“Desert Cool” and a World of Opportunity Greet Planners and Hotels at the Elite Meetings Alliance (EMA), at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa

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‘All Systems Go’ for 2012 -- as Elite Brings Buyers and Suppliers Together to Book Business, Share Knowledge and Reflect on Community Responsibility

Elite Meetings International (EMI) brought together representatives from more than 100 top luxury hotels and prequalified meeting professionals from around the country to do deals, learn about the latest developments in corporate social responsibility, and look ahead to an exciting 2012, at the Elite Meetings Alliance (EMA), January 29-31.

Taking place at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, the EMA included close to 1,000 prescheduled one-on-one meetings, continuing education sessions for CMP credit, inside perspectives from leading industry speakers, and a unique focus on corporate social responsibility. Among meeting professionals surveyed at the conference, close to three-quarters projected holding more meetings at luxury hotels in 2012 than in 2011 – a sign that the year is off to a strong start for planners and hoteliers alike.

Among attendees surveyed at the EMA:

  •     More than 70% of planners agreed they would book more meetings at luxury hotels in 2012 than in 2011.                                                
  •     Close to 40% of planners said they had at least half a dozen meetings to book for 2012, with some needing to plan as many as 20 to 30 meetings.                                        
  •     More than half said the number of meetings they would book in 2013 are likely to either stay the same or increase – adding additional fuel to optimism for the months ahead.

“The January 2012 EMA was truly an oasis of ‘cool’ in the desert, and a tremendous opportunity for planners and hoteliers to connect and build business for the rest of the year,” said Kelly Foy, Chief Executive Officer of Elite Meetings. Foy concluded, “It was clear to the top hoteliers and planners in attendance that the year ahead will be a busy one, and that EMI is helping to lead a crest of positive change in the industry -- transactionally with cutting-edge products, and by helping planners and hoteliers better understand how their work can contribute to a better community, a better environment, and a better planet.”

Ty Brassie, Director of Sales & Marketing for Rancho Las Palmas said, “We were thrilled to host this EMA and showcase our unique brand of luxury hospitality, as Elite Meetings once again brought together a wonderful group of meeting professionals and luxury hotels.” He concluded, “We appreciate the chance to host the event at our resort, and look forward to continuing to work closely with everyone at Elite in the months ahead.”

Doing Well . . . and Doing Good

Highlights of the EMA included presentations by Shawn Siepler, CEO at Clean the World Global LLC, http://www.cleantheworld.org, on “How to Engage Attendees Sustainably, Socially, and Clean the World” -- as well as insightful sessions on a variety of topics from such prominent industry figures as Laura Schwartz, who explained the benefits of networking; Midori Connolly, who spoke on the topic of “Hybrid Meetings;” Daren Martin, who addressed “Green Meetings;” Dirk Smith, on “Personality Types and the Roles they Play in our Interactions,” and Michael Dominguez, speaking about “Hotel Costings.”

According to Megan MacKay, Event Coordinator at Intuit and an EMA attendee, “Educational sessions were excellent . . . [with] engaging sessions and fantastic speakers.”

Foy said, “It was heartening, and inspiring, to see the level of goodwill and enthusiasm among attendees at the EMA, both in outlook for the industry and for EMI’s suite of products and services.” He concluded, “With a host of new innovations and announcements in the weeks ahead, it will be an exciting time for Elite.”

EMI’s Innovations Showcased . . . with More to Come

One innovation centers on numerous enhancements to SpeedRFP, a cutting-edge product for creating, submitting and tracking RFPs online. SpeedRFP recently surpassed the 13,000-user mark, and is rapidly generating RFPs for meetings planners and hotels in the U.S. and internationally. As it gains in adoption, planner input continues to be gathered to shape SpeedRFP into a game-changer for the industry. SpeedRFP is a completely portable and seamless RFP technology Any hotel can download the for a 90 day trial, and it is free to meeting professionals, from whom it is already drawing enthusiastic support.

EMI’s FaceTime™ Appointment Scheduler technology is a proprietary streamlined program which helps buyers and sellers request, create, and manage appointments at meetings and conventions. Used widely at industry trade shows including the HSMAI’s MEET conference, MPI’s MeetDifferent, Dallas CVB and Four Season Hotels & Resorts client events, FaceTime facilitated the confirmation of hundreds of face-to-face business meetings at the January EMA.

About the Elite Meetings Alliance (EMA)

The EMA is a three-day, invitation-only event that brings together prequalified corporate and association planners with leaders in the luxury hotel industry to cultivate relationships and build business. Featured are private, personalized business development meetings, continuing education breakout sessions for CMP credit, and unique networking activities. This year at Rancho Las Palmas, attendees enjoyed everything the resort property offers – from its newly refurbished lobby and guest rooms, to the fabulous 20,000 square foot Rancho Las Palmas Spa, 27 holes of championship golf, world class cuisine, and Splashtopia, a unique pool and aquatic sports complex.

About Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa

Nestled in the heart of Rancho Mirage, at the base of the San Jacinto Mountain Range in the sun-drenched Coachella Valley, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa invites guests to indulge in a wide array of recreational activities, then retreat to the comfort of our classic accommodations. From soothing spa treatments to individual golf lessons, the Rancho Mirage, California hotel provides an ideal environment for meetings as well as leisure. Guest rooms feature plush bedding and French doors that open onto private patios. Sparkling swimming pools beckon for a refreshing swim. The Rancho Mirage hotel and resort offers a variety of family-friendly features for unforgettable vacations in the desert. For information, contact, 866-423-1195, or visit, http://www.rancholaspalmas.com.

About Elite Meetings International

Based in Santa Barbara, Elite Meetings International (EMI) provides integrated solutions to enhance the performance of meeting and hospitality professionals. EMI supports this community through a combination of innovative technology, direct sales support, customized marketing programs and face-to-face business-building events. Additionally, http://www.EliteMeetings.com serves as a commission-free RFP-generating tool and a comprehensive vehicle for sourcing luxury, upper-upscale and upscale properties. EMI’s innovations include FaceTime™ Appointment Scheduler (http://www.FaceTimeScheduler.com) a sought-after program for helping conference attendees identify synergies, manage appointments and make direct connections with one another; and SpeedRFP™ (http://www.SpeedRFP.com), a new time-saving product for creating, submitting, and managing RFPs online. For additional information, please visit http://www.EliteMeetings.com or call 805-730-1000.

For more information on the EMA, contact EMATeam(at)EliteMeetings(dot)com, or call (805) 879-4485.

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MICHAEL FRENKEL
M FRENKEL COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
(201) 317-7035
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