Next year is the 25th anniversary of the CNS Partnership Conference, but CNS had to do something it has never done in its almost quarter century of existence: Change the date.
The past 24 conferences have been held during the first week of May, CNS President Warren Jones says. But the 2015 conference was changed to April 19-21.
“Due to a scheduling conflict we did not know of, we had to change at the last minute,” Jones says.
Air Cargo Europe historically takes place in June, but in 2015, it will be held May 5-8 – the same week in May that CNS was going to be held.
Jones (pictured right) says CNS found out about the scheduling conflict at the 2014 CNS Partnership Conference in San Antonio, Texas. An airline executive told CNS about the conflict.
Jones says one of the reasons for CNS’ popularity is that small- and medium-sized forwarders can talk to airlines.
“If I can’t bring the airlines to the conference because they have other commitments, you make changes,” he says. “Now we’ll be more vigilant in moving forward in confirming our dates up.”
The 2015 CNS Partnership Conference was scheduled to take place in Nashville, but it had to move because of lack of availability in the country music capital. The event will now be at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.
“It offers a lot of things that the membership wants,” such as outdoor activities, Jones says.
In order to find a city to hold the CNS Partnership Conference, CNS did a nationwide search and consulted with its advisory board, which is made up of airlines and forwarders in the U.S. Orlando was the answer.
“We decided we wanted a place we hadn’t been in awhile with easy [flight] connections,” Jones says. “It had everything we needed.”
He says the CNS Partnership Conference will be in Nashville in 2016. After that, CNS is looking at cities on the West Coast.
CNS must go through a long process to find a city for CNS every year. Factors include weather and availability of golf.
“There are some cities we’ve looked at, but there’s no golf nearby,” Jones says. “Our members like to take clients out to golf.”
As far as hotels go, CNS looks at amenities and restaurants, lounge space, a lower price point and food. When CNS staff do site visits to hotels and resorts, chefs prepare their typical conference fare for them.
Jones also says CNS looks for hotels that can “do different things,” such as casino night at the 2014 CNS Partnership Conference.
If a hotel has bad food or service, a past attendee may not want to return to the conference again, he says.
“There are a lot of conferences out there, so we need to make sure CNS stays ahead of the game,” Jones says. “Word of mouth. It’s very important to us…You’re there for business; you’re there to network. The last thing you want is bad service from the hotel.”