• Expert Advice: Summer Convention Survival Guide

    POSTED July 21, 2016

    JW Marriott Chicago Director of Event Planning Vik Khokhar

    <p>JW Marriott Chicago Director of Event Planning Vik Khokhar</p>

Hello readers,

As the summer heats up, so does the biggest convention season of the year. With the Big 10 Conference, International Conference on High Energy Physics and the ISCEA Supply Chain Technology Conference and EXPO coming to town in the next few weeks alone, we went to a qualified source to get some usable tips on how to best manage schedules and enjoy time in your host city—whether that’s Chicago or elsewhere.

JW Marriott Chicago Director of Event Planning Vik Khokhar presents his five biggest tips to surviving the summer conference season:

1. Make time to experience the city outside of the convention. Think about having a “convention buddy” (similar to a workout buddy). This person can help to motivate you to explore, rather than just going back to the hotel after a day of meetings, and can be a good companion, too.

2. Manage your time wisely while at a conference. So much time is spent on education while networking is a key opportunity to making the most of your experience. If you are shy about reaching out to people, find a partner who is extrovert and social. They can help you network and ensure you are meeting the right people.

3. Secure a hotel with a convenient location. One that is close to McCormick Place, or your conference center, and can provide easy transportation and accessibility to key sites is important.

4. Collect the guides. Find out if your hotel offers a weekly concierge guide to what’s happening in the city that will tell you about all the upcoming events, exhibitions to see, neighborhoods worth exploring and more.

5. Have reliable transportation. Take advantage of the organized shuttle services that are sponsored by convention and conference centers. Some even provide free tickets to trains and buses during convention dates.

Happy Planning!

Hello readers,

Need some creative meal ideas for your next meeting or event? Chef Tiffany, of St. Charles’ Pheasant Run Resort, is sharing some of her favorite recipes for summer—though these work just as well all year-round. Here we pick one that we think you’ll enjoy; find her full recipe deck here.

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Apricot Glaze (yield tw0 per person)



Hello readers,

Sandi Robinson strongly believes that meetings are not just about business but also an opportunity to create an inspiring experience. Having worked in the hospitality industry since she was 16 years old, Robinson knows that the people and ideas behind a meeting can make or break it—after all, a boring meeting can’t be blamed on the space or topic.


Security means different things to different people. For airport employees, it’s using metal detectors and bag searches. For data centers, it’s preventing cyber theft and hacking. For political figures and celebrities, it means hiring bodyguards and Secret Service. And for the average person, it can mean just about anything. 

Event planners in particular have to take all of these security measures and more into account because they are entrusted to keep every level of people, from your average Jane Doe to the President, safe and secure.