Connect 2021

Tampa, Florida Tampa Convention Center

General Information

Connect Means Business

Connect brings together the most active planners, suppliers and experts across multiple meetings and events industry markets. Safety is our No. 1 priority and we know the game has changed since COVID-19 entered our lives. Attendees gain crucial experience in keeping their own attendees safe, how to advance their careers and business through professional development and meetings excellence—all while having fun. See our Safe and Clean event plan and our policy regarding vaccinations.

Why Connect? In three words: Back to business!

It's time to get our industry back on track. Connect cares about your success and we know that your time is extremely valuable. That's why we go above and beyond to make sure that every minute of our event is worth your time and propels you forward.

ultimate door prize

Planner Information

Register and Pay.

Get your $200 registration fee back after completing all scheduled Marketplace appointments.

Travel to Connect.

Attend the hosted-buyer event designed for association, corporate, luxury and specialty professionals.

Connect with Peers.

Meet with pre-selected suppliers in one-on-one appointments.

Learn from Experts.

Enjoy in-depth, interactive education on in-demand topics while earning continuing education credits.

Unwind and Mingle.

Continue networking at our fun receptions in the safest and cleanest way possible.

Registration Cost

Registration starts at $200.

Frequently asked Planners questions

Justify your attendance to your boss with this letter template:

Download letter

Planner Registration

Association

Corporate

Specialty

What are planners saying about Connect events?

Supplier Information

  • Face–to-face meetings with qualified planners
  • Only planners who can book business qualify
  • 1:1 planner-to-supplier ratio
  • Full contact information for all meeting planners
  • Training with industry experts
  • Numerous networking opportunities to do business
  • ROI that is evident before you leave the conference
  • Supplier hotel reservation links

Registration cost

Registration starts at $4,450.

Frequently Asked Supplier Questions

Justify your attendance to your boss with this letter template (copy and paste the following URL into your web browser to download Word document):
http://www.connectmeetings.com/sites/connect/meetings/files/2021-07/2021_SupplierJustificationLetter_%20MS.docx

2021 Agenda

All Times Eastern

Monday, Aug. 30

Sponsored by Pure Michigan

Regiception
   Exhibit Hall

Connect Florida Marketplace Appointments
   Meeting Rooms 18 and 19

Trade Show Opens
   Exhibit Hall

Presented by VisitDetroit

Summer Songwriter Sessions With the Tuten Brothers
   Booth 211

Sponsored by Visit Sacramento

Warm Welcome & Industry Check In with Will Seccombe, Don Welsh, Roger Dow & Staci Mellman
   Speaker Showcase Theater

Hosted by Visit Tampa Bay

Opening Reception: Unlock the Block (Locations here)

Surprise Launch Party
   The Sail

Tuesday, Aug. 31

Hosted Breakfasts (Invite Only)

Marketplace Appointments
    •  Association + Corporate: Exhibit Hall
    •  Business Travel: Level 2 Prefunction
    •  Specialty: Meeting Rooms 18-25

Trade Show Hours
   Exhibit Hall

Presented by VisitDetroit

Summer Songwriter Sessions With the Tuten Brothers
   Booth 211

Education Sessions
   Visit Wichita Theater

Hotel Comeback Session With Mike Dominguez
   Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase Theater

Experience Scottsdale Association Planner Meet-Up
   Booth 1408

Connect Sports: Jerry Rice Q&A
   Speaker Showcase Theater

Lunch in Trade Show

Education Sessions
   Visit Wichita Theater

Status of the Industry Panel With Mike Dominguez, Trina Camacho-London, Jason Dunn and Sonya Bradley

Hosted by CzechTourism,
Business Events Australia, and the
Hong Kong Tourism Board

Planner Reception
   International Road

This is an exclusive opportunity for planners who are sourcing meetings and events internationally to enjoy Czech beer, Australian wine, Chinese mooncakes, and more!

Sponsored by Visit Sacramento
Presented by Keppler Speakers

Speaker Showcase: Derreck Kayongo
   Speaker Showcase Theater

Marketplace Appointments

Sponsored by the Tampa Convention Center

Sunset Happy Hour @ The Sail

Wednesday, Sept. 1

Sponsored by Kalahari Resorts

CMP Breakfast

Marketplace Appointments

Trade Show Hours

Presented by VisitDetroit

Summer Songwriter Sessions With the Tuten Brothers
   Booth 211

Sponsored by Visit Sacramento
Presented by Keppler Speakers

Speaker Showcase: Natalie Fikes

Education Sessions

Experience Scottsdale Corporate Planner Meet-Up
   Booth 1408

Lunch in Trade Show

Thaddeus Bullard, aka WWE Global Ambassador Titus O'Neil
   Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase Theater

Education Sessions

Sponsored by Visit Sacramento
Presented by Keppler Speakers

Speaker Showcase: Maurice Ashley
   Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase Theater

Marketplace Appointments

Sponsored by Visit Milwaukee, VisitDetroit,
Meet Minneapolis, Discover Puerto Rico

Doors Open: BCRF Closing Ceremonies
   Ballrooms B-D

Q&A With Simone Biles
   Ballrooms B-D

Download the printable agenda here.

 

Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase Powered by Keppler Speakers

  • Derreck Kayongo
    Derreck Kayongo
  • Natalie Fikes
    Natalie Fikes
  • Maurice Ashley
    Maurice Ashley

visit sacramento    Keppler Speakers

 

Monday, Aug. 30

Dana Young, Don Welsh, Roger Dow and Santiago Corrada

Tuesday, Aug. 31

Mike Dominguez: "Hotel Comeback"

Jerry Rice Q&A

Status of the Industry Panel With Mike Dominguez, Trina Camacho-London, Jason Dunn and Mike Testa

Derreck Kayongo

Wednesday, Sept. 1

Natalie Fikes

Terri Woodin: "Plan and Think Before You Ink"

Maurice Ashley

2021 Education Topics

Subject to change

 

Monday, Aug. 30, 2021

4-5 p.m.

Speaker Showcase: Staci Mellman, Don Welsh, Roger Dow and Santiago Correda Speaker Showcase Stage | Sponsored by Visit Sacramento

Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021

11 a.m.-noon

"Plan and Think Before You Ink"Visit Wichita Education Theater

"Status of the Industry Panel" Speaker Showcase Stage | Sponsored by Visit Sacramento

Noon-1 p.m.

Connect Sports Keynote: NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase

1-2 p.m.

"Workplace Appreciation" Visit Wichita Education Theater

2:15-3:15 p.m.

"Lessons From the Storm" Visit Wichita Education Theater

2:30-3 p.m.

Speaker Showcase: Derreck Kayongo Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase Presented by Keppler Speakers

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021

11-11:45 a.m.

Speaker Showcase: Natalie Fikes Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase Presented by Keppler Speakers

11 a.m.-noon

"AV 101 & AV Hygiene in a Post-COVID World" Theater 1 | Sponsored by Visit Wichita

Noon-12:45 p.m.

Connect Sports Keynote: Thaddeus M. Bullard aka WWE Ambassador Titus O'Neil Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase

1-2 p.m.

"AV 102: Next Level AV for Planners & Contract Negotiators" Visit Wichita Education Theater

"Plan & Think Before You Ink: Strategic Contract Negotiations" Speaker Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase

2:45-3:15 p.m.

Speaker Showcase: Maurice Ashley Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase Presented by Keppler Speakers

BizBash Education

All Times Eastern

Tuesday, Aug. 31

New Rules of Engagement: Proper Etiquette IRL and Virtual, Powered by MeetingPlay

Kate Patay—Kate Patay Consulting; Joe Schwinger—MeetingPlay

Data Driven Marketing for Global Event Experiences

Tanesha Moody—Under Armour

WTF Are NFTs and How do They Affect Events?

Liron David—Eventique

From Experience to Experiential Powered by EGA

Austin Johnston—AKJOHNSTON Group; Jack Bedwani—New Moon; Carter Reese—Hatch.im, llc; Alexanndra Rembac—Sterling Engagement, Inc.

Wednesday, Sept. 1

The Impact of Influencer Events

David Adler—BizBash; Nicole Dye-Anderson—Barclays; Brian Feit—BMF

Bravery in the Face of Adversity

Ryan Choura—Choura

Fresh Faces: Charting the Path Into Live Events

Claire Hoffman—BizBash; Kyndall Jaffe—Mixology Mixer; Tanesha Moody—Under Armour

#BTS on Event Design: An Interview With Kristin Banta

Kristin Banta—Kristin Banta Events; Kate Patay—Patay Consulting

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: Bring the Drama

Kristin Banta—Kristin Banta Events

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: Actionable Ways to Implement DE&I

Andrew Roby—Andrew Roby Events

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: Intentional Design for the Optimal Attendee Experience

Bob Russo—VDA

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: The Global Attendee Experience and Cultural Engagement

Stephanie Jayko—Knock Out Productions

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: Stunning Catering Presentations

Thomas Whelan—Levy Convention Centers

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: Engagement Hacks

Nick Borelli—AllSeated

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: A Note From the Editors on How to Get Published

Claire Hoffman—BizBash; Ashton Pike—BizBash

Trade Show Floor Plan

Get to know our 2021 trade show exhibitors when you check out the interactive floor plan!
 

Trade Show Floor Plan

2021 Location

Tampa, Florida

Unlock Tampa, the heart of Florida’s Gulf coast. Discover blue skies and sunshine, a sparkling waterfront, world-class chefs, family fun, and a century of Cuban culture – all in Florida’s most diverse travel destination. In Tampa, the hospitality is as warm as the weather.
 

Located in the heart of Downtown Tampa, the Tampa Convention Center offers sparkling waterfront views of the Garrison Channel which connects to the Hillsborough River, 600,000 square feet of transformable spaces, and state of the art amenities—all under the Florida sun.
 

View walking routes from our host hotels to the convention center.

 

Frequently Asked Planner Questions

Are vaccines mandatory to attend?

To host an event that is as safe as possible for all in attendance, we highly encourage that all attendees get vaccinated before attending. You may provide proof of vaccination or a negative test on a voluntary basis. Regardless of vaccination or testing status, all attendees are required to wear facemasks when indoors or when they are unable to socially distance from one another pursuant to current CDC guidance. In the event of future changes in applicable law or guidance, we may change our requirements.

Additional information

Where in Tampa can I get a rapid COVID test?

You can get a rapid COVID test at these locations in Tampa.

What is a reverse tradeshow?

Our innovative Marketplace system matches planners and suppliers for individual appointments based on their requests, as well as additional factors. Planners sit at designated tables and suppliers have 1-2 minutes to travel between appointments. A chime signifies the beginning and end of each appointment.

How much does registration cost?

Qualified planners pay a $250 registration fee that will be returned at the end of the conference if all Marketplace appointments are kept.

When will I get my registration fee back?

Once all Marketplace appointments have been fulfilled and the final set of Marketplace appointments have concluded, refunds will be available at a designated location.

How does the appointment process work?

Planners and suppliers will receive an email stating that the appointment request process is open. Mutual requests get priority, then planner requests are granted, followed by supplier requests. It is not a first-come, first-served process. As long as you complete your requests by the designated end date, your appointment selections will be granted the appropriate priority.

You will receive an email prior to the show with instructions for logging into the appointment portal.

If I am driving to the event, will I be eligible for a mileage reimbursement?

If the mileage from your residence exceeds 100 miles, you will receive a preset transportation reimbursement at the conclusion of all scheduled appointments. We do not cover parking expenses, so be prepared for this additional cost.

When will you book my hotel room?

You will receive an email confirmation from the host hotel for a secured room about two weeks prior to the event. It might show a room rate, but attending as a planner, you will not be responsible for this charge. However, you will be asked to put down a credit card for incidentals when you check into your hotel. Incidentals are not covered by Connect.

What is Connect's refund/cancellation policy?

A Hosted Buyer is required to pay a fee to guarantee registration. Once a Hosted Buyer completes all of the preset appointments, the fee will be refunded. If a Hosted Buyer misses any appointments, cancels attendance after the appointment portal opens, or cancels attendance at any point 24 hours after flight booking, the deposit refund is forfeited and the Hosted Buyer's credit card on file will be charged the entire amount of the airline ticket, (As well as costs incurred in securing non-refundable hotel accommodations in the planners name for the duration of the event.) Hosted Buyers also forfeit their fee if the meeting qualification information presented to our staff is falsified, if the data on the registration page is false or exaggerated, if the Hosted Buyer does not have any influence on the decision process, or if there is any misrepresentation by the Hosted Buyer. If the Hosted Buyer's application is denied, the Hosted Buyer will be refunded the respective deposit.

 

Refund will be available after fulfillment and final set of appointments at the event have concluded. It is the sole responsibility of each planner to pick up their refund before leaving the event. The attendee agrees to settle all disputes regarding their deposit, reimbursement, refunds, and incentive within 30 days post-event. All disputes not settled within 30 days post-event will be null and void and no deposit, reimbursement, refunds, or incentive will be eligible to be collected.

When will I receive my appointments?

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will be giving more time to planners and suppliers to register for the show. This means there will be a shorter time to review your appointment schedule before the conference starts. We are anticipating you will get your appointment schedule 24 to 48 hours before the show. 

Frequently Asked Supplier Questions

Are vaccines mandatory to attend?

To host an event that is as safe as possible for all in attendance, we highly encourage that all attendees get vaccinated before attending. You may provide proof of vaccination or a negative test on a voluntary basis. Regardless of vaccination or testing status, all attendees are required to wear facemasks when indoors or when they are unable to socially distance from one another pursuant to current CDC guidance. In the event of future changes in applicable law or guidance, we may change our requirements.

Additional information

Where in Tampa can I get a rapid COVID test?

You can get a rapid COVID test at these locations in Tampa.

What is a reverse tradeshow?

Our innovative Marketplace system matches planners and suppliers for individual appointments based on their requests, as well as additional factors. Planners sit at designated tables and suppliers have 1-2 minutes to travel between appointments. A chime signifies the beginning and end of each appointment
 

How much does registration cost?

Registration starts at $4,450. Non-appointment attendee registration is $2,000. Talk to your regional sales rep for more information.
 

How do I book my hotel room?

Supplier attendees will receive a special rate at our host hotel when they use the official Connect reservation portal.

What is the last day to book my hotel?

Deadline information coming soon.

How does the appointment process work?

Planners and suppliers will receive an email stating that the appointment request process is open. Mutual requests get priority, then planner requests are granted, followed by supplier requests. It is not a first-come, first-served process. As long as you complete your requests by the designated end date, your appointment selections will be granted the appropriate priority.

You will receive an email prior to the show with instructions for logging into the appointment portal.

When will I receive my appointments?

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will be giving more time to planners and suppliers to register for the show. This means there will be a shorter time to review your appointment schedule before the conference starts. We are anticipating you will get your appointment schedule 24 to 48 hours before the show. 

Is there an exhibitor kit for suppliers bringing booths?

You can view the 2021 exhibitor kit here.