We admit it — SMASH in Vegas? We were skeptical. After three years of attending SMASH in Chicago and enjoying the intimate, familiar surroundings we wondered how the conference would translate. It turns out that our skepticism was unwarranted and SMASH 2019 was a real hit. Here are our top takeaways… or what we like to think of as “what didn’t stay in Vegas.”

1. The new location didn’t change the fact that SMASH remains our favorite meeting of the year. Providers come to learn from Solution Partners, and vice versa. It’s a forum that comfortably encourages authentic dialogue. 

2. We still see providers wanting to know “what does good look like?”. It’s natural to want to know how your performance stacks up against your peers, and how you’re similar or different. We wondered if there’s a way to encourage conversations where providers are encouraged to share real numbers (budget! analytics!) in a structured and respectful way, or if that’s best left to after-hours meet-ups. That’s led us to take a deep dive into our own analytics. Starting in 2020 we’ll be publishing a series of articles that share what we’ve found and help establish benchmarks.

3. The new venue was a nice change. Tough to say whether it was an unequivocal improvement, but the weather and amenities were pretty great and you could do a lot without leaving the main campus. (Roulette anyone?)

4. Finally, back to that “authentic dialogue” we mentioned above. One of the gratifying things about this industry is everyone’s willingness to share and learn from one another. We saw this borne out in real time when we spontaneously invited a group of providers (both old and new friends!) to dinner on our last night. They dove into details before the first round of drinks hit the table, eager to compare notes and ideas. That’s a big win in our book… and has us looking forward to SMASH 2020 already!