Friday, March 29, 2013

Random Acts of Flowers

Ever feel bad letting hundreds of blooms go to waste after a successful corporate event?  Some companies forego floral centerpieces altogether because of the excessive waste they produce after providing décor for only a few hours.  Now, there’s a solution!

Charities are sprouting up all over the country to pickup left-over arrangements and donate them to people that need a little extra cheer like nursing home and hospital patients, foster kids and veterans.
Research shows that there is a connection between mental and physical health and perennials.  Studies have shown that people who see flowers or plants in the morning have an increased level of energy throughout the day.  A positive attitude speeds up healing time and reduces pain, anxiety and fatigue associated with illness, stress and depression. 

Random Acts of Flowers serves the entire state of Tennessee, but chances are no matter where your next event is being held, there is a charitable organization willing to pick up your arrangements and spread the joy to someone that needs it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Planning Abroad

International meetings have an indisputable allure, as the thought of taking a meeting abroad immediately heightens its prestige and appeal. After all, nobody is going to complain about attending a meeting in Paris. However, for a meeting planner there is much more than meets the eye when putting together a successful international meeting. As globalization increases, understanding the caveats and additional logistics of planning a meeting abroad is crucial. If you have never done so, read on for a few tried-and-true tips to get you started.

Establish trusted vendors. Utilize your relationships with reputable hotels that have global reach.  Although there are differences in each country, hotel companies have certain principles and standards across the globe. It becomes much easier to manage vendors abroad when you have contacts both here and elsewhere that you can rely on.

Trim your budget accordingly. To justify the expense of international travel, corners must be cut where they may not be otherwise. Hosted events are the easiest thing to budget less for in these cases. There is so much to see and do in a new place, that giving attendees time to explore and try places for themselves can easily take the place of hosted dinners or teambuilding.

Invest in emergency medical insurance.  It is something no meeting planner wants to think about, but should the worst happen emergency insurance will secure healthcare at a top facility, or provide evacuation back to a hospital in the United States. At the very least, it will provide significant peace of mind for the program and its attendees.

Attend industry events in the US. As the international meetings market continues to expand, there are more and more resources available in the States to learn about international destinations. Be proactive and seek these opportunities to educate yourself about the pros and cons of different locations. When the discussion arises, you will be ready with ideas and knowledge.

Bon voyage!

Sources: Meeting Sites Pro, Inc.; Smart Meetings Magazine

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Frugal Planning Tips

Meeting planning more often than not centers around saving money while adding value to an event.  When you are looking to create memorable experiences for attendees on a budget, there are so many creative ways this can be done. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

While planning F&B…

Try a three-drink bar menu. A fair compromise between an open bar and a cash bar, this allows the option of beer, wine, and a signature drink. The signature drink will spark conversation and add a customized twist to the event.

Opt out of the dessert menu. Instead, for casual receptions try a candy buffet. Ask the hotel to provide different vases and glass containers, and buy the candy wholesale in bulk.

 Look local. Find a local or seasonal wine to serve. This will allow you to shop around for a good value while still serving a memorable product.

While designing décor…

Less flowers, more vase. Fill vases with water or find intricate but inexpensively designed vases, and include just a few blooms in each. Different combinations will add combinations of elegance and simplicity without the expense of a fresh flower bouquet on each table.

Use your AV team. Uplighting and company gobos are great and cost-effective alternatives to props, drapery, and other space décor. Warm colors and themed lighting can save your budget while creating an intimate space.

Speaking of AV…

Be resourceful. Ask your hotel if there are similar events happening in the space directly before yours. If you can coordinate vendors and re-use some of the same lighting, décor or AV set up, you will save tons in labor and shipping.

Thanks to our friends at M&C Magazine for these tips!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Irish Pride

While we’re all Irish on St. Patty’s Day (and proud of it too!), the real Irish have a lot to be proud of: dramatic green cliffs, lively pubs, and rich history. USA Today posted a list of 9 hotels that will inspire your next trip or at least get you in the St. Patty’s Day spirit.

Ballynahinch Castle - Connemara

The Merrion Hotel - Dublin

Bushmills Inn - Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Monday, March 11, 2013

Coping with Multi-Tasking Attendees

Technology has evolved at such a rapid rate that people now have the world at their fingertips, even while sitting in a meeting. With such easy accessibility to the news, email, phone calls, and a plethora of apps, it is almost second nature to try and multitask.  As companies continue to be more economical and efficient with their meetings, this issue has been brought to the forefront of meeting planning obstacles.

While many companies want to encourage their team to utilize technology and increase productivity, there is a fine line between cloud-sharing and cat video-sharing. Well, maybe it’s not such a fine line. But it does present the question of how to capture audience attention without completely banning phones in a meeting room.

Here are some smart tips to keep your attendees positively engaged:

Foster a culture within the company of efficiency. If employees are used to focusing on a task from start to finish, you can use this to your advantage in a meeting. Clearly communicate objectives, agendas and goals so your attendees work through a meeting as though it were an assignment.

·         Use small teams to create a sense of individual accountability.

·         Be as interactive as possible to keep things interesting. In group activities, switch activities and move groups around frequently to keep attendees engaged. 

·         Give adequate breaks for your attendees to check their e-mail or make a phone call. Or, offer the option of going outside if they absolutely cannot wait until after a meeting. This minor consequence will drastically diminish phone usage, as an attendee will exit the meeting significantly fewer times than they would check their devices inside a meeting.

·          Be selective in your attendee list. Invite people who are absolutely necessary to the discussion. As a result you will have an environment full of people who are interested and involved in the meeting topic, and you will avoid burning out employees on meetings that are irrelevant to them.

·          Walk the room, and make discussion an expectation of the meeting. Addressing people and making your presence known is a way to put attendees on alert without making them feel like they’ve been put on the spot.

·         Embrace technology. Use audience participation apps to increase interaction and guide the agenda of the meeting.

These are just some great ideas to create focus in a meeting while maintaining an upbeat atmosphere for everyone involved.
Thanks to M&C for this article. Click here for more info and tips!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hotel Feature: The Broadmoor

Within the picturesque mountains, streams and canyons lays The Broadmoor- a distinctive Colorado Springs Hotel that embodies the spirit of the West and inspires the adventurer within.  But what sets this hotel apart from every other hotel in the world?  It has claimed the five star status for 53 consecutive years, a new record.  This year, Forbes Travel also awarded the hotel’s spa and fine-dining restaurant, The Penrose Room, five stars making the hotel a “triple crown” winner.

Founder Spencer Penrose and his wife Julia purchased what was previously The Broadmoor Casino and Hotel in 1916 and set out to create the most beautiful resort in the world, modeled after the opulence and elegance they had experienced in Europe and the Orient. Since opening in 1918, The Broadmoor has offered impeccable service and distinctive amenities. 

Today, the resort offers a multitude of dining and retail options in addition to the award-winning spa, 54 holes of championship golf, 6 tennis courts, indoor/outdoor pools, paddle boats, horseback riding, fitness classes, guided mountain hikes, and more.

Monday, March 4, 2013

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Made official by the Guinness Book of World Records, JW Marriott has opened up the tallest hotel in the world in Dubai. Standing at 72 stories and 1,164 feet, this marks the introduction of the JW Marriott Marquis brand outside of North America. JW Marriott Marquis is an iconic and exclusive line in the company’s portfolio.

The property is hoping to tap into meetings & conventions industry with its capacity for over 1,000 people in terms of meeting, sleeping, and dining facilities. This is something that has been lacking in the city of Dubai, and has kept it from being competitive in the MICE market.

The Marquis Dubai has also changed the nightlife scene in Dubai with the addition of the hotel’s 9 different restaurants and 5 bars, and dining themes ranging from Thai to Japanese to International cuisine. Explore any of these, including two on the 71st and 72nd floors that offer an unprecedented 
view of the city.

Learn more about this stunning hotel or book your stay here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Time to Visit Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Mexico’s Riviera Maya is a beautiful stretch of Caribbean coastline that extends along the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Morelos to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve ( The Riviera Maya coastline is a modern tourist corridor offering the very best of high-end luxury resorts, fine dining and nightlife, spa retreats, shopping, and meeting destinations.

Among the resorts welcoming meetings and incentives is the expansive Iberostar Playa Paraiso complex offering five hotels. The Grand Hotel Paraiso offers 310 rooms and 6 large conference rooms with a capacity of up to 1,200 people. The upscale 432 room Paraiso Maya offers over 3,000 square meters of meeting space. Paraiso Lindo offers 446 rooms for your guests along with over 3,000 square meters of meeting room space. The family oriented 424 room Paraiso Beach will be more than glad to have you and your families arrive while accommodating to your group with 8 meeting rooms combining for over 15,000 square feet. Last but not least, the Paraiso del Mar offers your group 388 rooms and 7 meeting rooms.

Do not wait any longer!! Book your next meeting in the beautiful Riviera Maya and enjoy the beaches, sun, and culture that is waiting for you.

For more information visit:
Tags: Mexico, Riviera Maya, Beaches, Meetings and Conventions, International Meetings, Travel