Meet NY Celebrates Its 8th Anniversary in Style

By Denman Wall

For the past eight years, Meet NY has brought the hospitality industry’s most well-known brands together with meeting planners for an afternoon and evening extravaganza. The event, often referred to as the “Best Hosted Buyer Event in the Northeast,” certainly delivered a remarkable experience for attendees again. This year’s event took place on March 8 at the Marriott Marquis New York in Times Square.

The day started with two dynamic educational sessions. Leading off was keynote speaker Dr. Jen Welter, the NFL’s first female coach. Dr. Welter energized the crowd with her astounding accomplishments and stories about how she built trust with her peers by placing importance on “the little things.” Entitled “Authentic Leadership,” Dr. Welter shared how it is the little things that can turn into big things. One example of her approach was placing simple motivational notes into the lockers of the linebackers she coached. Many of the players had not experienced that kind of personal care, and they were appreciative of them.

Dr. Jen Welter, First Female NFL Coach

Adding to her message of building trust was the recounting of her experiences as the first woman to play professionally in a male-dominated sport in a contact position…as a running back! This experience, which was incredibly physically demanding, provided her with the credentials and trustworthiness to gain the respect and admiration of her teammates, many of who towered over her 5’ 2” frame.

From left: Erin Wade, Senior Director, Marketing and Revenue Management Franchise Support, Marriott International; J. Scott Brown, CMP, CTS, Client Solutions Manager, FREEMAN; Dianne Budion Devitt, Chief Experience Officer, The DND Group, Inc.;

Following the keynote, NYSAE debuted a series of quick presentations, labeled “Meet NY Shorts.” In this homage to TED Talk presentations, each speaker was given 20 minutes to share their ideas with the audience. Leading off was Erin Wade from Marriott International, who spoke about the trends and factors that go into food and beverage budgeting. In summary, hotels may not have complete control over their wholesale food costs, but with a little due diligence and imagination; most hotel food service representatives can work with meeting planners to mitigate expenses. Next was J. Scott Brown from Freeman. Mr. Brown demonstrated several new A/V and production technologies that provide alternate ways of engaging conference attendees. From Virtual Reality to Augmented Reality, exhibitors and educators are finding innovative ways to engage conference audiences. Finally, Dianne Budion Devitt from The DND Group, Inc. spoke about meeting trends in 2017. In her presentation, she shared how meetings have evolved over the years, the roles that trends and fads play in conference planning, and how meeting planners can adapt to the needs of today’s audiences.

Once the educational sessions concluded, attendees moved into the Exhibit area - the glorious Marriott Marquis Broadway Lounge - which overlooks Times Square. Within the exhibit space, over 60 hosts invited attendees to learn more about their services, properties, and values. As attendees visited each table while enjoying tasty appetizers, beverages, and desserts, many were taking the opportunity to form new connections and strengthen existing relationships.

Proceeds from NYSAE's Meet NY silent auction will benefit America’s VetDogs.

But that is not all! Each year, NYSAE supports the community through its social responsibility initiatives by holding a silent auction as part of the Meet NY experience. This year’s auctions proceeds went to “America’s VetDogs.” Attendees could bid on various merchandise and get-away experiences provided by event sponsors.

But perhaps the most anticipated part of Meet NY is the Broadway play that hosts and guests attended during the evening. This year, the play was the highly-regarded and well-received “A Bronx Tale.” The story, written by Chazz Palminteri, recounts the trials and tribulations of growing up on Belmont Street in the Bronx.

Each year, Meet NY strives to enhance the value it provides to the hospitality and meeting planning industry and by all accounts, this year’s event delivered. The success of the event would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of the Meet NY Committee and sponsors.

Jennifer Sena, SENA Sales & Marketing and LauraLee Wren, Assistant Director of Sales, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions and NYSAE Platinum Partner networking at Meet NY.

The committee, chaired by Dean D’anna of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and co-chaired by Donna Kelley of Marriott Global Sales, includes P. Dean Altvater of Hilton Sales Worldwide, David Jackson of Pocono Mountains Conventions, Neil Mullanaphy of American Traffic Safety Services Association, Michelle Nicoletti of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Evelyn Ortiz of NYC & Company, and Diana Voto of Disney Resort Destinations. Meet NY is managed by Brandon Dolci, NYSAE’s Vice President of Meetings & Conferences.

The Meet NY educational sessions were sponsored by Kalahari Resorts & Conventions. Dr. Welter ‘s appearance was courtesy of Keppler Speakers. Additional thanks to the following partners: Marriott Marquis NY - Carlson AV, Freeman, Professional Images, Enhanced Events, Incredible Occasions, and Give Smart..

Click here to view photos from the Meet NY 2017

Denman Wall is Director of Interactive Services at Dolci Management and is Editor of InView.