As the new year brings renewed optimism for increased business and incentive travel, Landry & Kling, the Miami-based cruise meeting and incentive specialist company, has released their picks of the top 10 ships for meetings and group events at sea in 2011-2013. This is a great resource for any Meeting Planner looking for a cost effective way to host a special event or corporate meeting. As we’ve discussed before, the value of cruising is unparalleled in the industry. With the inclusion of many amenities such as meals, meeting spaces, and a variety of entertainment options, cruises provide a refreshing alternative to stuffy conference rooms and an experience not soon forgotten.
The ships highlighted as ideal vessels for their superior service, state-of-the-art facilities and special dining options include:
SeaDream II—SeaDream Yacht Club
Liberty of the Seas—Royal Caribbean
Celebrity Millennium—Celebrity Cruises
Silver Spirit—Silversea Cruises
Pride of America—Norwegian Cruise Line
Seven Seas Navigator—Regent Seven Seas
MSC Splendida—MSC Cruises
Allure of the Seas—Royal Caribbean International
Carnival Dream—Carnival Cruise Lines
National Geographic Endeavour—Lindblad Expeditions
As part of the release, they have also provided a stunning slide show, showcasing each ship with a description of why they made the cut as well as their occupancy and some fun facts. Service, adventure and savings all in one package- sounds like a great deal to us!
Maybe you’re not always what you eat but emerging studies do bolster the theory that eating the right foods can have a big impact on how your brain works.This becomes evident at corporate meetings and conferences where attendees are usually served high carb and white flour foods in breakfasts, lunches and snacks. The result?A quick sugar rush, followed by a sharp crash, often leading to unfocussed, sleepy and all-around cranky participants.
As Andrea Sullivan, president of BrainStrength Systems states, “For a long time, we’ve focused on what we should not eat. This shift is about focusing on what we should eat to produce desired results.”Rather than the traditional meeting menus, the goal should be to provide foods which aid the brain in learning and improve attention skills.In the article, Ms. Sullivan goes on to describe the benefits of a more balanced offering; “eggs are rich in choline, which aids healthy neurotransmission and enhances our ability to pay attention, form new memories, and make decisions.”
That doesn’t mean cutting out sweets altogether though.Instead, it’s about providing healthier choices with foods that enhance your program rather than work against it.Dark chocolate, for example, has been proven to have a positive effect on cognitive performance even for hours after consumption.Although the lower costs of the sugar-laden foods are attractive for keeping within your budgets, when you look at the overall cost of its effects, are you really getting such a good deal?After all, what good does it do to fly someone in, pay for their lodging and participation, only to have them zone out after a sugar buzz, and subsequent crash?
Instead of pastries and cinnamon rolls, try serving quiche, whole grain breads and some fresh berries.High protein salads with light vinaigrettes are a great alternative for lunch.So are salmon and mackerel, both of which contain the fatty acid, omega 3, proven to rev up your thinking power.For snacks, serving nuts, yogurt, and fruits will prove more effective than a sugary cookie or cake.
Although it’s not anything we don’t already know in our personal lives, carrying that thinking into the business meeting arena may show returns much greater than a snazzy presentation or a captivating guest speaker can ever provide.Besides, how likely will it be that your attendees will remember your message if they’re too busy trying to stay awake?
Let’s face it. Event and Meeting Planners are constantly traveling all over the country and sometimes, the world. In our ever constant search for practicality and convenience, gadgets become our best friends. Some make traveling more comfortable. Some help us become safer in new surroundings. And some, well honestly, are just too cool not to have.
With each passing year, a new crop of must-have gadgets hit the marketplace. For the weary traveler, these can often be life-savers. And so, here is a list of 10 new (and not so new) essential gadgets every Event and Meeting Planner should have.
There is nothing worse than turning around to look for something in your bag or stepping away to get another cup of coffee only to realize that your laptop has gone missing in an instant. Every year, thousands of laptops are stolen from unsuspecting people too preoccupied to realize taht it only took a split second before their valuable electronic lifeline was gone. Whether at an airport, coffee shop or even a conference center, this handy lock attaches to 99% of all laptops and makes it less attractive to a thief looking to make a quick nab.
No more fumbling about looking for the right converter when traveling abroad or to the Caribbean. This handy and compact travel power converter will automatically detect incoming voltage and convert it so that all of your small appliances will work safely and effortlessly. Best of all, since it works in over 150 different countries, it’s the only converter you’ll need to take with you on your travels.
Hooked on your iPad? Then, this handy gadget is a definite must have. Lightweight and easy to store, the Gorillamobile Ori for iPad provides a comfortable way to view your iPad in a variety of different of ways to suit your need. No longer will you have to keep looking down and straining your neck to view your favorite apps, simply look up and enjoy!
Speaking of neck support…Travel pillows are not a new invention for the weary traveler, but how many are made of memory foam, come with a drawstring for a more customized fit AND have a pocket for your mp3 player? It’s the perfect combination for getting sleep on the plane when the passenger next to you snores louder than a lumberjack with a chainsaw.
Tired of trying to type long emails or texts on your phone’s tiny keypad? This may be the solution. Like something out of a sci-fi movie, the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard will project a full-sized QWERTY keyboard in just about any flat surface. Best of all, this space age gadget is only 3.5 inches tall!
With all the recent talk about the vulnerability of smart-chips in credit and ID cards, even while in your pocket, one safeguard is to protect them using a stainless steel case. This handy Smart Card Case is stylish and practical, holding up to five credit cards and designed to easily access your cards with the flick of a thumb. You can even have it custom engraved for a truly personal touch.
Ever gotten to the airline check-in terminal with your bags only to realize that you’re over the weight limit? Do you pay the extra surcharge or frantically transfer things out of one bag into another? With the ever rising costs of baggage charges, this gadget certainly pays for itself many times over. Simply attach your bag to the T-bar scale and a digital readout along with a green LED light lets you know if you’re under the standard 50lb weight limit. Lightweight and compact, take it with you and you’ll know how much space you have left for souvenirs too.
Sure, this portable speaker system can provide high-sound quality to listen to your favorite tunes off your phone or mp3 player when you’re away from home but it is so much more than that. It also features built in microphones to allow for hands-free conversations, making it ideal for conference calls. Another great benefit of this system is that it allows any Bluetooth enabled device such as iPods, cellphones and laptops to connect wirelessly so you don’t have to worry about carrying around yet another set of cables.
So you’re traveling alone, decide you want to go to the pool but feeling nervous about leaving your room key and money on the pool deck while you get into the water? Fear not. Reef’s Stash 2 Sandal is the perfect solution. Available for both men and women, this clever sandal has a built-in “secret” compartment to discreetly store and protect your valuables. More stylish than a money belt, these sandals are also the perfect accessory when traveling in an unfamiliar city or area.
Those familiar with Apple products may know the Airport Express as a handy home network gadget. However, its compact size also makes it ideal for use on the road. Simply connect your hotel room’s blue Ethernet cable to the 3.7 inch box and voila, you have a private Wi-Fi domain. Now your laptop, tablet and Wi-Fi capable entertainment devices are all connected. Need to have a spur of the moment meeting with co-workers? No worries. Up to 10 users can connect at one time, creating a business center in an instant.
If you have any experience with these or any other handy-dandy travel gadgets you can’t live without, share them with us!
The same meetings over and over can be boring and might be a great way to have the management and/or powers that be wonder how important a meeting planner is. On the other hand, a meeting planner that is always trying new ideas for meetings is highly desirable even if they fail. After all, it is difficult to justify the cost of a scheduler after a company gets into a rhythm but if that scheduler seems to be constantly trying to improve efficiency, then they are certainly worth keeping as they are nothing if not a team player.
The question becomes one of how a meeting planner can continue to keep meetings fresh. Here are a few great ideas:
Check in with other meeting planners online. There are many meeting planning related forums online and that is usually a good sign that there are professionals looking to network on some level.
Listen to what people in the office say, then hear them. Are people complaining or offering ideas? Can those ideas be made practical?
Learn everything about sales and psychology. Selling meeting ideas is no different than selling anything else. If the first few ideas don’t get off the ground then it is unlikely that further ideas will fare much better.
There is an accepted industry pricing rule that states unequivocally that securing a hotel and/or conference center in advance will result in money saved. The same logic applies to flights and entertainment as well, but some are starting to wonder if this widely accepted rule is not being exploited by savvy vendors.
Determining whether a vendor is really offering good deals for an advanced booking or purchase contract is difficult, but there are some ways to make the whole process easier:
The Internet – The Internet is easily the most amazing fact finding tool in the world, and it is full of forums that are used by people with similar questions and experiences. Take advantage of the many forums on the Internet and ask questions but don’t forget to use the search feature first or you might earn a written tongue-lashing.
Switch the dates – Start by asking about a date closer than you actually want and then asking about a date further out. See what the difference really is, but also remember to factor in travel frequency to your logic. If you ask to book a hotel in the start of September, immediately after school begins, you might be seeing very different pricing than mid to late December due to increased holiday traffic.
Ask for discounts – This might seem silly, but some people don’t bother to ask for discounts. Booking a hotel is a boon for both organizations and they should arrange to share that boon whenever possible/practical.
Planning your next big event almost always involves picking a venue near the beginning of the process. With so many different venues, there must be an easy logic flow for determining how to pick the venue for your next big event. Try this logic flow:
Size counts – Venues that are too small are not worth looking into and venues that are too large will look empty and deserted if unfilled. Determine a reasonable number of participants and use that as the basis for a venue.
Look for deals – The number one reason why many people do not attend events and/or seminars is that they feel it is too expensive. If a deal can be arranged that includes the event and meals/accommodations, participation generally increases. Hotels often have large meeting facilities and/or deals with local meeting halls/convention centers and many such centers have deals with reputable hotels.
Themes and art are important – If your event has some sort of theme, then assign additional importance to venues that work well with that theme over money if it is feasible. A seminar about online art and graphics design would be ideally located in a venue with an artistic theme, and perhaps offer all-inclusive stay options at an art-deco themed hotel or another hotel with a noteworthy sense of style.
It was not long ago that meeting and event planners were taking notes with pen and paper, but those days might just be over thanks to some of the modern media players on the market. Most modern media players have the capacity to record conversations or voice memos, and that could save a lot of time. Just image:
Never having to ask the boss to slow down – Some bosses or participants talk so fast that details often get lost. Your brain is processing Detail A and they are already discussing Detail Z! Nothing escapes the attention of a voice recorder.
Never forgetting a detail – Juggling hundreds of details is difficult, and sometimes notepads get lost or sloppy writing done in a hurry foils later attempts to remember what was covered. Media players with voice memo features ensure that nothing is left out of a critical planning session.
The ability to have instant and total recall of conversations – This is exactly what media players offer. You can recall and review a memo on the subway, bus, or even while driving home.
Looking impressive using technology efficiently – Humans are innately tool-using creatures, and digital tools are the future. Demonstrating proficiency with those tools is a great way to earn your keep.
All you need to do is look for a media player with a voice recording features to guarantee that your look impressive while being an impressive meeting/event planner.
Businesses often find that offering affordable trinkets as incentives makes participation at meetings and events more personal. Furthermore, the trinkets and gifts often prove to be tangible reminders of the relationship between the participant and host, but that means that there is a potential for both good and bad gifts to make an impression. Here is how to decide which kind of gift or trinket you need to consider:
Saving is good, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing – It is important to stay on a budget, especially for a company looking to enhance their bottom line. It is also possible to be too frugal, and that can ruin the investment in the meeting or event itself while still costing money.
Branding – If a company buys trinkets and wants recipients to know where they came from in a year, then they need to associate that item/trinket with the brand. This is easily done with simply adding a logo, which is rarely expensive.
Buy in bulk – It might be intimidating to look at pricing for branded or even non-branded trinkets until you discover that bulk prices are available for almost everything.
Needs and appropriate gifts – Choose gifts that will be appreciated. A USB key might be great for a meeting of staff accountants, but the IT gurus probably have more USB devices than they need and are unlikely to appreciate anything but the most high-tech of gizmos.
Businesses all over the world need meeting planners, but there are some cities that are simply more desirable than others when it comes to being a meeting planner. Here are a list of great cities to consider moving to if you are a meeting planner:
Chattanooga, TN – The seat of Hamilton county is one of the most affordable places to live, is gorgeous, is situated close to Memphis and Knoxville, and has a booming tech sector that needs more meeting planners by the day.
Las Vegas, NV – Las Vegas is one of the most desirable cities to live in primarily because its night life is its day life too; this city never even thinks about sleeping. Convention centers, buffets, attractions and more all make Las Vegas a great place for an active meeting planner to live in.
New York City, NY – New York is often called the capital of the world, and it certainly is one of the most popular places for a meeting planner to make a living. While everyone else says that if they can make it in the Big Apple then they can make it anywhere, it is not difficult for meeting planners to find work in New York City.
San Diego, CA – San Diego has great attractions, parks, and several large corporations that need meeting and event planners.
Anyone who has ever heard of meeting planners may have questioned the value of having dedicated personnel handling some or all of the aspects of planning a cruise meeting. After all, could these same plans not simply be conducted by other personnel? The answer is both yes and no, and here are the top three reasons why:
1. It is possible for other employees to handle even planning, but they will probably be far less efficient than an event planner. Their own tasks and chores will suffer as a result of having to multitask more than normal.
2. Anyone who is dedicated to a certain task is likely to perform it better than someone who is only doing that task because nobody else can. This holds true for event planning and coordinating meetings as well.
3. Contacts and associations are valuable tools that can be leveraged. Those workers who do not spend time coordinating meetings are unlikely to build these relationships or develop to the point where they can be leveraged effectively.
In short, it is easy to see why businesses need meeting planners, even if they are not full-time employees. For those businesses with modest planning needs, consider a part-time or freelance meeting planner.
China is becoming a popular destination for MICE events due to its rich cultural heritage, beautiful natural landscapes and most of all - its high economic growth. Everyone wants to do business in China right now. Naturally, that translates into lots of meetings, trade shows, conferences and other events. According to The China Incentive, Business […]
So often we find ourselves repeating the same patterns both professionally and personally because it feels “safe”. While that perceived safety may or may not be real, it explains why so many people feel their lives are in a rut. It is that comfort zone that so many long for that ultimately is their worst enemy. In order […]
After reading the article Boost the Brain Computer, Don’t Crash It, I got to thinking about how foods definitely have an effect on mood and concentration. Anyone who has ever seen a child at a birthday party, loaded with candy, snow cones, cake and soda can attest to the fact that while the sugar will […]