Northstar Meetings Group's 2019 SMU International is in full swing this week in New York City. The event brings together meeting planners and top international hotels, CVBs, DMCs and venues for exclusive one-on-one appointments, along with unique and experiential networking events and education.
SMU 2019 kicked off Sunday in the heart of the Big Apple, where guests mingled at the New York Hilton Midtown, and then enjoyed a welcome reception at the JW Marriott Essex House. Following are some of SMU's inaugural-day highlights.
“I love to travel and I feel lucky every day to be part of an industry that allows me to go to new places and have unique experiences around the world." -Tu Rinsche, Marriott's global director of social impact.
"Busy day at Successful Meetings University International with @London_CVB and @NorthstarMtgs in New York today!" - @KingsPlaceEvent via Twitter
"Ready for @SuccessfulMtgs#SMUInternational kicking off @canadameetings with great panel discussion!" - Michael Shannon, CMP, via Twitter
"Having great meetings with suppliers for our clients at #SMUInternational in beautiful New York City." - Origin EP, via Twitter
"Meet our team member Vanessa Reis at #smuinternational. She will be happy to tell you all about Zurich's highlights for your next meetings and events and introduce you to our partner @giardinohotels." - Zurich CVB via Twitter
On Monday, participants learned from our guest speakers and panelists, who provided targeted education specific to meeting and incentive planners' needs for international events. During the morning's "Perspectives on the Global Meetings Industry" round table, our moderated panel discussed the major developments that should be on planners' radar -- such as data security and privacy -- among other topics and trends.
Gregg H. Talley, CEO of Talley Management Group Inc., said, "We're not doing our jobs if we're not thinking about security and actively engaging on behalf of our attendees and organizations." He added that, "Sometimes destinations aren't prepared to address it holistically upfront with us, and you have to piecemeal it together -- you have to deal with the venue, then deal with the police, then hotel security. That's the level of support I'm looking for from a destination when I go in, so that I'm not driving the dialog. I want to know those relationships and plans are already in place."
"Given today's regulatory landscape, we need to know where the data is within our organizations, what we're doing with it, where we're sharing it with third parties and how those third parties are going to be using it," said Dan Goldstein, cofounder and partner at Tueoris, LLC.
"We collect reams of data, but the problem is digesting that data -- making it actionable insights that your client can benefit from," said Brad Langley, vice president of channel and partner management for Aventri. "Event planners often don't connect the dots afterword and say, 'This is what you really got as a result of investing in that event.'"
On Tuesday, SMU participants wrapped things up with a presentation on human trafficking and its impact on the global meetings industry by Tu Rinsche, Marriott's global director of social impact.
Buyers and suppliers also met for one-on-one appointments before closing out this meaningful trip and event.
Most people believe that human trafficking doesn’t happen where they’re from; they think it only takes place in seedy buildings and impoverished communities," said Tu Rinsche. "Not true. It happens every day, in every city, around every corner."