Planners and Suppliers Boost the Bottom Line at MM&E Kansas City Expo
By Emma R. Frey
Over two action-packed days in mid-November, 2013, event planners, suppliers and speakers gathered for the 12th annual Missouri Meetings & Events Kansas City Regional Expo. The Expo, titled “The New Age of Meetings and Events,” was held November 12 and 13 at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown Hotel.
Excitement was in the air as event planners and suppliers geared up for some major networking and idea-trading.
The large hotel, host to past MM&E Expos, houses ballrooms ideal for receptions and an even larger ballroom that was home to the Expo’s trade show booths. Educational breakout sessions took place one level above, in smaller conference rooms.
The opening day of the Expo began with the arrival of planners and suppliers, while registration took place outside the main ballroom. Registration was sponsored by St. Louis-based Kleertech Inc., supplier of Expo badges.
While companies were in the midst of setting up their booths, early-arriving Expo guests took part in educational seminars taught by Anne Churchill (“Meetings and Events 101”) and Marcus Strauther (“Branding Your Events”).
In the early evening, the Marriott hosted an exclusive Planner Reception, which included food, drinks and a tour of the newly renovated hotel and its meeting spaces.
Soon after, MM&E kicked off its Opening Reception, welcoming planners, suppliers and presenters alike.
Dinner commenced following opening remarks by emcee Jillian Richardson and MM&E group publisher Joe Clote. The night was full of food and beverage delights, jovial chatter and business networking. Planners also took part in the Meet® Business
Exchange, which provided them with key one-on-one appointments with suppliers and service providers.
Day two delights
The second day of the Expo dawned with early registration, followed by breakfast in the ballroom. Then attendees were treated to a special educational session, “Food and Beverage Elevated.” It was presented by event veterans Malissa Cloven of Vivant Entertainment; Dana Jones of the Sappington House Museum and Library of Americana; and Larry Wheeler of the InterContinental Hotel Kansas City. They spoke about ways of combining creative food, beverage, décor and entertainment options to make events memorable.
Following the presentation, the adjacent ballroom opened for trade show booth visiting and networking. Vendors gave attendees in-person opportunities to view services, spaces, resources and entertainment for future event needs. At mid-morning, concurrent educational sessions convened, including the “advanced” portions of Churchill’s and Strauther’s sessions. “Validation through Certification and Certificate Programs” was presented by Pat Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP.
The exhibit area was open for another hour afterward, and that led into the Farewell Reception and Lunch, presented in an adjoining ballroom at noon. Keynote speakers Jessica Gatewood of BidPal and Dave Gillette of Charity Resource LLC led discussion on using technology effectively at events and fund raisers.
That’s a wrap
As the lunch presentation closed, Clote took the podium once again to thank planners, suppliers, sponsors, speakers and volunteers for another Expo success. “Grand finale” attendee prizes were handed out as the Expo concluded. They included MM&E “Editor’s Choice” awards for booth designs in three categories. Vivant Entertainment won the prize for “Best Theme;” Kansas City Cupcake Co. won for “Best Overall Booth;” and Barrington Hotel and Suites was awarded the “Best New Exhibitor” prize.
The Expo received favorable reviews from planners and suppliers alike. New and seasoned event professionals joined with industry experts to produce a critical mass of networking, business exposure and educational opportunities.
Here are just a few of the positive comments MM&E Expo organizers received from planners and exhibitors:
“(Everyone was) very friendly, very efficient; great group to work with. Approachable, and always present for guidance! Thank you for having us. Made great contacts and learned new things.” – Education planner
“Great Expo! Lots of one-on-one.” – Independent planner
“Great show!” – Government planner
“Great event and location.” – Exhibitor
“(This was my) first one; will be back.” – Exhibitor
“Good, professional show.” – Exhibitor
Mark your calendar for the next MM&E St. Louis Regional Expo! It will be held May 19 and 20, 2014, at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel. Contact Vikki Matthews, (314) 781-8880 or [email protected], for information on attending, exhibiting or sponsoring.