The VIP Lounge By Experient

Welcome to the VIP Lounge, by Experient. This podcast is for savvy event professionals who are striving to design and deliver richer and more rewarding event experiences… event experiences that transform casual attendees into raving fans. For more info, visit
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The VIP Lounge By Experient



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Dec 18, 2018

If you’ve been following Experient on any number of social media channels, you’ve likely noticed an uptick on the wealth of insights being shared.

Mitch Cooper has been championing this initiative and his role is now expanding to include content marketing strategy.  

In this interview, Mitch shares strategies and tips you can run with to take your own event content marketing game to the next level.

We also talk about the interesting stats from 2018 that will make you take a second look at podcasting for your event marketing.

Dec 18, 2018

In this edition of The VIP Lounge podcast, we’re thrilled to showcase an interview with David Peckinpaugh, President of Maritz Global Events.

Our chat with David starts with a closer look at his career journey, as he shares more about what he enjoys about the events industry.

Then it’s on to Experience Design. While many might talk about event experience design, few have focused so intently on this crucial success driver. Since its development in 2011, the design team at Maritz Global Events has continued to refine their design methodology and practice.

To date, more than 120 clients have moved through at least one Design Lab, emerging with actionable ideas they can immediately apply to enhance attendee experiences.

Nov 12, 2018

In this edition of The VIP Lounge podcast, the focus is on event reinvention.

It’s a lofty goal that’s top-of-mind for many organizations these days, including the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA).

We caught up with two change champions at NACA:

  • Toby Cummings, Executive Director
  • Maureen Taylor, Director of Member Development and Services,

to learn more about how a design lab experience served as a catalyst for their event reinvention initiative.

Oct 11, 2018

This podcast episode starts off with a book recommendation. Then it’s on to emerging trends that tee up challenges to solve and opportunities to seize for event organizers.

Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder

Chip Conley’s latest bestseller explores a segment poised to deliver meaningful value for events – Modern Elders. 

In our zeal to connect with younger generations, could we be ignoring a segment that could deliver more Know-How and more Know-Who for events?

Event Trends Wisdom from Michael Dominguez

If you’re a big fan of industry events, chances are high that you’ve enjoyed a Michael Dominguez keynote presentation. Mike’s adept at helping us all to connect the dots, as he reveals event trends and economic trends that will impact our industry in the future.  

In this chat, we moved through several hot topics, including technology, keeping up with the speed of change, and leveraging data to design more relevant event experiences. We also dig into hotel booking trends and why more transparency is needed on both sides.

Aug 30, 2018

This podcast episode starts with a smart idea from Content Marketing World (CMW). showcased a six-part CMW video series, designed to help the 225 speakers who were selected to lead sessions at their conference improve their presentations. CMW went bigger with this series. Rather than sharing these through a speaker portal, they published these in a more public way for everyone to enjoy.

Gazing into the Future of Events with Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh is a futurist, a global nomad, and a much sought-after keynote speaker. He’s a 21st century business designer who advises leaders on how to thrive in the current era of disruptive technological change.

During this interview, Walsh weighed in on quite a few tech considerations for event organizers.

Aug 21, 2018

Last week, at e4, more than five hundred event professionals gathered in Anaheim to explore What’s Next? What’s next for their events – and what’s next for our industry?

Maritz Global Events' Tim Simpson and Dan Sundt led a series of workshops, where event strategists shared more about their design lab journey and the impact these labs are having on their events, their relationships with customers/members, and their organizations.

In this special edition, we get a chance to listen in on a debrief conversation between Tim and Dan, plus get a glimpse at what’s next for this growing community of extra-mile designers.

Jul 26, 2018

For more than two decades, Polly LaBarre has helped organizations to unleash and organize human potential in more powerful and productive ways.

As co-founder of The MIX (Management Innovation eXchange), a “think and do” tank dedicated to rebooting management for the 21st century, Polly has pioneered a method and platform for changing how large organizations change.

Jul 6, 2018

In this episode of The VIP Lounge, Pattee Brown and Justin Mizel talk to industry expert Rudy Ellis to get his insights and observations about the benefits of live streaming events.

Ellis is the founder of Switchboard Live, a technology company helping events tech-up their capabilities to include live streaming and interactive engagement online. 

He discusses his experiences with this technology, what has already been done at events to implement this approach and what event planners need to know and do to best embrace this essential technology when building their events in the future. 

Jun 28, 2018

In this podcast, we take a closer look at P.E.O., a remarkable organization that started with seven young women in 1869 and now has nearly 230,000 members across the United States and Canada.

We showcased the P.E.O. success story with excerpts from interviews with three leaders:

  • Jackie Matt, Executive Director
  • Rebecca Bruce, Convention and Special Events Manager
  • Sue Stevens, Past State President for the North Carolina chapter
Jun 7, 2018

Joining us in The VIP Lounge is John Ruhlin, Founder & CEO of The Ruhlin Group, a gift strategy and logistics company. John’s also a renowned speaker, masterful storyteller, and author of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention.

May 10, 2018

Experience design is the theme running across this entire podcast episode, which features two experience design superheroes who share a wealth of priceless insights with us.

We caught up with Dan Sundt, with the Maritz Global Events Design Studio team, at Experient’s EnVision conference in Detroit and in this podcast, we share a few excerpts from that exchange on experience design and the importance of goals and objectives.

Then we talked with Tonya Almond, VP of Knowledge and Experience Design at PCMA. She shared some insights on what to expect from PCMA's Education Conference in Cleveland in June. She also gave us a sneak peek at Convening Leaders 2019 in Pittsburgh. 

Mar 22, 2018

In this episode of The VIP Lounge podcast, we start with a book recommendation to help you ask smarter questions to uncover valuable insights. This book was recently introduced by Jamie Murdock at our EnVision conference and given the positive feedback, it’s a topic you might consider exploring at your own events.

Later, we move on to the world of expos, where we chat with Dave Lutz, Managing Director at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting. He explores how the needs of B2B buyers walking your show floor might be changing.

Mar 2, 2018

In this episode of The VIP Lounge podcast, we’re tackling an array of challenges that are top-of-mind for event organizers, but before we do…

PCMA Hackathons Deconstructed Workshop

Are you planning to attend PCMA’s Education Conference in Cleveland June 10-13?

If so, we hope you’ll also join Jamie Murdock, aka Hackmeister General, for a one-of-a-kind, pre-conference workshop experience that combines behind-the-scenes hackathon design strategies through an actual hands-on hackathon.

Event Hot Topics with Gary Schirmacher, SVP at Experient

We kick off our chat with Gary on a playful note, with a Word Association game. Then it’s on to a myriad of hot topics, including:

  • Industry Advocacy
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Hotel Contract Negotiations
  • Room Block Optimization
  • Safety & Security
Feb 5, 2018

In this edition of The VIP Lounge podcast, we’re showcasing an interview with an industry rockstar…

Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, CDME, CMP

Shimo is President at 2-Synergize, Inc. and she’s a passionate advocate for convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), also referred to as destination marketing organizations. Since 2009, Shimo has provided leadership and guidance to the CVB industry and has helped individual CVB sales organizations with specific meetings market issues and opportunities. 

Shimo’s 35-years in the travel industry covers hotels, theme parks, convention centers, and CVBs. Her focus has been a continuum of strategy formulation and execution; helping organizations achieve competitive advantages, community collaboration, strong customer relationships and high performing sales and service teams.

Topics explored in this podcast interview include:

  • Observations about the housing hackathon, hosted by Experient last November
  • Recap of a PCMA Convening Leaders presentation: Cracking the Code on Room Block Practices
  • Recommendations for combatting room block piracy and poaching – Shimo suggested reading Best Practices for Piracy and Poaching Prevention, published by APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange, an initiative of the Events Industry Council).
Jan 2, 2018

In this episode of The VIP Lounge podcast, we’re tackling topics to help make 2018 your best year yet.

The Power of Habit

Several years ago, Pulitzer Prize winning business reporter Charles Duhigg wrote The Power of Habit:  Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. This best-selling book explores the science behind habits, with stories about how habits can be changed to transform our businesses, our communities and our lives.

To give you a glimpse at how this works, we shared a clip where author Charles Duhigg walks us through the habit loop, with more about habit triggers and how to break them.

Event Housing Hackathon Stirs Up Seeds of More Vibrant Solutions

Andy Smith, Senior Vice President of the Experient Sales Network and Strategic Sourcing joins us to share more about a housing hackathon he and Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki hosted, where hotel and CVB executives gathered to brainstorm for smart ways to improve room block performance.

Dec 7, 2017

This time around, we explore a kaleidoscope of topics, including digital disruption, experience design, and nurturing high-performing event teams who collaborate beautifully and candidly.

First up, we talk with Mary Pat Heftman, EVP of Convention & Strategic Alliances, National Restaurant Association. She shares more about how they’re fine-tuning their event experience design strategy across their portfolio of events.

Jackie Richards, VP of People & Development at Maritz Global Events, walks us through the Radical Candor 2x2 matrix built on challenging directly and caring personally. Jamie Murdock, VP of Sales at Experient, shares more about how this model was received by his team and why it matters more today.

Oct 30, 2017

Event Data is the theme for this episode of The VIP Lounge podcast, as three all-stars open their playbooks to reveal strategies and tips to help you step up your own event data strategy.

We talk with Experient's Mike Godsey, SVP Market Development, about how eventBit™ is paving the way for event data and then we catch up with Jenn Ellek and Larry Wilson from the National Confectioners Association to discuss how they use event data to create even better experiences for their guests. 

Sep 29, 2017

We kicked off this episode with a closer look at Innovation Districts and how cities that support such initiatives might offer a wealth of local speaker talent you can tap for your events. Then it was on to an interview with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) team, as they shared a few event epiphanies from a recent journey through the Experience Design Lab process.

Aug 25, 2017

Jeff Fugate and Aaron Dorsey share more about an in-depth housing study recently conducted by Experient and the insights revealed in a new eBook, “3 Essentials for Housing & Room Block Mastery.” Later, Nick Borelli opens his event marketing playbook, as we explore personas, tribes and smart ways to engage influencers to grow your crowd.

Jul 27, 2017

We start with a conversation with Andy Smith, SVP at Experient. Sourcing strategies are changing and Andy shares more about smart shifts we’ll need to make to ensure we’re negotiating the best possible deals in today’s still-turbulent economy. Then, it’s on to Rick Jones, CEO and Head Captain at Fishbait Marketing. Rick is the master of all things sponsorship and he shares tips to help take your event sponsorship program to the next level.

Jun 29, 2017

Jamie Murdock, VP of Sales at Experient, explores hackathons as a vehicle for creative thinking and idea generation. Then we pivot to another hot topic, Customer Service and how investing a bit more attention here can drive meaningful improvements across the entire event guest journey. Later, Susan Robertson, Founder of Sharpen Innovation joins us and shares smart ways to remove creative thinking road blocks to uncover more and better breakthrough ideas.

May 25, 2017

Greg Bogue, VP of Experience Design at Maritz Global Events, takes us through the experience design lab journey, with more on the methodology that’s helping event organizers to dramatically improve the experiences they deliver at their conferences and trade shows. Then it’s on to behavioral data intelligence with Jeff Fugate, SVP of Strategic Sales & Marketing at Experient, as he shares more about one of the single largest deployments of event wearables ever.

Apr 25, 2017

Gary Schirmacher, SVP of Industry Presence & Strategic Development at Experient, shares more about housing strategies best poised to deliver value in today’s business environment.  Then, Ben Goedegebuure, GM at Maritz Global Events and Gregg Talley, President at Talley Management Group, weigh in with insights on safety and security for events on a global stage.

Mar 15, 2017

Thad Lurie, VP of Operations and CIO at EDUCAUSE shares more about how they’re refining data strategies to enhance event guest experiences. This interview explores a wide range of topics, from data-driven experience design and personalization to privacy considerations, data blending and using data to boost exhibitor ROI.

Feb 16, 2017

Jeff Fugate, SVP at Experient, introduces the Four Boxes of Knowing and explains why “not knowing” attendee behaviors could put your event at risk. Later, Jean Heis, Director of Meetings & Exhibits at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) shares more about how eventBit helped close crucial knowing gaps to ensure that the event experiences they design align with what matters most to their audience.