team Spirit” Award was Pinot’s Palette of Chesterfield. This award recognizes the exhibitor that was most creative with the Expo’s theme.
The second recognition was the Editor’s Choice Award, going to The Lodge of Four Seasons. It’s chosen by Missouri Meetings & Events editors and is for the exhibitor that is most creative overall, with or without using the theme.
The final winner was the Planners’ Choice Award, going jointly to Holiday Inn South County and The Elms Resort and Spa. This award is given to first time exhibitors and is selected by planners. All the awards were sponsored by GMS Incentives LLC, and owner Gladys Schubach was on hand to assist with the on-stage presentations.
To wrap things up, Tuesday’s luncheon presenter was longtime St. Louis Sports Commission president Frank Viverito. He spoke about how sports, as a model for team effort, significantly impact our lives and livelihoods.
Following Viverito’s remarks, emcee Scotty O’Brien thanked guests for their attendance, and welcomed all to attend the Kansas City Expo in the fall. Stay tuned to meetmags.com for more information on educational sessions and trade show exhibitors to be featured there!