by Loren G. Edelstein | June 1, 2018

Loren G. Edelstein, editor in chief of Meetings & Conventions magazineIn 2014, M&C surveyed meeting planners on the importance of creating a theme for special events. The poll included an open-ended question, inviting respondents to describe the best -- and worst -- themed events they had ever planned or attended. Four years later, the resulting compilation of success stories and epic fails is still one of the most-read stories at

A great theme makes special events even more special, 94 percent of you told us in a recent poll. Furthermore, 84 percent believe your ideas are a reflection of your professional skills. And you look for ideas everywhere -- often tapping the creative brainpower of colleagues and peers.

I find themes all the more endearing lately, as they take us out of the daily grind and into a whimsical world where everything is designed to delight the senses. See page 15 to learn how six unique ideas were brought to life by some of the most imaginative minds in our business.

Our research also confirms what we already know: Word of mouth is key when planners select destinations, hotels and other suppliers. That's why Northstar Meetings Group introduced the Stella Awards last year, which recognize hotels, convention centers, conference centers, airlines, cruise lines, CVBs and DMCs that consistently deliver top-notch service and innovation to meeting and event professionals.

The Stella Awards are the ultimate stamp of approval for our industry, because the winners are chosen by meeting planners, for meeting planners. Voting is free -- plus you'll be entered into a drawing to win one of 15 Amazon gift cards. Cast your votes now at, and watch for our book of honorees in November -- your guide to the standout suppliers who will meet and exceed your future meeting and event needs.