Having the power of resilience BY BARRY SISKIND he road from the implementation of your exhibit plan and the secret of its successful execution is long and precarious. It can be filled with setbacks. The difference between the successful exhibit managers and their staff and those who fail is their ability to work through the setbacks and come out victorious. Easy to say and tough to do unless you have harnessed the skill of resilience. Yes, resilience is a skill that anyone can learn. Diane Coutu, a senior editor at the Harvard Business Review, in her article, “How Resilience Works,” identifies three characteristics of resilience: See the world as it really is, find meaning, and be ingenious. Let’s look at each:
SEE THE WORLD AS IT REALLY IS The world is filled with optimists who focus on the positive, pessimists who focus on the negative and the realists who are somewhere in between. Which is correct? The answer is that all three have a place in the greater scheme of things. The trick is to combine all perspectives for a clearer picture of reality. While your booth staff are sitting around complaining about a slow traffic period, they are focusing on the nega-
tive only. A positive aspect is that the slow time gives them a chance to catch their breath after a busy period or an opportunity to get out of their booth and visit other exhibits.
It’s always amazing how much more powerful many heads are than just one. FIND MEANING Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and psychologist identified three sources for meaning in one’s life: work, love, and courage. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl went on to write that even when forces beyond your control take away everything, there is always one thing left—your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. When contractors fail to do what they promised or your collateral materials do not arrive on time instead of wallowing in self-doubt and recriminations ask yourself this question, “What can I learn
from this obstacle?” There are always powerful lessons you can learn to turn your setbacks into meaningful lessons.
BE INGENIOUS Being ingenious, for most of us, means looking at things with new eyes to see what is often lying right before us. Nineteenth century philosopher Bernard Baruch wrote, “Millions saw the apple fall but Newton asked why.” Try this exercise. Make a list of everything that can go wrong with your exhibit plan for you and your booth people. It’s an eye-opener. Your list can often be overwhelming. But if you create the list before you are actually faced with the setback then you can develop strategies that will minimize the effect. Get you staff involved with this list. It’s is always amazing how much more powerful many heads are than just one. If you can help yourself and your staff understand how to handle setbacks by seeing the world as it really is, find meaning when you experience obstacles and become ingenious by asking questions, you have taken an important step in the direction of show success. Barry Siskind is an internationally recognized trade and consumer show expert. He is author of six bestselling business books including Powerful Exhibit Marketing. Watch for his newest book, Selling from the Inside Out, to be released in the fall of 2008. Visit Barry at www.siskindtraining.com.
THE CANADIAN EDITION
In this Issue
6 Superior workshops > There are great workshops and there are fan-
Avoiding the recession
tastic workshops. Writer Tim Ferguson says there are ten principles to keep in mind when doing a presentation and he outlines them in detail for this insightful article.
8 Planning a party > We now call them end-of-year or New Year’s
lthough most experts say Canada is not in a recession yet, we all have to do our part to keep it that way. At The Planner, we are introducing two new features which will start in November and we hope will benefit everyone in our industry. The first, to be simply called Suppliers Specials, will be a listing of supplier deals/specials aimed at helping planners with their costs. We will be asking suppliers to send us information on special offers that can help you save money and meet your recession-fighting budgets. Our goal is always to inform you and to help the industry continue to thrive. The second feature will be called Planner Praise. We will publish your comments about suppliers who have exceeded your expectations and why. Drawing attention to the negative is easy and necessary, but there are enough people and publications that do that. We want to focus on what people do right. So let’s all try and take the Pareto Principle (often called the 80-20 rule) and apply it here. Let’s talk about the positive 80% of the time and about the negative 20% of the time. In my opinion, we will all be better for it. As you know, at The Planner we’re not about perception, we are about accurate information which can help you in your work. So thank you for reading us and sending us your comments which we always take seriously and try to build on. — Leo Gervais
parties instead of the religiously narrow Christmas party, but whatever the name you need to make a plan for it! Cynthia Fell of Dining Events explains a step-by-step process for planners to do it right.
10 Green innovations > The budding green trend has become a fullflowered happening. With it have come many innovative ideas that planners can put to use. Sandra Wood expounds on a few.
19 Cheque please! > Every planner’s nightmare: An event that is so uninspired people cut out the first chance they get. Regular columnist Don Murray provides some ideas to get the guests to stay.
30 The Bahamas > As the leaves fall and the cold makes it way back to us, it is time to dream about warm, sunny days on an island. Janet Cuffie of The Bahamas Tourism Office spoke with The Planner about this great destination.
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Utilize the ten keys to run a fantastic workshop presentation every time BY TIM FERGUSON
here are good workshops and then there are fantastic workshops. The difference usually hinges on audience engagement. Here are 10 fundamental but often ignored principles for engaging attendees: 1. Be crystal clear on attendee WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”) The key is to be as specific as possible. Rather than, “They want to learn more about treatment options” a strong WIIFM statement would be, “They want confirmation that their current treatment regimes are supported by the latest data.” 2. Be equally clear on your objective. If your objective matches their WIIFM, you are in great shape. If there is a sharp contrast, you may need to rethink things. Like WIIFM, a strong objective is specific: “I want to explain the new program” is okay, but “I want every attendee to leave with
their questions about the new program answered to such a degree that they roll it out with full confidence” is great! 3. Cut all content that does not match their WIIFM and your objective. Be brutal with the red pen: if it isn't absolutely relevant, it goes. 4. Be prepared. That means you've analyzed who will be attending, conducted a needs assessment, revised your materials accordingly, rehearsed, checked with the venue about all relevant logistics, double checked that you everything you need, gotten a good night's sleep, and given yourself enough travel time to be at least 30 minutes early, right? 5. Commit to engagement. As a facilitator your first responsibility is to engage your audience. Ignore their signs of boredom, distraction or dissatisfaction and they will ignore you. Signs of engagement are nodding heads, laughter, eye contact, and people scurrying for a pen - monitor your audience and adjust your delivery to maximize engagement at all times. 6. Respect their time. Start on time, go to break on time, end on time: No exceptions, no excuses. 7. Let them do lots of talking. With no Q&A or discussion, you are presenting, not facilitating. The value of a workshop comes in participants learning not only from the facilitator, but from others in the room as well, and from receiving a truly customized take on your information. If they can't influence your workshop, you can't provide the full value of the workshop environment. 8. Have some fun. While everyone's definition of fun may be different, everyone prefers it to the alternative. Your topic is serious enough - they want you to lighten up! 9. Leave time for a debrief. No matter how pressed for time, this one is an absolute must. A quality debrief turns the floor over to the participants to reflect on what they have learned, share what resonates, and what they are taking away from your session. Your job is to crystallize key insights and most importantly, help them turn ideas into action. 10. Say thanks. Everyone is busy and everyone has many other important things to do. Whether an hour or a day, the time they have taken to attend your workshop is precious: Thank them for it!
As a facilitator your first responsibility is to engage your audience.
Tim Ferguson, President of Audience Communication and Events, is considered to be one of Canada’s finest presentation coaches. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 6
Weighing your (luggage scale) options on-line BY LEO GERVAIS any planners obsess about their weight… their baggage weight. There are few feelings worse than being over your luggage weight limit and trying to figure out how to move books and meeting supplies from your luggage to your carry-on to avoid an exorbitant fee for exceeding the weight limit. As airlines try to economize fuel, the weight limits will only go down, so this is a trend that will continue. Enter the portable luggage scale, a hand-held device that allows you to weigh your luggage and prevents the guesswork and potential problems if you do not weigh your bags. You basically attach the hook to your luggage and then pull up and read the readout,
is well worth the money.” There are a myriad of choices out there: digital, varying maximum weights, inexpensive or pricey, stylish and a plethora of sizes. We have compiled a list of some of the more popular brands and how to find out more about them. Expect to pay at least $20 for a good portable luggage scale and test them out before purchasing.
On the Web: Balanzza www.balanzza.com
digital or otherwise. Our colleague Mike Auctor used a Travelon luggage scale on a recent European trip and told us that it “…worked like a charm. This product
TravelOn www.travelonbags.com xScale http://shop.heys.ca
How to plan the perfect holiday party! BY CYNTHIA FELL he holidays are here again! Alright, perhaps it’s still a couple of months away, but it’s never too early to start planning for the holiday season, especially when it comes to the company party. It may sound like an easy assignment when YOU get chosen to plan the holiday party but it can become a mad scramble to find the right restaurant, plan the right menu and stay within budget. How do you make your way through this maze? Here are a couple of tips to help you:
LET’S START WITH THE VENUE Many groups like to host their event at restaurants, benefiting from experienced wait staff and festive atmosphere. But restaurants offer a wide range of dining experiences that run the gamut from quirky and casual to elegantly refined. Thus, finding the right ambiance for your group is critical. A young and energetic crowd may feel stifled in a grand, hushed room with tall Victorian columns, but that gorgeous setting might be perfect for an executive gathering. Likewise, guests accustomed to the fine-dining scene might feel out of place at the hottest and hippest supper club, but all that glitz and glamour could be just the thing for a group that wants to let loose. Thus, if nothing else, to your own group be true. Make sure you match the personality and culture with your group with the right restaurant as opposed to the latest “hot” one.
NOW YOU HAVE THE RESTAURANT, LET’S TALK MENUS Cocktail parties are becoming more and more popular, and with a thoughtful selection of heavier hors d’oeuvres, one can often dispense with the entrée entirely, thereby maximizing your guests’ mingling time. A cocktail party is also a fun alternative for someone on a modest budget, balancing fun with fiscal prudence. If your group prefers a sit-down meal, why not put a seasonal spin on the typical dinner? Beef, chicken, and fish will always be well-received, but what better opportunity to offer a main of roast duck and oven-crisped yam nuggets, or a fresh green salad with an orange, cranberry, and clove vinaigrette?
A holiday beverage selection can also be a great way to add some pizzazz to this annual event. Many restaurants are more than happy to create a customized cocktail or hot toddy for your group… the possibilities are limited only by your taste buds and imagination! Of course, you should also consider whether you will be hosting the beverages for the entire evening, for part of the evening, or if you will be offering a cash bar. Wine at dinner is usually expected, so be sure to tell the sommelier which bottles you will want available. Think of the restaurant as your opener, food as your middle and the beverages you offer as your close. You want to end as strong as you started so consider how to do that with holiday drinks.
VENUE, FOOD AND DRINK… ANYTHING ELSE? Always. It’s all about the little things. Do keep in mind that the next few weeks are a busy and harried time for restaurant staff and planners alike. Venues will often ask for a larger deposit to reserve space during this high-traffic season, and availability will go quickly. Give as much advance notice as you can, and communicate clearly and often with the event manager or your event placement provider. Details like budgets, guest counts, and event times are all too easy to mix up, and a careless mistake could spell disaster for your fête. But with a careful eye for the numbers, thoughtful foresight into the needs of your group, and a healthy dose of patience and good humour, the only thing you’ll be worrying about is whether that special someone will meet you under the mistletoe! Cynthia Fell is the President of Dining Events. Has holiday party planning already got you down? Dining Events has given event planners the gift of stress-free holiday planning for years, all at no cost. Email Cynthia at email@example.com and ask how they can help you plan a stress-free holiday event.
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The holidays are often times in which kitchens like to spice up their menu so what better way to be innovative? Just remember you don’t have to stick with the tried and true with food. Like restaurants, it is not a question of what they serve but how it serves your group’s tastes. With your menus sets, let’s move to drinks. You can’t have good food without good drink can you?
Whistler’s new gondola a boon for skiers who travel the two peaks While the skiing is marvelous at the Whistler Blackcomb Resort, skiers often lamented the fact that it took a long time to travel between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains without losing valuable time on the slopes. No more — this problem should be solved in December with the opening of the new Peak 2 Peak gondola which will connect the alpine neighbours at just over 6,000 ft. via a 2.73mile ride that departs every 49 seconds. The 11-minute trip in each 28-passenger cabin will offer skiers impressive views at the highest distance in the world above a valley floor (91,427 feet). The gondola will also travel the world’s longest unsupported span (91.88 miles). On the Web: www.whistlerblackcomb.com
The system will only be available in the U.S. where the planes will be able to access Aircell’s American air-to-ground communications network. Transport Canada regulations currently prohibit the use of electronic devices on aircraft in Canada, however the regulator is studying the possibility of allowing passengers to use cellphones after a jet has landed. Aircell said it is looking forward to installing an air-to-ground network – which provides a connection between the aircraft and cellphone towers on the ground, essentially turning the cabin into a WiFi hotspot in Canada the same as it has in the U.S. The technology is similar to that of conventional plane-based phone systems. Aircell announced a similar deal with Delta on Aug. 6, and will install a mobile network on the U.S. airline’s fleet of more than 330 aircraft within the continental U.S. There is no word on the pricing plan for Air Canada, but Delta plans to charge users $9.95 for flights lasting three hours or less, and $12.95 for flights lasting more than three hours. On the Web: www.aircell.com
Air Canada to fly with WiFi
Monkey business at the tavern
Canadians flying to the United States will soon get eightmile high WiFi, but only after they’ve crossed into U.S. air space. Air Canada recently said it would become the first Canadian airline to offer in-flight wireless access on trans-border flights beginning next year. The Montreal-based national airliner plans to roll out Aircell LLC’s “GoGo” mobile broadband service on select flights to the U.S., on Airbus A319 aircraft beginning in the spring.
A Japanese tavern is using monkeys to keep its customers happy. The Kayabukiya tavern, a traditional “sake house” north of Tokyo. The two Japanese macaque, Yat-chan and Fuku-chan serve drinks to patrons and hand out towels and are certified to work at the tavern two hours a day. Customers tip them with boiled soya beans. “The monkeys are actually better waiters than some really bad human ones,” says customer Takayoshi Soeno.
Green meetings spark great innovations BY SANDRA WOOD, CMP have a confession to make! The conference I work on does use recycled plastic name badge holders. We started purchasing them a year ago as part of our “greening” process. However, once we attached the ribbons to identify the credentials of certain attendees, we eventually learned the name badge holders had to be discarded because the removal of the ribbon exposed a sticky (very sticky), horrible glue that couldn’t be removed. It made the storage of the name badge holders virtually impossible (imagine one large clump of name badges). It’s not possible to eliminate the ribbons at this point so we brainstormed what we could do, and we came up with a solution – Velcro! Yep, we could attach small pieces of Velcro to the badge holder and the ribbon. They’ll hold well and we can reuse the badge holders afterwards. We will test our experiment in just over a month’s time. Although this might seem like an incredibly small detail, imagine how many name badge holders get thrown out on a yearly basis. I share this idea with you for two reasons. First, for all of you in the same situation as we are, try the Velcro and see if it works for you. Secondly, it’s an example of how we’re trying to be creative and innovative at every level. I have to say that, for me, it’s these types of innovations that give me hope and inspire me to continue talking about green meetings. It’s also injecting some fresh new ideas into our processes and it adds a very rewarding and different dimension to the work.
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS TO BEING GREEN My favourite part of going green is the environmental benefits, but a close second are the ideas and innovations that I see in our industry almost on a daily basis. I think it empowers us at every level to feel we can make a difference, no matter how small it might seem.
I recently read a delightful story about the Royal York in Toronto. Executive Chef, David Garcelon, partnered with the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperative to start raising honey bees on the rooftop of the hotel. This initiative will serves two purposes. First, it will help with the production of food on the rooftop garden at the Royal York and, secondly, it will give Chef a supply of very local honey in a market where honey is becoming more expensive to purchase due to viruses currently affecting bee populations worldwide. Kudos to Chef Garcelon for such an innovative program and I wish him great success. I also hope to have a chance to sample Royal York Rooftop Honey soon! I also had the pleasure of speaking with Janice Desrosier, Senior Manager of Sales for Tourism Calgary. They offered a “Green Fam Trip” recently because they recognized the social consciousness that is growing in our industry and they also realized that Alberta is not getting a good rap because of its current economic focus – mainly oil and gas. So they embarked on a project to showcase what Calgary can offer in terms of “green infrastructure” to planners. This helped them to stimulate their industry partners to develop more green services and to strive to continue this practice, recognizing the demand for green services and infrastructure is here to stay. They also partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute since Ms. Goodall happened to be in town at the same time as the fam, so attendees had an opportunity to meet her. This resulted in a very memorable fam because it appealed to planners on a very deep level. We hear a lot about “experiential” in this industry and it looks like Tourism Calgary definitely achieved that. A green fam – who would have thought? What a great idea, Tourism Calgary! In speaking with Jan, it also made me realize that all fams need to include a green component to them.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
The mystery of hot dogs revealed Ever wonder why hot dogs come in packs of 10 while buns come in packs of 8 or 12? Bakers generally package their wares in dozens or other multiples of three or four. Meat packers sell by the pound or kilo, and a standard hot dog weighs 0.1 pounds. Oscar Mayer probably insists that only 10 consumers (or is it 12?) write in annually to complain.
Baby you can drive my car… with a mobile phone? Only in Japan: A new mobile phone from Sharp Corp. will automatically unlock the doors of its owners’ cars and let drivers start their engines without using an ignition key. The phone uses a technology previously developed by Nissan Motor C. called “Intelligent Key” that allows drivers to enter and start their cars without removing their keys from their pockets or bags. Cars equipped with the system sense when the correct key is nearby, automatically unlocking their car doors, and allow the engine to be started once the key is brought inside the car. The new twist is that the technology is loaded in a phone that will work on the mobile network operated by NTT DoCoMo Inc. Japan’s largest mobile operator. Japanese phones are some of the most sophisticated in the world; most come standard with digital TV, music players,
GPS, cameras that double as barcode scanners and wireless credit cards. Sharp and NTT planned to display the technology at CREATEC, a major technology conference in Tokyo that took place from Sept. 28-Oct. 4 this year. On the Web: www.sharp.ca
Energy helps Canada boom in July Canada’s economy grew 0.7 percent in July, on the strength of surging energy output, Statistics Canada says. It is the fastest growth since March 2004, economists noted. They had been expecting a 0.2 percent rise from a month earlier. The energy sector accounted for about half of the July expansion of Canada’s real gross domestic product, rising 3.1 percent, StatsCan said. Petroleum production resumed and natural gas extraction soared in order to replenish storage levels. Despite a dynamic July, Canada’s economy has grown just 1.2 percent in the past year and the recent stock market upheaval has many pundits talking recession in Canada and around the world.
Canada makes the Top Ten Our home and native land has cracked the list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2009 in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel: 2009 – 756 of the World’s Hottest Trends, Destinations, Journeys, and Experiences, arriving in bookstores soon. Can’t-miss cultural events listed include the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Calgary Stampede and the Ford World men’s Curling Championships in Moncton.
Sponsored by the Centre Mont-Royal Fill each square with a number from 1 to 9 so that every number appears only once in each row, column and cell.
SOME SUDOKU RESOURCES ON THE WEB: • www.websudoku.com •www.sudoweb.com •www.dailysudoku.com •www.sudokupuzz.com
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Solution, page 28 Solution, page 28
Zippy Tags www.zippytags.com Choose, iron and you’re off! Three easy steps for you to identify your luggage from other people’s at airports. This site offers an excellent way to personalize your bags : colourful and durable (you can’t peel them, tear them, lose them or forget them!), zippy tags help you avoid the torment often associated with luggage when you are travelling. Frequent Flyer Network www.frequentflyerservices.com This site brings together many popular sites in the niche business travel market. It was the first online information portal for frequent flyers with its WebFlyer.com site and became an official network in 1996 when InsideFlyer Online was launched with AOL. FlyerTalk.com followed in 1998 and it has become the Internet’s most popular online community for frequent travelers. The network has won numerous awards, including a “Best of the Web” award from Forbes, inclusion in PC World’s “100 Top Travel sites and Selling Power Magazine’s “Top 150 Sales Websites.” Their stable of sites include Award Donation Center (for donating miles, points and awards to charity), Mileage Manager (a mileage consolidation service) and the popular WebFlyer. Highly recommended.
Business Travel Advice www.rogerandrandy.com Roger Collis and Randy Petersen are two of the world’s leading business travel experts – Collis is the author of The Survivor’s Guide to Business Travel and a travel columnist for the International Herald Tribune. Petersen, meanwhile, is an expert on frequent-flier programs and the founder of websites such as FlyerTalk.com, WebFlyer.com and Inside Flyer.com. Their site offers lively discussions about trends and topics affecting business travellers, blogs by Collis and Petersen and links to other useful sites. Ontario Business News www.businessedge.ca If you want to supplement your business newspaper and magazine reading with something different, try this this site. Business Edge is a bi-weekly news magazine founded in Calgary in the year 2000 by a team of journalists who, according to their website, saw a clear need for more in-depth, insightful coverage of Canada's local business scenes. They run the gamut from briefs to technology news, and provide stories sometimes not seen in mainstream media. Many of the articles offer a chance to comment right on screen and the site is easy to navigate, even for the novice. ••• If you have a website that you think might interest planners, please send it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Simple steps program puts the environment first CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10
When I was at the Shaw Convention Centre in Edmonton recently, I participated in a “Back of House” tour and talked to one of the chefs about the difference between grass-fed versus grain-fed beef. Grass-fed is better on the environment but tastes more gamey than grain-fed. It’s one of those situations where you have to weigh the pros and cons of each option and make your decision accordingly. I also got to see where the piles of compost are stored and huge drums of used cooking oil that were awaiting pick up – yes, they get recycled, too. Cliff Higuchi, Assistant General Manager at the Shaw Convention Centre has created a “Simple Steps” program, which puts environmental processes in place that Shaw continues to build on. As I did my “Back of House” tour, I saw lists of “what goes in what bin” all over the place. They are doing a fantastic job and clearly the staff are committed and empowered to continually innovate and improve. So the next time I go on a fam, I’m going to ask to participate in more “Back of House” tours to see the dumpsters. I’d also love to visit the recycling facility in that city to see exactly what’s going on. After all, I need to know how well my green meeting will be serviced at every level.
Imagine if meeting planners starting asking for tours of the recycling facilities in host cities. I’m certain the facilities guides would be more than proud to show off what they’re doing and what a great way to connect with the host city at a very grassroots level.
BIODEGRADEABLE HEADSET BAGS Then, there’s the technician at AVW-TELAV who came up with the idea of making the bags for the simultaneous headsets biodegradable. Apparently, the shelf life on biodegradable bags is not very long (they turn to dust) so they have to monitor them, but what an innovative thing to do! I bet that technician is really proud of the legacy he’s left behind. So no matter how big or small your idea is, suggest it anyway because as I’ve said before, every little bit counts. Green meetings have created a fabulous opportunity for all of us to be innovative and allow our creative juices to flow. By the way, I’ve updated the Planner’s Toolkit recently so feel free to take another look at this document. PCMA Canada East Planner’s Toolkit: http://www.pcma.org/Header_Pages/Chapters/Canada_East/ Links_of_Interest.htm Sandra Wood is the Annual Meeting Manager for the Canadian Medical Association in Ottawa, Ontario. She can be reached at: email@example.com.
Cheque please! BY DON MURRAY, CMP would imagine that every single one of us has experienced a dinner outing that simply ran out of time. Whether we realize it or not, we all have internal clocks that once elapsed signal us to move on. When we are out dining at a restaurant and are somewhat in control, when that time arrives we simply ask for the cheque. Things are no different when we partake in a group dinner event, but we are then at a distinct disadvantage; we do not have the freedom nor the opportunity to simply leave when we feel the time to move on. As meeting planners, what can we do to avoid our individual guests departing at that moment when they feel they no longer wish to stay at your group event? Although we may not be able to please every single person every time, we can increase the probability of having an entire dinner being beneficial, timely and pleasing.
I was recently involved in a dinner event where the speaker ran an hour over their allotted time. Needless to say, the entire event was questioned and the purpose of getting together was scrutinized. One person’s negligence put the whole raison d’être for having the dinner into jeopardy and it left a bad taste for the guests. We often take time for granted. It is our most treasured asset and often the one most neglected. Having a dinner event run like clockwork is not an option to be taken lightly; it is an obligation to be handled with care. By respecting your timeline, you are respecting your guests and greatly improving your chances of having no one looking for a reason to leave what is supposed to be and, in fact can be, an outstanding dinner event. Don Murray is the Operations Manager for Avtec Professional Audio-Visual Services. he can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIME IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET You must know the members of your group, both their likes and dislikes. Know where they are coming from and what lies ahead, because it will impact what they will and won’t tolerate. If you spend all that time and money putting on the event, there is absolutely no gain if your participants are left with a bad taste in their mouths. Time is the most valuable asset both you and your client have. There is no way of going back and reclaiming time lost or miraculously adding more on if you fall behind. It is critical to be realistic when setting your timeline knowing there are many factors that will influence its outcome. It is not realistic to expect to move 500 people from a cocktail setting to a dinner setting in under 15 minutes. That being said, the venue should always have adequate staffing and there is no excuse, under any circumstances, for your event to suffer because the venue did not properly staff the function. If you are absolutely bound by a strict timeline, limit your choices and perhaps have a cold, pre-set entrée. By having both a predetermined menu and wine selection, service will be sped up. Be up front with your venue on when you expect to have the speeches and what you expect from them in reference to service during those speeches. The keynote speech will be done once coffee and desert are served. Having extra coffee placed on the table after the first service is appreciated. You could also go with the option of having a dessert that is placed in the center of each table having your guests serve themselves. Your keynote speaker should always be conscious of the time allotted for them and respectful of how it will affect the overall outcome of your event. October ’08
YOU MAY DELAY BUT TIME WILL NOT. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
No free technology, no customers If you’re a hotel, you better make sure Fred can use the WiFi and his kids Paul and Amanda have free docks for their iPods. Hotels – including five star establishments – are failing to keep up with the technology and charging their guests for using Internet facilities, industry experts have warned. Hotels that make additional charges for guests to access the Internet or fail to provide easy audio and TV access for portable devices such as iPods and MP3 players could lose out, said Guy Roukaerts, moderator of The Hotel Show Seven Star conference that took place in June at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre. Visualizing the future and preparing now for the needs of today’s more technology-demanding guests came under the spotlight at the conference which forms part of the premier supplies show for the Middle East hospitality sector. The arrival of ‘guest connectivity panels’ where guests who bring their own personalized music or video content can easily connect to the new LCD TVs or surround sound systems in their rooms is becoming prevalent, he said. These panels allow guests to access their own content quickly and easily. Convergence and the need for hotels to ‘wire up' to meet the technology of their guests was a theme of several presentations. Until now, hotel owners have been reluctant to invest in upgrading to a level comparable to that of a guest’s own home but that has to change. Indeed, hotel owners and operators who adopt these technologies will have a competitive advantage, he added.
Hotel made from shipping containers opens across the pond Travelodge recently opened a hotel in Uxbridge, England that is constructed entirely from prefabricated shipping containers. The completed design uses 86 containers of various sizes that were retrofitted into bedrooms and bolted together
onsite. Shipped from China, they were assembled like giant Lego blocks on site in 20 days. The exterior has been clad and fitted with windows, thus converting the assemblage into a seamless 120-bedroom hotel. Verbus Systems estimates that the structure’s prefab composition saved the hotel chain more than half a million pounds and at least 10 weeks of construction. Travelodge is building a 307-room hotel at Heathrow Airport, west of London, using the same technique.
Hi-tech in hotels has arrived If you are like many travellers, you no doubt have experienced archaic systems trying to use a hotel’s services, like a phone service that keeps looping you back to a pre-recorded message or a very un-user friendly “interactive” TV screen. Now Runtriz, a software firm in Hollywood, Calif., has developed a way to use the iPod touch and iPhones to load a web application called Hotel Evolution that will allow a guest to punch in their room number and security code to then be able to access all of the hotel’s service offerings. Runtriz made test runs in in several L.A. hotels and are now running it in the Malibu Beach Inn in Malibu, Calif. The set-up and running cost varies on a hotel-by-hotel basis, but Runtriz President Matt Allard says the cost of the first month is generally about double that of the standard monthly fee of $10 per room. The hotel staff load the web application and guests are given 16gb iPod Touch if they don’t have their own. On the Web: http://runtriz.com
Vogue Hotel fills the void in Montreal We were asked for a Montreal alternative... With the RitzCarlton closed for the next 18 months and the Omni Hotel (former Four Seasons) closing in early December, a hotel with the same calibre of service that is ETDBW (easy to do business with) that is an alternative would have to be the Loews Vogue Hotel. Located one block south of the Ritz on Montréal’s trendiest street, de la Montagne, the Vogue definitely offers the five-star touch. On the Web: www.loewshotels.com
Holiday Inn in 1952. The name was one that was only jokingly suggested to him by his architect in reference to the Crosby classic.
Why is a special day called a “red letter day”? What does “Auld Lang Syne” mean? Much of the planet sings “Auld Lang Syne” at Christmas and New Year’s without having a clue what the words auld lang syne actually mean. The lyrics for the song were written by Scots poet Robbie Burns, who wrote much of his work in Gaelic. The phrase auld lang syne directly translates to “old long since,” which can more accurately be read as “times gone by.”
Who owns the song “Happy Birthday”? “Happy Birthday” began as “Good Morning Dear Children” and was written by educators Mildred and Patty Hill in 1893. In 1924, a publisher changed the opening line to “Happy Birthday to You” and it became a ritual to sing the song to anybody celebrating his or her birthday. In 1934, after hearing the song in a Broadway musical, a third Hill sister, Jessica, sued the show and won. The Hill family was therefore entitled to royalties whenever the melody was performed commercially.
Did the movie Holiday Inn inspire the hotel chain? While the Holiday Inn hotel chain owes its name to the 1942 Bing Crosby film, it would be inaccurate to say the reallife chain was inspired by the inn in the film. Kemmons Wilson, seeing a need for an affordable, quality, family hotel chain on America’s roadsides, launched the
In the Middle Ages, simple survival meant working long and hard from sunrise to sunset, so any break, such as a religious festival, was a very special day. Called “holy days,” these feasts were marked on the calendar in red, giving us the expression “red letter day.” Around the fifteenth century, “holy days” became “holidays,” meaning simply a day off work, still marked on the calendar in red.
Who wrote the original story of The Nutcracker? E.T.A. Hoffman, a nineteenth-century German writer and composer, wrote the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” in 1816, introducing us to the nutcracker doll who magically comes to life and takes us into a world of living dolls. Tchaikovsky set the story to music for the ballet The Nutcracker in 1892, and today it is enjoyed by families around the world at Christmastime.
What is the oldest Santa Claus Parade in the world? In 1905, the world’s first Santa Claus Parade was held in Toronto. It was a small affair that year, amounting to a solitary Santa walking from the city’s Union Station up to Yonge Street to the Eaton’s department store. The parade quickly grew and, despite financial difficulties that nearly derailed the event in the 1980s, the Toronto Santa Claus Parade is still a popular annual tradition that is broadcast around the world.
SOURCE: NOW YOU KNOW: THE LITTLE BOOK LENNOX
Music falls into three categories BY JIM CLAYTON
Production music can range from a live band playing emcees onto the stage to a keyboardist accompanying customwritten sketch comedy for a trade show.
n my years of performing for corporate and social events, I’ve found that live music falls into three categories: foreground, background, and production. Production music can range from a live band playing emcees onto the stage to a keyboardist accompanying customwritten sketch comedy for a trade show. As it’s very specific to a given event, let’s focus on the others categories. Foreground music generally falls into two categories: feature entertainment, and dance music. Generally, feature entertainment is self-contained, and the style or theme of the event will guide your choices. Booking agencies such as S.L. Feldman & Associates have extensive rosters of both “name” acts and “up-and-comers”. My main advice on “name” acts would be this: check the riders! The act may be in your budget, but what about their additional requirements? (Van Halen’s insistence on “a large bowl of M&M’s with the brown ones removed” is entertaining, but far from the priciest demand.) Dance music is always in demand; I’ve had clients request bands ranging from a rock’n’roll trio to our nine-piece R&B band, complete with two singers and a horn section. (As is common with such groups, it’s available in smaller configurations.) As with any group of professional musicians, a good band can cover a number of styles, but generally speaking, larger ensembles can include more genres. For example, the R&B band can include a swinging Sinatra number in their set (the horn section will add that big-band sound); meanwhile, the rock’n’roll trio can’t pull off pop songs requiring a keyboardist. If the audience includes a range of ages, my recommendation is the R&B band (which can easily include “retro” disco, pop, and R&B, along with some rock classics and even some big-band and reggae). Meanwhile, the rock’n’roll trio can be the perfect choice for baby-boomers. Of course, there’s dance bands for specific themes: 1980’s, salsa, hard-rock, tribute (or “clone”) bands, and big bands, among others. Background music can be described as either thematic or ambient. Thematic music could include a clown band for a
circus-themed event, or an organist performing haunting themes for a Halloween gathering. It’s akin to production music, in that the event dictates the musical requirements; also, it’s often simply an “ambient” musician performing in costume. Ambient music would include a jazz trio for cocktails and dinner music, and a solo pianist during dinner. For cocktails and dinner settings, I sometimes get requests for a singer. I always recommend instrumental music for dinner. Vocals command more attention from an audience, and are more likely to evoke applause – and when your guests have utensils in hand, this gets awkward. Perhaps it’s a “polite Canadian” thing, but audiences here can be uncomfortable just letting a singer do their thing in the background. On occasion, I’ve had a singer perform with a jazz trio for cocktails, and then had just the trio perform instrumentally once dinner begins. The vocals are a better fit for cocktails, if only because guests are moving about, and can easily turn to watch the performer, or set down their drink to clap. Volume is a concern for background music, of course. The perfect volume is one that enhances the socializing, and doesn’t intrude upon it. Think of it as a classy way to encourage your guests to converse at a comfortable volume. My jazz trio is my most requested group, and one of the reasons is that there’s no drums, just piano, guitar and upright bass. The volume is easily controlled, and we’ve performed for groups as small as twenty without intruding on their conversations. That’s not to say that a professional drummer can’t play at low volumes; it’s a common perception, however, that drums are loud. But if you’re looking for guests to dance, bring those drums! In situations where the dinner music ensemble is also serving as the after-dinner dance combo, the drumless jazz trio won’t suffice. Guests look for the beat, and even though almost all music has rhythm, the average dancer listens for the drums. Live music is a sure-fire way to boost production values, and I hope these ideas will help you find the perfect music for your events.
Jim Clayton is a three-time national award-winning musician, as well as a music director with The Second City. To contact him, visit www.jimclaytonjazz.com.
Tax Back in Mexico As of June 2008, individual or group clients who purchased goods in Mexico could complete a form and present it together with an invoice at the airport and get their Value-Added Tax (VAT) refunded. Half the money gets refunded immediately in cash, and the other half is credited to the purchaser’s credit card account. Room gifts that planners buy for attendees are not included; however, planners have the option of giving attendees a coupon, which they can then use to purchase the gift, and in that case the attendees would be able to claim their VAT refund. The refund is available for invoices of $120 or more. Mexico’s Tax Back offices for international visitors, set to begin operating in November 2008, look to be a boon for planners visiting the increasingly-popular southern destination and will be staffed by people able to help planners with the paperwork necessary for a refund. Tax back offices will open in Mexico City, Los Cabos and Cancun at the outset, and in more than a dozen of the mostvisited cities in Mexico before the end of 2009. The rebate follows an established model successfully applied in other parts of the world such as Europe and Canada. International tourists will get their 15% VAT (Value Added Taxes) back before departing the country. On the Web: www.visitmexico.com
Are you dressing for success… or mediocrity? BY SHARON WORSLEY ow we dress is part of our “personal branding” or, in other words, how people perceive us. We may think that being concerned about how we dress is just plain foolish and a waste of time. After all, many of you will say, “What does it matter how I dress, what’s inside is more important than the outside” or “Why should I care what people think?” Well, you can protest as much as your little heart desires, but the fact remains that humans form their impressions and opinions very quickly when they first meet one another; extensive research shows often they make an impression often within mere seconds. And as such, it is key to remember that the way we present ourselves to the world in the way we dress may have a bearing on how we are received, how successful we are and even how much money we make. To pretend otherwise is unfortunately like putting our heads in the sand. We might choose not to deal with it, but it doesn’t mean that this is not the reality.
OUR SITUATION IMPACTS HOW WE DRESS Knowing this, I wonder how many of us might now actually amend what we wear and take more care in our personal presentation.
If you dress without care, what are you saying about yourself? Are you saying that you don’t matter? For instance, if you were going to interview for a job, how might you dress differently than you do now because you have been in your job for a while? Have your standards of clothing and grooming dipped due to complacency because you feel you are secure in your position? I think we kind of get ourselves in trouble when the ‘Business Casual’ standard of dressing came about. This meant that, for many of us, we didn’t have to wear a suit or pantyhose or even high heels to work anymore, but instead we were able to dress down a level or two. Of course to some of us, ‘Casual Friday’ meant we were able to go down several more levels and we would wear jeans to work. I seem to remember that when ‘Casual Friday’ first came about, it was done for a purpose, usually to donate a dollar or so to a charity, but now it just seems like we do it because it is Friday and we wear whatever we want! However, I have noticed as I visit offices during the rest of the week, that many workers have taken the liberty to avoid differentiating between ‘Business Casual’ and ‘Casual Friday’ so much so that I am amazed that those people wonder why they may be perceived in a less professional way. For some, you would think that they had just rolled out of bed and right into work as they don’t appear to have spent any time on their appearance. And then they wonder why the boss hasn’t promoted them or they don’t get very receptive greetings from their clients. This very morning, as I travelled on the subway, a young man got on with a hoodie and the lower half of a pair of pajamas. Now, I hope he wasn’t on his way to work because I would have to wonder what type of company allows someone to come to their office or store like that. Have you ever considered that how we dress is often perceived as how we might be treating the client or customer? Have you ever noticed hemlines on pants and jeans? Have you ever looked down and seen the messy array of overly long pant lines, especially where the hem has now frayed and is just about to fall off?
What is the statement you want to make about yourself? I am often amazed not only at young adults but grown men and women who may exhibit great taste in clothes above the calf, but fall short at the bottom by allowing pants to graze upon the ground, only to damage their garments. To think that they probably spend a fair dollar on the outfit (which could include a costly pair of jeans) and yet won’t spend $10 going to the drycleaners or tailor to have the hems adjusted. My conclusion, while unscientific, becomes a question: “How will this person deal with my money, event, or my business, if they can’t even take the time to look after their clothing? If someone hasn’t taken time on their personal grooming, will they be looking after my best interests, or are they cutting corners there too?” I hear protests from some people saying that they don’t care what they look like and what people think of them, but I don’t know if they are really telling themselves the truth. If you are dressing without care what are you saying about yourself? What are you saying to yourself – are you saying that you don’t matter? So what if you don’t know how to dress for success, does that mean you just give up? No, of course not! It just means that you have to work smarter and more effectively. Look for someone’s style you admire and ask them where they buy their clothes and how they have put together their outfits. People are usually very willing to help when you have told them that you admire them in some way. You might also consider checking if your local store offers a personal shopping service. Many times it will cost you nothing to use this in-store service. A personal shopper is on top of the trends and the merchandise that is coming into the store. This is a great person to establish an ongoing relationship with. And no, this is not only a service for those who have big clothing budgets. Also there are plenty of shows on television these days that target those who want to learn more about personal style, and illustrate the steps that can help transform your personal brand. What is the statement you want to make about yourself? What is the impression you want to ultimately leave people about you? Don’t give them a chance to overlook you because you haven’t taken the necessary pride in your appearance. Sharon Worsley, CEO of Live With Intent, is a personal leadership coach and inspirational speaker. Her signature keynote ‘Live By Choice, Not By Chance’ assists individuals and organizations to become clear on how they can ensure the quality of their life or organization. Sharon can be reached at email@example.com October ’08
The alchemy of event design BY DAN NOOT
owerfully effective events, whether product launches, national sales conferences, trade shows, galas or any other format, are achieved…by design! Whereas the event designer of yesteryear conjures up a diverse lot, from the entrepreneur with a warehouse full of props to the local florist, today, world class event design requires mastery of diverse media (lighting, fabrics, sound, food) and how to most effectively present these elements to deliver on every event objective in a cost-effective manner. Event design truly is an evolution that, well before it stimulates the senses of guests, demands a continual left-brain, right-brain discipline. Not only is design a skill that seeks to draw guests into, and engage them in, a unique experience. We also need to factor in risk management concerns, costbenefit tradeoffs and numerous other issues that require us to exercise every bit of gray matter. This article is the first of a two-part series on professional event design. The first segment provides design fundamentals and considerations which will provide planners with a framework that will ensure his or her design team has conceptualized the best possible event experience for guests. The second article, to be published in a future issue, will cover the “what’s next” in event design, sharing a buffet of mind-candy for event professionals to ponder in their upcoming events.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND It is impossible to design purposefully creative events without understanding the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” of the experience. The “why” and “who” are the primary factors that need to be clearly understood before letting the creative juices flow. Corporations, especially in today’s tumultuous economic state, are incredibly disciplined ensuring that for every dollar spent on an event, more than a dollar in value is created in return. It takes neither talent nor professionalism to design an event that ignores budget parameters.
Defining the “why” of the event allows the professional to determine the focus during the event. From the moment guests enter the experience and approach the entrance through the cocktail reception, dinner, the dancing and afterglow, focal points and “reveals” (i.e. those layers of the event experience that are presented to guests gradually rather than showing everything all at once) need to resonate with the message…however blatant or subtle the event professional wishes that message to be. Venue selection (the “where”) is simplified after defining the above goals and desires. Balancing space requirements allows the professional to layer in the needed corporate elements if the event is a product launch or viral marketing campaign, and designing for how guests should flow through the experience are all factors that need to simultaneously be evaluated. Take your site inspection checklist and ensure that this venue will drive the “why” behind this investment. Certainly, while event professionals can design around a venue without first factoring the above, it isn’t the ideal approach in driving optimal ROI to the company hosting the event. And speaking of ROI, whether dealing with your in-house resources as a corporate planner or working with outside suppliers, it may seem counter-intuitive, but if you are dealing with professionals you will actually get the best value out of sharing what your budget parameters are during the conceptualization and planning phase. Time is everyone’s most precious commodity, and the total time in the “event cycle” is shortened for all, while creativity is maximized, if this information is provided early in the process. Assemble your personal “dream team.” As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” How much truer for an event planner/producer to assemble his/her event designer, lighting and A/V supplier, entertainment agent, caterer…the entire team, to collaboratively work in creating the most incredible event experience possible.
Every element should stimulate the six senses And never forget Harry Truman’s quote: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish, when you don’t care who get’s the credit!” Keep those colleagues that have this spirit in their DNA, and rotate out those that do not.
DESIGNING FOR WOW, WOO, AND WIN With the left-brain discipline outlined above clearly understood (note that we don’t say “finished” as we always believe this is a permanent filter through which all decisions must pass), we begin formally designing the event, which, in reality, is likely already underway in our minds as we journey through the event definition phase outlined above. While there is no specific chronological order to how this is done, all design must cover the following:
IDENTIFY, DEVELOP AND BALANCE THE “WHAT” FACTORS Over the past several years, we’ve formally made a part of our design process something we’ve known in our “gut” for decades: How every element stimulates (positively, or negatively) what we’ve identified as six key senses: The obvious five (i.e. sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) need to be tickled, teased and treated throughout the event, and in a well-balanced format. The other “sense” is guests’ intellect and it is a huge component of the final experience that each guest walks away with. The event’s goal is only successfully achieved by identifying the key factors that are critical to the guest demographic, and concocting the perfect “recipe” of lighting, décor, food and entertainment that delivers a customized sensory experience as unique as the brand being represented. An event is about people, and there’s a reason why even the greatest television shows are limited to 30 minutes…because beyond that time, people begin to “check out.” For an event to effectively engage its guests, new layers need to be incorporated into the experience. This doesn’t imply everything needs to be a dramatic refocus of the guests’ attention…oftentimes, it’s the subtle things, a soft change in the lighting colour and pattern, a shift in the tempo of the music played during dinner…that allows the guests senses to be teased. And, yes, there still need to be those WOW moments as well, that grab guests attention and woo them into a deeper experience. These don’t need to always be over the top transitions in an event…sometimes, something as subtle as changing the colour palette of the lighting in the room works on the sub-consciousness of guests to elicit the needed sensory “tease.”
the Wow has purpose…that it Woos the guest into the deeper guest experience…and Wins the business purpose (whether that is “I’ve GOT to buy this!” or “My employer ROCKS!” etc.). We need to stay committed to the end-result, not to a specific detail…and this ensures that every aspect of the event delivers on the key objectives.
(POTENTIALLY) RISKY BUSINESS A discussion of event design would be incomplete without touching on risk management. Throughout the concept and design phases of the event, the majority of risks should be clearly identified, with the risk managed proactively by evaluating “what if” scenarios and identifying solutions before load-in. Certainly, as is inevitable, unforeseen risks may be identified while setting-up, but this will be managed far more easily if you’ve given risk management proper due-diligence throughout the event cycle. While it is impossible to create a purely “left brain” checklist to event design, we believe that the above framework does facilitate a more creative process that assists event professionals in creating innovative, and purposeful, events. Dan Noot is Co-President of Decor & More Inc., one of the mostawarded full-service event design and production companies worldwide, based in Oakville, ON. He can be reached at 905 844 1300 x225 or firstname.lastname@example.org
IT’S WIN OR LOSE Wow-ing guests is a waste if it doesn’t drive home the critical goals of your event. Every planner must make sure that October ’08
November 16-18, 2008 Association of Corporate Travel Executives, ACTE Canada Education Conference, Sheraton Centre, Toronto, Ont. Contact : www.acte.org.
December 2-4, 2008 European Incentive & Business Travel Meetings, EIBTM Exhibition, Fira Gran Via, Montjuic 2, Barcelona, Spain. Contact : www.eibtm.com. •••
November 11 – Remembrance Day
November 1-5, 2008 International Congress & Convention Association, 47th ICCA Congress & Exhibition, Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria, BC. Contact: www.iccaworld.com/dbs/congress2008.
If you have an event you would like us to consider listing, please send it via e-mail to: email@example.com.
ANSWER EASY SUDOKU FROM PAGE 12
ANSWER MEDIUM SUDOKU FROM PAGE 12
November 9-13, 2008 Financial & Insurance Conference Planners, Annual Conference, Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, Cancun, Mexico. Contact: www.ficpnet.com.
November 9-12, 2008 MPI Montreal Chapter, Convivium 2008, Sheraton Laval, Laval, Que. Contact: www.mpimontreal.com/en/convivium.
incomplete information. When I get to that point, I reach for my hard copy, which more often than not, I fall back on 80% of the time.”
Do you still use the Yellow Pages? This month, we asked you about your use of the annual Yellow Pages directory. Here are your responses: How often do you use the paper version of the Yellow Pages when looking for a phone number? Always: 17% Rarely: 53% Never: 30% If you use the printed version of the Yellow Pages, is it a recent edition or have you kept an older copy which had more info? Current: 73% Older: 27% This poll was sent to 3,556 people. There were 219 responses. COMMENTS:
to be put on a list for “do not leave any phone books on my door-step” but the response was they must deliver to each home. I simply dumped the phone book in the garbage. What a waste of paper and money.” “When I do need to refer to the printed version, I usually have to look at someone else’s copy as I don’t keep one on hand anymore.”
“If I don’t know the name of the company or organization that I need, then I look at the Yellow Pages. Otherwise, when I know the name of the company I would just look online at canada411.ca.” “Find that I only use yellow pages when in a small town and a local person is not able to assist me in finding what I am looking for.”
“I have to keep both, white and Yellow Pages, because the new owners of the Yellow Pages don’t have access to numbers when people change telephone providers, and therefore, not all numbers are there, so the book is incomplete. The white pages are worse. You think people have moved/died/retired, and yet they are still in business.” “I tend to use the Yellow Pages more at home and less frequently at the office because I use www.yellowpages.ca.” “Many times, when I have used the online version of the Yellow Pages, I get something totally unrelated to what I was looking for or I get
“For businesses I already know about, I use the Yellow Pages. To find solutions to finding a new business provider, I use the Net.” “I use both the printed version and the online version depending on the task.” “I tend to use the printed version for local numbers and the web for long distance. Who knows why!” “I use online Yellow Pages only.” “New version is too complicated to use. I go online for phone numbers.” “Personally, I don’t use nor want the Yellow Pages delivered to my home – same goes for the white pages. I actually phoned up the supplier of the white pages a few months ago and asked October ’08
Everything you need to know about the Islands of the Bahamas From an interview with the Bahamas Tourism Office... 1. Why would a planner want to take his group to the Bahamas? The Bahamas is an ideal destination for incentive, meetings and group travel programs. We offer unique island destinations with resorts, hotel and inns suitable for accommodating groups of any size. All these resorts are found on a tropical setting of crystal clear waters, miles of powdery white beaches and endless days of sunshine inhabited by the friendliest of people and all so very close. 2. Is there a minimum/maximum size group? The Islands Of The Bahamas can accommodate groups from 10 to any size. 3. Does the Canadian Dollar fare well against the Bahamian currency? The Islands Of The Bahamas dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar. You can use american currency anywhere. Most credit cards and travelers cheques are widely accepted. 4. Is it easy for Canadian groups to go to the Bahamas? i.e. Passport? Visa? Are there direct flights from Canada? Yes, it is increasingly easier for Canadians to visit. Canadians are required to have a return or onward ticket. For stays of 21 days or less, a valid passport, or certified birth certificate with an official photo identification are sufficient. Canadians travelling to The Islands Of The Bahamas this fall/winter can fly direct on Air Canada or Westjet. 5. Are there high or low seasons of the year for groups to go to the Bahamas? Warmer, cooler, more expensive, less expensive, etc. The Islands Of The Bahamas enjoy a semi-tropical climate, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream currents and balmy trade winds. Temperatures typically range from 21 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius with summertime highs rarely above 32 degrees Celsius and winter lows seldom below 16 degrees Celsius. The green season sees little rainfall, from November through April. 6. What are some of the activities a group could do - teambuilding or otherwise. The Islands Of The Bahamas offer an array of activities for incentive and meeting group travel. Groups can engage in enchanting dolphin experience, awesome beach events on many of our tropical islands lined with powder white 30
beaches, five full-service casinos on five different islands, eco tours, powerboat adventure to Exuma, fastferry getaway to Harbour Island, Sail Nassau (Americas Club Experience), big game fishing, Junkanoo festival (Bahamian cultural experience), golfing, kayaking, tennis and much more.. 7. Are there many taxes for groups to deal with ? Goods & services, room tax, sales tax, VAT, etc? There are no duty taxes in The Bahamas for Canadian meeting planners if items being shipped for conferences and incentives will not remain in the country after the event. The duty on the items can be waived on the cost of the items (not the freight costs). 8. What is the number of resorts and hotels? There are 11 islands with about 50 resorts and hotels ideally suited for incentive and meeting travel.
The Islands of the Bahamas offer an array of activities for Incentive and meeting group travel.
9. In closing, if you had to briefly describe what makes the Bahamas different from other warm weather destinations. what would you say it is? The Islands of The Bahamas is a diversified destination with multiple islands and experiences. We are one of the closest sun destinations to Canada. Many Canadians choose our destination because of proximity, beaches and friendly people. The Islands Of The Bahamas offer incredible support services for all group types from professional destination management companies (DMCs) that can help you plan an exciting and memorable celebration to group destination services (GDS) – a team of travel professional with the groups department at The Ministry of Tourism. GDS is committed to serving our group clients and enhancing their travel experiences while visiting our destination. It’s Better In The Bahamas! On the Web : www.bahamas.com For more info, contact Janet Cuffie at 1-905-672-9017. •••
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