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Site ‘Celebrates the World of Motivational Experiences’
Site welcomes 400 motivational events and incentive travel professionals representing more than 250 industry organizations from 47 countries to Orlando to celebrate “40 Years Forward” in spectacular fashion at the Site Global Conference 2013 being held December 7–10 at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort. Site and conference host Visit Orlando will showcase the best of Orlando motivational experiences with entertainment extravaganzas and numerous tour options. The educational program offers more than twice the total hours of learning as last year.
Site will recognize and honor the contributions of Site’s past presidents and will introduce the formation of the Site Past Presidents’ Council. Twenty-five past presidents attending the conference jointly presented the first Richard Ross Past Presidents’ Award for outstanding service to the incentive travel industry. The award, named in honor of Site’s ninth president, who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, recognizes an individual or organization that has furthered the vision, ideals and ethics of Site.
“As the premier event where ‘the world of incentive travel and motivational events meets,’ this year’s conference will honor and celebrate Site’s past while also preparing us for the future,” stated Kevin Hinton, chief staff officer for Site and the Site International Foundation. “Site members are experiencing a recovery first-hand in the incentive sector, and those present in Orlando will be able to make critical connections in order to sustain this success into 2014 and beyond.” www.siteglobal.com
CWT Meetings & Events Reports on 2014 Trends
CWT Meetings & Events, the global meetings and events division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), announced what it expects to be the significant meeting and events trends in 2014:
Focused and bespoke: Although the worldwide economic environment remains flat, there are signs of some moderate growth, and clients will continue to hold more events, albeit on a smaller scale. With more access to big data, planners are able to tailor and adapt events to suit individual attendee requirements, from personalized invitations, to bespoke mobile itineraries on arrival, to interactive voting at the event.
Close to home: Clients will continue to opt for more domestic or short-haul destinations, to ensure cost-saving compared with long-haul destinations favored in the past.
Strategic Meetings Management (SMM): Companies will continue to consolidate their SMM programs and look for one-stop-shop global suppliers who can offer global support and global cost savings.
On the spot: Live technology will continue to be a crucial tool in gaining real-time feedback during an event.
Every penny counts: Event and marketing managers are increasingly being held accountable for ROI – every penny spent should have a return value. www.carlsonwagonlit.com
Meliá Jamaica to Open in November 2014
Next fall Meliá Hotels International will take over operation of the flagship resort currently known as Braco Village Hotel & Spa in Braco, located on Jamaica’s north coast. The 226-room property will undergo a comprehensive renovation and will open as Meliá Jamaica in November 2014, and be managed as a Meliá All Inclusive. The hotel is owned by Jamaica’s National Insurance Fund (NIF), which selected Meliá as the operator after a highly competitive process. “In reviewing the proud history of Meliá Hotels International and receiving feedback about their respectful approach to what the NIF is trying to achieve, as well as their honorable conduct in the negotiations, I am confident that we have indeed selected the right partner with which to go forward,” said Derrick Kellier Jamaica minister of tourism and of labour & social security. “We firmly believe in their long-term commitment to the project and Jamaica.” www.meliahotelsinternational.com/en
Marriott Meetings Booking Comes With a Free iPad Mini
Earlier this year, Marriott Hotels introduced the Red Coat Direct meetings app, which gives meeting organizers the ability to adjust and edit their requests and preferences without ever leaving the meeting room. Now, planners who book a meeting at participating Marriott Hotels in the U.S. between December 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014, during value dates will receive a free iPad Mini. The Red Coat Direct meetings app allows planners to make requests — such as more chairs, more coffee, a change in room temperature — or check the status of their request through the app. Using any Web-enabled device, organizers’ requests are routed to the department that can enact the change as well as to the event manager assigned to their event. Each app is personalized for the meeting and sent to the meeting organizer three days ahead of the meeting. The promotion also is valid at participating Renaissance Hotels and JW Marriott hotels in the U.S. In order to qualify for the free iPad promotion, meetings must have 75 cumulative nights. For full terms and conditions, participating hotels and dates, visit www.ipadpromotion.marriott.com.
Site International Foundation Announces Board of Trustees for 2014
Effective January 1, 2014, the Site International Foundation president for 2014 is Kurt Paben, senior vice-president, Aimia. Also serving as officers on the Site International Foundation Executive Committee are:
Immediate Past President: Jane E. Schuldt, CITE, CIS, president, World Marketing Group Ltd.
President Elect: Denise O. Dornfeld, president, North America, AlliedPRA
Vice President: Rhea H. Stagner, vice president supplier relations, sourcing and proposal development, Maritz Travel
Vice President Finance: Jonathan Caplan, divisional director of sales North America, franchise full service, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide
Chief Staff Officer: Kevin Hinton, Site and Site International Foundation
For a complete list of Foundation Trustees, click here.
U.S. Travel Urges Caution on Allowing Cell Calls on Flights
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow commented on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) announcement that it will consider allowing cell phone conversations on passenger flights above 10,000 feet: “When considering this kind of policy change, safety and security always need to be the top priority, and the final policy needs to be coherent and readily enforceable. We should also carefully consider whether allowing open cell phone conversations during flights truly enhances the passenger experience. Personally, I have my doubts that the traveling public will wholeheartedly embrace this, but we should be abundantly clear on whether or not that’s true before this policy is allowed to proceed. Bottom line: this decision should be undertaken based on the best possible data — data on safety, data from passengers, data from airlines and flight crews — as was the decision by the FAA a couple weeks ago to consider allowing the limited use of electronic devices on planes. If enacted, this new policy on phone calls would be a sizable step beyond that.” www.ustravel.org
FICP Announces Three New Events for 2014
The Annual Conference of Financial & Insurance Conference Planners (FICP) was held November 17–20 in Boston. The association announced its 2014 schedule of events, which includes three new offerings. All FICP events will take place at various destinations across North America, early in the year to late, providing ample opportunities for members to participate. Events will continue to provide superior education and networking in a balanced planner to hospitality partner environment.
2014 FICP Events:
• FICP Winter Symposium from January 27–January 29 at the Conrad New York in New York City, NY
• FICP Education Forum from June 18–June 20 at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans in New Orleans, LA
• FICP Summer Symposium from August 21–August 23 at the Omni King Edward in Toronto, ON
• FICP Fall Symposium from September 7–September 9 at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage in Rancho Mirage, CA
• FICP Annual Conference from November 16–November 19 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Waikoloa, HI
Also at the annual conference, meeting planners and hospitality partners donated a record-breaking total of $75,707 to Junior Achievement of Northern New England and Junior Achievement International. Junior Achievement is FICP’s long-term philanthropic partner. Contributions were raised through the FICP Annual Conference Silent Auction. www.ficpnet.com
Ritz-Carlton Opens Newest Luxury Resort in Aruba
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC introduced its sixth luxury resort in the exclusive Caribbean and Mexico portfolio with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba. Situated on the island’s Palm Beach, the oceanfront hotel features 320 guest rooms, including 55 suites, each with a private balcony affording sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea. The expansive Club Lounge sits atop the building on the seventh floor with 34 rooms and an endless array of cuisine, beverages and personal service throughout the day. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, the largest on the island, is a 15,000-sf tranquil oasis complemented by 13 intimate treatment rooms, salon, boutique and a variety of naturally influenced indigenous services. The hotel’s culinary offerings display a selection of four fine-dining experiences. The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba introduces exceptional meeting, corporate retreat, and special event space with a selection of indoor and outdoor venues, including a 7,500-sf ballroom divisible into three salons, three meeting rooms and a selection of outdoor locations including poolside decks, manicured lawns and a beachside reception area. The beach resort also features a 24-hour casino. www.ritzcarlton.com/aruba
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Plans Major Guest Room Renovation
All of the 1,229 guest rooms at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa will undergo a major overhaul beginning around the middle of next year, according to a report in Travel Weekly. David Nadleman, the general manager, said the overhaul will start next year and take about 18 months as three floors at a time will be completed in a self-contained manner so no guests are disturbed. “The property’s been very well maintained, but it’s time to give it a nice new look.” said Nadleman. Hyatt Regency Waikiki’s third-floor restaurants, pool deck and public areas were renovated in November 2011, and the hotel recently completed a $2 million upgrade to its Kou Ballroom. waikiki.hyatt.com
Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia Completes Renovation
Radisson Blu announced the completion of a $20 million renovation and conversion of the 301-room Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia. The hotel marks the third Radisson Blu hotel in the United States, joining Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago and the Radisson Blu Mall of America. The 301-room historic hotel, situated in the prestigious Rittenhouse Square district of Philadelphia, has completed a renovation that includes a redesign of all guest rooms and corridors, a new Business Class floor with a private lounge, as well as the hotel’s grand lobby to reflect the signature, contemporary style of Radisson Blu, while maintaining the charm and heritage of the landmark hotel. The hotel offers 189 Superior Rooms featuring an “urban” style; 46 deluxe rooms with additional seating areas and a more spacious layout, and 31 executive rooms with upgraded features including a Nespresso machine, complimentary bottled water, bathrobe, slippers and added bathroom amenities. In addition, the hotel offers Business Class By Radisson, a brand service developed to provide guests upgraded amenities and services including early check-in, upgraded bathroom amenities, turn-down service and access to the Business Class lounge, serving complimentary breakfast and evening refreshments. www.radissonbluphiladelphia.com
IMEX Eyes Industry Predictions for 2014
The IMEX Group released its predictions for meetings industry trends and changes in 2014, based on feedback from IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America, and supported by speaker and expert anecdotes from IMEX America in Las Vegas in October.
1. Content gets bigger as attention spans grow shorter. The meetings landscape has changed. It’s now content that’s defining meeting and event type, not the other way around.
2. Happiness is hip. The big watchword for our working lives in the '90s and new millennium was "work/life balance." In 2014 this shifts to "workplace spirituality." A growing number of organizations recognize that employee loyalty and motivation hinges on a convergence of personal values with corporate ones.
3. Technology connects the dots. Convergence and connectivity. Both will be the next big technology wins the meetings industry strives for in 2014.
4. Social media shifts up, out and everywhere. Sam Stanton, president of redbutton.tv, said, “Expect to see some really cool crossover where participants who are highly social at home find they can still behave that way at an event.” In 2014 social media starts to receive its own budget, and begins to play a meaningful and measurable part in marketing and communications strategies across the meetings and events industry.
5. “Glocal” – helping hands on your doorstep. With the announcement of the 2014 IMEX Challenge, which will involve building a new healing garden at the Shade Tree shelter in Las Vegas next October, the IMEX team demonstrates a growing sustainability trend: keeping it local.
6. Meetings sector as leading economic indicator. Could 2014 be the year when the meetings and events industry is finally recognized as an important economic indicator?
7. Workplace diversity. The big debate of 2014 looks set to be workplace diversity. With so many generations working alongside each other (be it virtually or physically) and issues of gender balance and racial diversity still being addressed, organizations are having to look at their recruitment and talent development strategies with more creativity, and awareness.
Meliá at Baha Mar to Debut in 2014
The chairmen of Baha Mar Ltd. and Meliá Hotels International on November 19 signed an agreement for Meliá to operate the all-inclusive Meliá at Baha Mar, in the luxury leisure development Baha Mar in The Bahamas. The $3.5 billion (U.S.) investment, comprised of 1,000 acres with more than 3,000 feet of pristine oceanfront, is just 12 minutes from Nassau International Airport. On December 1, 2013, Meliá will take over the operation of the Meliá Nassau Beach Resort and begin a renewal plan that will be completed by December 2014, without any interruption to the guest experience. Meliá Nassau Beach Resort features 694 rooms and multiple spaces for meetings and conventions. Upon completion of renovations and simultaneously with the opening of Baha Mar, it will be renamed Meliá at Baha Mar. Highlights of the refurbishment will be new restaurant concepts, updated pools and an enhanced lobby area.
The Baha Mar development includes five hotels with a total of 2,900 hotel rooms and residences, gaming, golf, shopping, entertainment, and natural attractions. In addition to Meliá at Baha Mar, the portfolio of Baha Mar properties includes Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Mondrian and Grand Hyatt, all anchored by the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. A dedicated onsite convention center will be the cornerstone for the approximately 200,000 sf devoted to meeting and conventions facilities. www.melia.com, www.bahamar.com
Hilton Worldwide Launches Meetings Simplified
A new national Hilton Worldwide survey of more than 600 U.S. meeting planners reinforces the need for small meeting solutions with nearly a third of business professionals spending an average of two or more hours booking hotel meeting space for an offsite meeting. Launched November 18, Meetings Simplified offers groups of 25 attendees or fewer ease of use, convenience and per person pricing at more than 1,800 properties in the U.S.
The Meetings Simplified basic meeting package includes everything from Wi-Fi and flip charts to soft drinks, tea and coffee included in the per person pricing, as well as additional offerings from select participating brands. Meals and snacks, LCD projectors with monitors and guest rooms may also be added through an a la carte menu.
Designed with feedback from meeting planners, on-the-go workers, entrepreneurs and administrative professionals, Meetings Simplified streamlines the process for booking meetings:
1. Visit www.hiltonworldwide.com/simplified to see a list of participating properties
2. Call the hotel in advance of your planned meeting
3. Book and confirm your meeting with one of our hotel associates
As a part of the Meetings Simplified launch, Hilton Worldwide is sponsoring a weekly Twitter contest through December 9 where followers @HiltonWorldwide can respond to Twitter challenge questions on how they use and book meetings. Followers must answer the question and use the #MeetingsMonday hashtag between 11:00 a.m. EST and 3 p.m. EST every Monday for a chance to win the following:
Nov. 25: A Be My Guest Gift Card for a free one-night stay at a Hilton Worldwide property
Dec. 2: 10,000 frequent flyer miles on any one of Hilton’s U.S. airline partners
Dec. 9: A Be My Guest Gift Card for a free one-night stay at a Hilton Worldwide property
For the official rules of the #MeetingsMonday Twitter Sweepstakes, click here.
EIBTM Industry Trends Report Reveals Optimistic Outlook for 2014
The findings for the EIBTM 2013 Trends Watch Report were presented by Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in events management, University of Greenwich, London, UK during EIBTM, November 19–21, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain. The report states, “A consensus is forming that, leading into 2014, meetings, events and business travel will continue to remain critical drivers assisting organisations in their efforts to reach their strategic business objectives and effectively communicate with their employees, customers and partners worldwide.”
Davidson, an EIBTM industry analyst, remarked, “This change comes about in recognition of the fact that the move from the fragile recovery of 2012 to a more sustained upturn in the world economy of 2013 has been reflected in growing global demand for meetings, events and business travel. Similarly almost all forecasts for 2014 indicate increasing levels of optimist and growth in these three sectors, albeit modest.”
Key themes included:
Inversion of growth patterns: 2013 has seen a significant inversion of those growth patterns, which had become the norm, since the global economic downturn. Advanced economies are gradually strengthening while at the same time, growth in emerging market economies has slowed down.
Recovery of the corporate meetings sector: Over the past 12 months, there have been numerous indications that companies are increasingly loosening their purse-strings and boosting their spending on corporate events.
Significant increase in international association business: According to the MPI Business Barometer, the outlook of European Industry professionals became markedly more optimistic in the two-month period following their previous survey with predicted business level growth rates rising from 2 percent to 4 percent.
Incentive travel is making a comeback: The Site Index reveals that the overall use of motivational travel experiences was on an upswing with 86 percent of respondents predicting that it will increase (or substantially increase) in the next one to three years.
The report is available online at www.eibtm.com/trendsreport.
Patrick Delaney Receives EIBTM 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award
Patrick Delaney, vice president, industry relations at MCI Group, was presented with the EIBTM 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award at the EIBTM Forum at the Palau de Congressos, Fira Montjuic, Barcelona City Centre. Delaney was recognized for his significant contribution to the meetings and events industry. Graeme Barnett, Reed Travel Exhibitions, senior exhibition director, presented the award and said, “The timing is right for us to recognize Patrick’s enormous contribution to our industry. His passion, commitment and enthusiasm are endless, and I know that his unique style and personality has endeared him to the many people he has met and worked alongside during his travels around the world.”
Following his degree in Hospitality Management, Delaney worked for the Irish Tourist Board for many years in Ireland and the U.S. In 1993, he started Delaney Marketing with Padraic Gilligan and developed a two-man operation into a 50-person business in less than 10 years. An icon in the incentive and meetings industry, Delaney was the first non-U.S. international president of Site. Delaney said, “I’m uncharacteristically speechless and genuinely humbled, to be recognized by such a global powerhouse as Reed Travel Exhibitions for this Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s a huge privilege to work in such a dynamic industry where I’ve learned so much and made so many lifelong friends. But there’s life in the old dog yet and lots more achievements to pursue as the next chapter of a career in this amazing industry unfolds.” www.eibtm.com
Chris Crowley Receives ACTE’s Presidents Award
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) conferred its highest honor on Chris Crowley, senior vice president, global client team EMEA at BCD Travel. The ACTE Presidents Award signifies the highest level of professional recognition for an individual, whose accomplishments have benefited both the association and the industry. Described as a visionary, a motivator and a natural leader, Crowley received ACTE’s Presidents Award during the group’s recent Global Travel Conference in Barcelona. “Chris Crowley has become something of a legend in business travel circles,” said ACTE President Suzanne Neufang. “He joined ACTE in 2001 and has attended every global conference since then, very often serving with distinction as a voice on the conference planning committee.” Crowley was named ACTE president in 2010. According to Neufang, Crowley introduced several ambitious programs such as the first evolution of the ACTE educational program — Around the World in 80 Hours — and the initial concept of the ACTEcelerator program. “Chris Crowley’s accomplishments also say a lot for BCD Travel’s commitment to ACTE over the years,” said Neufang. “Executive talent goes far when backed by corporate confidence and leadership. And these continue to be important assets within our association.” www.acte.org
American-US Airways Merger Will Fly With Conditions
The merger of American Airlines and US Airways, which will form the biggest airline in the world, has been approved by the Justice Department (DOJ) with conditions, according to various news reports. The DOJ in August filed suit against the merger saying it would restrict competition. Six states joined the lawsuit. The agreement states American Airlines and US Airways must scale back by giving up takeoff and landing rights or slots at Reagan National and New York’s LaGuardia Airport and gates at airports in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami to low-cost carriers to offset the impact of the merger. The settlement announced November 12 still needs approval by a federal judge in Washington. Attorney General Eric Holder said the agreement would ensure more competition on nonstop and connecting routes throughout the country. The merger is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
EIBTM Industry Trends Report Reveals Optimistic Outlook for 2014
The findings for the EIBTM 2013 Trends Watch Report are set to be presented by Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in events management, University of Greenwich, London, UK at EIBTM, which will be held November 19–21, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain. The report, which will be presented at two sessions at EIBTM, states, “A consensus is forming that, leading into 2014, meetings, events and business travel will continue to remain critical drivers assisting organisations in their efforts to reach their strategic business objectives and effectively communicate with their employees, customers and partners worldwide.”
EIBTM 2013 will take place a week earlier than in previous years. The EIBTM Forum will be held on November 18. Trade Visitor registration is open and all meetings industry professionals are invited to register at www.eibtm.com/attend.
Hyatt Unveils First All-Inclusive Brands
Hyatt Hotels Corporation on November 6 introduced its Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive resort brands. The first two resorts to debut under the new brands are owned and managed by Playa Hotels and Resorts. Launching in November, B.V. Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and Hyatt Zilara Cancun will undergo multimillion-dollar renovations in 2014. The next resort in the portfolio, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Jamaica, is currently undergoing an extensive renovation and will open in late 2014.
Hyatt is the first major global hospitality company to launch new brands exclusively focused on the all-inclusive segment. An adult-only all-inclusive brand, guests at the all-suite Hyatt Zilara offers 21,000 sf of meeting space. Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, for guest of all ages, offers 436 suites and 35,000 sf of meeting space. www.allinclusive.hyatt.com, www.hyatt.com
South Beach’s Shelborne Announces Redesign and Renovation
In South Beach, Miami, the Shelborne will reopens its doors this winter as Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach following a multimillion-dollar revitalization and redesign. Originally opened in 1940 and designed by Art Deco architect Igor Polevitsky, the resort was updated in the 1950s by design master Morris Lapidus who lent his signature Neo-baroque grace to the property. The Galbut family of Miami, the owners, have partnered with Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and Paul Kanavos of Flag Luxury Group to implement this renovation and reintroduce the 200-room hotel to guests as part of Wyndham Grand Hotels and Resorts. Shelborne Wyndham Grand will feature more than 15,000 sf of meeting and event spaces, an onsite fitness center and luxury spa suites, an exclusive nightclub and a flagship location for an internationally-acclaimed celebrity chef. www.wyndham.com