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Meetings & Travel (August 2010)

News Briefs

Marriott San Francisco

Survey Reveals Good News for the Meetings Industry

After 18 months of declining demand and an uncertain horizon, the U.S. meetings industry outlook is improving, according to a new survey conducted by Ypartnership and commissioned by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the PCMA Education Foundation and American Express. When asked about their intentions regarding off-site meetings planned for 2010 and 2011 in comparison to 2009, respondents indicated they booked a net increase of 15% more meetings (an average of 17 more meetings per planner) in 2010, and a net increase of 24% more meetings (an average of 17 more meetings per planner) in 2011. Similar trends were observed with respect to their expectations about attendance at off-site meetings in both 2010 (in which respondents expect a net increase of 23%) and in 2011 (a net increase of 38%) versus 2009. This reflects a significant shift in sentiment on the forces that impacted the industry so adversely over the previous two years – only 6% said they were planning to postpone, cancel or re-book meetings in 2010 because of "current economic conditions" vs. 41% who cited this reason in 2009. Although planners' sentiments with respect to both the selection of meeting venues and lodging accommodations have reflected some moderation in their concern about the perception of venues that might appear frivolous, the results clearly reveal lingering anxiety. Financial and time pressures also continue to impact the length of off-site meetings, with 30% of planners stating their intention to reduce the length of both sales and incentive meetings by one or more days, and 17% expressing a similar sentiment with respect to their annual conferences. On a positive note, 25% of planners expect their total annual budget for off-site meetings to increase this year, compared to only 8% who expressed this sentiment in 2009. For additional information, visit the PCMA Web site at @@http://www.pcma.org/

Rapid City

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Sales of Travel Merch on the Rise

Mike Landry, Director of Special Markets at TUMI, reports that 2010 is looking like it might be the travel goods industry's comeback year, with good signs of recovery in many travel goods categories. According to a new report from the Travel Goods Association, sales of travel goods (luggage, backpacks, travel/sports bags, business cases/computer bags, handbags, personal leather goods, and luggage locks) grew 4.6% in the first half of 2010, compared with the first half of 2009. While the 2010 sales pace remains below pre-recession levels, most travel goods categories appear to be picking up steam as the calendar rolls toward the critical holiday shopping seasons. "Travel is a category that took a big hit during the last recession, and of course travel goods took a hit as well, with 2009 travel goods sales at their lowest levels of the post-9/11 era," notes TGA President Michele Marini Pittenger. "But one good thing that's helping is the ever-changing face of travel. Continually changing airline regulations, the growing popularity of new types of vacations and the explosion in personal electronics like new smart phones, PDAs and other electronic gadgets are changing people's travel habits and what they pack. People used to wait until their old travel goods wore out before replacing them, but the current generation of travel items is so good, with so much more versatility, people are wanting something new, even in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty."  For more information, go to @@http://www.travel-goods.org/

Q Center

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'Team Building is First and Foremost Employee Education'

Borut Nikolaš, General Manager of Slovenian DMC, Maya Travel Agency, recently wrote an article on team-building incentives in Kongres magazine. Here is an excerpt:

Have you ever noticed how many companies advertise team building programs on their websites? Last year I called one of them out of curiosity and inquired what they recommended for a one-day team building program. Their answer: "a whole day tournament in darts, which can be carried out anywhere they have dartboards. This will certainly strengthen friendly relations among employees." I got chills when I heard firsthand what some people offer as team building. It was fairly obvious that the gentleman who gave me this information had no idea (and here he is not alone) that team building is first and foremost employee education where trust, communication, organization and motivation within a team are strengthened through different techniques of teamwork and workshops. This leads to an analysis of team dynamics and individuals. Programs are devised into one day or longer and are periodically repeated to achieve desired goals and to also measure the progress. With the right team building programs you will find it much easier to utilize the skills and potential of your employees.

Something to keep in mind whenever you're planning this type of program…

Circus Circus Las Vegas

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Four Seasons Launches Individual Awards Program

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced the launch of its Individual Incentive Awards Program, the Unforgettable Experience. With the option of five categories and as many as 49 hotels to choose from, this program offers great flexibility in how companies can recognize great achievements. For more information, please visit the Unforgettable Experience awards website at: @@http://www.fourseasons.com/incentivecard

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StarCite Deal Offers Unique Promotional Opportunities

StarCite, Inc., a provider of Web-based solutions to strategically manage corporate meetings and events, recently announced a new arrangement with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) that provides unique promotional opportunities for the Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza brands, and will provide the technology required for StarCite eRFPs to populate directly into each hotel's lead-distribution system. IHG will provide StarCite with a direct data feed for hotel content that will make certain that the StarCite database is updated automatically as IHG updates content in its global chain-wide system. StarCite's corporate clients represent a substantial number of Fortune 500 companies and a majority of the top 100 companies with the largest travel budgets named by Business Travel News, and its sourcing technology is also used by the leading travel management companies, including American Express Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Maxvantage, Experient and Maritz.

Advertise here!

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Insights From ESM Meetings & Incentive Travel e-News

Administration Will Fund Travel Promotion Program

The U.S. Travel Association applauded a recent move by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday that will enable U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a fee from select international visitors beginning in September for the purpose of funding America's first-ever travel promotion program to attract more visitors to the United States. The $10 fee, to be collected every two years from travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries, will fund up to 50% of America's promotion activities. This fee is significantly less than Americans often pay when entering or departing foreign countries. Oxford Economics estimates that a well-executed promotion program will attract 1.6 million new international visitors to the U.S. annually and create $4 billion in new spending each year. In addition to the mandatory $10 travel promotion fee established by the Travel Promotion Act, DHS is expected to add a fee of $4 to cover costs of administering the system. The Department of Homeland Security published a notice of the interim final rule in the Federal Register on August 5 and will accept comments through October 8. For more information, go to @@http://www.ustravel.org

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In the Next Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The June/July issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine is out! Here's a look at what you'll find inside:

Collaboration: More than the Sum of its Parts

A pair of articles examines this critical building block of engagement from two different perspectives. The first, Internal Collaboration: Why Partnering Works, by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller, Ph.D., notes that great partnerships don't just happen. Whether your joint mission is to build a great company, coach a team, improve the government, do something spectacular for a charity, or any other worthy goal, all successful partnerships share the same crucial ingredients. The second article, External Collaboration: When You Can't Do It All, looks at some of the companies in the engagement marketplace that have successfully used collaboration to expand their reach through alliances and partnerships. To make sure you get your copy of Engagement Strategies Magazine, go to @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/ and update your subscription today!

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At American Airlines, the People are the Process

Sue Gordon has been with American Airlines for over 20 years. As a result of her vast and varied experience, she not only knows American Airlines and the American Way very well, she also understands very clearly how the company's internal communications and branding efforts work to promote employee engagement and employee retention, while at the same time contributing to a more positive customer experience. In other words, she's seen it all – what works and what doesn't. "From 2001 to today, our industry has essentially been in turmoil," she says. "But we found the most traction by involving employees in the business. This is where we've seen the greatest process improvements and the greatest cost savings. It's where we get our best ideas and the greatest amount of buy-in, by involving our employees from soup to nuts in the process." Read more in the current issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine.

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News From Selling Communications Inc.

Engagement Links Directly to Higher Sales

An in-depth review of a 2009 annual meeting of a major healthcare provider reveals that a comprehensive engagement strategy can help increase sales and boost profits. Researchers from the ROI of Engagement Group and the Enterprise Engagement Alliance recently measured the return on investment (ROI) from a gathering of brokers and management personnel that featured a program of training, relationship building and networking opportunities designed to increase sales and profits in specific markets and engage channel partners. The report, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, found that the engagement program translated into brokers presenting and quoting the company's products more frequently, which in turn resulted in significantly stronger reported sales from event participants. Specifically, 94% presented the firm's products more often; 98% quoted them repeatedly; and 90% reported greater sales of these products. This is the third major research study released by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance examining the effectiveness of corporate engagement strategies. The company in question (referred to in the report as "Allsante, Inc." at the company's request, due to competitive reasons) wanted to measure the effectiveness of the "Allsante, Inc. Encounter" conference and come up with hard data against which to make decisions about improving future programs. Initial results reveal that the program had a profound impact on the way brokers thought and felt about Allsante, its products and its people. A copy of the study, The 'ROI in Channel Partner' Conferences – A Case Study, can be downloaded at: @@http://www.enterpriseengagement.org/

Enterprise Engagement Alliance

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Connect Your Marketing to Transactions

Does your organization have a transactional website to handle bulk sales of merchandise to qualified buyers or points programs for incentive companies? The incentive industry is one of the few areas of business that doesn't have a true transactional model to support its end-users and incentive companies. The Corporate Rewards Exchange is a cooperative effort of leading brands, incentive fulfillment firms and incentive companies to build a new distribution channel for sale of gifts to corporations, incentive companies and marketing services firms. The CRE enables brands to tap into a large ad hoc market for bulk gifts and rewards in a way they can carefully control, providing a powerful means for incentive companies to more effectively use their products in reward programs via a highly automated billing, redemption, tracking and customer service system. It's designed to support all of the current players in the incentive marketplace by providing a more efficient means of offering rewards to end-users and incentive companies, at a very low cost. For more information, please contact us for a demo.

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About Selling Communications Inc.

Selling Communications, Inc. is a fully integrated, target marketing, media and technology agency that improves results for clients by focusing on the people who matter most. We can help your business grow and save you money by targeting key prospects, getting their permission and strategically integrating your marketing and sales communications with the specific audiences most likely to affect your business performance.

Take advantage of these SCI services to improve your business development:

For more information on Selling Communications, its products and services, contact Jim Kilmetis at 914-591-7600, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to jkilmetis@sellingcommunications.com.

Tapping new customers, and keeping those you already have, costs less than you'd imagine...

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CA Short

EGR International Inc.

Marriott Bloomington-Normal

McBassi

Canon