July 30, 2008

Registration for the National Business Travel Association's annual convention, held in Los Angeles this week, was about 6,400, topping last year's record-breaking attendance of just over 6,200. The numbers were expected to climb on Tuesday, as many people from the East Coast were delayed due to weather-related flight cancellations on Sunday, according to a spokesperson.

At Destination Marketing Association International's 94th Annual Convention, held this week in Las Vegas, the organization launched, a social networking site for its members. Participants can create personal profiles, engage in discussion forums, post news and subscribe to e-mail updates and RSS feeds. Also new from the organization is the Go Travel Like a Local campaign, an effort to raise the visibility of destination marketing organizations' websites through advertising. The first initiatives include a national ad in USA Today and one on the Travel Channel, the campaign's official sponsor. The site,, allows access to more than 1,200 DMO websites.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which produces CONEXPO/CON-AGG, North America's largest trade show, will launch an international agricultural convention and trade show in Orlando beginning in 2010. AG CONNECT Expo will provide education on a variety of agricultural topics, networking opportunities and displays of new products and technology. The show is expected to attract 20,000 attendees, 700 exhibitors and span 250,000 net square feet of exhibit space in its first year, and AEM plans to grow the event into a biennial global gathering. The show, debuting Jan. 12-15, 2010, at the Orange County Convention Center, is entering a crowded marketplace: World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., which attracts 100,000 attendees, and the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, which draws more than 300,000, both are held in February. Charlie O'Brien, AEM's vice president of agricultural services, said the new show will differentiate itself by being "planned by the industry itself...We're part of the industry, not a show organizer, per se."

ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership has refashioned its membership directory to function more like social networking sites Facebook and LinkedIn. Members can create profiles; indicate professional and personal interests; form connections with other members; create and join groups on various topics; post links to articles or websites; and indicate which meetings, events, or education sessions they plan to attend. An ASAE spokesperson estimated that hundreds of members have established profiles since the directory was redesigned in June and have established more than 1,000 connections.