All 4,000 of the attendees at Connect 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky, can attest that this year’s conference was our best. Engagement and activations were at an all-time high. It’s safe to say our partners—you!—really came through for what was a thrilling three days. If you missed the show, sign up now for Connect 2020 in New Orleans (Aug. 17-19). See below for some of what made this year’s event so memorable. Spoiler alert: You will experience FOMO if you… well, missed out.
We are so impressed with the 75 attendees who showed their dedication to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by getting tattoos on our trade show floor. These were not the kind that flake off at the pool, either. For each tattoo, Connect donated $1,000 to the foundation. In total, we raised more than $80,000. Among those who got the ink was Destinations International CEO Don Welsh. Kudos!
Trade Show Madness
The Fort Woof Puppy Lounge had the biggest bark at our new trade show while Discover Puerto Rico’s coffee shop provided the buzz. But those two booths were hardly the only standouts. The CVBs and exhibitors who signed up for a booth went all out. Memphis Tourism had a hit with its flash mob; Topgolf showed off its appeal with a swing suite, Visit Frisco's wellness lounge and Visit Branson’s old-fashioned ice cream shop were some other standouts.
The Fyre Within
Who among us hasn’t failed at something? The Fyre Festival took that to a whole new level in the events industry. Andy King and Marc Weinstein are two of the faces of that disaster, but their speaking engagement was anything but a bomb. The duo drew an audience of 700 during a lunchtime engagement as part of our Speaker Showcase, sponsored by Visit Oakland. Chef Jeff Henderson, who overcame many obstacles on his path, also had the audience enthralled during the showcase.
Gold Medal Keynotes
Connect is known for big-name keynotes. The greatest modern Olympian, Michael Phelps, and one of Hollywood’s biggest A-list stars, Nicole Kidman, will be among our most memorable ever. Phelps showed his vulnerable side discussing his mental challenges. Meanwhile, Kidman won the audience over when she admitted she would plan events if the whole movie star thing didn’t work out.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Connect 2019 had a lot of flash and sizzle, but the heart remains the one-on-one appointments between planners and suppliers. Never had we heard such praise for the pairings. Bringing planners and places together is our motto. If you scored business from the show, tell us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.