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Conference Speaker to Address Internet Service at Meetings

He bills himself as a college professor teaching “way-cool courses” in social media, mobile apps and productivity tools. He plans to tell meeting planners and travel industry pros how and why they should be using them.

James Spellos will be a speaker at the sixth annual Small Market Meetings Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, September 27-29.

Spellos has taught the highly acclaimed hospitality management program at New York University for the past 25 years. He also delivers 150 courses and seminars annually around the country through his company, Meeting U. He seems a perfect fit as a presenter, having himself been both a meeting planner and a supplier to the meetings industry.

His presentation topic in September will be on Internet connectivity and what planners need to know to properly handle it at conferences and with the hotels.

“All Internet and connectivity charges can and should be negotiated,” said Spellos. “You must understand what you need to use and how to get that information. That’s the core of what I am going to talk about.”

Spellos said that one of the biggest goofs meeting planners make with technology at meetings and conferences is “not being aware of what you need until a few days prior to the meeting.” That means you’ll pay a premium to get what you need at the last minute.

He emphasized that the meetings industry must keep pace with technology or be left in the dust.

“Like most industries, we’re behind the curve,” he said. “There’s a lot of awareness still needed.”

Spellos doesn’t imply that every technology is for every group but suggests that each planner and supplier use technologies that can impact their conferences and how they further communications, marketing or a mission.

As a college professor, Spellos teaches many nontraditional students who want to learn new skills for their careers, but he also engages with young students, many of whom already understand new technologies.

“It’s a lot easier for millennials to adapt to technology because they’ve grown up with it,” he said. “But boomers and some Generation Xers have trouble adapting. There’s a struggle to learn it.”

The rapid pace of technological change requires professionals to make a point of staying abreast of new trends, Spellos said.

“It’s always moving forward. If you think you know it, you’re showing that you’re pretty clueless about it. Know that things change every day,” he said.

Spellos encourages meeting planners and travel industry representatives to travel to Little Rock for the SMM conference to hear his messages. “If you’ve struggled with technology, it would make sense to come and learn the dialogue and terms you need to know.”

Spellos has another passion connected to the events industry: going green and helping the needy. He strongly supports Rock and Wrap It Up, a nonprofit organization that encourages the hospitality industry, touring bands, educational institutions, professional sports teams, hospitals and television/film shoots to donate leftover food from their events to feed the hungry. The organization claims to have recovered more than 1 billion meals since its inception in 1991.


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