August 21, 2019
By Hannah Prince

It was a day of connecting at Cvent CONNECT, as hospitality professionals set up shop at Wednesday’s trade show to meet planners and highlight their group services.

The timing was perfect, since connections were on everyone’s minds after an inspiring morning keynote by Abby Wambach. The soccer legend — an Olympic and FIFA World Cup champion — earned a standing ovation even before launching into her speech, which encouraged the crowd to ask themselves, “What do you believe in? How have you come to believe it?”

She emphasized the need to surround yourself with people who can support and push you, using stories about the U.S. women’s soccer team as examples. “We have to stop being OK with the status quo,” she said, speaking candidly about the challenges she and other women face.

Embracing failure and enjoying success were also among her themes. “I don’t think, especially in the business world, that we celebrate our wins enough, even the small ones,” she said.

Endless Meeting and Greeting at Cvent CONNECT Trade Show

After Wambach finished, the trade show floor filled up with planners exploring all the venue and sponsor booths — this year’s event had more exhibitors than ever before. Lines formed at the Clean the World station, where participants assembled hygiene kits to be sent to those in need. VisitDallas’ Margarita Mile also proved to be popular — especially once they actually started serving margaritas during the afternoon happy hour.

All around, hoteliers were welcoming planners to one-on-one appointments, capturing leads left and right. Others were finding innovative ways of attracting additional walk-up traffic: The representatives from one Nashville property, for instance, were promoting their bachelorette party suites, so they were eyeing attendees’ fingers, looking for engagement rings!

Ending With a Call to Action

All in all, nearly 3,500 attendees and 330 exhibitors hit the trade show floor. After that, it was time for another amazing keynote, this one from chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian José Andrés. His message was one of compassion and activism — anyone can change the world, one step at a time. For him, it was one meal at a time, as he fights against hunger. “The beginning of tomorrow starts with a humble plate of food,” he said.

Andrés kept the crowd laughing, too: “I welcome everyone (into my restaurants). I even welcome Yelpers!”

Want to Check Out More of the Action?

Read recaps of Day 1, the Hospitality Professionals Program, the Hospitality Cloud roadmap presentation, and the Cvent Excellence Awards. For minute-by-minute coverage, including a look at our exciting evening parties, follow Cvent CONNECT on TwitterInstagram, and Flickr!


Hannah Prince

Hannah joined Cvent as the Senior Editor for Hospitality Cloud content after more than a decade in the journalism world. As a passionate editor, she's always willing to discuss the merits of the Oxford comma, the use of who vs. whom, or the definition of a dangling modifier. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, taking her dog to happy hour, and buying even more shoes.
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