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  • Meeting Renovation

Book Now….or Forever Hold Your Peace!

October 7th, 2014 by

Kinsley_NewsOct2014_main-241x300In honor of two of our staff who got married this summer (congratulations Dani & Casey!), I thought I’d play on that theme to talk about the changing state of the hotel industry as it relates to meetings and conventions.

As we head into the second half of 2014, the hotel business is on the upswing. I recently attended a San Francisco Travel Association Advisory Board Meeting and one of the areas of discussion was how busy San Francisco is over the next 4 years. With very limited new hotel supply in the city and an increase in demand, the San Francisco Travel Association is forecasting that occupancy for the city from 2016 thru 2018 will be at or near 85% – for all hotels in the city! That means that meeting and convention hotels will be seeing occupancy numbers over 90% and probably closer to 95%.

What does this mean for all of us as we consider future dates for meetings and conventions? PKF Hospitality Research recently released a forecast (PKF Report) which states that by the end of 2015, the hotel industry will be at occupancy and revpar (revenue per available room) levels that have not been seen in over 20 years. This coupled with limited growth in new inventory (predicted to be less than 1.5%) will create an opportunity for hotels to demand rates higher than we have seen in the last 6 years.

Again, what does this mean? Kinsley Meetings recommends booking now for future years to ensure that you can get the dates and the space that you need. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that the hotels will be able to accommodate your requirements. Be prepared as well to see rates steadily increase over the next few years. Keep in mind that choices will be very limited for meetings of more than 100 rooms per night. Not only is there pressure on 1st tier cities like San Francisco, San Diego, New York and Orlando, there will be additional pressure on 2nd and 3rd tier cities due to non-availability in the 1st tier cities.

The hotel industry goes through “buyers’ market” and “sellers’ market” cycles. With the convergence of limited rooms-inventory growth and increased meeting demand, we are in a sellers’ market, making availability bookings thinner over the next few years. If you have any questions about all this please give me a call. I will be more than happy to discuss and can guide you to even more reports on the subject.

Meeting Renovation

May 6th, 2014 by

Say you’re house hunting.

You’ve found the perfect neighborhood, with great schools, streets lined with well-established trees, and hip retro homes. You envision your family moving in. Then you walk into an open house and see this:


It’s apparent that nothing has changed in your dream house in 40 years. Shag carpet and avocado as a color pallet instead of a staple for guacamole is a shock to the 21st century eye. You imagine that if you ask about technology in the house, you’ll be shown the rotary dial phone with the long stretched-out cord.

Your reaction? This place needs substantial renovation.

What does your meeting have in common with 1970s décor?

RenovationMeetings are marketed to draw people in. The promise of sharing ideas, attending thought-provoking reno_01-204x300sessions, networking with peers and subject-matter experts, travel to exciting destinations are all alluring.

Do people walk into your meeting energized, but leave feeling like the event didn’t live up to its billing? Do they feel that they’re attending the same meeting year over year?

A stale meeting – where nothing has changed for years or even decades – is in need of a Meeting Renovation.

Is your meeting in need of a renovation?
Do you believe that offering the maximum amount of education will help people learn more? Are attendees in back-to-back-to-back presentations, or is “white space” built into your agenda?

Are you attracting your industry’s next-generation attendees?

Are speakers “telling” through Power Point presentations, or engaging the audience?

Do your exhibitors complain about the quantity or quality of traffic?

What is the adoption rate for technology options at the meeting?

Is event pricing a barrier to attendance?

What are you measuring to know if your meeting is successful?

Steps to meeting renovation:

1. Vision
What are the objectives of your meeting? How do they relate to your organization’s goals and objectives?

2. Assess
What is the state of your current meeting? Question everything. Challenge traditions and sacred cows. Focus on the attendee experience.

3. Design and Plan
Secure the foundation – identify, or re-identify, your target audience and design with them in mind.
Prioritize – unless you have carte blanche from meeting stakeholders to start from scratch, identify areas to change, and rank them based on impact, not on cost.
Budget – accommodate for changes to revenue and expenses of the renovated event.
Market – highlight boldly what’s new to rejuvenate attendee expectations going in to the meeting.

4. Execute
Commit the appropriate time and resources to the changes you’re making. An 11th hour add-in just to have something new will not have the impact of a thoughtful, intentional and well-designed new experience.

5. Reassess
Know what you’re hoping to change with your renovation going into the project, and then measure to what level it was achieved. Be realistic: realize that some changes will not have desired impact in year one.[/sws_grey_box]

Final considerations to Meeting Renovation are awareness of innovations and best practices as you plan your renovation strategy:

Where can you learn what meetings can be, can do, can impact, can change?
What can be done internally, and when should you call in a Meeting Architect to consult on the project ?
How can technology impact your meeting? What is the latest in this ever-evolving field?
What adult learning techniques will make material presented at the meeting stay with your audience / change their behavior?
How can you provide an environment in which attendees and event sponsors interact in a productive way?
What do you want the style of the meeting to say about your organization?
Meeting Renovation takes the same courage, vision and hard work as renovating a house. The outcomes of a well- designed and well-executed renovation can change the way members, customers, and sponsors view and interact with your organization.

Are you ready to renovate?



Renovation in Action

What: Colorado Association of Association Executives Annual Meeting

When: June 11-13, 2014

Where: Snowmass, Colorado

Kinsley Meetings is on the planning committee as well as providing meeting management support. Click on the image above for more information about this upcoming meeting. 

Meeting Architects

March 5th, 2014 by

Kinsley_NewsletterMarchAt Kinsley Meetings, we don’t call ourselves meeting planners – we are meeting architects.  We decided to make that distinction many years ago after studying our role with meetings, and how it was evolving from purely tactical to far more strategic in nature.

Meeting Architects build the foundation on which to present content.  The design of that foundation has a direct effect on meeting effectiveness.  The way that meetings are defined, planned and executed is changing faster than it has in the past.  The fundamental questions at the start of the planning process have moved away from dates and rates; there is greater focus on attendee engagement through adult learning practices, social media and creating a value proposition for attendance.  A meeting architect raises those questions and becomes a part of the conversation.

Meeting Architects know that no two meetings are the same.  The differences are not merely in the city or the dates, the way the room is set or the food that is served.  The beginning of the planning process should focus on the desired outcomes of the event.  What is the goal of gathering people together – is it to educate, to change behaviors, to engage a group in a new endeavor?  Defining a meeting’s intent helps to define its personality, and makes attracting attendance much easier.

Meeting Architects are trained and certified.  We are serious about continuous learning, and demonstrate this through certifications (click here to read about Kinsley Meetings’ newest CMPs), involvement with the industry and the transfer of ideas and innovations from one meeting to another.

Meeting Architects are curious and creative.  We’re constantly on the lookout for new ideas, technologies and best practices.  We experiment with things we read about, or experience as a conference attendee, wondering how it can be applied to a future event we’ll plan.

We are Meeting Architects.  We define, design, and build meetings.


In our next issue – Our Meeting Architects take on Meeting Renovation

Perfect Ten

January 24th, 2011 by


Written by Allison P. Kinsley, CMM, CMP

What gets better over time?  Fine wine.  Friendships.  A conference?

Ten years ago, a financial services firm had a vision of a client recognition event.  It began with a modest goal of 75 people…and is now the premier conference in their industry and closing on 700 attendees.  In a meetings climate recently overshadowed by dark clouds, we’re delighted to spotlight and celebrate a success story:  the 10th anniversary of the Matrix Get Connected conference.

Here are four key factors that have contributed to their success and have made this event a Perfect Ten in our eyes.

1.  Know Thyself

Right from the start, the persona of the Matrix conference was crystal clear.  This was a client appreciation event with a Colorado flavor.  Mountain-based and relaxed.  And Matrix’s way of saying “thank you” was to gather everyone in that setting and provide a platform to network.  It wasn’t really about traditional classroom education, but instead, it was about getting people together to share an experience.

As planners, we’ve all heard about the importance of “white space” in a meeting – that mythical unscheduled time for interaction.  Clint Stanley, Vice President of Sales for Matrix, has been with the company for all 10 conferences.  He gives credence to the power of unstructured time at Get Connected.  “If you look at the outdoor seating that we always have, there are some high power meetings going on at every one of those tables typically.  Between sessions.  After sessions.  In the evening.  In the morning.”

That unstructured time was stretched across entire afternoons during which participants could choose to fly fish or river raft, golf or explore abandoned gold mines.  The key was to allow non-session interaction time…and to trust that participants would put it to good use.  Matrix wanted to take people away from the everyday (and for many, ballrooms have become everyday!) and bring them together in an out-of-the-ordinary environment.

Of course, the selection of a meeting location had to support the networking objective.  Keystone Resort & Conference Center has been a perfect fit for all ten years of Get Connected.  We’ve all been to meetings in busy locations where it’s hard to keep people’s attention due to the many distractions.  At Keystone, however, Matrix gets to orchestrate the distractions.

2.  Brand It

Sure, they could’ve called it the Matrix Financial Solutions Annual Conference.  But do you think that name would truly engage their key constituencies?

Instead, Matrix purposefully branded their conference as Get Connected.  It’s a moniker that’s both memorable and sincere to the event’s essential truth.  Think of your meeting’s brand as its personality.  When done right, it can make lasting impressions and enjoy great staying power.

3.  Fresh Content

Many meetings will go through burn out, or as I like to call it, sameness kill.  Attendees complain a lot about static meetings.  So after ten years, what keeps this one alive and relevant?

The networking environment was in place.  Matrix added a focus on providing meaningful education to their attendees.  It’s a key ingredient that keeps people coming back…and especially in down economic cycles.  “We really want to be on the cutting edge in what we deliver,” says Stanley.  “In a very fast changing industry where regulation is ever-changing, it’s very important to give our attendees information that will benefit them over the next year.”

But where do they continue to find compelling material?

  • By bringing industry experts who can shed light on the next 12 months
  • By rolling out new services to help their clients grow their business
  • By holding Q&A at the end of each discussion, tracking that feedback and integrating it into ongoing products and subsequent conferences

4.  Reach for New Audiences

Five years ago, Matrix decided that it wanted to tap into a whole new customer segment.  They had been known as a top-notch service provider to the retirement industry, third-party administrators and 401K record keepers.  But they really wanted to expand their base to include investment advisors.  Good financial advisors preach about the necessity of portfolio diversification.  Shouldn’t the same principles hold true for your attendee base?

To assist them in achieving traction with this new channel, they developed Matrix U as an integrated part of the Get Connected conference.  It focused on educating financial advisors in the way that Matrix does business and the way regulation in DC is pushing the industry.  As a result, Matrix tapped into a whole different group of attendees that stimulated organic growth for the conference.








Having been involved from the beginning, Kinsley has been able to watch and assist with the evolution of this event.  As you can imagine, we are especially proud of the conference’s continued success and growth.  Congratulations to the entire Matrix Financial organization on a Perfect Ten.  Here’s a toast to another decade of excellence!