CEMA Newsletter March 2019

Robin Valenta

Robin Valenta

Sales Executive, Las Vegas Convention Authority
CEMA Board Member

Greetings from fabulous Las Vegas! I’ve spent the past 30 years living in and promoting the Entertainment Capital of the World, and right now, the magic and excitement of the city is at an all-time-high. I’m thrilled with my role on CEMA’s Board of Directors and to have the opportunity to work with some of the most brilliant and hard-working professionals in our industry. We have a lot in store to share with you and can’t wait to welcome CEMA Summit at the MGM Grand July 21-23, 2019.

If you haven’t traveled to Las Vegas before, or if it’s been a few years since you’ve visited, you’ll be amazed by all of the development taking shape. There is currently more than $16 billion dollars being invested into the destination over the next several years and beyond, which means there is always something new to explore.

Some of the favorite hotels we’ve all grown to know and love will seem like new after undergoing significant renovations and rebranding. The Monte Carlo has turned into Park MGM and the boutique NoMad Las Vegas with all new refreshed inventory and décor. The Palms Casino Resort has enjoyed an extensive renovation, and this fall Waldorf Astoria made its debut on the Las Vegas Strip.

A new 777-room property located on the world- famous Fremont Street Experience, Circa Resort & Casino, is expected to open in December 2020 and will be the first resort built from the ground up on Fremont Street since 1980. Malaysia’s Genting Group is constructing Resorts World, a multibillion-dollar, modern Asian- integrated resort with more than 3,000 rooms.

The MSG Sphere, in partnership with the Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands, will open an 18,000-seat, dome-shaped performance venue unlike any other, with high-tech video screens and sound capabilities; in 2021.

I’m a big sports fan, and although I have to root for my Nebraska Cornhuskers from afar, it’s been great to see Las Vegas’ evolution into a major sports destination. While Las Vegas has traditionally hosted major events like NASCAR, boxing, and the National Finals Rodeo, the success of the inaugural season of the NHL’s expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights (A favorite of mine- Go Knights, go!) and the announcement of the relocation of the NFL’s Raiders team, has solidified Las Vegas as a top sports destination. In addition, Las Vegas is now home to the WNBA Las Vegas Aces and the Las Vegas Lights FC, our professional soccer team.

After your CEMA Summit events wrap up, there is plenty to enjoy in our 24-hour-town. In addition to exploring some of the world’s best culinary experiences and shopping, our entertainment lineup has recently expanded to include top headliners like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Lady Antebellum and Bruno Mars.

If you have any questions about attending CEMA Summit in Las Vegas, feel free to reach out and I’m happy to share some of my favorite spots and hidden gems with you. I’m looking forward to the opportunities ahead and can’t wait to see you all in Las Vegas!

Shamrock Member of the Month Shamrock

Brian Mason

Brian Mason

Senior Manager Strategic Events/Global Events Liaison

Brian Mason is Sr. Manager of Strategic Events and the Global Events Liaison at Salesforce. Brian has spent the last 10 years traveling the globe and producing strategic sales and marketing events in cities from London to Sydney, Sao Paulo to New York and Munich to Tokyo. He has worked both on the event management and keynote production side of events and brings 20 years of experience from a unique background formerly in production management of TV and Film in Los Angeles on various projects like “For Love of the Game,” “Red Dragon,” and “Battle Dome”.

As an event producer, Brian’s main focus is on the attendee experience, not only looking for the smallest details in events, but strategically thinking through the best way to drive new business to Salesforce. His favorite part of working on events is the collaboration with the many vendors and agencies that contribute to the success of each event. “The camaraderie in the midst of all the organized chaos and pushing the event across the finish line is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” says Brian. In his new role as Global Events Liaison, he is the common thread that ties the many global events teams at Salesforce together through open communication, consistent branding, and collaborating on a diverse event portfolio of over 100 events a year.

Brian received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California (Fight On!) and in 2017, after several years of working and going to school, received his MBA, from Anderson University. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana where he enjoys spending time with his family and two golden retrievers (Daisy and Lulu). He loves attending sporting events and is a long time Indianapolis Colts season ticket holder. When he is not producing events, he also enjoys snowing boarding at various resorts around the world.

CEMA Honored to Team with the Best to Sponsor Special Hockey Experience!



CEMA @ NHL Outdoor Stadium Series
February 23, 2019

CEMA had the privilege recently in teaming up with CEMA member Freeman and BaAM Productions, a Freeman Company, to host the NHL Outdoor Stadium Series: “The Quintessential Attendee Experience.” For all who were lucky enough to join the experience, pretty sure you can attest that this truly was a special peek into how the National Hockey League (NHL) creates the quintessential fan experience.

At this very special experience, we heard from executives from the NHL, Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Philadelphia Eagles. We learned from an executive panel of experts about how to engage attendees and create an emotional attachment.

Following our event, we got to watch a fantastic hockey match as the Philadelphia Flyers played the Pittsburgh Penguins in a regular-season outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Security Best Practices @ Houston


Houston 1

CEMA @ Houston, TX
March 13-14, 2019

You may ask, what do the Rodeo Houston (the largest rodeo in the world) and CERAweek (the world’s premier energy event) have in common? EVERYTHING. From security, registration, content, housing, exhibitory to sponsorships, events all have the same elements. If you were fortunate enough to attend this two-day packed behind-the-scenes Study Tour, you left Houston with a profound sense of knowledge and tons of pictures giving you inspiration on how to better your next event. I know that CEMA will be impacted as many golden nuggets will be borrowed for Summit. Thank you to Visit Houston for the education and the Houston “experience” that we will always treasure. My treasure will be hung in my office!

Thanks to Those Who’ve Gone for the Gold!

There are an elite group of organizations who are our 2019 Gold Members. Please join us in thanking the following companies, now CEMA Gold Members for 2019: XD Agency, InVision, MKTG, ITNINT, Hard Rock Las Vegas, Structure Exhibits, Visit Anaheim, Hubb, Impact.

XD Agency

XD Agency





Caesars Entertainment


Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel

Visit Anaheim

Visit Anaheim





Spotlight on CEMA Summit 2019


Smack dab in the middle of summer, in the city that never sleeps, we’ll be hosting CEMA Summit 2019. Have you marked your calendar yet? Do it now! July 21-23rd at the beautiful MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Join us for a series of inspirational and motivational sessions, learn how to help your organization take your events to a whole new level, and take the opportunity to spend precious time with enthusiastic leaders in the industry. You deserve this. Register here now.


We have an exciting new concept we’ll be introducing at CEMA Summit 2019. Introducing… Emerging Players sponsored by CTA. This area will allow event marketers the opportunity to meet and demo new event technologies entering the industry. See what technology is new and hot! If you know of a start-up company that you think has an innovative product or service, contact Meg Fasy at Meg@fazefwd.com


It’s time to make your mark on the world! What you have to say is so important, and your fellow CEMA member are waiting to hear your POV. Submit your abstract to speak at our annual conference here.

CEMA Executive Profile

Barb Ward

Barb Ward

VP Travel & Events

Barb joined One10 in 2006 as a Director of Program Management overseeing pharmaceutical and automotive teams. In 2014 Barb became a Sr. Director of Program Management with the new duties of overseeing all of the Event Delivery Operations teams in both Dayton and Minneapolis. Barb was promoted to Vice President of Event Operations in the fall of 2017 and managed all of the event delivery and air and customer service teams that operate out of Minneapolis and Dayton. In February of 2019, Barb was promoted to Vice President of the entire Travel and Events division and now oversees the additional areas of Registration, Sales Planning and Travel Staff.

Barb is known in the events industry for her tenacity and passion to continually exceed client expectations by assembling and coaching teams that are the “best in the business”. She has over 24 years in the industry and has held leadership positions with One10 and our predecessors for more than a decade and brings previous sales and leadership expertise with a number of travel and event companies.

Barb holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Sociology from the University of North Dakota and is a proud Fighting Sioux Alumni.

Need Advice from the Experts? Ask CEMA

An exclusive benefit available to our CEMA members is the opportunity to request advice from our CEMA members, incredibly knowledgeable, seasoned experts in the event marketing world. We’re thrilled to provide this valuable exchange of information to our treasured members. Simply log in as a member, pose your question and watch as our members answer your question. Begin the conversation here:


To give you an idea of the types of Questions we receive and the super helpful advice provided by our members, you’ll be interested in this exchange.

Ask CEMA Question

“We run a 2-day customer conference and haven’t changed our rates for a number of years. I’d like to know what other technology companies charge for their customer conferences.”

Ask CEMA Answers from the Experts

Answer #1

Hello my friend,

This is a good question! Here is a high level answer. The cost of the conference is determined by a combination of competitive data, the attendee experience delivered, the number of attendees and the perceived value.

We help our clients determine their conference pricing by proper analysis of industry events data and attendee experience. A few parts of the equation are easy to determine. First start with researching both other customer hosted events and third party tradeshows/conferences to help determine the fee. We build a rather comprehensive list of relevant events and their pricing model. There are subtle differences in each event that you will need to examine.

The other factors of the equation are a bit harder to define. What is the value and the overall attendee experience of each event? What does each of the events on the list above include at their event i.e. F&B, transportation, high level speakers, top level entertainment. Do they offer any or all of these items. Also, how many attendees do they have? This is a number you have to examine to help you set your pricing. What is the perceived value? When we develop pricing for attendance fees or sponsorship fees, we create a gird and assign numbers to a list of benefits. This process will help determine if you are price correctly.

One last item is the perception or health of the show. Is the show growing or flat? Is the ecosystem supporting the event? The perception of the event is an important pricing factor.

Answer #2

I have several technology companies that put on users conferences, and do charge their customers to attend. One client in particular did start out not charging, then moved slowly into charging the customers.

I am happy to speak with the fellow CEMA member and put them in contact with my customers who may be able to help provide some insight on how to make this transition.

Answer #3

It’s ok to charge on the higher end – this way customers know the value you’re delivering and make it sound exclusive as it’s a must attend. There are a lot of conferences out there these days so I understand the need for competitive pricing. Also, is this a revenue generating event? or purely to attract the right people and to account for attendance? You could always up your sponsorship levels too vs. ticket sales.

Previous conferences I’ve worked on for that size have been about $1700 up to $2800 (on-site). I think around the

How much does your training normally cost? Take that fee to start with.

Answer #4

Variable #1: Goals of the Event

The first factor to consider when determining your marketing budget is the goals of your event. If your event is more strategic in nature—for example, driving adoption of a newly announced product versus simply raising awareness of your brand—then you may want to consider spending more on marketing your event. Likewise, if your event is part of a larger overall marketing initiative, there may be marketing dollars you can tap into to offset your audience acquisition costs. The goal here will be to demonstrate the added value your event brings to the equation so you can augment your marketing budget.

Variable #2: Target Number of Attendees

Just as you would pay more for an advertisement that reaches 1 million eyeballs versus 200,000 eyeballs, your marketing budget should also increase as your attendee goals increase. Audience acquisition is never as successful with a “one size fits all” approach. The audience segmentation and unique messaging that is so critical to any good marketing campaign must also scale when your goals scale, and that takes time, resources and budget. Additionally, as more and more user conferences flood the market, there is more competition for attendees. Many organizations are finding success in a crowded playing field by offering their prospective attendees promotions that include everything from gifts to airline discounts. But these promotions require additional funding that must be factored into your overall marketing budget.

Variable #3: Cost of the Event

It may seem counterintuitive, but an event that is free often requires more effort in the audience acquisition phase (translation: more marketing dollars) to ensure that prospects actually attend the event. With the average no-show rates as high as 50–60% for free events, it’s especially important to ensure that you’re going the extra mile to communicate the value of the event through well-coordinated, comprehensive and engaging outreach.

Variable #4: Demographics of the Event

The type of audience you’re attempting to acquire is also a factor in the potential cost of marketing to them. For example, if you’re looking to attract a much larger percentage of C-level attendees than you have in the past, you will likely have to invest more money. The C-level audience is less likely to attend your event unless there is very specialized content, which is more likely to impact your budget. It is also harder to capture their attention through traditional channels such as email, social media or advertising. Some people find that sending engraved invitations and/or gifts can help get in front of this elusive audience. This is just one example of how you might need to adjust your spending to meet the needs of a specific audience.

Variable #5: Timing of the Event

A multi-day event will require more marketing to convert a prospect than a half-day event. That’s because it requires more of a commitment on the part of the prospective attendee—both in terms of time and money—to make the decision to attend and thus you will need more outreach to persuade them. Additionally, a multi-day event typically has a longer-lead time for marketing than a half-day or single-day event. That longer lead up will necessitate more outreach and marketing touchpoints that require more budget to support.

And One Constant

Now, let’s look at the one consistent element—the attendee. Delivering a cohesive attendee journey that is as engaging from the first touchpoint to the last (which should be way beyond the close of the event), is the most important factor to consider. To do that, you must consider that entire attendee journey within the context of all the variables above. For example, what does an audience acquisition journey look like for a three-day event that targets four key audience segments where the goal is to educate users on a new product roadmap? What media channels do you need to employ to reach your prospective attendees where they are? How many touches will you need to stay top of mind throughout the marketing outreach? Will alumni attendees be expecting a promotional offer to be consistent with previous years? The goal is to develop a plan that answers all of these questions. One that delivers the messages and content at the cadence that is most likely to resonate, engage and motivate prospects to take action.

Content that Matters on the CEMA Site: Case Studies, White Papers, Blogs

We continuously refresh the CEMA website with educational, relevant content for our members. Here’s a quick look at our latest posts. Click on the link to access the full story.

CEMA Upcoming Events

CEMA @ Napa
April 25, 2019

Rejuvenation of a Classic in Napa, CA- Hosted by Wine Country Destinations

Join us for a behind-the-scenes tour exemplifying the exciting growth of Napa Valley with a focus on wine pairing, marketing the destination to a diverse and younger audience, and, of course, the beauty of Napa Valley.


CEMA is a proud sponsor of the 4th Annual Global Meeting Industry Day
April 4, 2019 4PM-8PN, Hilton San Francisco Union Square – CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Career Opportunities for Our CEMA Members

CEMA members have the exclusive benefit of access to the perfect (new!) job opportunity, and the ability to post a job that could land them the perfect candidate. New career opportunities can be accessed via the CEMA website at CEMA Careers1. And if you have a job you’d like shared with members, send the detailed description of the position, contact information and location of the job to: stacey@cemaonline.com. The job opportunity will remain live on the site until the position is filled.

CEMA Member News

Congratulations to CEMA member Gaylord Hotels at Marriott International who recently opened the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. The center is the largest combined resort and convention center in Colorado, featuring 1,501 rooms, 485,000 square feet of convention center space and an extensive indoor/outdoor water park on a sprawling 85-acre site.

Welcome New CEMA Members

We are Over the Moon as we welcome a wonderful group of new members including: Stephanie Kelch, Tableau; Dominic Phillips, DPEM; Kimberly Doroney, Sage; Gina DeVito, Indeed; Julie Poutre, Twilio; Ruth Doering and Patrick Foarde of The Gandalf Group; James Douglas, ET Global Exhibit Group; Quincy Morris, bluemedia and Megan Pilsbury of MKTG.