August 20, 2019
By Madison Howard
The 2018 Cvent CONNECT Leadership Summit opened to a packed house at 9:00am, Monday morning in Las Vegas. Leaders from the event and hospitality industries gathered to be inspired and discuss where the industry is headed. It was a full day packed with valuable information, so we went through and collected the big takeaways from the day for you.

Our Industry in a Digital World

In his opening remarks, Chuck Ghoorah, Cvent Co-founder and President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, described the meetings and events ecosystem and the role of planners, marketers, hoteliers, destinations, and Cvent in ensuring that it continues to thrive. Brad Gillespie, VP of Enterprise Marketing,  and Chris McAndrews, VP of Hospitality Cloud Marketing, followed by highlighting how digital innovation is driving a series of opportunities and challenges for the ecosystem related to personalization, creating memorable event experiences, and privacy.


88% of marketers in the U.S. found measurable improvements when they personalize (Evergage).  Personalized communication and engagement is becoming more important for planners seeking attendees and hoteliers tailoring responses to RFPs.


As planners look to provide memorable event experiences, venues and destinations need facilities and technological capabilities to deliver something special. The newly released  Cvent 2018 Global Planner Sourcing Report  indicates that music and entertainment onsite and a strong location offering activities offsite are important considerations when planners select venues.


Planners and hoteliers need to do everything they can with data, but not too much. Creating compelling personalized experiences relies on the effective use of data, but we all need to embrace the letter and spirit of privacy regulations like GDPR to maintain our customers’ trust.

Return on Investment

Personalization and experience-rich events are not free – nor are the other key elements that drive successful events.  Measuring ROI is essential,  yet, as Cvent’s 2018 Day in the Life of a Planner research tells us, fewer than 20% of planners measure success based on financial metrics.  Cvent is rolling out an ROI playbook to assist with this planner challenge.

Turn Off Disruption and Turn On Innovation

Terry Jones, founder of and founding Chairman of, shared his insights on how to turn disruption off and turn innovation on. Digital disruption is all around us and only accelerating: the job of the leaders at the Summit is to connect the dots of how it will affect you and to turn these forces to your advantage. To navigate these changes successfully:

The Big Takeaways When it Comes to Innovation

  • Take the first risk! Don’t be afraid to take a risk and make a big change.
  • Have sentries to listen to what people are saying. Ideas come from everywhere and you need to understand what your customers and the industry are saying.
  • Stop saying no, start saying yes. Your job is to get new ideas over the finish line. Make the change, take the risk, don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t say no, say yes.
  • Don’t recreate, reimagine what you can do now.
  • And finally - Stop being disrupted – Innovate!

Create a Memorable Experience

Dennis Snow, former Disney executive and current speaker, author, and consultant with Snow & Associates, Inc., shared three principles for creating an unforgettable experience. No matter what your organization does, whether you plan or host events or sell software, in order to build a strong brand, you have to create memorable experiences.

The Principles to Creating an Experience

  • Principle 1: Look at Everything through the lens of the customer
  • Principle 2: Pay Attention to Details - Everything Speaks
  • Principle 3: Create Moments of Wow

Looking Forward

Over the next few days at Cvent CONNECT, we'll continue to dive into different topics important to the meetings and events industry, and discuss how to change and adapt. Check back for more session recaps!  

Madison Howard

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents. When I'm not writing, you can find me binge-watching TV shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.

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