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Get ready for ESPA…Live in Austin!

January 6-8, 2017 at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol

ESPA Conference Registration will open in early October. However see below for fee and rate information that will aid you in your budgeting process.

The ESPA Conference Committee has pulled together a great program of topics that will help our Service Professionals to navigate the opportunities and challenges we face each and every day. Here is a small sampling…

  • Event Safety & Security: A Primer and Reality Check
  • It’s Too Cold – Maslow and the ROI Effect in Meetings, Joanne Denison
  • Changing Demographics and Special Needs – Understanding and Being Prepared
  • Space Optimization & Forecasting Accuracy: Fine Tuning the Process
  • The Sharing Economy: The Impact of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and others
    …and more to be announced soon!

Introducing our opening keynote:
From Handshake to Hashtag: How to Engage the Youngest Generation

Phil Gwoke, Bridgeworks

It’s no secret that each generation has a distinct generational personality, and we’re seeing more and more the impact that these personalities have on everything from the way they do business to the way they plan meetings and events. It’s important that leaders in the world of event planning understand the key differences between the generations and their unique expectations. From Handshake to Hashtag will explore how generational trends are impacting the hospitality space and what leaders can do to stay ahead of the trends by:

  • Explaining who the generations are in today’s marketplace
  • Identifying key factors in how generational trends are impacting travel and hospitality
  • Discussing what no one else is covering from Millennial parents to the post-Millennial generation, Generation Edge
  • Presenting solutions for communication and engagement that will help attendees build stronger relationships with customers and clients of each generation

Phil Gwoke’s life mission is to help people excel and bring out the best in every generation. He is a passionate generational expert that is skilled in developing strategies to improve inter-generational communication and collaboration. As an internationally recognized speaker, Phil has presented in 20 different states to over 100,000 people.


Details to Help With Your 2017 Budget Planning:

The following are the ESPA Conference Individual registration fees: (Note: Members whose companies are Organizational members of ESPA, and who are registering 3+ people see below for group registration fees.)

  Advanced Rate (valid through November 11) General
Active ESPA Member $665 $775
Non-Member $725 $825
One Day Member (either Saturday OR Sunday)
(You may only register at this rate for one day)
$299 $325
One Day Non Member (either Saturday OR Sunday)
(You may only register at this rate for one day)
$325 $350
Student Rate (must provide proof of student status upon request) $250 $250

Organization and Corporate Member group registrations fees are listed below. In order to register at the group registration fees, your company must be an Organization or Corporate Member of ESPA.

ESPA Organization Member registration fees:

# of People attending from your company Advanced Total Rate (valid through November 11) General Total Rate
3 people $1,962 $2,295
4 people $2,560 $3,000
5 people $3,150 $3,700

Hotel Information:

ESPA Annual Conference Hotel Reservations (OR copy and paste the following link into a web browser) https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/ESPAAnnualConference

Hotel Room Rate: $169.00 USD

Hotel Room Rate Cutoff Date: December 16, 2016



The Event Service Professionals Association hosted its 28th Annual Conference
in Vancouver, January 8-10, 2016

Thank you all for your participation in our Conference. We were thrilled to see so many of our members. Thanks to our sponsors who are listed below. Please visit our Facebook photo album by clicking the Facebook icon in upper right corner!

Read below for a full recap of what was featured at the Conference...

Education catered to the unique and challenging role that Event Service Managers play every day. We want to help you be the best CSM that you can be.
Continuing Education credits – Our program will provide you with these valuable credits towards your CMP requirements, earned while learning topics focused on you – while other events have a meeting planning, sales or other focus in the hospitality industry, ESPA is all about Services. Note that the CMP approved section will be listed next to each topic once approved by the CIC.
This year will feature new, engaging and fun NETWORKING environments – like you’ve never experienced before at ESPA. Each and every year, ESPA attendees report back on the amazing and long-lasting networking connections they have made. Attendees create life-long professional relationships with other CSMs who teach and inspire them, becoming a resource in their day to day professional careers.
Learn from leading meeting planners – Sunday you will have an opportunity to get your most pressing questions answered direct from the source!
Engaging opening and closing keynote addresses from presenters who will inspire you.

Reserve your room now
Sponsorship Opportunities
Get your company in front of these meeting leaders

Recognition Programs

Nominate Your Manager for the Executive Excellence Award
Is your manager committed to excellence in Convention Services?
Nominate Your Planner Client for Special Recognition
Have you worked with an exceptional meeting planner?
Annual William H. Just, CAE, CMP Memorial Award – Conference Scholarship
Have you received your CMP Designation within the last 5 years?

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Interested in sponsorship? Email Lmccullough@espaonline.org.

Elite Sponsors:

Premier Sponsors:


Gold Sponsors:

ESPA Member Partners:


Schedule of Events / Program

Speaker information will soon be updated – please check back again.

Note that ESPA will indicate in red below each topic which area of the CMP-IS that the topic applies to, and how many clock hours can be counted.

Thursday, January 7

3:00 – 6:00PM

Board of Directors Meeting

7:00PM Board Dinner

Friday, January 8

8:00AM – 12:00PM Board of Directors Meeting
Optional Tours (Separate tour registration required.):



Tour of Stanley Park including Totem Poles, Prospect Point / Vancouver Aquarium / Robson Street Shopping District

Tour of Grouse Mountain, Suspension Bridge and Park


Tour of Vancouver Convention Centre


New Member Meet & Greet with ESPA Board


Welcome to Vancouver! Opening Reception

Saturday, January 9


Networking Breakfast
Our meal area will be set up again this year to encourage interaction and networking.

8:30-9:00AM Opening Session: Welcome to Vancouver!


Opening Keynote Speaker Andy Masters, MA, CSP
CMP-IS Domain F: Stakeholder Management

Kiss Your Customer: Why Sales & Service Are Just Like Dating & Relationships

Andy's flagship keynote program is based on his award-winning book “Kiss Your Customer: 77 Reasons Why Sales & Service Are Just Like Dating & Relationships”. Andy’s “business humor with a purpose” philosophy provides the ultimate “learn through laughter” experience for attendees. Andy takes attendees on a journey through the highs-and-lows world of relationship-building, utilizing the clever irony between business and romance. He also shares examples within travel & hospitality on how to make amazing connections, cultivate lasting relationships, and provide memorable solutions to overcome that one dangerously dissatisfied client. Andy's creative approaches to proven principles impact sales and improve customer loyalty immediately, while also leaving a mark on our personal lives. Enjoy this entertaining and inspirational program!

Learner Outcomes:

  • Participants will learn specific creative strategies to make memorable impressions with current and future customers, which will improve loyalty, and improve reputation by word-of-mouth, social media, etc.
  • Participants will learn the keys of how to make long-term, lasting relationships, and to keep current clients happy—including the amazing trick of turning a dissatisfied customer into your biggest fan. “Mistakes are simply opportunities to strengthen relationships”.
  • Participants will learn the power of “15 Minutes or Less / 15 Dollars of Less”. In this busy world, the most effective impacts we make aren’t from high-volume activities each day, but high-quality activities with the most important people in our work and our lives—including our customers and our loves ones.
10:00-10:30AM Networking Break & Collaboration Centers: Meet fellow CVB, Hotel or Center members

Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Breakout 1: New and Noteworthy Services
CMP-IS Domain A: Strategic Planning

Are you curious to know what your counterparts in other cities are doing? Wondering about the latest trends in Services that CVBs are providing? In this interactive session, you’ll hear from colleagues on current services and have the opportunity to brainstorm with like-sized CVBs on new ways to impress your clients.

Learner Outcomes:

  • Attendees will learn what new and/or updated services CVBs are providing.
  • Attendees will have an opportunity to brainstorm with similar sized CVBs on new ways to service.

Breakout 2: Revving up Revenue for the Services Professional
CMP-IS Domain D: Financial Management


While sales may not be one of the first words that come to mind when considering the myriad responsibilities of a Services professional, CSMs can play a key role in bringing new revenue to an organization. This will be an interactive session, led by Kim Brooks-Martin, Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing for Westmont Hospitality Group. The session is focused on building your “mental toolkit” for sales drive, balanced with gestures of hospitality. We will educate, explore and challenge:

  • How you think about revenue enhancement
  • What tools & ideas you think of for revenue enhancement
  • How quickly you think to provide solutions for your clients and drive new revenues for your venue
  • Savvy strategies and sales techniques

All of these balanced with the hospitable gestures we provide as service professionals!

Breakout 3: Microsoft Tools & Tips: Being more Efficient is a Click Away!


Event service professionals are pulled in many directions, juggling BEO deadlines, partner communications, pre-con scheduling and more. The Microsoft tools we use each and every day CAN help to make us more efficient, in ways we may not have ever realized. If you feel you are not getting as much out of MS Office as you could, this is the session for you. This fast-paced seminar, presented by John Chandler, President, Alandale Training Corporation, will cover time-saving Outlook features like Quick Steps and Rules as well as useful tips and shortcuts in Word. We’ll also cover one of the best kept secrets in Microsoft Office: The Quick Access Toolbar. Give us an hour of your time and we’ll give you a productivity boost.

Learner Outcomes:

  • Manage mail more effectively using Quick Steps and Rules
  • Customize the Quick Access Toolbar in Word, Excel and Outlook so you can quickly access all the command you use the most
  • Become more efficient!

Lunch – Café Vancouver

Again this year, our luncheon will be designed to move and shake –separate stations will be set up allowing for great networking opportunities.


ESPA Annual Business Meeting & Awards Presentation


Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Breakout 1: How to Stress Yourself Out, Be Late for Everything and Die Young

Tired of the same old time management and work-life balance messages? Dread no more. Our morning keynote speaker Andy Masters shares his humorous but thought-provoking spin on life-changing principles by presenting through his unique "What not to do" theme. Principles include over-commit to everyone, "multi-task-to-the-max", don't delegate, procrastinate, eat poorly, and don't sleep. Andy helps audiences across the country become “MASTERS” of prioritization, time delegation, and work/life balance—allowing you to control your schedule, and not allowing your schedule to control you. Andy’s positive and entertaining program provides specific tools you can apply immediately so you can get MORE done, in LESS time, with HIGHER quality, and LESS stress in your career and your life. Recharge and refocus NOW....before it's too late!

Learner Outcomes:

  • Define and find a balance between work, life, family and commitments. Attendees will learn the importance of work-life balance, prioritization, delegation and stress reduction.
  • End the “Overload Your Schedule – Add more to the To-Do-List” – end the cycle of saying yes to everything while saying no to the important things.
  • End the cycle of “Multi-tasking – by getting nothing accomplished” – adding so many activities that you no longer have time to do any of them really well.
  • End the “I can do everything myself” – cycle of never asking for help, never delegating and never really getting anything accomplished.
  • End the “circle of stressful people” – learn how to stop engulfing yourself with people who only cause more stress to your life.
  • Add fun, enjoyment, fulfillment to your life and the lives of those around you – everyday.

Breakout 2: Member Roundtable Discussions: Collaboration on Hot Topics
CMP-IS Domain B: Project Management

Open Discussion on a variety of established hot topics that attendees sign up for in advance. Each table has an established facilitator who reports back to the group at the end of the session so all can learn each table’s findings. Below is the list of Roundtable Topics.

  1. Directors & Senior Level Managers discuss challenges and solutions
  2. New Convention Services Managers – Ask questions of a seasoned professional
  3. Voluntourism – Ideas and best practices
  4. Hotels & Centers – Working effectively with internal departments
  5. Wow! Site Visits
  6. Revving up Revenue - continue the discussion with Kim Brooks-Martin, facilitator (limited to first 9 to sign up)
3:00-3:30PM Networking Break

Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Breakout 1: Member Roundtable Discussions: Collaboration on Hot Topics
CMP-IS Domain B: Project Management

We are holding a second Roundtables session for those that could not participate in the first session, or who want to do it again with a second topic. Open Discussion with a variety of established hot topics that attendees sign up for in advance. Each table has an established facilitator who reports back to the group at the end of the session so all can learn each table’s findings.

  1. Hotels & CVBs – building better relationships
  2. Wow! Site Visits
  3. Voluntourism – Ideas and best practices
  4. Hotels & Centers: Working effectively with internal departments
  5. Tips for working with third party planners

Breakout 2: Inclusive Hospitality: Going beyond the ADA, Learning the Reality of Accessibility
CMP-IS Domain H: Site Management

Here’s what industry leader, Joan Eisenstodt, who will lead this session, wants you to ask yourself: Did you ever struggle to participate in a meeting while wearing a cast on your arm or leg and using crutches or a wheelchair? Or found that hearing the speakers was problematic because you had swimmer’s ear? Or attend a trade show after, at a weekend sporting event, you were accidentally elbowed in the eye forcing you to wear an eye patch? You may think the provisions in the ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act – are all fully implemented by hotels, airports, cities and and event organizers. Besides the law, it’s smart business!

Learner Outcomes:
• Increase personal awareness of the issues that people with permanent or temporary, visible or invisible disabilities face.
• Analyze a facility's accessibility and devise five steps to make help make clients' events – from arrival to departure - more accessible and inclusive.
• Enhance coordination between planners and venues/facilities to create improved onsite experiences for all.

Breakout 3: Lighting the Path: Inspirational Leadership Increases Engagement
CMP-IS Domain E: Human Resources

Sunday morning’s keynote speaker Michele Wierzgac joins us early for a great session on leadership. Now more than ever the world needs inspirational leaders at work. Why? One third of U.S. employees are unhappy with their jobs and are planning to leave. Very few people are eager to go to work. Disengaged employees are looking for a leader that will inspire them into action. This workshop will examine the practices and skills of exceptional leaders and give you the inspirational techniques you can apply immediately with confidence.

Learner Outcomes:

  • Develop concise communication skills with genuine messages to inspire others into action.
  • Build strong relationships with team members and senior management.
4:30-5:30PM ESPA 2016 Committee Meetings
6:00PM Optional Networking Dinner: Mixing it up in Vancouver! (Separate registration required.)

Sunday, January 10


Optional: Wake Up & Walk! Guided Walk of Vancouver (Separate registration required.)

7:30-8:30AM Continental Breakfast

CMP Informational Session (pending)
CMP-IS Domain J: Professionalism

If you have been pondering whether to take the CMP exam, but are hesitant or have questions, this is the session for you. We will review and answer questions about the program requirements
and how to best prepare for the exam, as well as discuss new developments with the CMP Blueprint and future changes to the program. There will be plenty of time for Q&A.


General Session: Preview ESPA 2017 Host City!


Sunday Keynote Speaker Michele Wierzgac, MSEd, CMM

Are You On Fire? Reflecting On Your Brand Champions

Why do some leaders and convention service managers stand out in a crowd when you deliver the same exact set of skills to meeting professionals? More than likely, they have created an authentic personal brand supported by core values that differentiate themselves from others. Join leadership and personal branding guru, Michele Wierzgac as she inspires you to discover your gift and core values in a lively and interactive presentation. Reflecting on and strengthening your personal brand will sell you and related brands. By understanding your core values and the passion that drives you, numerous opportunities will begin to emerge for you.

Learner Outcomes:

  • Recognize how your brand assists in opening doors for you.
  • Determine your core values and the passions that drive you.
  • Strengthen your personal brand within the marketplace.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Breakout 1: Services and Partnership/Membership Collaboration
CMP-IS Domain F: Stakeholder Management

Are you a membership based CVB? Does having members present certain challenges to the way you service your clients? Learn from others on how they work their Partnership/Membership team and make this a win-win situation, especially with clients.

Learner Outcomes:

  • Discover ways Services teams are joining forces through Partnership to engage partners/members early on.
    How Services can be a key advocate for Partnership in educating partners on planner needs and overall timelines.

Breakout 2: New and Innovative Ways to Enhance the Meeting and Event Experience
CMP-IS Domain G: Meeting or Event Design

What’s new and innovative in meeting and events? As CSMs our role includes bringing new and creative ideas to our planner clients. Learn about the “Unconvention” concept, how to make meetings “different” and how to implement just a few ideas to make meetings more memorable and results driven. Learn about new meeting formats, décor and AV trends for 2016 and new ways to engage attendees from presenters Jeff Duncan Meetingmax, Tahira Endean, CMP, and Shane Groves, Director of Event Technology, PSAV, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

Learner Outcomes:

  • Attendees will learn new and innovative ways to enhance meetings
  • What’s hot in the industry now as it relates to AV, décor and the overall meeting experience

Breakout 3: Show Us Your CSR
CMP-IS Domain A: Strategic Planning

Everyone is talking about giving back to the community these days. People want to help and give to those in need. Many organizations would like to include a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project within their program, however, there is either not enough time in the event schedule, not enough staff time to plan another event within the overall event it or upper management does not fully support such programs. There are many reasons why CSR is not embraced and it becomes a side thought or it does not happen at all.

But wait!!! It is not that hard. You can coach your clients how to simply and effectively give back. Their organization might be missing some real business reasons why CSR should be a part of your their event. There are many bottom line business reasons why organizations should conduct these types of projects in addition to the “feel good” aspect of a program. You could be that catalyst that helps them create a boost in their image and impact. Plus, getting them involved in your community gives them reason to keep coming back to your destination. Presenting this session will be our host city’s Rachael Riggs-Nocera, Tourism Vancouver and Tammi Runzler – Vice President of CSR - Clean the World. Tammi was formerly Vice President of Sales and Services for the Orange County CVB.

Learner Outcomes:

  • How can I get clients to engage in a CSR program?
  • What can be done tomorrow to start a CSR program for a client that has a meeting next week?
  • How can you promote the CSR event through your social media channels?
  • How do I get more people involved to embrace the CSR program?

Breakout 4: How to Maximize your Simpleview CRM to Streamline your Day-to-day Operations

A solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform helps you nurture a meeting or event from start to finish. By connecting your data to various modules built around core convention services functions (such as bookings, communications, referrals, and expenses), CRM systems streamline each task. Join a Simpleview CRM specialist and discover how to quickly and efficiently utilize your convention services features. Come prepared, questions will be welcome!

Learner Outcomes
This session will give Simpleview users a better understanding of the following features that save time and better serve your clients and partners:

  • Associate leads with meetings, bookings and more
  • Manage lead responses and member referrals
  • Maintain orders and expenses
  • Export reports, lists and queries

Networking Lunch with Meeting Planner Participants

11:30AM-12:30PM Past Presidents Luncheon (by invitation only)

Q&A with Meeting Planners Session
CMP-IS Domain B:Project Management

Back by popular demand – Q&A discussions with meeting planners. Participate in this intimate exchange between event service professionals and meeting planners, led by a facilitator. Topics will be established based on member input as to what the most pressing questions are that they have for planners today. What are they looking for from their CSMs and what do the CSMs need from planners? What trends are on the horizon for groups that CSMs need to be prepared for? Come ready for interactive dialogue and information sharing.

2:00-2:30PM Networking Break

General Session: Sustainable F&B – An Interactive Farm to Plate Experience
CMP-IS Domain G: Meeting or Event Design

We are closing up the conference this year with something a bit different, fun and educational – with an element of great taste! The session will focus on the current F&B trend of “Farm to Plate.” We will start off the session with an overview by The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s Executive Chef Cameron Ballendine - he’ll teach us about farms, sustainability and how important it is for everyone to be conscious of how important this initiative is. From there, we will enjoy an interactive experience with stations, each focusing on different farms the hotel works with around Vancouver. A culinary apprentice will be at each station serving an hors d’oeuvre/small plate sample and explaining the relationship the hotel has with the farms.


Closing Remarks, It’s a Wrap!

Evening – Please note that ONLY those that are pre-registered for the Day of PCMA will be allowed to join the PCMA opening reception.

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Registration & Continuing Education

Registration Fees & Policies
Day of PCMA Registration

Please note to receive Continuing Education (CE) Credits for attending sessions, you must pre-select all sessions during the registration process. Only sessions listed on the agenda with a CMP Credit noted will be eligible for CMP Credit. You may add/delete sessions prior to the conference. You will only receive CE Credits for those sessions you selected. You will receive a confirmation notice which you should maintain for your records. Additionally, following the conference, your sessions will be listed in the My ESPA Portal under the “My ESPA” drop down on the “My Continuing Education” page and on the new CIC portal.

The following are the ESPA Conference Individual registration fees: (Note: Members whose companies are Organizational members of ESPA, and who are registering 3+ people see below for group registration fees.)

  Advanced Rate (valid through November 13) General
Active ESPA Member $645 $750
Non-Member $700 $800
One Day Member (either Saturday OR Sunday)
(You may only register at this rate for one day)
$299 $325
One Day Non Member (either Saturday OR Sunday)
(You may only register at this rate for one day)
$325 $350
Student Rate (must provide proof of student status upon request) $250 $250

Organization and Corporate Member group registrations fees are listed below. In order to register at the group registration fees, your company must be an Organization or Corporate Member of ESPA.

ESPA Organization Member registration fees:

# of People attending from your company Advanced Total Rate (valid through November 13) General Total Rate
3 people $1905 $2220
4 people $2480 $2900
5 people $3050 $3575

ESPA Registration Policies
Optional Tours/Outings and Day of PCMA are non-refundable, regardless of date of cancellation.

Conference registration cancellations received in writing by December 4, 2015 are eligible for a 50% refund on the ESPA Registration fee only. There are no refunds for cancellations received after this date.

Day of PCMA Registration
PCMA - One Day Registration – In partnership with PCMA, ESPA attendees have the opportunity to participate in the PCMA Convening Leaders conference at the discounted registration rate of $195. Register for the PCMA One Day offer when you register for ESPA’s Conference – just check the box on the ESPA registration form. Day of PCMA registration is non-refundable. Your one day registration includes attendance to the Sunday Welcome Reception; Monday education programming with continental breakfast, refreshment breaks and the PCMA networking luncheon. For the complete schedule of events, please visit conveningleaders.pcma.org. NOTE: Per PCMA policy, you must be a paid Day of PCMA registrant to attend the Sunday reception.

If you require a PDF registration form, please email ESPA Headquarters.

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ESPA Optional Tours and Outings

ESPA has arranged excursions to meet varied interests. Each requires a separate registration. It is important to note that we anticipate these tours to be in high-demand; space is limited so if you want to participate in any of these activities, you must sign up early.

Tour of Stanley Park including Totem Poles, Prospect Point / Vancouver Aquarium / Robson Street Shopping District
Friday, January 8, 2:00-5:00PM
Fee: $40.00 CDN

Rated by Trip Advisor as the “Best Park in the World” (2014), Stanley Park is the largest city park in Canada (1,000 acres) and has been described as a “thousand-acre therapeutic couch”. You’ll see some of the park’s peaceful trails; view its “forest” of totem poles; take in stunning views from Prospect Point, the park’s summit at 64 metres above sea level; and get up-close-and-personal with marine wildlife at the world-renowned Vancouver Aquarium (fun fact: the Aquarium underwent a massive expansion in the summer of 2014 and now features one of Vancouver’s largest unique meeting spaces). Before leaving the park, you’ll dine on tea and pastries at the beautiful Stanley Park Pavilion. The tour finishes with a cruise down Robson Street – Vancouver’s fashion runway. Feel free to jump off and make a dent in your post-holiday credit cards.

*For this tour, register through a separate online tour site. There are no refunds/cancellations after December 15.

Tour of Grouse Mountain, Suspension Bridge and Park
Friday, January 8, 2:00-5:00PM
Fee: $50.00 CDN

A short 15-minute drive from downtown, Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver's most-visited attractions. In winter, guests enjoy a mix of cultural, educational and outdoor adventures, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating and more. Nearby Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park is a visitor magnet, featuring a 460-foot suspension bridge draped majestically between two cliffs towering 230 feet above the Capilano River Canyon. The bridge has been a celebrated attraction since the Victorian era, today it is packed with attractions, including the Treetops Adventure – a series of walkways suspended between towering evergreens – and Cliffwalk, a steel-and-glass walkway clinging to the side of the steep rock canyon wall.

*For this tour, register through a separate online tour site. There are no refunds/cancellations after December 15.

Tour of Vancouver Convention Centre
Friday, January 8, 2:15-4:30PM
No Fee

Our annual tradition is to offer ESPA attendees a behind the scenes walking tour of the Centre with a resident Centre CSM. Located on Vancouver’s waterfront with a dramatic mountain backdrop, the award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre offers one of the most beautiful settings in the world and convenient access to all the major visitor amenities in the downtown core. The Centre’s two connected buildings – the iconic East and the stunning West – feature 466,500 ft2 (43,340 m2) of flexible and functional meeting, exhibition, ballroom and plenary spaces for any event. This, along with an unwavering commitment to sustainability, unparalleled technical service and culinary excellence, will ensure that an event is nothing less than remarkable.


*For this tour, register through the ESPA Event registration page while registering for the Conference.

Networking Dinner: Mixing it up in Vancouver!
Saturday, January 9, 6:00PM
Fee: $69.00 USD

For a fun Saturday evening of networking and dining, we have lined up two restaurants that attendees will experience as part of a “mix it up” experience! Attendees will start at the hotel to kick off the evening, then you will be given a restaurant as your starting point. We may mix up the crowd a little – meeting new people is part of our experience right?! After our first course concludes, we will switch spots, and move to the second restaurant experience. Get ready for a fun night of great food and meeting new ESPA friends. Space is limited so sign up early.

*For this tour, register through the ESPA Event registration page while registering for the Conference. Please note that due to the need for advance restaurant arrangements, there are no cancellations or refunds for this Dinner.

Wake up and Walk! A Guided Walk around Vancouver
Sunday January 10, 6:30-7:30AM
No Fee

Join your host Debbie Reynolds, Client Manager, Convention Services, Tourism Vancouver for a guided walk to the harbour area from the hotel. We depart from the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and head north a few short blocks to the waterfront area. Bring your cameras as you may want a photo! Space is limited.

Sights we may see along the way:

  1. The Olympic Cauldron, from the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  2. The Vancouver Convention Centre where we can spot both the West and the East buildings and the start of the sea wall walking and bike path that encircles the entire city of Vancouver all the way to your University of British Columbia.
  3. The shops, restaurants and the Waterfront Centre Food Court which is used by convention delegates.
  4. The Port Metro Vancouver and the Cruise Ship Terminal
  5. The Flyover Canada 4 D theatre location located in Canada Place. The Ultimate Flying Ride
  6. We will see views of the Burrard Inlet and the North Shore and Coast Range Mountains
  7. A distant view of famous Stanley Park - a 1,000 acre park the same size as the downtown Vancouver city centre area.
  8. The Hyatt Regency Hotel, the Fairmont Pacific Rim, the Fairmont Waterfront Centre Hotel, and the Pan Pacific Hotel and World Trade Centre buildings.
  9. The Skytrain and Canada Line stations which are part of Vancouver’s rapid underground train systems.

*For this tour, register through the ESPA Event registration page while registering for the Conference.

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ESPA Gives Back

It is not surprising that ESPA members are community-minded and giving people. Each year, through our community support efforts, attendees bring items to be donated to a worthy cause in each of the cities we have been to. This year we will be supporting an organization that does wonders for many in the Vancouver metro area. Speakers will also have the opportunity to select a charity for a donation to be made in recognition of their efforts.

The Salvation Army Belkin House is a state-of-the-art, multi-program facility located right in downtown Vancouver. Belkin House accommodates up to 224 residents, and the facility’s Food Services department provides an average of 8,000 nutritious and balanced, low-cost meals each month, serving three meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. They offer volunteer opportunities and welcome donations.

During the Conference, ESPA will have a table where attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a meal ticket(s) for a person in need, to be served by the volunteers at Belkin House. A donation of $2.50 will cover the cost of one meal for a person in need of a hot meal and nutrition.

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ESPA’s Host Hotel – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

As all of ESPA’s members know, ESPA has booked a block of rooms for its attendees. We appreciate and request that you stay in the ESPA block to help ensure that the association meets its booking requirements.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is known as the 'Castle in the City’ and reflects timeless luxury and history. Holding a prime downtown location, steps from Vancouver’s shopping and entertainment district, it is the perfect place to enjoy Vancouver's vibrant atmosphere. Guests will feel at home as our canine ambassadors, Mavis and Beau, welcome them and our knowledgeable Concierge team is here to help with local travel suggestions.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has recently completed a $12 million restaurant, bar and lobby renovation, providing the ‘Grand Dame’ with a sense of renewed luxury.

ESPA rate: $169 CAD per night (Fairmont Room)
ESPA block cut-off date: December 16

To secure your hotel reservations at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver online, use our online hotel reservation link.

In addition, you can make reservations by calling the Fairmont Global Reservations Center at 1-800-441-1414. Mention that you are attending the ESPA Conference to receive the group rate.


Room block performance is a perennial and fundamental issue for the meetings and events industry. Recently we are seeing a trend commonly known as room block “pirates” or “poachers," who use a range of techniques to approach attendees and obtain their hotel reservation business. If you receive a direct phone call asking you to make a reservation for the conference, other than from a known ESPA staff member, we strongly advise you not to talk with them or give them any information. You will not be in the ESPA block and these poachers may charge your credit card and you may show up with no reservation at the hotel. Making your reservation by phoning the hotel directly or using the on-line reservation link below will ensure that you do not encounter this experience.

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Vancouver / Travel Info

About Vancouver
Cradled amid sky-scraping mountains and sparkling ocean, scenic Vancouver is one of the world’s premier meeting and convention destinations. World-renowned cuisine, luxury hotels and unique venues – including the two time winner of “World’s Best Convention Centre” – all add up to an unforgettable conference experience. Visitors experience a modern, cosmopolitan city that blends culture and landscape.

With so much to experience in Vancouver, you will be well-entertained during your conference off time. Galleries and public exhibits for art enthusiasts, historical sites and districts for history buffs, and scenic hiking trails and botanical gardens for nature lovers are just a small sampling of the city’s diverse attractions.

Average daily temperature in January is 42 degrees, so bring jackets and sweaters! Wet weather is common so be sure to also bring an umbrella.

Helpful links:
Vancouver Calendar of Events
Vancouver Maps

Travel Information

Requirements for Travelers to/from the United States – Passports required!

Since January 1, 2007, EVERYONE traveling by AIR between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda have been required to present a valid passport, air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document due to regulations set forth by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

As of 1 June 2009, EVERYONE traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by LAND, SEA (including cruises and ferries) or AIR will be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security to cross the border.

Visit the following sites for up-to-date information

> Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative: The Basics
> Canada Border Services Agency / Agence des services frontaliers du Canada

Transportation from the Vancouver International Airport to Downtown:
The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is approximately 11 miles from downtown. An efficient airport transfer service called Canada Line transports delegates from the airport to all the downtown hotels at a cost of $9.00 inbound and $4.00 return during peak hours. On weekends the return would only be $2.75 for a 2 zone ticket as it’s non rush hour. Taxi fares are roughly $26 to $30 to the downtown core and private limousine service is $55 one-way, plus gratuity. All of these services accept credit cards, and all amounts are quoted in Canadian dollars. For all the transfer options from the Airport to Downtown visit this website http://www.yvr.ca/en/getting-to-from-yvr.aspx

Helpful link: Currency Converter (On 9/30: the exchange rate is approximately $1 CAD to .75 USD)

Bank debit or credit cards are the most convenient means of getting cash at the many 24-hour-access automated banking machines. All our taxis accept credit cards. Vancouver is striving to be the greenest city in the world by 2020 and 60% of our taxis are hybrid cars. As in the U.S. and Europe these machines accept cards with Plus, Interact and Cirrus symbols and there is one on almost every block in downtown Vancouver. Many Canadian businesses accept U.S. currency and travellers cheques. International currency exchanges are available at the airport and at all the banks in the city. Major credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express), are generally accepted by Canadian businesses. Many cabs and restaurants will accept US cash on par. Exchange rates vary daily.

Tips on using Cell Phones:
Get a data and long distance plan before leaving home. Are you one of many of convention attendees traveling from the U.S. or internationally into Canada? Take Note: Roaming charges and data plan fees for cell phones (especially smart phones like the iPhone or the Android) and tablets like the iPad can be costly, with prices spiking as high as several dollars per minute. Before catching your flight to Canada, contact your local cell phone carrier to get information about special pricing plans for calls, text messaging and Internet usage outside your home country. If you use a smart phone, ask your carrier about certain settings such as "airplane mode" that may help you save money on usage.

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Sponsorship Opportunities – Get your company in front of these meeting leaders!

The Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) Annual Conference is attended by leading event and convention service managers in the meeting industry – including forward-thinking Event Managers and CSMs from Convention Centers, CVBs and Hotels from across the US and Canada. These EMs/CSMs make their own purchasing decisions and have great collaborative influence on the purchasing decisions of their meeting planner clients.

Sponsorship is one way to get your name out to these individuals. Creating name recognition and showing your commitment to supporting their event, sponsorship is a great investment. Rates range to fit all budgets.

If you are interested in getting your name out there to this target market, please take a moment to look over the Sponsorship Opportunities. If you have any questions, please contact Lynn McCullough at lmccullough@espaonline.org or call 609-799-3712.

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Contact us

For registration, contact Nicole Lauzon, Membership Coordinator

For travel inquiries and event details contact Kelly O'Neill, Programs Manager.

For press inquiries, please contact Vikki Hurley-Schubert, PR Manager

For conference program or sponsorships, please contact Lynn McCullough, Executive Director.

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Nominate Your Manager for the Executive Excellence Award

Deadline for submissions is November 27

Is your manager committed to excellence in Convention Services?

Last year’s Award Winner, Eric Blanc, CMP, Tampa Convention Center

Each year at the Annual Conference, ESPA recognizes an executive for his or her commitment and dedication to the profession of event service and to giving key support and leadership to members of their services team. As a member of ESPA, if you feel your organization has an executive who is an ESPA supporter and convention services advocate, if he/she encourages continuing education and other avenues for professional development, submit your nomination!

Please fill out our online Nomination Form – winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • Nominee supports staff participation in ESPA
  • Nominee must be an executive of an organization which has an ESPA member. Executive is defined as a VP or higher at a CVB; a member of the executive committee or GM at a hotel; or a VP, GM or Executive Director at a Convention Center.
  • Nominee personally and consistently supports quality assurance in the organization's convention services operations.
  • Nominee supports staff development, growth and continuing education.
  • November 27 is the nomination deadline

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Nominate Your Planner Client for Special Recognition

Meeting Professional of the Year - Deadline for submissions is November 27

Have you worked with an exceptional meeting planner?

Last year’s Award Winner, Monica Simons, CMP, Intelligence & National Security Alliance

This award was designed to recognize the hard-working meeting professional who exhibits personal and professional characteristics that create an environment that focuses on team work, as well as shows support for the event services profession.

Event Service Professionals, this is your chance to recognize a planner that represents the best of the best! Event Service Professionals know better than anyone when a planner is prepared, shows professionalism and is a great leader when producing an event or meeting. Why not recognize them for their dedication and hard work? To submit a planner for consideration, please fill out our online Nomination Form – winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • You must have worked with meeting planner during the past year
  • Shows superior leadership and management qualities before, during and after the meeting
  • Recognizes the importance and supports the role of the Event Service Professional in the meeting planning process
  • November 27 is the nomination deadline

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Annual William H. Just, CAE, CMP Memorial Award – Conference Scholarship

Have you received your CMP Designation within the last 5 years?

Last Year’s Recipient, Melissa Boland, CMP

Recent CMP recipients – Apply to attend the ESPA Annual Conference on a Scholarship!
Nomination Deadline: November 27

The Annual William H. Just CAE, CMP Memorial Award recognizes an ESPA member who has received their CMP certification within the last five years and remains in good standing with the association. The award was established in honor of the late William H. Just, CAE, CMP who founded ACOM (now ESPA) in 1988. Just also played a key role in the establishment of the CMP program. ESPA members can submit an application which includes an essay on how the CMP designation has been beneficial to them, why they decided to receive this certification and details on their industry and community involvement. The winner will receive a complimentary registration to the ESPA Annual Conference in Vancouver, which helps to support their CMP continuing education status.

Apply Today!

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