Did anyone go to IMSC in Phoenix?

I was about to enter a report when I saw this banner message and noticed that it is this weekend.

"Hello! We are a proud sponsor of the upcoming IMSC Mystery Shopping Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Members of our team will be there to share opportunities with The Source and would love to meet you in person. The conference dates are October 4th and 5th, 2019."

At least it is only 95 degrees this weekend, which is 15 degrees cooler than when I was there this year.

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I am going to the one in Atlanta in the spring. Did not go to Phoenix.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I have family there. I sometimes visit...in December! I know better than to go earlier than November. I don't know how they can stand living there with the heat and poor air quality.

I often wonder at the IMSCs choices of cities during certain times of the year.
I was at the IMSC conference in Phoenix this weekend, and thought it was fantastic. Special thanks to IMSC Pam for the special door prize giveaway yesterday evening with playing the "Dollar Game."

There is video training at the host hotel with The Shadow Agency from 9 AM-5 PM for those that are still in town.
@Eric in Tampa wrote:

I was at the IMSC conference in Phoenix this weekend, and thought it was fantastic. Special thanks to IMSC Pam for the special door prize giveaway yesterday evening with playing the "Dollar Game."
Can you give any more details than that?

How many shoppers?
Which MSC's besides The Source were there? Did you meet anyone from The Source?
Anything else?
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I have family there. I sometimes visit...in December! I know better than to go earlier than November. I don't know how they can stand living there with the heat and poor air quality.

I often wonder at the IMSCs choices of cities during certain times of the year.

Pam lives in AZ, that's why.
Phoenix (and its region) houses many cultural and historical references. If I could stand the heat, I would love to add days and turn my visit into a history lesson. But the heat there feels like nine million degrees to me and I stay away from that, This is just my own little thing.

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. - Stanley Horowitz


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2019 03:55PM by Shop-et-al.
But they call Atlanta HOTlanta for a reason, even in late April to May it's pretty warm there, and they have done Atlanta in May before. New Orleans in July one year, Chicago in March another (it was chilly I am sure, especially with the wind coming off the lake). My point is that I am probably not the only person who factors comfortable weather conditions in a city where a conference is going to be held. When I travel, I want to do other things while in an area besides just a conference, so it is a tipping point when making a decision to attend. They might get more people to go if they chose locations based on weather as well as other factors. The IMSC is not the only one that makes poor choices on where to hold the conferences, MSPA did a Shopperfest in Orlando in July one year, ridiculous. Break a sweat walking 10 feet. Not my cup of tea.
@SoCalMama wrote:

@JASFLALMT wrote:

I have family there. I sometimes visit...in December! I know better than to go earlier than November. I don't know how they can stand living there with the heat and poor air quality.

I often wonder at the IMSCs choices of cities during certain times of the year.

Pam lives in AZ, that's why.

They have conferences in other major cities too so that makes no sense about it being where they live. I am planning on attending the one in Atlanta since so many here have said they are going.

I see the mspa is holding one in AZ in June.
See you in Atlanta.

BTW, I have been to at least 10 IMSC conferences and seldom leave the hotel/ Why? Because I can enjoy every waking hour interacting with fellow shoppers, MSC schedulers, editors and managers, not to mentions old friends. When I do leave the hotel is is usually with fellow MSers to dine or attend a nearby attraction.

Heads-up, Atlanta-bound shoppers: Although I did not go along, a bunch of MSers spent a very late evening at a place near that hotel that apparently had awesome music and dancing.

In Chicago, we had drizzle, mist and cool, but not cold temps. It was an awesome conference and I spent a ton of time with Eric from Tampa, a couple of great video schedulers, and LisaStL (who brought a car-load of wine!).

I do not go to tour; I go for the people adventure!

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
For those that mentioned they are perturbed by the heat, the IMSC conference wasn't held outside. The hotel ballroom + 2nd floor meeting space for presenters was probably between 70-72 degrees. While taking someone to Sky Harbor this morning at 6:30 AM, it was probably 60 degrees. That's actually kind of cold, and my body was in a sort of shock. During the day (of course), it got up to the mid-90s. It was nowhere near the 122 degree heat that I've been accustomed to during the summer.

Regarding the number of shoppers, I'd probably say that there were between 100-125 people that were consistently within the 1st and 2nd floor rooms. I know this for a fact because Pam and another lady counted off people that were seated as part of the door prize giveaway last night during "The Dollar Game."

I would estimate that there were between 13-15 different sponsors + several MSC owners within the general crowd. One owner (Debbie Hart of The Hart Experience) sat directly behind me, which was funny since we had corresponded with each other via email only the week before. MSCs such as Shadow Agency, Clear Evaluations, Trendsource (now called The Source), A Closer Look, Servimer, Melinda Brody & Co (RIP to the founder), Preferred Investigation, SQM, Sales Research Group, Proliance, and Business Observations were among those that were well represented. There were others there, yet I didn't get the opportunity to meet them due to time + other shoppers that they were tending to.

Yet aside from all of that, there was a bevy of experienced shoppers that were very open to shared their experiences + knowledge openly. There were several shopper presentations that I really enjoyed (Pat T. & Liz G's were really memorable), which I think made a major difference. For those that have attended any mystery shopping conference in the past, this may possibly be the most intangible benefit of all (I still use a tip from Walesmaven after meeting her 7 years ago).
Well of course it wasn't outside. That would never have occurred to me. It's not just the 95 degree temperature that would make that miserable and impossible, but as I wrote in my post above, the air quality in Phoenix is horrible.

My point was that I (and I am sure there are others like me), don't travel across the country for a conference and then go nowhere else outside of the hotel. If I am traveling 500-1000 miles, I will be flying, and it's not going to be a single purpose visit. I want to go do and see other things while I am there. And Phoenix in 95 degree weather is not my idea of a good time. I grew up in Florida and one thing I don't miss (besides the bugs) is the heat. But I love going to warm places in the winter. I have been to an IMSC conference in Indiana (I think it was late spring) and I enjoyed it very much.

Again, my point was that picking a location with comfortable weather in mind might be a tipping point for other shoppers besides me if the hosts of the conferences would like a larger turnout.
I know from that heat. Many lifetimes ago, I lived near Phoenix and visited it occasionally. Even the bits of time between places is too much for me! But no one should plan anything around me and my preferences. The people who are determined to attend, for whatever reasons, will do so. This is exactly how it should be, imho.

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. - Stanley Horowitz
Well JAS, I digress. I lot of people anywhere would prefer comfortable weather, yet let's be realistic. Conference locations are chosen based on a cost-basis that regards the not just the logistics in shopper + MSC sponsor travel, but also on venue availability at a reasonable price. If the IMSC or any MSC-based organization would want to have comfortable weather for everyone, they would have events in Hawaii or the Caribbean. Of course, pricing for the aforementioned are not reasonable to some.

In the past, the IMSC had its fall conference in Las Vegas, NV until this year. Nevada does get hot, yet its not atrocious. The same may be said about Phoenix. Over the last three days, I've yet to hear one person complain about the weather. In my opinion, I think that it was near-perfect, yet I've also had issues with allergies thus far. But that's just me.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind if any MSC-related event return here to Phoenix.
I am being realistic; I never suggested Hawaii or the Caribbean. I think it's completely realistic that they could figure out a way to make it cost effective to have a conference in Atlanta or Phoenix when the weather was better.

And wales, I like the people adventure as well and during the conference I will be at the hotel-- but most of those people will only be there for 3-4 days, and then I will still have another 5 or more days without them to do other things.

@Eric in Tampa wrote:

Well JAS, I digress. I lot of people anywhere would prefer comfortable weather, yet let's be realistic. Conference locations are chosen based on a cost-basis that regards the not just the logistics in shopper + MSC sponsor travel, but also on venue availability at a reasonable price. If the IMSC or any MSC-based organization would want to have comfortable weather for everyone, they would have events in Hawaii or the Caribbean. Of course, pricing for the aforementioned are not reasonable to some.

In the past, the IMSC had its fall conference in Las Vegas, NV until this year. Nevada does get hot, yet its not atrocious. The same may be said about Phoenix. Over the last three days, I've yet to hear one person complain about the weather. In my opinion, I think that it was near-perfect, yet I've also had issues with allergies thus far. But that's just me.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind if any MSC-related event return here to Phoenix.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I am being realistic; I never suggested Hawaii or the Caribbean.

Count me as being more inclined to attend if it was held in Hawaii....
Deleted by me, not a mod, lol.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/2019 12:02PM by walesmaven.
No IMSC for me, I did the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and White Sands.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@Eric in Tampa wrote:

(I still use a tip from Walesmaven after meeting her 7 years ago).

Me too!! It was so simple. I was a fairly new shopper and she was holding a session mystery shopping 101.
One of the participant questions was how do you remember their (the employee) exact greetings. Her advice, again so simple, is to repeat the exact same greeting back to the employee. if they say 'hello' you say 'hello'. I thought it was brilliant!
Thank you both. I still use a lot of my so-called dumb tricks. If you find a way to improve, just let me know and I will be glad to use that. AND I will add it to my next session of MS 101.

It is the shopper question periods where I learned so much of what I have to pass on to other. The folks leading workshops do not always know in advance just what it is that shoppers need to know. When I took the in-person MSPA Gold workshop in 2005, it was a real eye opener that everyone seemed to agree that we learned more from shopper questions, and the suggestions from other shoppers as to how to tackle those issues in the field, than we learned from 90% of the presenters. It's all well and good to hear from a scheduler or an MSC project manager or owner, that we "really" have to learn how to remember exact greetings, and another to hear from shoppers just how to make that easier to do! 99% of what I talk about in my workshops is stuff that I learned from other shoppers. So, I am just paying it forward. And, THAT is the reason that I (and many others) think that on-line, read-and-take-test certifications aren't worth much.

I think you have helped me decide what workshop to do at Atlanta IMSC in the spring.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I would guess that the dates are chosen specifically because they are in the less-desirable "off season" so the hotel rates are less than they would be during better weather.
I am a local yocal from Phoenix, and I attended. The conference was quite good IMO, but it was my first. I was so impressed with the quality of attendees as well as presenters. The weather was pretty darn good. I usually warn people that the heat doesn't really break until Oct 15. Because it is dry, anything below 105 degrees in Phoenix is nice, especially if there is a breeze. All the presenters were quite good. The most useful for me was Patricia's presentation on Route Shopping (I am really motivated now and hope I can find a partner as it becomes much more cost effective when you share expenses), and the Video Training presented by Russell from The Shadow Agency. He introduced a Mystery Media Pro Shopping Phone for $95 which included features like a self-correcting camera which makes all videos and pics perfectly "straight", and will record calls. As he described it, it is "another tool", a back up to a PV500 or your regular video camera in many instances. While I have video shopped for a few years, I picked up button camera tricks. Some ladies had great solutions to the deadly "ceiling shots" when ladies use button down shirts.
Servimer was there! It was absolutely wonderful meeting several Servimer shoppers for the first time, reconnecting with many others, and making the acquaintance of dozens whom I look forward to working with soon! I would highly recommend future IMSC conferences to any shopper who wants to take a giant leap forward in growing their client base and to connect with, laugh with, share with, and learn from other highly committed participants in this otherwise isolating industry.

Serving as liaison between Servimer and the larger mystery shopping community. (Servimer.shopmetrics.com)
I never said that you did suggest the Caribbean or Hawaii. Please re-read the sentence that I posted.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

I am being realistic; I never suggested Hawaii or the Caribbean. I think it's completely realistic that they could figure out a way to make it cost effective to have a conference in Atlanta or Phoenix when the weather was better.

And wales, I like the people adventure as well and during the conference I will be at the hotel-- but most of those people will only be there for 3-4 days, and then I will still have another 5 or more days without them to do other things.

@Eric in Tampa wrote:

Well JAS, I digress. I lot of people anywhere would prefer comfortable weather, yet let's be realistic. Conference locations are chosen based on a cost-basis that regards the not just the logistics in shopper + MSC sponsor travel, but also on venue availability at a reasonable price. If the IMSC or any MSC-based organization would want to have comfortable weather for everyone, they would have events in Hawaii or the Caribbean. Of course, pricing for the aforementioned are not reasonable to some.

In the past, the IMSC had its fall conference in Las Vegas, NV until this year. Nevada does get hot, yet its not atrocious. The same may be said about Phoenix. Over the last three days, I've yet to hear one person complain about the weather. In my opinion, I think that it was near-perfect, yet I've also had issues with allergies thus far. But that's just me.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind if any MSC-related event return here to Phoenix.
Yeah, Eric, and I still think they could get a bigger draw if they chose a better city/region and/or with better climates. There are plenty of us that choose not to go because of this, and they could charge more for setting the venue in better locations and/or time of year. I would pay more to be comfortable. Just sayin'. And I think I am not the only one.
Ain't that the truth!
I dated Candy.
She was a total fruit.
I guess those men will have to learn the hard way.
Well that's not a good analogy. Most people like both.

@bestofbothworlds wrote:

How is a "better location" determined? After all, one man's fruit is another man's candy ...
I was thinking the same thing as bestofbothworlds. How would any of these organizations choose the right location and the right weather for everyone or even the majority? JASFLALMT, what kind of weather do you like?
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