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Receap - HSMAI's Affordable Meetings®
Mid-America Show at Chicago’s Navy Pier
Sixth Annual Show Welcomed 1,048 Qualified Meeting Planners
MCLEAN, VA (April 7, 2006) – The debut of a ‘critical issue’ general session, three-hour intensive workshops, new branding, exhibitor booth awards and a sell-out exposition with a record number of exhibitors kicked off the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI) Affordable Meetings® Mid-America show, the first of three events on the 2006 calendar.
The sixth annual two-day show took place March 29-30, 2006 at Chicago’s Navy Pier with 367 exhibitor booths, 343 exhibitors and 1,048 qualified meeting planners. 
“We launched the show year with a new brand identity, along with even more exciting content and programming for attendees and exhibitors participating in this sold-out show,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.  
“To accommodate the show’s growing demand, we expanded the exposition by 17 booths over our 350-booth targeted goal, attesting to the show’s positioning as one of the most important and comprehensive industry events for meeting planners.” 
A highly-anticipated addition, which received rave reviews for being comprehensive and intensive, were the five, three-hour workshops designed to offer attendees in-depth coverage of important industry topics.  They included “How to Be a World-Class Negotiator,” “How to Accomplish More in Less Time: Solutions for Today’s Hard-Working Meeting Planner,” “APEX Tools You Can Use to Work More Efficiently and Improve Communication with Your Vendors,” “High Impact On-Site Meeting Management,” and “Creating Objectives: A Road Map for Successful Meetings.”   This was in addition to the 15 seminars over two days.
The dynamic general session welcomed a packed house as the extremely vital subject of “Emergency Preparedness Today” A Shared Responsibility of Meeting Planners and Facilities’ Staff” took center stage with presenters Jonathan Howe, Esq., president and senior partner of Howe & Hutton, Ltd. and Kevin Mellot, president, ERASE Enterprises.
The show sported a new identity with the re-design of its logo and signage.  “The new logo demonstrates the streamlined, sophisticated image that the show series offers to meeting planners, exhibitors and the industry at-large as well as to increase branding awareness among the meeting planning community,” notes Gilbert.
Honoring the creativity and marketing prowess of exhibitors, HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® launched a “Best Booth Awards Program” for multiple and single booth exhibitors in three categories, with winners as follows: 
• Best Overall Booth
Single: Naples Marco Island Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau
Multiple: Las Vegas Convention & Visitor’s Authority

• Best New Exhibitor Booth
Single: Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale & Hotel Fort Des Moines
Multiple: Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau

•  Best On-Site Booth Promotion and Marketing
Single: Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau & Sloan Convention  Center
Multiple: Visit Minneapolis North
Prize drawings included JetBlue airline tickets to anywhere in the Continental U.S. the airline flies (new for the 2006 show) along with $250 American Express gift cards, as well as HSMAI-sponsored cash prizes.
Winners of JetBlue tickets and a $250 American Express gift cards were:

  • Bruce Groline, executive director, IL Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Normal, IL 
  • Joanne Turner, executive secretary, Ohio Association of Elementary School Admin., Columbus, OH 
  • Kari Brandel, events manager, State Bar of Michigan, Lansing, MI 
HSMAI-sponsored cash prizes of $2,000 and $1,000 went to:


  • Jody Shelton, executive director, AASPA, Olathe, KS 
  • Jill E. Martinez, Ministries Department & Events, Latin America Mission, Miami Springs, FL 
  • Jon Wittenberg, vice president, Consolidated Millinery, Hoffman Estates, IL 
  • MaryAnn Outarsingh, technical programs assistant, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Richardson, TX 
Other highlights of the show were a Speaker’s Booth, where meeting planners can liaise with industry experts and the HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® Bookstore, a one-stop shopping source for attendees to find the most up-to-date publications and resource materials focusing on the needs of meeting planners at every level of experience.  
To pay tribute to its loyal supporters, HSMAI sponsored a VIP reception for meeting planners who attended for at least three years, HSMAI member exhibitors, speakers and the press. 
The show welcomed 76 new exhibiting companies, including: Atlantis – Paradise Island Bahamas, Bright Business Media, Cabaret Cocktail Boutique, Celebrity Cruises,, Designed Cuisine, EMC Venues Conference Centers & Resorts, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Hornblower Cruises & Events, iBAHN, ICP - Innovative Consumer Packaging, Lake Geneva Cruise Line, Meetings Up North, Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour, Passkey, The Regus Group, Travel Alberta, and International Ungerboeck Systems International, among others.
Among the growing list of sponsors for the 2006 Mid-America show were: American Express (Spring water), PC Nametag (name badge holders and lanyards), PMSI (tote bags), Visit Florida (bookstore bags), National Conference Center (seminar handout books highlighting the exceptional educational component), Plasticard (hotel key cards), University Center (conference pens and portfolios), and Crowne Plaza (Internet Café, a new show feature and powered by iBAHN, so attendees can check email and stay in touch with the office while remaining on the expo floor to do business).  
HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® supporter relationships include: Association Meetings, Association News, Certain Software, ConventionPlanit, iBAHN, JetBlue Airways, Meetings Media, Meetings News, Midwest Meetings Magazine, Meetings Group, Meetings Professionals International (MPI), PCMA, SGMP, Smart Meetings,  Successful Meetings and Unique Venues.  
Other shows for 2006 include: HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® West, June 14-15, 2006 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California, and HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® National, Sept. 6-7, 2006 at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.
Attendees represented meeting and event planners from a variety of organizations, with a majority representing corporate, association and independent sectors and the balance from government, non-profit, education, religious and medical/health care organizations, trade show management and the military.
HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® is owned and presented by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Americas region and managed by George Little Management, LLC (GLM).
For exhibitor information, contact Beth Petersen, show manager, GLM, Ten Bank Street, White Plains, NY 10606-1954, or call (914) 421-3377; fax (914) 948-2918; e-mail:  Attendee information is available by calling 1-800-272-SHOW.  Additional information and a complete program schedule can be obtained by visiting the show’s web site at
HSMAI is an organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry.  With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, and bringing together customers and members at eight annual events, including HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings®, and HSMAI World Quest.  Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 38 chapters in the Americas region.  

Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, 
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300, 
McLean, VA 22102, 
phone (703) 610-9024

Also See: Affordable Meetings Mid-America Show Sells Out with 344 Booths Representing Hotels and Resorts, Conference Centers, CVBs; April 6 – 7, 2005, Chicago’s Navy Pier / March 2005
Planners to Arrange More Meetings, Have Increased Budgets in 2006 / HSMAI Survey / March 2006

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