Archive - April 2010

1
Drill Baby, Drill – Hey Sarah, how’s that workin for ya
2
13 Event Industry Blogs and Sites you should check out
3
Meet the authors of Arizona’s Immigration Bill 1070
4
What everyone can learn from Langham Hotels
5
U.S. CVB At Least Two Years Away – Shame on them

Drill Baby, Drill – Hey Sarah, how’s that workin for ya

Oil_spill_bird To any in the meetings and events industry that actively supported offshore drilling, shame on you, this is what we get for supporting these activities. I say we because we are all responsible.

We are responsible because we support the politicians that want to drill, we do nothing to decrease our dependence on oil and we are responsible because we are not vocal. It is our doing.

Now, the lesson may be too late. We have undermined our national security, we have undermined our environment and we have undermined our way of life because we are lazy and want to take the easy way out. 

Rather than trying to get out of the oil loop, we look for ways to make getting around the loop cheaper. Now, we may have to pay the price. How many in our industry will be out of work if this continues (not too mention all of the other industries that the Gulf Coast supports). 

So, we hope for the best and expect the worse because meetings and
conferences on the gulf coast may now be moving inland.

We should be moving away from oil and instead, we are drowning in it.

13 Event Industry Blogs and Sites you should check out

On purpose I only have a brief  description of each, you should take the time to visit them and decide for yourself if they are worthy of your attention. I would also love to get some additional sites, so feel free to leave a comment and tell me about some of the industry blogs that you visit:

Ready2Spark – Ideas for Meeting and Event Professionals

PCMA Convene – The magazine of PCMA (the Professional Convention Management Assoc.)

Pathable – Social Media stuff for the Event Industry

Integress – A meeting and event company blog

A Fork in the Road – A blog for the face to face meetings industry

McCurry’s Corner – Perspectives on the meetings and events business

Grosh Backdrop and Drapery Blog – Meeting industry blog

Face2Face – The blog of MeetingsNet

Meetings Industry Blog – By Christian Frei.

Midcourse Corrections – It’s Jeff Hurt, enough said

Team Building Blog – A blog about Team Building

The Event Enthusiast – I believe this is Elite Meetings

Plan Your Meetings – The blog of Plan Your Meetings, helping you plan better meetings

 

Meet the authors of Arizona’s Immigration Bill 1070

This video segment gives a pretty thorough look at the folks who brought us Arizona's contentious immigration bill. Regardless of your politics, it is worth a watch as the subject matter in the story is fact and a matter of public record. There are also pictures which are always compelling.

One must ask, are these the type of people that should be getting support from anyone??

This is only going to heat up in the meetings and events industry over the coming weeks as meeting and event planners grapple with the calls for boycott of Arizona. That being said, before you opt for or against the boycott, you owe it to yourself to become educated on the matter. A boycott will most certainly hurt the state of Arizona, it will also hurt the very people who will be affected by this new law. 

As I educate myself, I will try and pass along the information that I find.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What everyone can learn from Langham Hotels

It is really refreshing to go to an industry event that
doesn’t suck. Most do. There are many reasons why, but I will start with this…..most
are no fun, uninformative and a waste of time (check out this post about a bad
one that I attended
).

 

Most industry events go for style over substance, trying
to impress the attendees with their g-wiz décor, food that someone thinks is
great and bags of swag that end up in the garbage. Meeting and event planners
may have appeared to have a good time, but it is usually more a case of getting
to talk to their friends and booze. Most events miss the mark which is to learn
about a destination or property. Unfortunately, this is not the planners fault.

 

Let’s get to the flip side though; that is why I am
writing here today and why I hope someone is actually reading this.

 

Last night I attended an event held by Langham Hotels. I
have to admit, I was kind of dreading it, I really was, but I had met with Ron Dreyer,
my Langham rep here in Chicago about a year ago and he was a great guy so I
figured why not. I did like our meeting, I really enjoyed having lunch with him
and we had not had a chance to speak in a while.

 

The first thing that hit me upon arrival is that in the
Langham family, Ron is not unique. This is not a dig at Ron; it is the highest
form of compliment. You see, Langham seems to hire all “great guys” (or girls
as the case may be). I was not in the door 10 seconds and I had met two other
Langham reps in a casual, non-forced way. They introduced themselves and
inquired about me….. They did not start the conversation by telling me about their
property. A nice touch, but what was remarkable is that this is not something
they trained their reps to do; they hire people that are naturally like this. I
started to perk up a little.

 

The second thing that hit me was the location. North
Suburban Lake Forest. Not a likely choice, but OK, whatever, it wasn’t my nickel.
For those not from the Chicago area, this is kinda out of the way, but close enough
that I said “what the heck”. In LA it would be like holding the event in
Newport Beach or if you are from Boston it would be like having it in
Providence. Close enough and not too far.

 

Now, this may not seem like a big deal until you realize
that this was the second event of the day for them. They were going to the
planners, where they work. They hit west suburban Oak Brook s for lunch, the
north suburbs for evening and will be hitting Chicago today about the time that
this hits the internet. I really started to pay attention at this point; I was
already thinking that this could be a little different than other industry
events.

 

The location itself was really unremarkable and again,
this is a compliment, not a dig. The event had good food at a very nice restaurant,
limited décor, plenty of drinks and the added bonus of valet parking. It was
exactly what an event of this type needs because the venue was not the
attraction, Langham Hotels was the attraction. They used a restaurant that has better
than good food and is nice enough to get people there.

 

Moving on into the evening, we enjoyed some nice conversation
that was followed by a great presentation about Langham and their properties.
Clear, concise and NOT out of a can. It was scheduled, rest assured, but not
delivered. The presentation was not rehearsed and included ad-libs by
individual hotel reps commenting and answering questions from the attendees
about their individual properties. During the presentation I actually found
myself sharing a laugh or two with my colleague and with other attendees. Wow,
now I was really starting to think that this might be something that raised the
bar.

 

Moving further into the evening, they had a couple of
nice give-aways and more conversation. As with all events, people tended to
gather into the groups of people that they know. Humans can act like herd
animals. I chatted with a couple of people that I know from SITE International,
others with their colleagues and industry friends. What was great was that the
Langham Reps made sure to keep moving. 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there so that
all of us in attendance got to meet all of their people. Upon learning that we
do not have any upcoming programs in their area, they did not bolt for the next
group, they started asking where we did have programs, did we see an uptick in
the economy, did I have any kids. Again, it was all about me, not them..  

 

Cheers Langham, you got it right, you took the amazingly
ordinary and downright dreadful  and made
it not only tolerable, but enjoyable. You may not get a program from me tomorrow,
or even next month, but it does not matter and you know it, in fact, you
embraced it. By embracing it, you have created another brand ambassador that
will talk about you in much the same way that you and your people listened
about me. I am now your sales department.

 

What does this mean? It means that although I don’t have
a program that fits your properties, you may get a call from someone that I talk
to. In fact, if someone says I am looking for a place near LA to hold a
conference, I am now educated enough to say “you should check out the Pasadena
Langham”.

 

 So, what is the
moral of the story? The moral of the story is that Langham gets it. They get
that they have a remarkable product, all 4 and 5 star, more 5 than 4, they are
unpretentious about this fact which makes them approachable and are so sure of
it that they can spend more time learning about me than trying to convince me
that they are great. That is the true essence of sales.

 

I do not work for Langham, I have never even used a
Langham for a program, but rest assured, I will be thinking Langham the next
time a client has a program that falls in one of their cities. I will go forth
and spread the word and it was not by accident, Langham made this happen
through conscious choice.

The choice Langham made was easy. What is so astonishing
is that most companies in our industry have forgotten the basic choices
required to be extraordinary.  Langham
has chosen to hire the right people, they have chosen to host their events
where it is convenient for me and they have chosen to listen to what I have to
say in an honest and genuine way rather than speak at me.

 

This should give other hotel companies in our industry
pause, because if you have not heard of Langham, you will. If Langham continues
to make wise choices, they will be knocking on your door.

A good time that educates me. Isn’t that what industry
events are supposed to be about?

Just a thought.

U.S. CVB At Least Two Years Away – Shame on them

U.S. CVB At Least Two Years AwayApril 23, 2010 By Jay BoehmerSet into law by the stroke of President Barack Obama's pen in March, the Travel Promotion Act will begin to take shape in the coming months with the establishment of a national convention and visitors bureau and the enactment of that entity's primary funding mechanism, a new fee on some inbound visitors. However, that new visitors bureau, dubbed the Corporation for Travel Promotion, is unlikely to be a fully operating concern for at least two years, according to rollout estimates.According to a "best-case" timeline anticipated by the U.S. Travel Association—one of the Travel Promotion Act's chief cheerleaders and consultant to the government on the project—the first step is the appointment of the Corporation for Travel Promotion's board of directors, a task expected to take "several months" from the March 4 passage date. Appointed by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the board will comprise executives representing seven travel industry sectors, from hotels and aviation to attractions and restaurants.The Corporation for Travel Promotion's mission is to promote the United States to "travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders" through advertising, outreach and education.To fund the startup, the Corporation for Travel Promotion will gain $10 million in its first year through a new fee on inbound travelers from visa-waiver countries. U.S. Travel expects fee collection to go live within eight to 12 months.The Department of Homeland Security has a new mechanism to collect the $10 from some overseas visitors through its Electronic System for Travel Authorization, a system mandated this year for U.S.-bound travelers from visa-waiver countries to submit biographic data. Use of that system now is free, but as soon as this year, some of those inbound travelers could be subject to the new fee "once every two years," the U.S. Travel Association said.Though half of the program's funds would come from that new visitor fee, the Corporation for Travel Promotion also would rely on private industry donations and partnerships, according to the act signed by Obama."Private sector companies and organizations that would benefit from increased international travel will be asked to make in-kind or cash contributions to the Corporation for Travel Promotion," U.S. Travel said, noting those contributions would be voluntary.Commencing in the second year of the program, every voluntary dollar donated will be matched two-for-one from funds collected through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, though the bill caps at $100 million annually the amount funded from the foreign traveler fee. However, effective for the program's third year and beyond, the government will match all voluntary contributions one-for-one, using funds collected through ESTA.Originally published April 12, 2010

via www.mimegasite.com

Two years away??

Once the decision has been made to move forward on this, it should be immediate, start tomorrow if you will. I can see no way that this should take two years to implement.

In fact, I know some really good CVB folks that could have this thing up and running in about a month…. and be successful. They are people that understand that they are marketing a destination, not building a space shuttle.

They could also do it for about 1/3 of the $10m budget this plan calls for.

U.S. destinations, hotels and service providers are not looking for marketing help two years from now, they are looking for help tomorrow. Already mistakes are being made if no one can see this.

Two years from now is too little, too late.

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