Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 31 2014

Industry Xchange: What the Students Thought

Jill Formeister, Chair, Greater Midwest Chapter Communications Committee
Hospitality students often participate in professional events to increase their opportunities for learning and networking. Kendall College students are no exception, and several attended the July 9 Industry Xchange at Navy Pier.

How valuable was their experience? Here are comments from Cathrine Almqvist, Miranda Kidd, and Jeff Walker about the program:

Did the keynote address by Nan Marchand Beauvois interest you?

Miranda: Yes, learning about how the United States can do a better job with our travel infrastructure and the direct correlation this has on the travel effect was very interesting.

Cathrine: Yes, I love to travel and they talked about the travel industry experience, how it was and is.

Do you agree with Beauvois’ observations that not keeping up with airport modernization and transportation infrastructure improvements will negatively impact tourism and jobs?

Cathrine: In a way, since we live in a very straight forward technological world it should be easier to travel than what it is. Modernizing would help to improve the quantity of travelers.

Jeff: I thought that Nan’s keynote speech was quite interesting. Having traveled abroad many times, I appreciate how Europe has made travel accessible not only within a specific country, but throughout Europe. I agree that the United States really needs to step up their game with updating airports and infrastructure. This could not only discourage foreign travelers who are used to easy transit systems to get them from the airport to city center, but our domestic travelers as well. Chicago‘s El is a great way to get downtown and other areas of the city. A traveler doesn’t have to rent a car or pay for parking, which saves on travelers expenses.

Did she explain this impact well?

Cathrine: I understood what she said. A small tip is to go into more depth and have examples of traveling in Europe.

Panel Discussion - The audience voted that the two most pressing hospitality industry issues are increasing expectations and doing more with less. Based on your education so far, would you agree?

Miranda: Completely. Almost everyone’s budgets have shrunk over the years, yet with the evolution of social media and everyone wanting instant results, the push to do more constantly increases.

Jeff: The instructors at Kendall are teaching us how to maximize the meeting experience with less. Technology is a big focus at Kendall. There are so many phone apps or free registration websites that planners can use to help keep meeting expenses down.

The panel commented on a number of other areas, including marketing and branding, meetings still recovering from the bad economy, and the importance of content. Were there any particular comments that struck you?

Cathrine: Before going to the event I was unaware of what was happening, and I feel that there should be more marketing of how we want to modernize our way of traveling.

What were your takeaways from the meeting?

Miranda: There are a number of opportunities available in this industry. As a student or new member of the industry, you need to be proactive and not afraid to get involved in an association or simply attend networking events.

Cathrine: From the whole event, I definitely appreciated the professionals that I met and our conversations. Having a mentor within our industry is really beneficial, to have someone to guide you with knowledge and experience.

Did the event's format meet your needs?

Cathrine: Yes, it was an excellent idea to have a panel with a moderator.

Jeff: Industry Xchange was my first association networking event. I enjoyed meeting other featured associations as well as networking. Kendall really expresses what a great opportunity it is for students to join an association. I couldn't agree more. These events help to get your face and name out in front of meeting professionals when looking for your future job opportunities.

Do you have any suggestions for improving the format?

Cathrine: My student colleagues at Kendall and I thought that it would be interesting next year to have students participate in the panel to present Millennials’ ideas.

Greater Midwest Chapter