SEATTLE – Evolving the standard Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting, Visit Seattle hosted its second Event Innovation Forum (EIF), a two-day series of conversations that challenged and inspired leaders to foster new ideas, collaborate and uncover solutions from Sept. 12-13, 2018. This one-of-a-kind program brings together executive leaders from both the meetings and corporate industries to several innovative venues that are unique to Seattle and give participants the ability to have a thought-provoking experience. This year’s series of “Knowledge Sharing Sessions” were held at Microsoft, SagaCity Media, The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, and the Washington State Convention Center.
Participants, including executives from the AVID Center, American Bar Association, Association Forum, Meeting Management Associates, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Zillow Group and more, were greeted with a 2018 theme of “Bringing Innovative Ideas to Life.” The program focused on how industry leaders can ensure brilliant ideas are brought to fruition and made valuable to meetings and events. By conducting “Knowledge Sharing Sessions” in creative spaces throughout Seattle, EIF attendees are fully immersed in an environment where people are not only talking about innovation but are living it.
“I love the idea of going to these companies and spaces like The Microsoft Garage where people are doing this every day,” Meeting Manager of the AVID Center, Mariela Jimenez said. “It gets you thinking, ‘how do I take some of that innovation back with me and apply it to not only what I do professionally but personally?’”
The “Knowledge Sharing Sessions” covered four thought-provoking topics – The Value of “Make;” Bringing Ideas to Life for Seattle and the Meetings and Events Industry; Using Storytelling and Media to Bring Life to Your Event Engagement; and Starbucks Global HQ A Brand within a Brand – The Starbucks Reserve Brand and Roastery Experience. Intimate networking receptions and meals were held at Seattle’s top attractions and restaurants including the recently renovated Space Needle, James Beard’s 2018 Best New Restaurant JuneBaby, and Seattle’s most beautiful fine-dining establishment Canlis.
In 2017, Visit Seattle decided to reinvent its traditional CAB with a new series of conversations that would serve as a platform and community for meeting planners to engage and learn from Seattle’s trailblazing companies, and from one another. As a result, EIF was created and completely shook up the industry standard in its inaugural year. “Seattle is an innovative city that challenges and inspires those who conduct business in it,” Visit Seattle Vice President of Sales Kelly Saling said. “Event Innovation Forum (EIF) was created to connect into this pioneering environment and demonstrate the power of face to face meetings. Having leaders from our meetings industry connect with local forward-thinking organizations over two days in such a collaborative setting is a first of its kind and Visit Seattle is proud to be at the forefront of creating such an event.”
It was proven last year and again this year that EIF attendees find the program highly valuable and groundbreaking. “I cannot begin to count how many times I have referenced the Seattle Event Innovation Forum to CAB’s [Civil Aeronautics Boards], CVBs [Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus] and destinations on how to ‘get it right,’” said one of last year’s attendees, Director of Meetings for International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis Lisa Astorga. “It was truly a collaborative approach that I felt I contributed to as much as I learned.”
The success of the second annual Event Innovation Forum, comes only a month after the highly anticipated ground breaking of the Washington State Convention Center Summit building, a $1.7 billion project that will add more than 248,000 square feet of exhibition space and provide more than $92 million to the community in benefits, including affordable housing and job training programs.
Visit Seattle has served as the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Seattle and King County for more than 50 years. A 501(c)(6) organization, Visit Seattle enhances the economic prosperity of the region through global destination branding along with competitive programs and campaigns in leisure travel marketing, convention sales and overseas tourism development. Nearly 40 million annual visitors spend $7.4 billion in the city and county each year. The economic power of travel and tourism generates more than 76,000 Seattle area jobs and contributes $762 million in annual state and local tax revenue. Go to www.visitseattle.org.
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