@MPIGNY - Winter 2014 - (Page 17)

#feature HOSTED-BUYER PROGRAMS: A PLANNER AND SUPPLIER Q&A M PIGNY planner member Joanna Puchalski, meeting planner at the Opal Financial Group, and supplier member Heidi Okada, director of global sales at Commune Hotels + Resorts, recently attended IMEX America in Las Vegas. In this Q&A, the two offer their differing perspectives of hosted-buyer programs, including IMEX. What is a hosted-buyer format? Heidi Okada: Hosted buyers are pre-qualified to ensure that they plan meetings in the United States and internationally. We are able to send out emails, for instance, within the web portal that IMEX runs, or via regular email and phone, and set up appointments with planners well in advance of the event. This provides hotels and suppliers the opportunity to research planners and their organizations/customers based on their needs and address them at the time of the appointment. What are the benefits of hosted buyer programs vs. traditional trade shows? Joanna Puchalski: The ability to schedule appointments ahead of time with a supplier that I have an interest in meeting with. Customization and interaction are key. If a supplier wants my business, they have the opportunity to impress me during our appointment. Heidi Okada: We like to attend because we can set appointments Heidi Okada and the team from Commune Hotels + Resorts at IMEX America. beforehand. We have the ability to somewhat control our own destiny, as opposed to the old trade show format, where it is much like a game of craps ... you never know if you will see a planner who you have reached out to beforehand to meet with. What has your experience been like attending hosted-buyer programs? Joanna Puchalski: IMEX this past October was my first hosted buyer program experience. As soon as I walked in, I literally had the world within a few steps. One moment I was in California, 10 minutes later I was transported to Europe, an hour later I was in Southeast Asia. Joanna Puchalski with MPIGNY President Carvie Gillikin and Immediate Past President Meghan Schilt, CMP, at IMEX America. Continued on page 30 info@mpigny.org 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY - Winter 2014

ASK THE BOARD
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
14 MEETINGS TECHNOLOGY TRENDS TO WATCH FOR 2014
10 EVENTS IN NORTH AMERICA YOU SHOULDN’T MISS IN 2014
SPORTS INCENTIVES AND MEETING PLANNING A WINNING TEAM
HOSTED-BUYER PROGRAMS: A PLANNER AND SUPPLIER Q&A
#stickwithmpigny
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT A CONVERSATION WITH JULIE GREEN
TECHNOLOGY CORNER BY WALTER J. RECHER
TIME. WARPED.
LEGAL REVIEW BY BARBARA F. DUNN, ESQ.
FITNESS FOCUS BY KELLY FILIPPONE
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
NEWS
DESTINATION: MANHATTAN
NEW MEMBERS
ADVERTISER’S INDEX

@MPIGNY - Winter 2014

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