Northstar Travel Group's inaugural Incentive Live
, an event that brings incentive planners and suppliers together for education, networking and one-on-one appointments, kicked off Wednesday, Jan. 19, at the Aria Resort & Casino
in Las Vegas.
The first education session, presented during breakfast, featured Michael Dominguez, senior vice president/chief sales officer for MGM Resorts, who shared fact-based insights into what the meetings and hotel industry landscape will be in 2017 (Dominguez also hosted an informal private workshop with buyers on Tuesday afternoon). Among the highlights of his presentations:
• The Trump administration will offer a number of positives -- infrastructure for one -- for the meetings industry.
• New York, Miami and Houston, due to their increased hotel capacity, likely will be good bets for group business.
• The Marriott-Starwood merger is likely to inspire similar deals, because with little new construction in the pipeline, it's one way for the hotel industry to achieve growth.
• Airbnb is not killing the hotel industry.
will post Dominguez's full presentation as soon as it is available.
Afterward, participants met for the first round of one-on-one appointments; attendees without scheduled appointments participated in a roundtable discussion on a number of topics including planner-supplier relationships, best practices for RFPs and the growing popularity of individual incentive travel.
Following a buffet lunch at Herringbone Las Vegas, the group resumed one-on-one appointments, followed by a choice of activities including a helicopter ride over the city and a mixology class. The day concluded with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of The Park, MGM Resort's eclectic blend of restaurants, bars and entertainment.