August 29, 2014

Overheard at ASAE in Nashville: ‘I really did flush the toilet’


MusicCityCenter2013 3 Overheard at ASAE in Nashville: ‘I really did flush the toilet’

Music City Center, Nashville

One of the recurring conversations during the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Nashville earlier this month was about the convention center bathrooms. More specifically, the slightly discolored water in the toilets.

Completed in 2013, the Music City Center is one of the greenest convention centers in the world. Besides being located downtown near the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Bridgestone Arena and Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the state-of-the-art convention center is LEED Gold certified.

Among the green features at the convention center is a 360,000-gallon rain-water collection tank, which provides water to more than 500 toilets and urinals. The collected water is also used for landscape irrigation. The rain-water collection system and low-flow and sensor-technology faucets help Music City Center reduce overall water usage by 40 percent.

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August 24, 2014

More Domestic Meetings Forecast for Industry

800px Kyoto International Conference Center   Annex Hall interior 300x225 More Domestic Meetings Forecast for Industry

Kyoto International Conference Center, Japan

More domestic meetings, shorter booking lead times, increased use of technology and continuing problems with compliance are among the worldwide trends being forecast for the meetings industry in a report released this month.

The report, the 2015 Global Travel Price Outlook, is a collaborative effort of Carlson Wagonlit Travel and the GBTA Foundation, the education and research component of the Global Business Travel Association. It focuses on what businesses can expect in 2015, and is designed to help their planning.

Part of the report focused specifically on the meetings industry. Besides the trends forecast above, the report predicted that:

* The cost per-day cost for an attendee will rise 8.5 percent in Latin America and 2.5 percent in both North America and the Asia-Pacific region, and decline by 5 percent in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

* Group size will increase by 3.5 percent in North America. 2.5 percent in Latin America and .75 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, and remain stable in the EMEA region.

* North America will see steadily improving economic conditions, resulting in more corporate confidence.

* The modest increases in per-attendee spending and group size in North America will be tempered by the strategic sourcing of the many North American-based organizations that implement a holistic approach to meetings management and drive significant savings accordingly.

* Companies in North America will focus on combining meetings and events with transient spending and on continuing to consolidate suppliers for greater negotiating leverage.

* Solid growth in the Asia-Pacific region should enable organizations to invest in meetings and events.

* Booking lead times will be particularly short in the EMEA region (two to three weeks out) and will likely fluctuate in a manner consistent with corporate earnings reports.

* Bookings for EMEA events will maintain a lead time of approximately nine months.

* Meetings management will continue to become more sophisticated in the Latin America region, with more interest in end-to-end management and some countries improving online registration tools.

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August 22, 2014

Cheers to Australia and Canada─the Best Places to Live!

7C44D52437ECCA37C6964CDE595A6224 300x199 Cheers to Australia and Canada─the Best Places to Live!

Melbourne: perfect.

Australia and Canada are such great places to live─and meet─that both countries are well represented in the most recent Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index that came out this week.

Our friends in the Asia Pacific actually landed four cities among the Top 10 and our neighbors to the north had three cities among the elite rankings, which measure living conditions in 140 countries. The five primary criteria by which the rankings are gauged are stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Melbourne
  2. Vienna
  3. Vancouver
  4. Toronto
  5. Adelaide
  6. Calgary
  7. Sydney
  8. Helsinki
  9. Perth
  10. Auckland

Melbourne was named the best city in the world to live in for the fourth straight year by achieving perfect scores of 100 on healthcare, education and infrastructure and a perfect 100 in the sub-category of sport. Chief Executive Officer of Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) Karen Bolinger said being named the World’s Most Liveable City four years in a row is a great achievement for the city recognized as the perfect place to live, work and do business.

“The World’s Most Liveable City award highlights that Melbourne is a unique, exciting and welcoming city and reinforces the city’s position as a leading destination for conferences and meetings,” Bolinger said. “The city has an outstanding track record of hosting some of the world’s largest and most prestigious international conferences and as a host city delivers a delegate experience based on ease, accessibility and convenience.”

I have had the good fortune to visit Melbourne, Sydney, Vienna and Vancouver. I plan to tour Calgary next month as part of a Smart Meetings trip for meeting professionals throughout Alberta, which will also include stops in Banff, Edmonton and Lake Louise.

My visit to Melbourne coincided with the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis championships held every January, and it’s easy to see why the first major of the year is so popular with pro players and fans alike. Melbourne is very easy to get around, has the scenic Yarra River that winds through the city and has great places for offsites, which are capable of prying even the most devoted tennis fans away from the arena to do a little sightseeing.

To read more about Melbourne and Sydney, please see the 2014 March issue of Smart Meetings magazine. Calgary and Alberta are actually featured in our August issue and Vienna is featured in our upcoming September issue.


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August 21, 2014

Five Tips to Get Attendees To Stay Until The End of Your Conference

4169489849 81c3279770 b 300x225 Five Tips to Get Attendees To Stay Until The End of Your Conference

You’d stay for the closing night party, wouldn’t you?
Photo: Bill McIntyre, Flickr Commons

We’ve all been there.  You had 312 people sign up for your conference – more than ever.  Things started with a bang, your vendors were thrilled with floor traffic, and the hotel upgraded your room halfway through because of all the money they were making on drinks at the lobby bar.  The second day was good too, as was the third.  But when you woke up on the fourth and final day you realized that only 68 people were still powering through to the end, and most of them had only stayed because they were too hung-over to drive home until 2 p.m. anyway.  You apologized to your closing keynote speaker, who either understood completely or (if he was Scott Jenson) shouted about how important he thought he was and then stormed off.

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August 18, 2014

Guadalajara Oozes with Mexican Tradition

800px Catedral de Guadalajara 2 3 300x225 Guadalajara Oozes with Mexican Tradition

Catedral de Guadalajara

Guadalajara is so saturated in Mexican tradition that it often is called the “most Mexican of all of Mexico’s cities.” It’s not nearly as large or busy as Mexico City, but offers many of the same types of attractions, but on a smaller scale and often with easier accessibility.

  • Situated at the east end of Plaza Tapatia is one of Guadalajara’s architectural gems, Instituto Cultural de Cabanas (Cabanas Cultural Institute). Founded by Bishop don Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabanas and designed by Spanish architect Manuel Tolsa, the building was constructed  from 1805 to 1810 as an orphanage and home for people with disabilities, and remained so for 150 years, housing up to 500 children. In 1938–39, Jose Clemente Orozco, one of the greatest artists of the Mexican muralist movement, created 57 magnificent murals in the Capilla Mayor at the center of the complex. The murals depict the archetypal struggle for freedom and are widely regarded as his finest works. Free tours of the institute in English and Spanish are available.
  • Catedral de Guadalajara (Guadalajara Cathedral), the city’s most beloved landmark, is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara and a minor basilica. The cathedral is built in the Renaissance style, with two neo-gothic towers. This ornate church, built from 1558 to 1618, has 11 richly decorated altars donated by Spain’s Fernando VII early in the 19th century. The interior also includes Gothic vaults and massive Tuscan-style gold-leaf pillars, and if a group’s timing is right, attendees will see light filter through stained glass renderings of the Last Supper and hear a working pipe organ rumble sweetly from the rafters.
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August 15, 2014

Integrating Gen Y into the Meetings Industry

Joe Martin Headshot 2 4 200x300 Integrating Gen Y into the Meetings Industry

Joe Martin

The MPI World Education Congress this month had dozens of captivating presentations, and one that stood out involved three young meeting professionals who participated in a panel about the generation gap in the meetings industry.

One of the panelists in the presentation, titled “Generation Next: Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace and at Meetings,” was Joe Martin, partner and conference director for BDI Events, a full-service events company based in Los Angeles. Martin has more than nine years professional experience in special-event planning and implementation for non-profits and the entertainment industry, and has served as a meeting planner for conferences ranging from 50–1,200 people.

Martin’s energy and enthusiasm buoyed much of the discussion, and his comments broadened the audience’s understanding of Gen Y meetings professionals such as himself. “When baby boomers arrive at their destination, they get on the phone and say, ‘Hi. I’m here.’ When we land, we send a text,” he said.

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August 15, 2014

Country and Convenient: That’s Nashville in a Nutshell

photo1 300x224 Country and Convenient: Thats Nashville in a Nutshell

For those holding meetings and events in Nashville, there’s no better combo than taking over Schermerhorn Symphony Center for a gala and having attendees stay at the Hilton Downtown Nashville or the Omni Nashville Hotel, which are both across the street from the grand live-music venue.

On Monday night during the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting & Exposition, Lady Antebellum took over the symphony center for the organization’s major fundraiser. In addition to the fabulous concert, which sold out, there were four levels of food stations and bars, allowing attendees to roam through the center’s expansive hallways, corridors and side rooms before the show began.

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August 13, 2014

Hyatt Regency DFW: Texas-Sized Value

Exterior night Hyatt Regency DFW: Texas Sized Value

Hyatt Regency DFW

Sponsored by Hyatt Regency DFW

Land your next meeting at Hyatt Regency DFW and enjoy Texas meeting options as big as the Texas sky. A central location with a breadth of options for attendees, Dallas/Fort Worth is one of the foremost convention destinations in the world. The DFW area boasts an expansive array of entertainment and cultural experiences for everyone in your group. From teams in every major sport to world-class cultural options—including the Ross Perot Museum, Kimbell Museum of Art, and one-of-a-kind attractions like the Fort Worth Stockyards and Texas wine country—meetings in Dallas/Fort Worth are unforgettable. Visitors are often surprised at the overall grandeur of North Texas, with the never-ending sky and the authentic Texas hospitality. 

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August 08, 2014

Top o’ the Mornin’ to You!

photo2 225x300 Top o’ the Mornin’ to You!

Smart Meetings’ Marin Bright with husband Luc Troussieux

This summer, I had one of the best vacations I have ever taken to Ireland. I had won a six-night trip through a Meetings Professional International auction to the Four Seasons Dublin. But then I had the good fortune to be directed by Bernard O’Reilly from Joe O’Reilly Ireland Group, who suggested I expand my trip to Galway, Killarney and Cork.

Ireland is magical in so many more ways than I had expected. Among the surprises: I was delighted by all the medieval ruins scattered throughout the country. I was enchanted by the Viking Museum in Dublin, and fell in love with the taste of Guinness (I am not a beer drinker). I learned that driving on the wrong side of the road becomes second nature after four days. New and improved freeways makes it easy to zip about, and the country is even more green and beautiful than pictures can ever show.

Castles and sheep are everywhere – both are wonderful. Fish and beef on the menus are exceptional. The friendliest people really do live in Ireland. Best of all, there is a sweater weave for every clan—from Kennedy to O’Brien. (Almost 40 percent of Americans claim Irish ancestry, and it shows in all the familiar names.)

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August 07, 2014

Strike a Pose & Enter Our CVB Selfie Contest

sm selfie Strike a Pose & Enter Our CVB Selfie Contest

Can you take a better selfie than Smart Meetings‘ editorial leadership? Surely you can.

As part of Smart Meetings’ annual report on convention and visitors bureaus, we’re holding a Selfie Contest this year.

We’re looking for photos of CVB presidents or vice presidents taken by them at their favorite local landmarks. From theme parks (we’re talking to you, Orlando) to famous bridges (San Francisco, you know what we’re thinking), we are asking CVBs to help us paint pictures of their cities through the eyes of your leaders.

In addition to the photo, we’d like a 150-word description of why each person loves his/her city. Make it personal, insightful or funny. The accent should be on personality.

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