Official Newsletter of The Association for Convention Operations Management

April 2010


May 20, 2010

Social Media 101: How Do I Get Started?

June 2010

Set the Standards
Speaker: Linda Byars Swindling, JD, CSP

August 19, 2010

What CSMs Need to Know About Contracts

September 16, 2010
National Celebrate Services Day

Meeting Planner Panel: What Creative Ideas Services Has Done for Them in the Past

October 21, 2010
Social Media for Attendance Building

November 18, 2010

Managing Your Boss

In Memory of ACOM Member Nicole Honeywood
Nicole Honeywood, formerly with the Baltimore CVA, passed away in the beginning of April. Nicole was an active ACOM member for several years and participated on several ACOM committees including the Annual Conference Committee.

Memorial Services are being planned to honor Nicole on May 1 at 12:00pm.

Canaan Baptist Church
6659 S. Harvard Ave.
Chicago, IL


What CSMs Are Talking About

• Strategies to Increase Attendance - Submitted by ACOM member Vikki Kelly, VISIT Denver


Benefitting You: Did you know that ACOM Offers...

• ACOM Hits Record Numbers with April Webinar!
   Will you join us next month?

Conference Corner: The name says it all
2011 Annual Conference

Networking Zone: The cool place to “meet” up with fellow Members

• May Webinar - Social Media 101: How Do I Get Started?

Tips of the Trade: Helpful tools for the services profession
• How to Conduct Good Customer Service Via Email

What's New: New happenings in ACOM
National Celebrate Services Day - Will Your City be on the Map?


On the Move
Lois McLaughlin Named Director of Events at New Orleans Convention Center
Leslie Lotten Promoted to Assistant Director at New Orleans Convention Center


Please send article suggestions to


What CSMs Are Talking About
Strategies to Increase Attendance

By: ACOM Member, Vikki Kelly, Director of Convention Services, Visit Denver CVB

As convention services professionals, we are often asked by clients, if we have any suggestions on how to increase attendance at their upcoming convention. Below is a list that the CS Team from Visit Denver the Convention and Visitors Bureau put together:

• Work with your local CVB on custom microsites, e-blasts, online marketing tool kits, and promotional materials

• Better early bird registration fees

• Provide a la carte options to make registration more affordable, allowing attendees to register for individual educational tracks at a much lower rate. For example, they can purchase as many individual tracks as they want and if they purchase four, they get one free; if they purchase seven, they get three free

• Show discounts if they exhibit, such as free shipping

• Monitor airfare deals and blast out to attendees with flight updates

• Online discounts and prizes to register early or by specific deadlines

• Work with hotels to give an incentive/added value to stay at each hotel e.g. restaurant discount, free Internet

• Offer members who sign up for next year's annual convention by the end of the current convention, 15 percent off their registration fee. Or, “Buy Three, Get the Rest Free” promotion to encourage multiple registrations from each company

• Five percent discounts to exhibitors at the 2010 meeting who sign up on the spot for the 2011 conference

• Tap into foreign markets through joint meetings with international counterparts

• Increase your marketing dollars! Reach out for different niches in your industry, different levels of players, research new markets and advertise in targeted publications and Internet

• Improved educational programming, wider reach of our marketing communications, an earlier website presence, and the appeal of the destination

• Bigger marketing with newsletters and broadcast emails, microsites

• Incentives for exhibitors including three complimentary exhibitor badges per 10x10 booth (and admittance to a complimentary reception, continental breakfast, etc.), and two priority points for each hotel reservation made at contracted hotel. The points are used for priority placement in the exhibit hall the following year

For more information, sample templates, and best practices refer to Project Attrition through the CIC website at:

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Benefitting You
Did You Know that ACOM Offers...

ACOM Hits Record Numbers with April Webinar!

ACOM is pleased to report the record number of attendees for the April Webinar — “What Meeting Planners Want From Their CSMs!

The April Webinar was held on Thursday, April 15 from 1:00-2:00pm ET. The panel consisted of three meeting planners Sally Ann DeBolt, CMP, Meeting Manager, National Middle School Association; Kathryn J. Smith, CMP, Director of Meetings, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine; Carolyn Dodd, Associate Director, PIA of Georgia along with moderator Melissa Laskowsky, CMP, Event Manager from Georgia Mountain Center. The panelists discussed how they like to communicate with their CSMs in the pre-meeting stages and what they expect while on-site. The session was opened up to the attendees for Q&A and there was no shortage on CSMs picking the brains of these meeting planners to find out what they look for, want and need while planning their meetings.

Devon Sloan, CMP, Director of Events, Hilton Tucson El Conquistador had this to say about the April Webinar:

This Webinar session was informative and positive — good insight into how each of us in our respective disciplines (hotels, centers, cities) can exceed our meeting manager’s expectations. These ladies were seasoned planners and offered some great suggestions on how we can be better team members with them, whether for a city-wide or a small one day meeting.

For the investment, these webinars are very worth the hour spent, and I hope our members are taking advantage of them. In these economic times, education seems to be a luxury, and yet, if you think education is expensive, try ignorance! (Andy McIntyre)

Hope to hear some familiar voices next month!

Were you unable to make the April Webinar? We have posted a recording of the presentation to the ACOM Website, in the Members’ Only Section. Please log-in to the Members’ Only section and visit the Presentation Archives.

We look forward to your participation in future ACOM Monthly Programming!

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Conference Corner
The name says it all


Save the Date!

2011 Annual Conference
Westin Casuarina
Las Vegas, Nevada
January 7-9, 2011

ACOM’s Conference Committee, led by Sharon Gronowski, CMP, Positively Cleveland, is Hitting the Jackpot with Convention Services, and are putting together a great educational and networking program just for YOU!

Once again, ACOM has partnered with the Conference Hotel to get you a low rate on sleeping rooms. Reserve your sleeping room by August 31 and receive a reduced rate of $179! January is a busy month in Las Vegas, with the large Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place over the same dates as the ACOM Conference. Be sure to reserve your sleeping room early to ensure your stay at the ACOM Conference Hotel - the Westin Casuarina! To make reservations, please call (866) 837-4215.

As a reminder, the Summer Education Conference is "under construction" this year. Make sure you direct those Summer Conference dollars to the 2011 Annual Conference in Las Vegas!

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Networking Zone
The cool place to "meet" up with fellow members

May Webinar — Social Media 101: How Do I Get Started?

Save the Date!
May 20, 2010
1:00pm ET
Topic: Social Media 101: How Do I Get Started?
A full session description will be posted to the ACOM website in the beginning of May.

We're asking every single ACOM member to participate in at least one of our monthly programs this year. They're virtual. They're inexpensive ($50-60). They're one hour - just long enough to squeeze into your lunch hour. They offer Credits towards your CMP Designation or Re-Certification (1 hour of credit for participating) and they allow you to "meet" with other members from your own office. What are you waiting for?

Future ACOM Monthly Programs:
June 17
August 19
September 16
October 21
November 18

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Tips of the Trade
Helpful tools for the services profession

How to Conduct Good Customer Service Via Email
By Debbie Anderson from

Today, most businesses conduct customer service using email. But the informality of email can sometimes lead to problems in customer care. See our tips for conducting good customer service via email and please your client base.

How to Conduct Good Customer Service Via Email
Whether you work from home or in a corporate office somewhere, good customer service is essential in today's business practices. So today, we're going to cover a few tips on how to provide great customer service via email!

Reply Promptly
First, always respond promptly to every customer email; however, if the customer's email is angry or fight provoking, take a few minutes to cool off, and then open each email response by greeting the customer by their formal or full name, and remember to avoid using casual or slang tones when writing the email.

Show Concern
Next, write an opening line that shows the customer your genuine interest in their contacting you about their concerns.

Answer Questions Clearly and Concisely
Next, fully answer their questions or concerns in as short, clear, clean, and concise a manner as possible throughout the body of the text of your email and give detailed instructions via bullet points or by providing helpful Internet site links in the body of the email that can also help answer the customers questions, when necessary.

When wrapping up the body of the email, be sure to always let them know that you appreciate their patronage to your business and make sure you say that you are open to hearing from them again if they have any further questions regarding this manner.

Use a Professional Closing
Next, sign off on the bottom of your email message with a professional sounding closing statement such as, “regards,” or “sincerely,” to keep the email professional and polite, followed by your name, job title, and contact information, should the customer have any further questions for you.

Finally, always proofread your email before hitting the send icon to check for typos or wordiness that can complicate your instructions on how to help the customer.

As an added tip, always flag or tag emails in your inbox for customer concerns that require your follow-up attention and this will help you stay organized.

With these tips on how to provide great customer service via email, you're sure to never disappoint and retain more customers.

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What's New
New happenings in ACOM

National Celebrate Services Day – Will Your City Be On The Map?
Celebrating the Art of Convention Services
September 16, 2010

Mark your calendars and start planning a local networking event with your fellow CSMs.

ACOM is spearheading a nationwide day to focus in on this vital aspect of our industry. It will allow local services communities to get together for networking, professional development and membership recruitment. We’ve labeled it National Celebrate Services Day and we want you to participate. First, we need you to put a star next to the day and date of Thursday, September 16th on your calendar. ACOM will be distributing more information soon to help you with getting a local event organized. But in the meantime, we want to pull together CSMs from around North America to join together, in cities nationwide, and Celebrate Services! So start talking with your fellow CSMs and get the local buzz going.

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On the Move

Lois McLaughlin Named Director of Event Services at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

ACOM Member, Lois McLaughlin, has been named Director of Event Services at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – the sixth largest convention center in the nation. In her role as director, she will supervise the planning and execution of all events held at the Convention Center. McLaughlin will head a team of nine event services managers who boast a whopping 136 years experience at the convention center, with five members serving 22 or more years.

A 23-year veteran of the hospitality industry, McLaughlin comes to New Orleans from the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, where she served as Director of Event Services. One of her most notable accomplishments was bringing the departments up to modern standards, which was instrumental in increasing efficiency and response time to the client base.

Leslie Lotten Named Assistant Director of Event Services

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has named ACOM Member, Leslie Lotten as Assistant Director of Event Services. Lotten has served as Event Manager at the Convention Center for 23 years.

In her new role as Assistant Director, Lotten will work closely with the recently appointed Director of Event Services, Lois McLaughlin. Lotten and McLaughlin will oversee the event planning process and guide clients through event set-up to ensure maximum satisfaction.

A native of New Orleans, Lotten was nominated for PCMA’s Distinguished Convention Service Manager of the Year award in 2008, a testament to the high level of service she provides to her clients.

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