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NR 6 – d e c e m b e r 2011

• A rainbow gathering at Pl aca Reial • Revolution In MICE industry? • Dancing with Waves

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contents

Cover photo Frontiers North Adventures Cape Churchill, Canada

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editorial

By Yolanda & Kim

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share+

It’s Raining Members

08 S t o r y

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34

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A rainbow gathering at Placa Reial

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check it out

Ready for unbelievable encounters?

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Eye witness

Revolution In MICE industry?

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s u s ta i n a b i l i t y DIY *

Sharing & Caring, the other site of

the hotel industry

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Once in a Lifetime

Dancing with Waves

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column

The Travellers Twilight Zone

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g r o u p s s -x x l

An XXL circus

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close & personal

A designer tool for the DMC of tomorrow

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s n ap s h o t

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zoom in

From CEO to professional writer

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column

Knocking On

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FYI

Event security; conflict control is the

name of the game

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l e t m e e n t e r ta i n y o u

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food for thought

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e d ito r ial

Ready for 2012? At the end of the year a lot of us take time to look back and re-evaluate. We of course don’t ignore our ups and downs but prefer to look forward.

Our blog will be more dynamic and alive next year; our magazine will be issued quarterly. Last but not least we have great plans for more SHARE TODAY events.

Time for some research. We asked the industry to give us feedback on trends in the market. Our article ‘Revolution in MICE industry’ shares the outcome. A healthy dose of optimism is visible. Event Professionals are positive, not laying back but facing the future with new challenges to overcome and lots of ideas to answer the industry developments. We like this attitude and love challenges, which we will certainly face in 2012. Not ignorant that we may encounter them but confident that we will have ideas to conquer them.

Personally we have created a new bucket list again for the New Year. And lucky us! The next destination we both are able to explore very soon will be Buenos Aires. We say never a dull moment in our company, stay tuned and certainly keep SHARING! Happy holidays, Kim & Yolanda

Curious? Let us trigger your curiosity by revealing some of our plans for 2012.

And win the autobiography of Chinese Liu Ping!

We are busy setting up a pool of Xperts representing various disciplines that help the Event Professional in areas of expertise other than their own. Furthermore we will start creating tailor made e-magazines to enable a destination or the DMC to show their MICE possibilities to their network in a digital way.

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share+

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In only one month time we have gained 6 new members. We were thrilled every time we opened our email to find another event professional confirming their membership for 2012. Who they are? Here a brief introduction of each of the new SHARE+ members:

Linda Benmammar Vanadoo Czech Republic

Girl power exists and here is the proof. An entrepreneur in our market, starting a new tool for the future DMC. Read more in Close & Personal.

Patrizia Rapisarda PR Incentives Italy

Proof one can change. Her biggest change was transforming from scientist to event professional. A choice she never regretted. Good in challenging clients since her added value is experience and emotion in events. 6 share today | 06.2011

Joost de Meyer First Incentive Travel USA

A veteran in the event industry wishing he was younger. He sees a great future for our MICE industry with upcoming markets as Brazil, Russia, India, China as well as South Africa and Turkey and an important role for associations such as SITE, MPI and ICCA.

Malte Kluetz Uniquely Northwest USA & Canada

Ola Kastensson Russkie Prostori Russia

From Germany to Seattle, no challenge big enough for this German cowboy. Identifying the right means to effectively communicate with clients in a world where numerous options and personal preferences rule, is one challenge he’s going to tackle in the next years.

Personal judgement and proved experience are the most important things these days especially since everything is available to everyone. That’s how Ola makes a difference. With love from Russia… Want to know more? Our SHARE+ partners are all visible on our website. Some of them are sharing their faces, places & cases too. Curious? We invite you to take a look.

Karina Furst Authenticore Norway

A strong believer of authenticity who loves her life and found her dream in Norway. Likes to involve the local community in her incentives to create social engagement.

Together with the SHARE+ members of 2011 who all prolonged their membership SHARE+ has expanded to a total of 11 members. Are you also ready for some serious sharing in 2012? SHARE TODAY can become your platform too. For more information about the SHARE+ membership, please contact us at info@sharetoday.com share today | 06.2011 7


sto r y

A rainbow gathering at Plaça Reial

SHARE TODAY launched a breakfast session at EIBTM in Frankfurt this year. Quite challenging for a start-up company. Can we trigger enough MICE personalities? Are we able to share relevant information? The answer was YES! We felt confident enough to create a tradition after our successful meeting during IMEX. SETBA was the place to be. A creative and arty venue on the Plaça Reial, just behind the Ramblas. Why here? Well, we felt the need to surprise our guests with hidden gems during our face-to-face meetings. Hotel rooms, seen it, been there, done that! And we are convinced that an inspiring venue does contribute to the open discussions. We had never been at a ‘UN’ gathering (of course not) but we were sure this morning the table looked quite similar. A group of 20 MICE personalities all over the world joined our breakfast and the presentation. Linda & Sam Benmammar of Vanadoo in Prague launched their designer tool for the Destination Management Company of tomorrow (read more at page...). A lot of delegates this morning came from the DMC side of the business. The DMC takes a very important but also changing place in todays event industry. It will not surprise you that they all had mutual interest to share their thoughts.

Our just recently launched tradition of breakfasts will be continued. During upcoming IMEX we might even take this session to the next level; more time, more topics and more guests. More on these plans in our next E-mag.

Special thanks to Abreu, A-travel and SETBA text kim al d e r d en p h otos Yolan d a L ogt

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to make this event happen. share today | 06.2011 9


c h eck it out

Ready for unbelievable encounters? Check-it-out takes you around the globe to meet extra-ordinary places.

text Yolan d a L ogt p h otos Yolan d a L ogt, F r ontie r s N o r t h a d ventu r es an d Distant F r on tie r s

Is your client looking for an ultimate incentive experience in nature, other than an African safari? We asked our SHARE TODAY followers to share some suggestions. Read the top 5 safari ideas that are a sure ticket for a thrilling ride!

Tiger Patrol! Tracking tigers in India is one of the greatest and most exciting wildlife experiences on the planet. Imagine sitting in on open vehicle or on the back of an elephant enjoying the sight of this incredible creature with their cubs or even hunting, if you’re lucky. Several wildlife parks offer accommodation combined with safaris. Note that the environment is quite different from the density of Africa and not to compare, but for sure it’s a unique experience! Best time to travel depends on the wildlife park. www.toftigers.org

Meet Mr Jaws! Every one knows the movie Jaws but encountering the Great White yourself is a different story. South Africa, to be precise Gansbaai, is the place to be for shark encounters. If you have the guts, you can hop into one of the cages moored to the side of a boat and go diving with the Great White sharks to get a very close view. A scuba diving qualification is not needed, as air tanks are not used.

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The cage is of the floating variety and made with 12mm galvanised steel mesh. It allows you to enter the sharks’ environment safely and enjoy the exhilaration of being only centimetres away from these mighty beasts. If you can’t bear the thought—surface viewing is almost as thrilling but from experience I can tell you: go for it! www.white-shark-diving.com

Howling Wolfs Telltale tracks, chilling howls in the moonlit night and the chance of a rare glimpse of the wolf are all just what you came for when going wolf tracking in Sweden. The tension rises when walking into wolf territory. ®

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c h eck it out

Fresh tracks make the thrill even more exciting, indicating these sleek animals are in the vicinity. To be in a wolf-hunting ground adds extra spice to life, to stay overnight, knowing the pack is in the neighbourhood, will be an experience you never forget. How to track wolfs? www.nordicsafari.net

Black vs White Everyone loves bears! Feel the excitement of taking part in a program that offers the opportunity to see both polar bears and black bears on the same adventure! Polar bear watching in Northern Canada is a unique adventure and an experience of a lifetime.

c h eck it out

You have the chance to view the Lords of the Arctic up close from special tundra vehicles, overnighting in an exclusive getaway in the middle of the land of ice and snow. During October and November, the polar bears of Churchill migrate toward the Hudson Bay, waiting for freeze-up so they can go out and hunt seals. Wake up at the fringes of the Arctic and watch tussling polar bears through your window‌

Want to have a peek?

It is now possible to experience wild polar bears in their natural habitat as part of your high-end incentive program. For a limited time and a limited number of visitors only, this once-in-alifetime five day incentive program is offered in October during the best polar bear viewing time of the year.

Uganda, Rwanda and Gabon are the countries to track gorillas. Face to face with this huge, humanlike, black-furred animal must be scary but at the same time an unforgettable experience only a few people will ever have. Part of the fun of tracking gorillas is trying to follow them through the dense foliage, especially when looking for the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. Just think of what a reward it would be to finally encounter these world primates, sit in the grass with them and feel their presence. √ www.worldprimatesafaris.com

More info: www.frontiersnorth.com www.uniquelynorthwest.com

Gorillas in the Mist

See this extraordinary gorilla encounter:

Important note: please make sure to use the right partner, those that put conservation as one of their major concerns. If you need help feel free to contact us. Special thanks for those replying to our questions in order to write this article. 12 share today | 06.2011

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e y e witness

MICE Industry Revolution? text Yolan d a L ogt p h oto inte r net

SHARE TODAY decided to further examine the TRENDS & CHALLENGES of today’s global MICE industry by asking Event Professionals to our 3 statements. After reading the results of several global trends surveys looking at the issues affecting the MICE travel market, we asked ourselves; are you telling us anything we don’t already know? Event numbers remained flat, budgets were lowered and the hot new destination turned out to be whatever was affordable with those lowered budgets, even as costs continue to rise. Well, we were more curious about how Event Professionals were feeling about these changes and how they planned to adapt to these trends. We were happy to discover that our market still has strength and optimism.

Answers: Depending on the destination, the customer still needs the knowledge and expertise of a DMC, especially in places like China or India. However; creativity, flexibility and pro-activity are key, especially when combined with the personal touch of a dedicated project manager. DMCs also invest in tools to offer solutions when faced with unique problems like clients who try to build their own events by using information on the web. Interesting to note is that most clients do book their own hotels. One responder, a DMC told us how he tracks the time he spends on each of his projects in order to offer transparency to his clients as well as providing a competitive edge even when the client insists on using his own human resources.

Suppressed budgets were hardly mentioned, but it seems apparent that transparency is key. No wonder. It was us who spoiled our customers I. What does today’s customer expect from a by giving them ‘free labor’; later trying to cover DMC compared to 10 years ago? Destination Management Company (DMC) trends all of our costs with mark ups. Today’s client still expects free labor, but now insists on are changing. transparency. A DMC should remember that their services should be price-worthy rather than Statements: · The conversion rate on proposals is much lower cheap. than in the past Still, a professional DMC can make a difference · An increased pressure on event budgets with dedication, offering consultation about · A call for transparency location-specific information, being a budget · An information overload via internet · DMCs are no longer the key knowledge partner keeper rather than a salesman, and last but not least, taking care of their liability. ® for a destination Here are the results:

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e y e witness

e y e witness

II. What will be the ‘X factor’ for successful MICE hotels or venue in the future? Hotel trends are also changing.

remember that today’s most effective marketing tools are the power of the internet and word of mouth.

Statements: · Procurement officers are king, how low can you go? · Today’s hotel chains are the key MICE contacts of tomorrow · ‘Middle of the road’ hotels are out of style. Classic and boutique hotels are in · Hotels are no longer the first choice for a meeting space

III. What is the secret of continuing to be a successful Event Professional? Last but not least, customers are changing.

Answers: The most important factors are excellent service and affordability. Considering decreased budgets, this could be an opportunity for average hotels of good quality to prosper. Clients are also choosing hotels with 4 stars instead of 5 in order to free up money in their budget for the rest of their incentive or meeting program. More and more often meeting spaces are being booked outside of the hotel; venues which are less formal but more inspiring, while still offering technical possibilities and unique opportunities. Flexibility and value for money were mentioned by almost everyone. However, hotels shouldn’t give up their identity based on short-term thinking. The client who appreciates quality and is willing to pay for it will not appreciate this attitude. Even though clients are more price sensitive than ever before, hotels should

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Statements: · Loyalty is old school · Clients want to speak to consultants instead of story-tellers · The internet is their number one supplier · They are connected in communities; Wisdom of the Crowd brings them valuable info Answers: Clients aren’t as loyal as they used to be, often pitching to multiple agencies and discussing multiple destinations in order to get the best deal. As a result you need to constantly monitor developments and react with dynamic pricing (especially if negotiated seasonal group rates are applicable). Personal attention, knowledge and creativity still score high. One respondent mentioned having created a destination knowledge centre as a way to keep ahead of competitors while still beating the general supplier on the internet.

help you set objectives and measure the results; something most clients struggle with when planning an event on their own. You have to be there with support and advice every step of the way. It���s more important than ever to be able to provide information, details and references about previous proven creative programs. It’s not about showing a client what you can do, but rather what you have done. A legacy and proven professional proven experience are still major reasons for being chosen. Have we said too much? Well at least we know that our market is conscious of these challenges, but more importantly sees the need to change. Wow, it seems that inspiring and adventurous times are ahead of us. Please share any comments you may have via e-mail. Special thanks to everyone who filled out our questionnaire. √

Another good tip is to stay authentic - act more like a consultant, even if that has to be via partnerships. Understanding and supporting the corporate philosophy behind a clients’ event will

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sustainabilit y D I Y

Hotels play an important role in the tourism and travel industry, which contributes to the economic development of local communities around the world. We all know you don’t have to sacrifice comfort or convenience to realize a responsible event or meeting. But what do those hotels or chains with CSR itself? When clients ask you to come up with an event or meeting in a completely sustainable way, you might think, “Here we go again.” Not only is this question subjective - what is sustainable in the eyes of your client? - but what makes an event sustainable, exactly? Avoid using planes? Drink water from the tap? Use electronic communication to save paper? Or start at the basics by only using accommodations that have already adapted CSR into their company’s strategy instead of just green-washing their products for more business. Time to check out those hotels that understand what CSR is all about!

SHARING & CARING

the other side of the hotel industry

The other day I came across the Facebook page of Mark Mosselman, showing a picture of Mark in shorts sweating all over a home trainer in the lobby of his previous hotel in Liege (Belgium). Even though there were some jokes about his sexy legs, it appears the event was not for fun but serious business. For the 8th time during the Responsible Business Action Month (RBAM), hotels of the Rezidor Group made an extra effort to contribute to their local community by organizing social and environmental activities,

and to raise funds to support their corporate charity organization, the World Childhood Foundation. “We want our hotels to be good neighbours and responsible citizens in their local community. Throughout the year and especially in September they are working with other businesses and residents as well as charities, parks, schools, hospitals, shelters, orphanages, care homes and other worthy institutions. We take our role seriously; facilitating the preservation of local traditions as well as supporting the protection of cultural heritage sites and the natural environment,” says Inge Huijbrechts, Director Responsible Business The Rezidor Hotel Group. Every single hotel of the 260 that participated, contributed in its own way, for example by a cycling campaign or by SMS fundraising. The Rezidor Hotel Group stretches even further. As Huijbrechts puts it, “Our Responsible Business program was introduced in 2001 in response to increasing demands from guests, corporate clients, employees and owners. An environmental program has however been in place since the mid 1990s. Within the Responsible Business program, we are dedicated to three main areas of responsibility. First, taking responsibility for the health and safety of employees and customers. Second, respecting social and ethical issues in the company, as well as in the community. Third, reducing our negative impact on the environment.” ®

text Yolan d a L ogt p h oto T h e Rezi d o r Hotel G r oup

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sustainabilit y D I Y



In 2010 over 100 Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Regent hotels participated in Earth Hour and turned off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness of the need to take action on climate change.

With regional offices in Orlando | New York | San Francisco | Miami "Your partner in creating motivation!" www.firstincentivetravel.com

Joining households and businesses across 125 countries worldwide, the Rezidor properties used Earth Hour - an environmental initiative supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - as an opportunity to engage guests, employees and business partners, and organize special events in the dark.

Do I read a business opportunity here? These are only examples of the initiatives The Rezidor Hotel Group has taken, which shows clearly CSR is a serious part of their business strategy. Chapeau! In the next issue: another company that knows CSR…√ Tips for responsible travel Tips for responsible meetings can be found on their website or by clicking on the items. Special thanks to Mark Mosselman and Inge Huijbregts of The Rezidor Hotel Group share today | 06.2011 21


once in a lifetime

Slide show

Dancing with Waves T ext & P h otos y olan d a logt

When creating a concept for an incentive, your mind does not immediately go to cruising. When I say cruising I don’t mean the big floating luxury hotels with lots of entertainment like shows and casinos, at least 2 restaurants for a 24/7 food experience and many shopping galleries. On those ships, even with a group, you still are anonymous. No, I’m talking about the real thing: sailing… the experience of flapping sails, sailors screaming orders, a washing machine outside your window (I will explain later) and a captain on deck behind the wheel. Can you imagine the authentic experience this will bring to your client when setting sail exclusively for his group? I’ll tell you… 22 share today | 06.2011

A long wished for dream came true when I had the privilege of stepping on board the Star Clipper. With its 4 masts and 16 sails it still looked like a bathtub toy next to 2 big cruise ships in the harbour of St Maarten. Our nice little cabin had a double bed, plenty of storage room and a tiny bathroom. I’m always surprised how much comfort you can find in only a few square meters, where there’s room for all the clothes (too many!) and toiletries you brought. I really should meet the guy who designed it so he can show me how to set that up at home. Anyway, I was thrilled with my porthole because I could see the ocean while underway. How ignorant I was. When you set sail the ship is, depending on the wind, leaning to either port side (left) or starboard (right). Our cabin was on starboard so our porthole just above sea level ‘moved’ likewise. The first night I did not sleep well. Lying on my back (thinking I would fall out of bed if I would lay on my side), I listened to the cracking of the ship, the water pumping against the sides. In the morning I opened the curtains and looked right into the sea! No, not looking for Nemo, but simply because the ship was leaning to starboard. That’s why everyone was asking, “Did you have a washing machine in your cabin last night?!” After that first experience the real enjoyment started. The atmosphere on board is very intimate and cosy. You make lots of new friends, many who sailed before, real sea life lovers who talk about their adventures of that day. No gala dinners, no dressing up. Smart casual does just fine at night.

You enjoy an open-seating dinner where everyone sits down at the same time at the only restaurant; there is only one shop selling Star Clippers items and some amenities, and one bar half inside, half outside facing the deck and dance floor where music is played at night. ® share today | 06.2011 23


once in a lifetime

once in a lifetime

The two swimming pools are only open in port due to the movement of the ship when sailing. All water sport facilities and gear are available at no extra cost: water skiing, scuba diving, sailing, snorkelling or canoeing. But for a more relaxed mood, there is a massage lady, who definitely can take you to another world. The crew mingles easily with the guests and is willing to explain everything regarding sailing, the ship and the stars. You can even join them if you wish. Great for group activities like teambuilding or leadership programs. Due to its size the Star Clipper is able to visit ports that are untouched by larger cruise ships. No herds of people but private beaches and little spots to discover. That’s how I entered Anguilla, Norman Island, Jost van Dyke (named after a female Dutch pirate) with the famous Soggy Dollar bar serving the dangerous ‘painkillers’ and Virgin Gorda. The bigger islands like St Barth and St Kitts were entered via a private spot rather than the harbours.

Star Clippers operates three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels: the Star Clipper, the Star Flyer and the Royal Clipper. Star Clipper and Star Flyer are modern cruise ships in every way, created for luxuryloving passengers who also love the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships. Star Clipper and Star Flyer are both 360 feet long and each carries just 170 guests in pampered comfort. For connoisseurs of sail cruising, the 439-foot Royal Clipper offers the ultimate sea-going experience. Royal Clipper carries just 227 guests in luxurious style. The ships currently sail throughout the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Costa Rica. Another advantage: you can simply rent out the ship exclusively for your groups. Some years ago I actually did so for a Japanese electronic company. 140 sales staff were the lucky ones who conquered the Greek and Turkish waters the way it might have been done in the past: by a real tall ship with the company flag on top! The complete program was tailor-made: from sailors in ‘all hands on deck’ activities to a stunning gala dinner on shore to having the Greek ruins of the famous library of Ephesus (Turkey) as décor, accompanied by a string orchestra. The sky - or should I say the sea - is the limit. No wonder 65% of all passengers return and become repeaters. Will you or your groups be next? √

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COLUMN

MORE ABOUT ellen

The Traveller’s Twilight Zone In my category, FAQ, it is by far the number one question: “What is your favourite country to travel to Ellen?” And my answer is as simple as it is stupid: Nobodyland. I do not have a particular destination; I’m always looking forward to going to some far away, rather unknown and preferably comfy (read: luxury) place on the planet. Question two is also quite predictable: ‘Where is Nobodyland?’ Anywhere, dummy! In every country where there is an international airport. Nobodyland starts in that area after customs and security-check in the airport and ends at the entrance to the plane. The traveller’s twilight zone. This delightful and energetic world is full of mysterious vibes and unexpected grooves. And I simply love it. I always try to plan enough quality time to spend there - unless I have a crazy timetable like a flight transfer. Nobodyland is where you meet the world. All nationalities saunter around. A great game to play when I am bored: guessing what passport a particular man or woman is carrying.

It’s where you feel sorry for the backpackers who sleep on the floor after their (of course cheap) flight cancellation. You sympathize with the slightly tipsy businessman, in a bar at 7 in the morning, because you understand he is in a different time zone. Your heart jumps up because you realize the awesome looking man next to you in the coffee corner is that hotter-than-hot famous actor, attempting to drink his espresso as anonymously as possible. And in Nobodyland you can even meet your future ex in the airline lounge... It’s heaven for a shopping addict like me, which means hell for my credit card balance. All the big brands are nearby. I shop till I drop exhausted in my first-class seat, getting angry looks from the purser because I DO need lots of space in the locker. I can have bubbles, fresh sushi, a hairdo, a neck-massage, even a manicure just before take-off. And for leaving sins behind or praying for a safe flight, I can even make a quick visit to a spiritual center. In Nobodyland, I am the queen!

At the age of 10, she already won first prize in a writing competition for a Dutch newspaper and fell in love with writing. Ellen van Ree works as a freelance journalist/editor for a variety of magazines, mostly related to the travel industry. Her passion for writing, as well as for other cultures, traveling and life are apparent in her features. SHARE TODAY welcomes Ellen as one of its columnists. She will lead you through a world of experiences written with humor, creativity, inspiration and sometimes provocation. Just read and experience it for yourself!

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groups s - xxl

Preparing this article on an XXL group I enjoyed a flashback. It’s August, 24th 2008 and I am sizzling of excitement on my seat in the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. The closing ceremony is about to happen.... The Major of London together with David Beckham enters the stadium in a red double decker coach to take over de flag for the next Summer Olympic Games in 2012. Now, at the threshold of 2012, London is preparing itself for an XXL event. What does it mean when an Olympic circus settles in a city? Well, I consider myself absolutely no expert but since the Sydney Olympics in 2000 I haven’t missed a winter or summer edition of the games and know a bit about this special circus. From an events point of view visiting the games is a great incentive, right? But here are the challenges.

An XXL circus

Let’s start with the easy part, hotel rooms. There are more than enough hotel rooms in London but from the moment a destination is chosen to become the next Olympic city a local organizing committee takes charge. In London this is LOCOG. This committee blocks hotel rooms and what is left is either extremely expensive (twice the normal price is quite common) or not appropriate for an incentive group. Than transportation: for sure no piece of cake. During the games a city uses Olympic Lanes for which each car or coach needs to have a permit. And these are not the

only permits you need. Permits to park at a hotel to pick up guests, permit to stop and deliver guests at a restaurant and certainly no access to main gates of the stadiums or other Olympic venues. Access to these is available only to the partner sponsors of the event. Security is a hot topic at any games but especially in London. It may take you an hour to pass security in a stadium. Oh yes and make sure you buy tickets from official suppliers instead of some shabby reseller and don’t be surprised if you stand in line for the opening ceremony and your entrance tickets become twice or even triple the price for those resellers who need to help out agencies who trusted the wrong supplier. But hey these are the Games! There is a treat though. Global bonding with all kinds of supporters and sports friends and intense emotions; an Olympic medal is worth more for some athletes than winning a European or World Championship. There are major celebrations where world famous artists join in, scheduled all over town. So mark your diaries; the world unites from the 27th of July till the 12th of August 2012 in London. √

Note; SHARE TODAY will be following the 2012 Olympic Games closely. In August we will be right in the heart of the Olympic city and share our XXL adventures with you.

text & p h oto kim al d e r d en

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up, close & pe r sonal

A designer tool for the DMC of tomorrow text kim al d e r d en p h oto y olan d a logt

In the past year, those of us in the destination management field have been busy as hell. Today’s clients have changed dramatically: in the know and able to run part of the show, they have often become our main competitors. Hotel suggestion? They booked already. Insider tip for a new restaurant? They just googled it. Linda and Sam Benmammar from Vanadoo, Prague are finding an innovative way to change the rules of the game, get back in the driver’s seat and give their clients even more bang for their buck.

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Linda started her career 17 years ago. In 2000 she launched her own company with life partner Sam and business partner Magdalena. Today Vanadoo is one of the major players in Prague. But for Linda, success is no reason to sit back and relax. With seismic change part of the daily landscape in our industry, she knows a DMC must adapt. Here is what she did to give her clients a boost and turn change to her advantage.

Destination PRO: A self-service tool for the client who thinks answers are only a click away on the web. Was it that easy? Linda: “No. It started with a simple idea but we had to tweak, refine and engineer it for more than a year before it was ready for the first trial.” Linda is a persistent lady with an eye for detail, no surprise when you are running a DMC. In short, Destination Pro supports clients by pairing 24/7 web services with access to concierge advice from senior Vanadoo consultants. Destination Prague was the soft-launch. As with any new product, Linda and her team encountered challenges. Where they only had to pitch a client before, they now had to convince their local network and suppliers to join, too. Enter the entrepreneur with focus (and, we assume, more than a little touch of girl power) who took her tool to the next level. Linda and her team were invited to share Destination Pro around the SHARE TODAY breakfast table during EIBTM Barcelona last December.

A group of 15 international DMC personalities took part in the exhilarating session, listening close and giving feedback. “It was exciting to finally stage ourselves. After a full year of emotional highs and lows launching our new baby, it was absolutely great to share our thinking with industry colleagues. Every single piece of feedback was valuable. We keep on learning every day. After our Share Today round-table, we’re more encouraged than ever.”

Destination Pro is in Phase One. Expectations are high. Vanadoo believes it could make the difference for DMCs - both for full service pros with specialty portfolios and for niche players with a specific markets and destinations. As soon as Destination Prague is 100% road tested, new opportunities will open. Vanadoo is looking for partners who are willing to invest and co-invent the DMC future together. Well, what do you think? Linda is anxious to hear your feedback. Click here to email her. share today | 06.2011 31


snap s h ot

Creative minds discover the faces, places and cases of Buenos Aires. Read more in our next mag. p h oto y olan d a logt

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zoom in

From CEO to professional writer

In our first issue of SHARE TODAY, we interviewed Liu Ping, CEO of China Star. At the time, Ping told us she was very busy writing her autobiography. Certainly no story about today’s China can be ordinary, and Liu Ping’s upcoming book promises much more… text & p h otos kim al d e r d en

It all started by coincidence. A Dutch group hired Liu Ping to recruit a keynote speaker on Chinese life and history. When the speaker cancelled at the last minute, the client convinced Liu Ping to do the honours herself. That day at the podium, a ‘star’ was born and Liu Ping found her new passion in life. Building bridges and creating understanding is behind Pings new book. “I never felt I had enough time to tell international friends about our Chinese culture, life and habits. Of course, every country has pros and cons - it’s the same for China. But if I am able to help others understand certain issues more clearly or to share in-depth background on Chinese history, it will create more understanding. This is my hope.” It took Liu Ping several years to finalize her script and find a publisher. China International Publishing Group (CIPG), the country’s largest foreign-language publisher/distributor, has taken her book on. “I was almost in tears 34 share today | 06.2011

when I heard to good news. CIPG publishes a lot of biographical books for celebrities and Chinese state leaders. I am one of a very few ordinary Chinese citizens selected to have a book published by a government publishing house. They believe publishing my book will give foreigners access to a different voice.” In addition to being CEO of China Star and now a professional writer, Liu Ping is on the board of SITE this year and was a key player behind Beijing being chosen to host next year’s SITE International Conference. She is also an active member of MPI and ICCA and has promised to become a regular contributor of the SHARE TODAY blog in 2012. share today | 06.2011 35


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COLUMN

MORE ABOUT Rob

Knocking On Hardly a week goes by without someone somewhere inviting me to come and give a presentation on Generation Y (broadly speaking, people in their 20s) and what they want from the conference industry. Quite rightly, many Convention Bureaux, venues and meetings planners are desperate to know how they can adapt their products to match the needs and tastes of this latest generation of potential conference attendees. In a nutshell, their preferences and values are so different to those of the Baby Boomer generation of delegates that radical changes in the way we do everything in this industry will be required, or Generation Y will simply vote with their feet and stay away from face-to-face meetings of all kinds. But I’ve already written in SHARE TODAY on the issue of Generation Y. I’d like to focus on another demographic segment now: those at the other end of working life altogether - people in their 60s and 70s. According to a recent survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, almost four in ten workers said that they were planning to work long past the normal retirement age. Of those surveyed, 39 percent of people said they’ll work past the age of 70 or simply never retire. 54 percent said they planned to retire between 60 to 69 years of age. 36 share today | 06.2011

A major reason for still clocking on while knocking on was financial necessity. A significant number of people said that it was the recession that was making them resign themselves to working longer in life. But even for many of the more financially secure, a longer working life seems to be a lifestyle choice. There is a happy band of workers who simply love what they do for a living, and will keep on doing it as a matter of choice - maybe on a part-time basis, but still keeping their hand in and exercising their trade or profession as long as they are physically and mentally able. I know that I belong to that category: I’ve always said that I’ll probably shuffle off this mortal coil in the middle of some PowerPoint presentation. Well, there are worse ways to go. But the point is, if people are working longer, that means that more people will also be going to conferences into their 60s and 70s and beyond. What does that mean for the way we organize meetings? What can we do to ensure that this age group gets value and satisfaction from the conferences they attend? A few things to consider: older people, even when they are 100% mentally sound, clearly have simple physical needs that meeting planners need to take

into account. For example, for those with failing eyesight, tiny print on conference programs and on conference badges will be a challenge. Use bigger fonts. Hearing too can be a lot less effective for the older delegates at your events. So pay more attention to the acoustics in the room; and go easy with the background music (beloved of Generation Y) during networking sessions - that can prevent some older delegates from following conversations. It’s also a fact of life that many older people also need more ‘comfort breaks’ than your twentysomething delegates. So avoid marathon sessions of speaker after speaker with no breaks in between. And allow enough time for older, less sprightly delegates to get from the plenary session to the breakout rooms, for example. Remember, many of our convention centres are huge buildings, with long distances between rooms. Fine for nimble, gym-toned youngsters, but something of a physical challenge for those who are 40 or 50 years older than your youngest delegates. Finally, technology: sure, your Gen Y delegates will enjoy online registration, tweeting questions ® share today | 06.2011 37


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to the speakers, blogging on your conference’s website etc etc. But those in their 60s and 70s may well have a preference for more traditional methods of engaging with the event - can they do that, for the meetings you organize? It’s going to be a tough balancing act: satisfying all delegate age groups. But an effective conference is one that meets the needs of all attendees, and where no one feels excluded on any grounds. And in a world where we’ll soon have four different generations working side-by-side, as an industry we’re going to have to meet that challenge as well as we possibly can. Conferences will be enrichened by the continuing presence of older delegates with a lifetime of experience in their chosen field and different perspectives to those of our Bright Young Things. Let’s not make them feel like second-class citizens. √

Let us introduce you to another columnist, Rob Davidson. Rob Davidson is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich, in London. He specializes in research into business events and also runs his own consultancy in this field. One of his principal clients is EIBTM. He prepares an annual study called the EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share Report, which he launches each year at the show in Barcelona. share today | 06.2011 39


FYI

Event security:

Conflict control is the name of the game

Who is in charge of event security? Does the project manager of the agency have full responsibility or are the various local suppliers each responsible for their own part? And what about public transportation in, for example, London, which is sometimes referred to as a risk due to historical facts. Why separate a group between two airplanes, and then put them the next moment on scooters through the buzzing city centre of, say, Bangkok? Event security is a subjective issue. We tried to find some answers though and had a chat with Bertus Holkema, a no-nonsense Dutchman with 30 years of experience in all sorts of global events.

A little bit of background on the man. From being a pain-in-the-ass to his mom at age 13, to fighting with friends on the street a year later, to lessons in karate to create more balance, to a career as professional goal keeper in the Netherlands, Bertus Holkema has served the Commandos in the army and was a doorman at several bars and discotheques. Without really knowing it, he created a certain image: a hospitable security guy with good manners and no fear. Then there came the phone call: the multinational Philips, as sponsor of the Fats Domino event in the Netherlands, was looking for a security expert. There and then his security career began. Touring the world with major bands such as Dire Straits and The Rolling Stones was a boy’s dream came true. But there was more. Public festival events, bodyguard security to famous football players and eventually he was in charge of security for major sports events worldwide. Hey, what else do you need to become a real pro on the subject?

text kim al d e r d en p h otos E d win S mul d e r s & K im al d e r d en

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What is the secret? Holkema: “We always focus on conflict control. This means that we value

three important pillars in our day-to-day work: we try to create a friendly atmosphere, an open communication line and hospitable behaviour. Furthermore we are working on the look and feel of our teams. Working in a tailor-made suit is creating a better picture than an oversized jacket or pair of trousers. And we try to build up our teams with a diverse group of persons, preferably with one or two women in each team on the job.” Today an all-round security company has various disciplines and employs a great variety in staff. Because client focus and hospitable behaviour play such an important role, training and coaching are disciplines Holkema offers clients. “We train catering staff and logistic staff with our knowledge, and so we hope to create an better overall environment for events,” says Holkema. Taking care of security around sports events is one of the major pillars in his company. It’s no surprise that a lot of his young recruited staff comes from several sports academies. We learn that a sports event is used as sales tool as well. ® share today | 06.2011 41


FYI

let me ente r tain y ou

w e b s i t e s & A pp s oksBooks The Big Apple New York City is the top destination in the United States, but there’s more to New York than you might think. The state of New York extends all the way from the Canadian border to the Atlantic Ocean. New York is the third largest producer of wine in the US. New York has more downhill ski areas than any other state. There are over 230 state and national parks, with Adirondack Park as the largest protected nature area in the continental US. Perfect to accommodate any group or event. Want to know more? www.iloveny.com “Edwin van de Sar, the well known Dutch goal keeper played his farewell match at the Amsterdam Arena stadium. The match was filled with celebrities, media power and decision makers at the same time. We offered our services on a complimentary basis, which resulted in very positive feedback and new leads. It may sound unconventional, but for me it is the best sales tool ever.” A final tip: Security has many faces but one thing is very clear, it is essential not to take it for granted. Pay attention and never hesitate to evaluate the security issues around your next event with a professional. √

In 2009 the activity of the Holkema Group was sold to ICTS Europe Group (In the Netherlands the company operates under the brand name CTSN (Consultants on Targeted Security Netherlands) – Holkema Group. A bit of name dropping in the end… references come from Champions League Final for Mastercard, events for the Johan Cruijff Welfare Foundation, Delta Airlines Schiphol

Interactive floor plans, iPlan With this app, life gets easier for the Meeting Planner. Using crisp, clean, interactive floor diagrams you can evaluate and preview guest rooms and event spaces with your iPhone or iPad. Simply select a hotel from the list.

airport Amsterdam, MTV Awards ceremony and the University HQ of Madrid. Interested contact Bertus Holkema, feel free to e-mail him directly.

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World Travel Guide We were wondering if we should place this under websites or books… The website offers plenty of inspirational information, either digitally or through their books, on all kinds of destinations around the globe. Worth a scroll to discover for yourself. www.worldtravelguide.net

The InterContinental Kitchen Cookbook The first food and beverage app from an international hotel chain allows hotel guests to freely download 32 InterContinental recipes and prepare top dishes in their own kitchen.

Best in Travel 2011 What more to say? The Best in Travel 2011, an issue of Lonely Planet, is almost a must for those who love to explore the world; a year’s worth of travel inspiration to take you out of the ordinary and into some unforgettable experiences. Just read it! The M Factor Lancaster and Stillman, consultants and coauthors of When Generations Collide, give a David Attenboroughworthy documentation of the lifestyle and habits of the Millennial Nation, the generation born between 1982 and 2000.Lively stories illustrate the generation gap and general communication failures between Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials. The authors do an earnest job of encouraging the generations to attempt to understand each other.

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SHARE TODAY issue 6 2011