them to life.
“A lot of times [they’ll simply] ask, ‘I have US$110 per person—what can I get for it?’” Cooke says.
At one recent event, EVENTup worked with a client in the
automotive industry that wanted to come up with a creative
alternative to a hotel-based meeting for 100 people. EVENTup
arranged a dinner curated by a Michelin-rated chef in an old
warehouse decorated with long, rustic tables. The chef prepared the meal in a trailer while guests mingled over cocktails.
The event may have looked seamless, but the prep work was
“We had to do a deep cleaning of the warehouse beforehand
and ship in tables, linens, plates and silverware,” Cooke says.
“The trailer was hidden in the back. There are a lot of logistics
involved in this more experiential kind of event.”
At other recent gatherings, her clients have rented man-
sions in Los Angeles, with prices
ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 for
100 people and, in the case of a store
opening in Texas, arranged for foot-
ball players from Houston to meet
and greet customers at store.
“There are a lot more engaging,
exciting types of events,” Cooke says.
To be sure, while growth in corporate meetings is strong in the U.S.,
meeting professionals in some markets are seeing domestic corporate
business return more slowly.
“I think some corporate business
is coming back,” says Alan Pini, CMP,
CMM (MPI Italia Chapter), CEO of Te-
knocongress, a Milan-based supplier
of events technology. “There has been
a general increase in the export busi-
ness by large corporations. These are
the people who make investments in
communications and events. That is
coming back—not because the local
market is growing but because of the
demand by foreign markets, especial-
ly China and the Far Eastern markets.”
Still, Teknocongress has gotten
new domestic business in connection
with Universal Expo 2015 in Milan. At
the six-month exhibition, more than 140 countries are showing
their best technology to guarantee healthy, safe and
suf;icient food to feed the planet. At the show, Tekno-
congress has supplied LED walls and “vidiwalls” to
such Italian brands as Lavazza coffee and specialty
meat purveyor Citterio, for instance.
ATEVENTup, a Chicago-based online market- place that connects companies with meeting venues, employees have been hustling to keep
up with a recent uptick in corporate meetings.
“Our team is on the phone all day, every day,” says CEO
Jayna Cooke, CMP, a former vice president of business development at Groupon.
Often, the meeting organizers are keen on creating better
engagement or strengthening their ;irm’s culture, but they
don’t want the same old, same old—corporations are looking
for different options and opportunities. And this doesn’t just
apply to internal meetings. Cooke is seeing more evidence
that customer appreciation events are also making a comeback.
“We have seen a big uptick in consumer events,” she says,
citing a tech company introducing a new product to key in;luencers.
Cooke isn’t alone in facing a challenge long awaited during the recession: keeping a swelling number of
corporate clients happy. In the 2015
summer edition of MPI’s Meetings
Outlook survey, 48 percent of respondents cited domestic corporate
business as the segment of their organization’s meeting and event-re-lated business that has seen the
greatest increase in activity—that’s
up from 37 percent one year earlier.
“It’s a very dynamic, positive en-
vironment we’re in,” says Bill Voege-
li (MPI Georgia Chapter), president
of Association Insights, the Atlan-
ta-area research ;irm that conducts
the survey. “Companies are spending
somewhat more freely but not reck-
lessly. They are still cautious and still
driven by objectives, but their objec-
tives have changed slightly from
budget conservation to ROI.”
In this new environment, Voegeli
says, meeting professionals are more
empowered to adapt content and ex-
periences to the needs and desires of
“In the past, planners had to really be creative just to stay
within their budget,” he says. “Now their creativity can be re-
directed toward creating a superior experience in terms of
education, networking and morale.”
EVENTup is doing just that through its concierge group,
which helps corporate clients come up with ideas and bring
HAD TO REALLY
BE CREATIVE JUST
TO STAY WITHIN
NOW THEIR CRE-
ATIVITY CAN BE
A SUPERIOR EXP-
ERIENCE IN TERMS