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A MONTHLY DIGEST TO INFORM AND ENLIGHTEN MEETING AND EVENT PLANNERS October 2006 Edition

VOL. 4 ISSUE 8

Catering kosher events BY LEO GERVAIS

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ou’ve probably heard the word, eaten this type of food or even done something that wasn’t... Kosher. It’s a word that is commonly misused and misunderstood, and planners should know what it really means. It is from the Hebrew term kashér, meaning “fit.” Many languages, including English, have borrowed the word kosher. In its strictest meaning it means only “suitable according to Jewish law,” but as slang it generally means legitimate, acceptable, permissible, genuine or authentic in a broader sense. But if you’re a planner, you may be asked to have food prepared kosher, so it is a good idea to understand what that means from a gastronomical standpoint.

Kosher is common at supermarkets Kosher foods are very common in supermarkets now, as marketers capitalize on the impression that kosher food is healthier than other foods. In fact, kosher has more to do with spiritual health than physical health. Basically, Jews believe that food is kosher when it is prepared according to strict guidelines laid down in the Old Testament and elaborated upon by generations of scholars. The main points of these laws of kasruth are: • What can be eaten: Only animals that chew their cud and have a split hoof can be eaten. So cows and sheep are in, pigs and rabbits are out. Domesticated fowl like chickens and duck are okay, as are fish with fins and scales, but crustaceans and other shellfish are not, and insects are forbidden (no chocolatecovered ants if you’re going kosher). • Combining foods: Meat cannot be eaten with dairy products, but eggs, fruits and vegetables and grains can be consumed with either meat or dairy. In addition, utensils that have come into contact with meat must not be used for dairy and vice versa. • Preparation: Animals must be killed by hand with a very sharp knife, all blood must be drained and the carcass needs to be inspected for disease. Pigs are often the central part of the kosher debate. Some Jews claim that God, through Moses, forbade their consumption.

Kosher food is prepared according to strict guidelines. And there is no doubt that pigs do wallow in mud, sometimes eat excrement and can harbour parasites that cause trichinosis. But if you have read the news in the past few years, you’ve probably heard of mad cow disease communicated from E. coli bacteria and chickens are known to peck at excreta and often have salmonella.

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OCTOBER ’06


reset” feature on the Palm Web site. Trust Digital could not recover information on the phones reset with the “zero out” feature. The downside is this feature is a very awkward exercise which most people will find hard to do. It might be worth going through the awkwardness to protect your information, depending how much it is worth to you. A spokesperson for Palm Inc., said the company may warn customers in an upcoming newsletter about the risks of selling their used phone.

F.Y.I. Deleting cell phone info not so easy Anytime you decide to give or sell your cell phone to a friend, family or to a stranger online, beware your secrets may not be safe. Deleting sensitive information stored in our cell phones may be more difficult than you think. A company, Trust Digital of McLean, Va., bought 10 different phones on eBay this summer to test phone-security tools it sells for businesses. Software experts at Trust Digital resurrected information on nearly all the used phones, including sensitive corporate and personal information, it was reported recently. All the 10 phones Trust Digital studied represented popular models from leading manufacturers. The phones all stored information on “flash” memory chips, the same technology found in digital cameras and some music players. This technology is very inexpensive but it’s very slow in erasing information in ways that makes it impossible to recover. Therefore, phone manufacturers compensate with methods that erase data less completely but don’t give your phone a sluggish look. Though phone manufacturers usually provide instructions for safely deleting a customer’s information, it’s not always easy to find. Research in Motion Ltd. has built an easy-to-use wipe program into newer Blackberry phones. If you are using a product of Palm Inc., which makes the popular Treo phones, you might want to check out its “zero out

OCTOBER ’06

Do away with pesky stains! You just spilled some coffee, you have a stain on your shirt but you are on your way to a business meeting. Don’t panic! Help is available: It is Tide to Go. Tide to Go is a handy portable pen-sized marker that dispenses a concentrated dose of cleaning agent on any fresh food and drink stain to leave your white blouse spotless. All you have to do is press the tip of the marker hard enough to release some of the cleaning solution on the stain. When you have an appropriate amount, depending on the size of the stain, you gently rub the tip of the marker to cover the affected area. In less than a minute the stain disappears. Talk about a godsend for planners! If the affected area will be exposed to direct sunlight, you are advised to dab it with a damp cloth. This is the latest product developed by Proctor & Gamble, an American company that provides products and services to consumers in 140 countries worldwide. On the Web: www.pg.com

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ED. NOTE

Do the right thing D

oing the right thing at the right time. Too often we find ourselves stressed by our workload. At these times, it’s good to stop and take a moment to see how we arrived at that stress point and ask ourselves what we could possibly have done differently. We’ll often realize that we took longer on a task that was enjoyable than we should have. Other times, we’ll realize that we put off doing a task until the last moment because we didn’t enjoy that part of the work. With a bit more thought, we could have planned what we had to do better and allocated our time more efficiently. The point is that we must learn from our own inefficiencies and try not to find excuses. The day we accept that – and take control of the outcome – we become responsible for the results the way we want them to happen. It’s like driving a car: once we know where we’re going we adjust to the curves in the road, the stops, the signage and the other drivers. Never putting off to tomorrow what we can do today is a good place to start. So planning and focusing are keys to keeping stress at bay. And yes, things change all the time, but we have to accept it and build it into the plan. No more excuses like “Oh well, that changed.” It would be like saying “Yeah, but he put the brakes on without warning!” Work should be fun, but even when it isn’t, it must be done. To try and keep it fun we must set goals and focus on attaining them. The challenges along the way are just that: challenges to keep things interesting and stimulating – without them life would be boring. So the next time you start getting stressed, stop and ask yourself what is the reason and what could you have done differently, and most of the time (not all but hey, life isn’t perfect) you’ll discover that you could have prevented the stress.

In this issue 7

Here at the Planner, we put a premium on trying to give our readers a good sense of what is going on in the meetings industry. Check out our expanded industry coverage starting on page 7.

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Editor and Publisher: Leo Gervais – lgervais@theplanner.ca Associate Editor: Camille Lay – clay@theplanner.ca Associate Editor: Jyl Ashton Cunningham – jashton@theplanner.ca Graphic artist: Matt Riopel Sales: James Paulson – jpaulson@theplanner.ca, Jayne Martin – jmartin@theplanner.ca Administration: Patrick Galvin, Julie Boisvert, Tania Joanis, Patricia Lemus Proofreader: Keith Motton Contributors: Mike Auctor, Mitchell Beer, Anne Biarritz, Jim Clemmer, Peter De Jager, Allison Martens, Barry Siskind, Louise Villemaire, Harriet Wezena

The Planner is a monthly publication distributed to professional meeting and event planners across Canada and the U.S. The Planner uses 30% recycled post-consumer paper Poste-publication No. 40934013

Chabot Scholarship The MPI Foundation Board unanimously approved criteria for the Anna Lee Chabot Scholarship Fund in late August. It’s a great tribute to an outstanding planner.

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Looking back to get ahead Jim Clemmer is a best-selling author and expert on leadership, change, customer focus, culture and personal growth. In this issue, Jim looks at the path people take to become leaders.

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How to end long booth conversations Barry Siskind is an expert in trade and consumer shows, and this column tackles a difficult problem anyone who has worked at a trade show has surely encountered.

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Air travel delays One of our favourite books is The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation. This month’s excerpt looks at a very common and frustrating experience: air travel delays.

Published by: 2105 rue de la Montagne, suite 100 • Montreal, Quebec • H3G 1Z8 Telephone: (514) 849-6841 ext. 333 • Fax: (514) 284-2282 WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS: info@theplanner.ca

Industry News

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iPod rocks after five years Apple unleashed this amazing techno toy on the public five years ago. Competitors abound, but the iPod just keeps getting better.

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Feedback is a gift Recognizing that your needs closely match the needs of your staff is one of the keys to being a good manager. Longtime columnist Peter De Jager explains the benefits of positive and negative feedback.

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Hotel News Readers tell us they really enjoy the Hotel News, our compendium of happenings in the ever-changing hotel world.


Industry News the Madrid decision, saying that the unrealistic ideal set by waiflike models “pressures girls to starve themselves to look the same.”

Drop in air travel delays flu Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Boston have found that decreased air travel following the Sept. 11 terror attacks delayed that winter’s flu season by around two weeks. “This is the first time that a study’s been able to show a direct link between the numbers of people travelling and the rate of spread of a virus,” said project leader John Brownstein. Although the finding could influence government tactics to fight the next pandemic, other scientists pointed out that restricting air travel would not necessarily prevent death and illness, but merely delay them.

British carry-on restrictions relaxed Passengers flying out of Britain should be aware of new rules regarding carry-on luggage. The British Department of Transport still stipulates that only one carry-on bag can be taken on flights, but has increased its maximum size to 56 cm by 45 cm by 25 cm, up from 45 cm by 35 cm by 16 cm. Be savvy though: Although most American carriers will let you fly into London with more than one item of carry-on, the one-piece rule sticks for your flight out of the UK, so you’re still best off with just one bag. Restrictions can still vary by airline: Be sure to check with your carrier.

Airline complaints on the rise The number of customer complaints lodged against airlines has rocketed up 39 per cent to 3,475 in 2005 from 2,500 in 2004 according to the Canadian Transportation Agency. The biggest source of grief? According to the CTA’s annual report released last month, it’s Air Canada. It had 663 grievances filed against it and affiliated carrier Jazz last year, up from about 450 in 2004. A spokesman for Canada’s biggest airline said that because it carries more than 30 million passengers each year, the number of complaints lodged against it is relatively small.

Airlines ban some laptop batteries

Recent concerns over the safety of batteries in certain laptops have compelled three international airlines to stop passengers from using their battery-powered Dell and Apple laptops in flight. Customers in first- and business-class flying on Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air and Qantas can power their computers with the electrical outlets in their rows, but these are often not available to coach customers. Both computer companies recently issued recalls on nearly six million batteries after several of them overheated and burst into flames.

No more skeletal models If you are organizing an event with live models, you may want to take a cue from the runways of Madrid: ban superthin models. Mannequins at the city’s fashion week were recently told they had to have a minimum body mass index (BMI: A height-to-weight ratio) of 18 or less if they wanted to strut their stuff. To have that BMI, a 5’9” woman would have to weigh in at about 125 lbs. As London Fashion Week prepared to kick off on Sept. 18, Britain’s Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell applauded

The person who knows “how” will always have a job. The person who knows why will always be their boss. Diane Ravitch

OCTOBER ’06

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Industry News No free pass on gas for airlines

Tories shelve GST rebate, save $79M

Even though oil prices have fallen recently, don’t be looking to receive any refunds from the major airline companies. While oil prices have fallen on the spot market, travellers won’t be getting relief from fuel surcharges unless oil prices drop below US $60 a barrel. Airlines and tour operators say there hasn’t been any sustained drop in the their fuel expenses. oil prices have averaged US $68.32 a barrel so far this year, compared with US $56.70 in 2005 and US $41.47 in 2004. Both Air Canada and WestJet have implemented fuel charges into their base fares, but both companies say they haven’t been able to pass on the full cost of their higher fuel bills because competition for consumers has prevented them from setting fares higher. Starting in early 2004, on scheduled flights, WestJet and Air Canada stopped listing fuel charges separately, and factored their extra fuel costs into base fares. Air Canada started a hedging program 14 months ago to lock in the prices it pays for some of its fuel, but at the moment, those hedges don’t look like such a great deal. For the rest of 2006, the airline signed contracts that hedge 50 per cent of its oil needs in a range between US $66 and US $72 a barrel. Next year, Air Canada has secured 24 per cent of its requirements at US $60 a barrel. Montreal-based Transat also has hedges in place, accounting for up to 44 per cent of its fuel needs in early 2007 at undisclosed prices.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn’t making any friends in the meeting planning business. The Conservative government’s decision to end the GST rebate program for foreign visitors amounts to a huge “tax grab” and another blow to Canada’s ailing tourism and convention industries. The move will save the government about $79 million over two years. The federal budget surplus is expected to surpass $12 billion. “This is a tax grab, and it could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” Randy Williams, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada said recently. The rebates are for visitors who submit their bills for certain eligible goods and short-term accommodations. The government has argued killing the program is no big deal because only three per cent of travellers fill out the forms to claim the rebates. Williams counters that the government stands to make those hundreds of millions over the next several years by imposing the GST for the first time on conventions that foreign groups hold in Canada. The move will increase the cost of holding a convention in Canada by six per cent, and will increase the price of Canadian tour packages for out-of-country travellers as well. The only solace is that the plan does not take effect until April 1, 2007. Statistics Canada surveys say in July, the number of one-day visits by Americans – 1.2 million – was at its lowest level since the 1970s.

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Kosher foods can be healthy

SOME TIPS WHEN PLAN A KOSHER EVENT

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 But put yourself in Moses’ shoes. Raising pigs in the open desert would have been very difficult, as they need shade and do not graze on grass and shrubs like cattle. But scientists, like Dr. Joe Schwarcz of McGill University, have stated “There is no reason to believe that cooked pork is any more risky than other meats.” God provided Moses with laws for a purpose: Following the laws of kasruth reinforced people’s spirituality by making even a commonplace activity a communion with God. In that sense, it was more nourishment for the spirit than for the body. But kosher can be very healthy; if you’re allergic to shellfish, eating kosher food is a safe alternative. A common way to kill cattle is a blow to the head, which can scatter brain tissue and prions that cause mad cow disease, claims Schwarcz. A shohet (kosher butcher) using a sharp blade avoids this particular problem altogether. “Kosher” does not only mean the food is blessed by a rabbi, although that is part of it. It also does not mean that the animals have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, nor does it signify the absence of additives. It does mean that additives like carmine, which is derived from a species of insect, are not used. One important thing to remember is that using a nonkosher food with kosher food will render all food non-kosher. An example would be greasing a pan with pork lard to cook eggs. And now that you’ve read this article, everything should be… kosher.

OCTOBER ’06

• Does the venue have a relationship with an established kosher caterer, or can planners work with a kosher caterer of their choice? Does the caterer have rabbinical supervision and a kosher certificate? • Does the venue have a kosher kitchen, which must be separate from the general-use kitchen? • Does the venue have kosher cookware? If not, can it be provided by another supplier? •Do extra charges apply for use of kosher cookware and tableware? • Does the venue offer kosher wines? If the client wants to bring in kosher wine from another supplier, the venue will normally charge a corking fee. • Will the caterer provide kosher items like non-dairy creamer and margarine if not provided by the venue?

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New scholarships support meetings industry education chair, and she subsequently served on MPIFC’s founding board of directors.

BY MITCHELL BEER, CMM

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PI Foundation Canada (MPIFC) has set up two new annual scholarships to assist Canadian meeting professionals who complete the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation or the Global Certification in Meeting Management (CMM). The Foundation Board unanimously approved criteria for the Anna Lee Chabot Scholarship Fund in late August. The application deadline for the 2007 scholarship is January 12, 2007 for the CMP and February 28, 2007 for the CMM. The scholarship is named for Anna Lee Chabot, CMP, manager of meetings and events for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, in

“I didn’t do it alone”

Anna Lee Chabot

recognition of her decisive role in getting the Canadian foundation off the ground. The initiative took root during Chabot’s year as the association’s international

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In a recent interview, Chabot joked that it’s a bit unique to have a scholarship named after you while you’re still alive to enjoy the honour. But she added that “it means a great deal to me” to see the fund become a reality. “I know I didn’t do it alone, but somebody has to stick their neck out. It took many of us to see it through, and there were other people on the MPI Foundation and within MPI staff who quickly saw the potential.” But MPIFC Chair Mark Hope stressed that the Foundation would never have come into being if not for Chabot.

OCTOBER ’06


An incentive for people

“It’s one thing to practice the profession. It’s something else to undertake the whole validation process that the CMP and the CMM designations represent, to be measured against one’s peers and a body of knowledge. I don’t know anybody who has gone through the CMM or the CMP without being humbled by how much there still is to learn.” She added that the criteria, like the CMP and the CMM, reflect the mix of knowledge and hands-on experience on which successful meetings depend. “The achievement of both designations depends not only on scholarship, but on industry experience,” she said. “That’s how I learned the business, and that’s why I find it so refreshing that the Foundation is providing an incentive for people to start the process.”

“Anna Lee was the catalyst,” he said. “She saw what was possible, and she found a way to share the vision with colleagues who could join her and carry it on. You only get 12 months to make a difference as international chair, but Anna Lee’s achievement will carry on for years.”

The basics The scholarship fund provides: Up to $750 CAN for one Canadian MPI member who has participated actively in their local chapter, meets the program criteria and passes the CMP exam within two years of their initial application; Up to $3,000 CAN for one Canadian MPI member who has participated actively in their local chapter and in other industry education, meets the program criteria, presents a plan to share his or her new skills with colleagues and completes the CMM program within two years of the initial application. Full criteria will be online at www.mpiweb.org/CMS/mpiweb/mpicontent.aspx?id=5193.

Mitchell Beer, CMM is Vice-President-Marketing of MPI Foundation Canada and President of The Conference Publishers, Inc., www.theconferencepublishers.com.

Making a difference Chabot said she was pleased with the criteria for the scholarships. “I believe in the credibility and the importance of achieving the designations that help to set apart the meeting professionals who are most seriously engaged with our industry,” she said.

OCTOBER ’06

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Looking back to look ahead • Passion and Commitment. BEYOND NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCES: Successful people are energized by a love for what they do because it brings them closer to who they are. They overcome apathy and cynicism, develop a burning commitment to their cause and with discipline achieve their dreams and desires. • Spirit and Meaning. WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL: What is the purpose of our work? Of our lives? Material success alone is not enough. Leaders seek within – and find something more. In what is too often a mad dash from cradle to grave, we need to take time – in work and life – to nourish our inner selves. • Growing and Developing. FROM PHASE OF LIFE TO WAY OF LIFE: The popular goals of security, stability, and predictability are deadly. The closer we get to these dangerous goals, the more our growth is stunted. True and lasting security comes from constant growth and development, based on regular R&R (reflection and renewal). • Mobilizing and Energizing. PUTTING EMOTIONS IN MOTION: Leaders don’t motivate with rewards and punishments. Whether at home or in the workplace, they energize people to motivate themselves. Highly effective leaders boost the energy of others with their passion and appreciation. They engage people’s hearts as well as their minds. They get them involved and participating. They actively nurture the “being” or culture of the group, not just the “doing.” The more the world changes, the more leadership principles stay the same. Leadership principles are timeless. And they apply to all, no matter what role we play in society or organizations.

BY JIM CLEMMER

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am often asked to predict the future of leadership. That’s a dangerous business. I am reluctant to join the economists, futurists, and others who live by the crystal ball… and soon learn to eat ground glass. However, as we enter the new millennium we can look back through history and discover the timeless leadership principles that have guided successful societies, organizations, and individuals through uncertain and rapidly changing times. Inner (leading ourselves) and outer (leading others) leadership has never been more critical. It would be easy if we could all become leaders by following a simple set of steps. But the journey of personal growth requires finding our own way. There are, however, a series of interconnected areas of growth and development based on timeless principles. The distance each of us needs to grow along these leadership dimensions will differ, but defining and continually growing along these paths is the way of the leader, and the way to the future of our dreams.

• Focus and Context. THE CORE OF MY BEING: This is central to our growth along all the other dimensions. Our Focus and Context is shaped by three vital questions: Where am I going? (vision); What do I believe in? (principles and values); Why do I exist? (purpose or mission). • Responsibility for Choices. IF IT’S TO BE, IT’S UP TO ME: Leadership means accepting responsibility for our choices in life. Leaders realize that life accumulates, that choice more than chance determines their circumstances. They refuse to succumb to the “Victimitus Virus” – it’s all their fault; there’s nothing I can do. • Authenticity. GETTING REAL: Leadership isn’t just what we do, it’s something that we are, which then drives what we do. Genuine leadership comes from within. It’s authentic, and based on honesty, integrity and trust. We must ring true to ourselves by exploring our inner space, gathering feedback on our personal behavior, and ensuring consistency with our stated values and principles.

Excerpted from Jim’s fourth bestseller, Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success. View the book’s unique format and content, Introduction and Chapter One, and feedback showing why nearly 100,000 copies are now in print at www.growingthedistance.com. Jim’s new companion book to Growing the Distance is The Leader’s Digest: Timeless Principles for Team and Organization Success. Jim Clemmer is an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, workshop/retreat leader, and management team developer on leadership, change, customer focus, culture, teams and personal growth. His web site is www.clemmer.net.

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Techniques for professionally ending a booth conversation BY BARRY SISKIND

stops presenting and says, “I am pleased that we had a chance to take a look at your situation,” or “I’m glad that we had an opportunity to talk today.”

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magine this: You have just had an engaging conversation with a visitor. You approached, gathered important information about the visitor’s business needs, felt some rapport, provided crucial information that he or she responded positively to and received a commitment to a follow-up meeting. Sounds pretty good, right? But there is a challenge. The visitor doesn’t seem to want to leave. Disengaging is neither rude nor impolite. Effective time management is your booth staff’s most valuable asset. Here are two disengaging techniques that will ensure your visitor leaves with a positive feeling about you and your company.

Step 2: The Set-up In this step, the boother takes full responsibility for the disengagement by saying, “I know you are anxious to see the rest of the show,” or “I’ve already taken up enough of your time.” Step 3: The Proposition Studies have shown that a visitor who leaves a booth with something tangible to show for the visit has a stronger feeling about that company or the visit than when leaving a booth empty-handed. Here is where you can use promotional items or a brochure. End the conversation by saying, “We have created this new promotional gift for some of our special booth visitors. You can see our Web site has been engraved on the side, so if you want to learn more about what we do, please visit us on-line. Thank you for dropping by and enjoy the rest of the show.”

1. The Presumptive Disengagement The presumptive technique simply presumes that the boother and visitor are in agreement, the business at hand has been concluded, and it’s time to move on.

2. The Conciliatory Disengagement

Step 1: Refocus The refocus stage is a subtle way of drawing the conversation to its conclusion. This is accomplished when the boother

Conversations that do not lead toward achieving show objectives need to be derailed quickly. These can include existing

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Your staff never knows when opportunity will knock customers who want to chat but are not interested in purchasing additional products at this time, other exhibitors who try to monopolize your time; vendors selling products or services to exhibitors, or students who were invited to the show. The solution is the conciliatory approach. Step 1: The Acknowledgement If the visitor cannot help a boother achieve current show objectives, the boother should move to disengage by acknowledging the visitor as follows: • For an established customer who is not buying anything more at this time: “Thanks for dropping by this afternoon. I am really pleased to know that we can count on your ongoing business.” • To a fellow exhibitor: “Thanks for dropping by. It’s important that we stay in each other’s network. You never know when an opportunity may come up when we need to speak.” • To a student: “I am glad that you have chosen our company as the focus of your research.” • To a vendor: “There is always the possibility that your product is something we can use in the future.” Step 2: The Invitation Your staff never knows when opportunity will knock. • To an existing customer: “I really need to hear your feedback. It helps me and my company grow and ensures that we meet your needs.” • To an exhibitor: “I would like to find out more about your company and how it serves this industry.” • To a student: “Both my company and I believe in ensuring the continuity of our industry.” • To a vendor: “It might make sense for me to know a bit more about your product.”

over 1,500 people. All we can do here is start a conversation that will be filled with interruptions.” Step 4: The Call to Action The last step of this technique is to set up a plan for the future. It’s also a good way to test the visitor’s seriousness. Here are some offers that can be made: • For the customer: “This show is over on Wednesday and I am planning to visit your city early next week. Why don’t we set up a time to get together and over coffee I can get all your feedback?” • To the exhibitor: “My focus for this show is on the visitors and if someone drops by my booth, I will have to stop our conversation in mid-sentence to greet them. Why don’t we meet for a drink after the show closes?” • To the student: “You have come at a busy time. After 5:00 P.M. things will quiet down significantly. Why not drop by then?” • To the vendor: “I really can’t take time away from my focus. Why don’t you give me a call next week when we can spend a few uninterrupted minutes exploring the potential of your product?” Disengaging doesn’t come naturally; it requires practice. By not doing so when the time is right, your boothers will be underutilizing the show's possibilities. ••• Reprinted with kind permission from the author. Barry Siskind is North America’s foremost trade and consumer show expert, president of International Training and Management Company, and the author of several books. Visit his website: www.siskindtraining.com or E-mail him at: barry@siskindtraining.com.

There is no “I” in team, but there are many in individual.

Step 3: Reality Check This step is a simple explanation that sets the record straight. In this case say: “We have a challenge. Show management tells me that during the next few hours we can expect

OCTOBER ’06

Anonymous

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Air travel delays

BOOK EXCERPT

There are a few things you can do to sidestep delays such as fly early in the day. One delayed flight can cause other flights to be delayed. By the end of the day, you’re far more likely to have to wait. You can also check flight statistics on the DOT Web page: www.bts.gov/ntda/oai. There you can see which airlines and airports have the best on-time performance. Remember DOT’s Rule 240: In the event of any flight irregularity – with the exception of bad weather – the original airline must endorse your ticket to the next available flight on any airline. Nine of the 10 major U.S. carriers accept one another’s tickets. Southwest is the holdout. Try to keep your temper on the ground. The more people shout at airline employees, the more they become themselves. Pretty soon the skies are rather unfriendly. That doesn’t help anybody. “When people are stuck in traffic in a cab, do they get angry at the cab driver?” Continental Airlines chairman Gordon Bethune asked Newsweek. “We don’t want to sit there any more than you want to sit there.”

Ed. note: This excerpt is from The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation by Laura Lee. The Gannett News service says if a flight is 45 minutes long, you can expect your journey to be about four hours when you consider checkin, takeoff, landing, collecting luggage and leaving the airport. When you add in a delay due to weather conditions in Timbukthree, your 45-minute flight could end up as an entire day of lugging heavy carry-ons, sitting in loud waiting areas and trying to sleep in chairs. In 2000, one out of every four flights was delayed, canceled or diverted, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The average delay including sitting in the terminal and waiting on the tarmac, is 50 minutes. You can blame some of the tardiness on the weather. A storm that socks in Chicago’s O’Hare can screw up schedules around the nation. Of course, the airlines could solve some of this by allowing a little more breathing room in their schedules. According to Newsweek, The Dallas-Fort Worth airport can handle 35 flights every 10 minutes in perfect weather. The airlines, however, schedule 57. So even on a bright sunny day, at least 22 planes are going to be delayed. Then there is the antiquated air traffic-control system. David Fuscus of the Air Transport Association told Newsweek, “It’s 1999, and we still have a 1970s system.” He added, “I wouldn’t want to imply it’s all 1970s. Some of it is 1960s. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needs to have a margin of safety that allows for glitches and equipment problems. Controllers are instructed to leave a cushion of as much as 60 miles between aircraft, compared with the mandated 5 miles.

••• Reprinted with permission from The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation by Laura Lee, originally published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. On the Web: www.bdlev.com/ Price on www.amazon.com: US$10.

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Industry News

Hotel of the Month

Be respectful aboard a flight Speaking of air travel delays, here’s a cautionary tale for anyone flying on an airplane. Have you ever argued with a flight attendant? Watch your mouth while on board or else you might be booted off the plane and slapped with a fine to compensate the airline. Gus Fuentes, an Air Canada passenger on flight AC869 from London to Toronto, paid the price for exhibiting “aggressive and abusive behaviour” towards a flight attendant in March, reports The Globe And Mail. According to Air Canada, Mr. Fuentes had been assigned a seat in row 39 and sat down in seat 39A. A flight attendant subsequently asked him to move to 39D because 39A was for crewmembers. Mr. Fuentes did comply but failed to be respectful to the flight attendant for having told him to move. Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said it is a longstanding practice for airlines to seek compensation in such cases, backing his statement with a case in May when fashion model Marzena Kamizela was fined $10,000 by a Canadian court and ordered to pay $18,490 to British Airways for causing a disruption on a flight. Mr. Fuentes, in a letter to the Canadian Transportation Agency, denied he was verbally abusive, but two passengers who witnessed the incident backed Air Canada’s allegations. Air Canada, in a letter to the Mr. Fuentes, stated it expects him to pay the airline $1,350 in compensation.

OCTOBER ’06

The InterContinental Toronto Centre offers a lot to the conscientious business traveller, including luxurious rooms and two of the most technologically advanced meeting rooms in Canada, each accommodating up to 22 people. It is also conveniently located adjacent to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Canada’s largest meeting facility, with more than two million square feet of meeting and event space. Hotel guests can directly access the Convention Centre from the hotel’s main lobby. On the Web: www.torontocentre.intercontinental.com

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How to Sudoku Sudoku (which loosely means “single number” in Japanese) is a deceptively simple yet addictive game of logic that consists of a nine-by-nine square grid, broken into three-by-three square cells. The object: Fill each square with a number from 1 to 9 so that every number appears only once in each row, column and cell.

LEVEL: EASY

Solution, page 33.

LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE

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Solution, page 33.

OCTOBER ’06


BOOK REVIEW Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without BY HARRIET WEZENA

C

ontrary to the popular corporate belief that friendships among employees within a company are a recipe for disaster, bestselling author Tom Rath believes friendships are the lifeline of a company. In his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, Rath explores the inherent value of friendships in a marriage and at the workplace. He asserts that “strong social relationships are the leading indicators of our overall happiness” and these findings appear to hold up across countries and cultures. Take a look around you, at home or at work, and see if you can find anything you have created in true isolation. You might just discover that once you take friends out of the equation everything else disappears as well, he writes. Though new research suggests that friendships at work lead to substantial increases – not decreases – in job satisfaction and career success, other research indicates only 20 per cent of employees

OCTOBER ’06

dedicate time to developing friendships on the job. The author also laments the fact that most companies are spending their time thinking about how to increase employee loyalty to their organization, which might not solve the problem. Rath suggests companies might want to redirect their focus on “fostering the kind of loyalty that is built between one employee and another. The reason being, this is what keeps most people in their jobs. As the author’s research indicates, without a best friend at work the chances of truly engaging in your job are 1 in 12. The author says friends influence our dietary patterns, our ability to cope with stress and, ultimately, it’s the quality of our friendships that matters most. He backs up his argument by quoting psychologist Eugene Kennedy who writes: “Having good relationships improves your health and lifts depression. You don’t necessarily need drugs or medical treatment to accomplish this.” To encourage employees to develop friendships at work, Rath suggests

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companies create a common meeting area such as a cafeteria where they can mingle. Knowing the profound effect that friendships can have on individuals, Rath cautions us not to expect countless things from our friends because friendships are not designed to be well rounded. What you want to do is focus on the different strengths that your friend brings to your relationship rather than what he or she doesn’t bring. This leads us to what Rath calls the “eight vital roles” that our friends play in our lives. They include: the builder who pushes us to the reach for the skies; a companion who we can confide in; a mindopener who opens the door to new ideas; a connecter who connects us to others; while some energize or champion our cause, others are collaborators and navigators who help us maneuver out of the so-called “mind fog.” Rath laces his research findings with very illuminating cases and surveys, mostly conducted for the Gallup organization. This is a book written from a well-researched topic that could certainly make a difference in your life. ••• Book: Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without Author: Tom Rath Publisher: Gallup Press Pages: 240 ISBN: 1595620079 Price: $18.81 on www.chapters.ca.


iPod: A cultural icon after five years iTunes gets revamped as competitors nip at Apple’s heels

Microsoft gets in the game with Zune The iPod could also face a serious challenge from Microsoft, who are launching a new player called Zune in November. It will be sold by Microsoft and, like the iPod, will be integrated with companion software and an online music store. So what is Apple doing about all of these new kids on the block? (pun intended). For starters, the iPod Nano and Shuffle have been redesigned, prices have been cut or capacities raised for all models, they have added colour games and movie playback features to the full-sized iPod and improved screen brightness. The early word is that the new iPods are an even better bang for the buck, and that the new iTunes software and the iPod search feature are brilliant innovations. There is also a new Cover Flow feature, an optional way of viewing your music library by scrolling through album covers associated with the songs. If you don’t have the covers, iTunes 7 will fetch them online for free. Any way you slice it, the iPod is still the king of the MP3 mountain. On the Web: www.apple.com/itunes.

BY LEO GERVAIS

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he numbers are mind-boggling: 60 million iPods and 1.5 billion songs sold in the U.S. alone. Yes indeed, since November, 2001 the iPod and its companion software have made quite an impression with the digital generation. With an astounding 76 per cent of the market share for MP3 players and an equally impressive 88 per cent share of the U.S. legal music download market, it’s hard to imagine any competitor being able to mount a serious challenge to Apple’s clear dominance of the field. But a few are willing to try. Recently, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody music service (the best of iTune’s competitors), announced it was launching its own player, jointly developed with San Disk (the distant secondplace playermaker).

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OCTOBER ’06


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Jargon Buster Techno babble demystified sponsored by Avtec Professional A/V Services

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth : Bluetooth is an industrial specification for wireless personal area networks (PANs), also known as IEEE 802.15.1. Bluetooth provides a way to connect and exchange information between devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, laptops, PCs, printers, digital cameras and video game consoles via a secure, globally unlicensed short-range radio frequency. Bluetooth lets these devices communicate with each other when they are in range. The devices use a radio communications system, so they do not have to be in line of sight of each other, and can even be in other rooms, so long as the received transmission is powerful enough. The name Bluetooth is derived from the cognomen of a 10th century king of Denmark, Harald Bluetooth. According to the inventors of the Bluetooth technology, Harald engaged in diplomacy which led warring parties to negotiate with each other, making Bluetooth a fitting name for their technology, which allows different devices to talk to each other. Source: Wikipedia

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Industry News Panasonic toughens up The company has recently introduced the Toughbook CF-74, a tough-as-nails laptop perfect for frequent travellers whose computer needs to be able to take a few knocks. Its fully sealed keyboard, touchpad, ports and connector covers resist dust and liquids. And there’s more: Its magnesium-steel alloy LCD case is 20 times tougher than ABS plastic, and the hardware cabinet is six times more impact-resistant than most laptops. This could well be the one you dare luggage handlers to destroy.

U.S. eases ban on liquids As of late last month, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced that travellers departing from U.S. airports can now bring travelsized toiletries and cosmetics (up to 3 oz.) provided they fit comfortably in a one-litre zip-top bag. In addition, once passengers have cleared security, they may bring liquids on board such as beverages that have been purchased in secure areas of the airport. For hassle-free travel the agency recommends making your carry-on bag as uncluttered as possible, and to only bring as much liquid as is required for the duration of the flight.

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Industry News New plane blasts jet lag Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner will help passengers to arrive at their destination feeling more refreshed. The company conducted substantial research to determine the optimal flying conditions – such as lighting, air pressure, humidity and air quality – to help them beat jet lag. Innovations include a lighting system that can simulate a sunset or sunrise in the cabin to help passengers adjust to their new time zone, increased oxygen and humidity, and a filtration system to eliminate noxious compounds found in beauty products like perfumes that make people feel more dehydrated and tired. It has already been ordered by Northwest and Continental, among others, and should be available in mid-2008.

Domestic airfares jump A recent study by American Express says corporate clients are paying the highest fares since the end of 2001. The report says the average corporate fare climbed to US$247 from $218 in 2005. In the second quarter of 2006, fares rose 13 per cent from the same period in 2005. Amex said a rising number of travellers, climbing fuel prices and high demand for seats and hotel rooms are behind the overall increase. By comparison, one-way discounted economy tickets – which account for the majority of air travel – rose to US$101 in the second quarter, up three per cent from the year-before period.

Philly next to butt out

Thoughts are powerful things; whatever you put your attention to will grow. Think negatively and your life will spiral into depression. Replace negatives with positives.

Philadelphia mayor John Street recently signed legislation that will outlaw smoking in the city’s restaurants and bars that serve food as of next January. Exempt from the ban are sidewalk cafés, specialty tobacco establishments, private clubs and taverns that ring up at least 90 per cent of sales in alcohol. In related non-smoking news, researchers at Colorado University’s School of Medicine recently reported that hospital admissions for heart attacks in Pueblo, Colorado, dropped 27 per cent within the first 18 months of that city’s adoption of nosmoking legislation.

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T

he October Planner survey reveals the importance that planners attach to price, location, recommendation, advertising and Web sites when looking to use venues, hotels and services. The following table illustrates what planners in our survey consider most important and least important when making a choice.

The Question: Assuming availability, what makes you select one supplier over another?

Order of importance 1ST

Venues

Hotels

Services

Location

Price

Recommendation

2ND

Price

Location

Price

3RD

Recommendation

Recommendation

Web site

4TH

Advertising

Web site

Advertising

5TH

Web site

Advertising

Location

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OCTOBER ’06


France: Business ou plaisir? BY JYL ASHTON CUNNINGHAM, CMP

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’m back from a recent two-week vacation in France. Some people would call it a site inspection and write it off but that’s not my style. Vacation, pure and simple. Well, yes of course I checked out the facilities at CDG airport, the required customs documents for entering and leaving France, tax reimbursement forms, etc. I also carefully heeded the level of professionalism of the greet staff (they weren’t actually greeting me, but it’s good to check anyway). I took myself to the information desk and asked tourist type questions in English using a French accent (funny how that happens to me in a foreign country). Yes, I do speak French, but I might be bringing a group here that only speaks in broken English, right? I didn’t actually need anything, but the €20.00 phone card purchase came in quite useful, once the instructions were translated correctly. By the time my friend arrived to pick us up, I was intimate with Terminal 1A. How was the hotel? We stayed with friends – vacation, remember? Well, yes I stopped by a couple of the 4-star ones in Paris, as well as a 2-star one (don’t go there – no really, DON’T go there, nothing below 4-stars will work). We, did actually end up staying in the airport hotel on the way home just to check out the facilities in case a hypothetical group would be stranded trying to leave the country. We’d gone

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there especially because there was a pool; however, it was shut. Why would it be open? Forty degrees celsius outside – who needs a pool, it’s low season in France. Write the hotel bill off? Why would I? I’m on vacation! We didn’t rent a car, our friends had one in Paris and our other friends were meeting us in Brive. I had thought it would be a good idea to travel by train somewhere – First Class of course, as that’s how I’d send my (albeit fictitious) delegates. Not quite up to our standards, no free food or drink, just a better seat in a pleasant carriage. As the train pulled out, I continued to organize the perfect incentive trip in my head, having almost convinced myself the group was confirmed. I would hire a guide to exclaim about the sunflowers, corn and lavender in the landscape speeding past us, and cite interesting points about our destination. Kind of like talking to a multitude of imaginary friends, at least on this trip. Four hours later we arrived in Sarlat, Dordogne. Now I’m really on vacation. We stayed in a beautiful cottage, privately owned. The patron had kindly left us some brochures on the surrounding region. My eye strayed to the one marked “Conference and Convention Centre.” Should be worth a look, and how long could it take?

CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

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Pick the right season to go to France CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

or refurbishment, as well as reduced restaurant opening times.

A few hours, as it turned out, but the CSM was so nice and delighted to show his facility, it would have been rude to cut the visit short. I had explained I was just there to have a nosy, no matter, he wasn’t busy. We ate incredibly well and drank more than we should, all in the name of making sure we encountered every gastronomic experience the region has to offer so that our valued clients would not miss out on anything. Chefs were delighted to create customized menus de dégustations for us, although the word végétarien in France still appears to be synonymous with Omelette aux Cêpes. A week later I had the perfect incentive program mapped out. Visits to castles, country hotel-style accommodation, open air theatre, picnics by the river, token “Business” meeting, scenic helicopter and boat rides, tasting menus of all the local delicacies and of course a French cooking class for the spouses. Now, all I need is a client who wants to go to the Dordogne Region with 15 to 25 couples and I can write the whole fabulous experience off as a business expense - then take a real vacation!

• Most of rural France closes in the afternoon – shops, offices, restaurants, although you can get drinks just about all day. Shops open anywhere between 3:00 pm and 4:30 p.m. and restaurants at 7:00 p.m. for dinner. • Disneyland Paris or “Euro-Disney” is not worth the money it costs to go there, and there is nothing fit to eat if you are over 14 years old. • Two star hotels are diabolical. Three star are tolerable, don’t recommend anything below Four Star to your clients.

Points of note on trips to France • If you book a taxi in France, there is an automatic surcharge of between €7 and €10 ($11 - $15 CAN) for the time it will take to reach you. The meter already reflects the amount before you set off.

• Contrary to popular myth, public washrooms are clean and comfortable if you are lucky enough to be female. As a male, believe everything you hear! • In the interests of saving electricity, many hotels use an automated corridor lighting system, which is great if it works, extremely dangerous if it doesn’t.

• July and August are not good times to have an incentive trip to France, as most of the country is on vacation and services such as limousines, audio visual suppliers, entertainers, etc. are very hard to come by.

Jyl Ashton Cunningham is President of JAAC Events Inc and an associate editor (Toronto) of The Planner. For further information, contact: info@jaacevents.com or jashton@theplanner.ca.

• The low season for hotels in France is also July and August, so expect leisure facilities to be closed for renovations

www.suitedreams.com Diamond Award Winner

Traveller’s Choice Awards Best Independent Hotel Toronto’s Tourist Magazine

Special Meeting Room Packages from $49 .95 pp

Located between the Rideau Canal and trendy Ottawa Elgin Street. Canada 26

•250 Spacious 1 & 2 Bedroom Suites with Kitchens •V.I.P. Suites with Jacuzzi •Hi-speed Internet, In-room Movies & Playstation •Deluxe Banquet Rooms •Indoor Pool, Whirlpool, Sauna •Exercise Room, Games Room •Patio, Playground & Shuffleboard

“One of the Best Buys in Town” — The Sunday New York Times

Downtown Ottawa 180 Cooper Street Phone: (613) 236-5000 Fax: (613) 238-3842 For Reservations 1-800-236-8399

OCTOBER ’06


Websites of interest

DATEBOOK

International airfare search engine www.farecompare.com Travellers can use world maps to scout low-price destinations in the coming months, then zero in on the best date, airline and Web site to purchase tickets.

Upcoming Events OCTOBER 27-29 The Greater Edmonton Chapter of MPI (host), Go WEST Summit Conference, Sutton Place Hotel, Edmonton, Alta. Contact: http:/gowestonware.ca

Dish from cabin crews www.airlinecrew.net Flight attendants worldwide get their chance to spout off about unruly passengers and other associated gripes. The “celebrity sightings” section is especially popular, and learn who’s been naughty and nice (Bill Clinton: nice, Jennifer Lopez: naughty). The Hangar Talk forum will put fear into the heart of anyone with reports of equipment problems, but this site is generally light-hearted.

OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 1 International Congress & Convention Association, Congress & Exhibition, Sofitel Capsis Palace Hotel and Convention Center, Rhodes, Greece. Contact: (011) 31-20-398-1901, www.iccaworld.com.

Frequent flyer community www.flyertalk.com If you’re someone who travels a lot, you’ll really like this Web site. With a list of all airline programs, forums and even live chat, there’s something for those tired souls who wear cucumbers on their peepers from too many red-eye flights. Well designed and easy to navigate.

NOVEMBER 2-5 Independent Meeting Planners Association of Canada, Annual Conference – “Taking Centre Stage”, London, Ont. Contact: (905) 868-8008, www.impaccanada.com. NOVEMBER 9 M&C and Bizbash, Meeting and Event Style Show, Pier 94, New York City, NY. Contact: (201) 902-1829, www.bizbash.com/eventstyleshow.

Travel-related health information www.mdtravelhealth.com Run by an accomplished New York state doctor, this site delivers travel-related health info in a very accessible manner. You can choose from one of seven global regions from a drop-down menu and are then presented with a list of countries. Each summary summarizes health recommendations and links to maps and other tools.

NOVEMBER 12-16 Financial & Insurance Conference Planners, Annual Conference, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Contact: FICP, www.ficpnet.com. NOVEMBER 28-30 European Incentive & Business Travel Meetings Exhibition, Fira Gran Via, Montjuic 2, Barcelona, Spain. Contact: (011) 44-20-8910-7870, www.eibtm.com.

OCTOBER ’06

••• Do you have a Web site you want to share with other planners? Email us at info@theplanner.ca. For more great Web sites, check out www.theplanner.ca

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GOTCHA! The pitfalls of hidden conference costs and how to avoid them adding on all kinds of expenses, often in the small print of the contract and often only in the BEO. The most common is the fee for local or toll-free telephone call connections. The highest figure researched was a whopping US $2.25 (still marginally cheaper than a cell phone connection between Florida and Toronto). Although everyone is used to seeing this fee, perhaps all are not aware that it can often be waived simply by asking for it to be removed from the contract in advance. One planner had an unusual situation in Las Vegas, when she saw a mandatory daily user fee for in-room telephones, regardless of whether the delegate picked up the phone! Since each guest was responsible for their own incidentals, the planner received many complaints from her group, but was unable to get the charge removed. Las Vegas and many other casino resorts will also now charge a guest’s credit card with anything from US $100 to US $400 before the room has even been slept in, as an “insurance,” another non-negotiable and unpublished cost. The charge is reversed, once the final bill has been paid in full. Water service has long been an issue with hotels, but Phil Eccleston of Golden Planners in Toronto cited a very surprising cost,

BY JYL ASHTON CUNNINGHAM, CMP Ed. Note: This is the first in a two-part series of articles.

I

t happens all the time. Unforeseen “extra” costs that can be small enough to mildly irritate the planner and conference delegates, or potentially large enough to cause severe budget overage and damage relationships with hotels and other suppliers. Much has been published on hidden costs, and planners are regularly educated in successful contract negotiations with hotels. The following is a brief outline of potential hazard areas and how to circumvent them, or at the very least, ensure that all potential expenses are pre-disclosed. IMPAC members and other professional planners were polled to ask for their input and experiences – the results are quite interesting, however some names have been withheld by request.

Hotels and meeting venues A major culprit of surcharging, hotels are well known for

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OCTOBER ’06


Always be sure to read the fine print of a contract notably at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal, and the Quebec City Convention Centre. Clients are being billed $3.50 plus taxes and service per pitcher of water, a basic requirement that was always included as part of the meeting room or catering cost. The water charge is justified by the venues, as being that of the exclusive caterers and is not something that is easily waived, despite complaints from Phil. Other more acceptable charges which can be gently renegotiated are baggage handling and concierge fees, room service prices in meeting rooms (where the meeting room has been paid for), bartender charges for host bars and flip chart, easel and marker costs. Computerized strips underneath bottles and sundries in mini-bars automatically relay a charge to the front desk if the article is moved from its original position. So if you happen to bring your own refreshments into the room and wish to keep them cool, make sure you check your bill carefully before leaving. Moving small liquor bottles to make room for your own items will register as consumed, and could run up hefty bills and might even get you a reputation as quite the party animal! A simple tip when dealing with hidden charges is to pre-empt them by adding a clause in the hotel contract stating that no additional charges will be accepted or paid, that are not written into the final and signed contract. Be sure to read the fine print though, as often some contract clauses are overlooked or misread. When planning the delegate itinerary, be sure to clearly

OCTOBER ’06

outline any pitfalls where costs may be incurred outside the regular room rate, send a detailed document out prior to the meeting and request that the hotel present each guest with a fact sheet of all potential extra billing when they check in. Remember that the hotel is running a business, and it is much easier to negotiate before rather than after the fact.

An interesting approach Janice Fendley, of Absolute Conferences and Events, takes an interesting approach when dealing with clients nowadays. Her career experience has been that under the pretext of saving money, the client may often take over the negotiations once an initial site inspection has been carried out, preferring to pay a consultation fee rather than a management fee to the meeting planner. Janice remembers one occasion where a client was quoted $7,000 rental by a venue, but omitted to ask about additional event costs, as they had many of their own preferred vendors. They did not realize that the venue in question was unionized, and by the time all the mandatory costs had been tallied, their bill was an astounding $32,000. Needless to say, they called Janice to “FIX IT!” Absolute Conferences and Events now uses the “Can You Afford Not To Hire a Planner” concept as a highly successful marketing tool. Next month, we look at A/V companies. Jyl Ashton Cunningham is an associate editor with The Planner. She is based in Toronto, Ontario.

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Feedback is a gift for all employees Her peers are more than just puzzled by her behaviour. The erratic behaviour is beginning to adversely affect the productivity of her department and her relationship with others, not to mention putting an end to any hope of her being promoted to a managerial position. While there was much more to the problem description, the interesting part of the manager’s request for help was found in his closing statement... “Short of sitting down with her and confronting her with this issue... I am at a loss as to how to solve this problem.” Admittedly, it is easy to compliment someone when they’re doing what they should be doing, It is much more difficult to work an employee through a problem, but in a situation like this, is there a choice? This is one of those issues to which the answer is glaringly obvious. Every reader knows that negative feedback is necessary. Yet, all around us are examples where negative feedback is necessary, and obviously absent. Here’s the great question: Why, if the benefits of negative feedback are so obvious, do we fail to dole out the appropriate dosage? Fear of conflict would seem to be at least part of the answer. Look above at how the manager who posed the question saw honest feedback as a form of ‘confrontation.’ Something he wished to avoid at all costs. The fear of ‘conflict’ in an office environment is a little bit irrational. What is a reasonable worst-case scenario? Raised voices? And even that is easily avoidable if we follow some simple guidelines. While there are many ways for us to turn a discussion into a confrontation they all require some conscious effort. Not listening to the person is one way. Not having empathy with the person you’re speaking to is another. In fact, just treating the other person without respect, compassion or a sense of fairness and any discussion can turn into a no holds barred battle. It doesn’t have to be that way. Negative feedback, or ‘constructive criticism’ if that sounds better, is merely pointing out something that the other person might not be aware of. Positive feedback tells you you’re on the right track... Continue what you’re doing. Negative feedback is much more important to any employee. It tells them that they’re on the WRONG track and that they need to change a behavior if they expect to advance. The longer the negative feedback is delayed, the further down the track they’ve traveled, and the more difficult it becomes to change. Giving negative feedback requires a level of skill, tact and self-confidence, but if offered properly, is usually received with appreciation, even if sometimes it’s tinged with a degree of embarrassment.

BY PETER DE JAGER

“How am I doing?” How many times in your career have you asked yourself that question? How many times in the future will you ask it again? And do you really think you’re the only one who worries about the answer? Recognizing that your needs closely match the needs of your staff is one of the keys to being a good manager. There’s really very little difference between the lowliest clerk and the most exalted of executives. We’re motivated, and worry about much the same things. At the top of the list of things that keep us up at night is the desire to know both what we're doing well and what requires some improvement. While we're all smart enough to continue doing what works, and to stop doing what hurts our progress. The crucial assumption is that we know which is which. Most managers have learned to give an “atta boy” when they catch someone doing something above and beyond what is expected. Unfortunately, we all seem to possess a general reluctance to provide negative feedback. In a recent discussion in an Internet mail list devoted to HR issues, someone described the following situation. It seems there’s an employee who is causing some problems with her peers. From one meeting to the next she is perceived first as helpful and cooperative and then as arrogant and uncooperative.

••• Peter de Jager is a speaker and management consultant, who loves receiving negative feedback (in moderation) contact him at pdejager@technobility.com

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OCTOBER ’06


Things women say at work

Quotable hockey players

1. Well, this day was a total waste of make-up.

“I just don’t know what to think. I play in Colorado, they tell me they like me, and I get traded. I play in Calgary, and at the end of the season the GM tells me he likes me, and I get traded. I just hope my fiancee doesn’t tell me she likes me.” – CHRIS DRURY, AFTER A JULY TRADE FROM CALGARY TO BUFFALO

2. Well, aren’t we a ray of sunshine? 3. Don’t bother me, I’m living happily ever after. 4. Do I look like a people person? 5. This isn’t an office. It’s hell with fluorescent lighting. 6. I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left. 7. Therapy can be expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose. 8. Why don’t you try practicing random acts of intelligence and senseless acts of self-control? 9. I’m not crazy. I’ve been in a very bad mood for 30 years. 10. Sarcasm is just one more service I offer. 11. Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven’t gone to sleep yet! 12. I’m not tense, just terribly, terribly alert. 13. Wait... I’m trying to imagine you with a personality. 14. Chaos, panic and my work here is done.

disorder...

15. Ambivalent? Well, yes and no.

OCTOBER ’06

“He brings something special. I don’t know what it is, but if you ask him, you couldn’t understand his answer.” – WAYNE GRETZKY ON RANGER FORWARD ESA TIKKANEN “They do a lot of talking, but I’m not sure they actually understand each other.” – RED WING DARREN MCCARTY, ON VLADIMIR KONSTANTINOV AND RIVAL CLAUDE LEMIEUX “I had a (Detroit fan) yelling at me on my own bench. I was waiting for a (Phoenix fan) to stand up and do something. I don’t want to say, ‘Start a fight.’ But at least throw some popcorn on the guy.” – PHOENIX COYOTES DEFENCEMAN TODD SIMPSON AFTER BEING HECKLED DURING A HOME GAME. “I told her they must all be sold out.” – WADE BELAK’S RESPONSE TO HIS MOTHER WHEN SHE SAID SHE COULDN’T FIND HIS SWEATER FOR SALE AT THE

LEAFS’ SOUVENIR SHOP CANADA CENTRE. ••• 31

IN

THE

AIR


Hotel News

CHICAGO WORKERS, HILTON STRIKE DEAL Service union UNITE HERE and Hilton have ratified a three-year contract that features increased pay, pension and healthcare services for 2,300 employees at the Hilton Chicago, Hilton O’Hare Airport, The Drake and the Palmer House Hilton. According to Hilton president and CEO Matthew Hart, Hilton is the first hotelier in Chicago to agree with the union upon a new contract. UNITE HERE also recently reached tentative agreements with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and 11 other Chicago hotels, including Hyatt, averting the prosect of a large-scale strike.

HYATT UPS THE ANTE Hyatt Hotels has unleashed a fall ad campaign featuring new services such as PDA check-in, an e-concierge service and a Hyatt stereo. Now you can dock your iPod in the bedside stereo system, fall asleep in your Grand Bed (with high threadcount sheets and six – count ’em, six! – pillows), and in the morning sprint to the airport with your boarding pass already in hand thanks to Hyatt’s new Fast Board service that lets you print it out at the front desk. Other services include a concierge service that arranges reservations and services from the comfort of your PDA and a 24/7 fitness centre with flat screen televisions. On the Web: www.Hyatt.com

AGASSI GETS INTO THE HOTEL RACKET It didn’t take long for now-retired tennis legend Andre Agassi to pick up a new game: Hotel design. Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf, have doubled up with Bayview Financial to develop a resort in Idaho’s bucolic Tamarack Village. Slated for a 2009 opening, the Fairmont Hotel and Resort-managed Belvedere Ridge will showcase around 285 rooms, condos and penthouses.

HILTON SELLS FIVE CANADIAN HOTELS As part of its strategy to offload properties outside of the United States while retaining long-term contracts with buyers, Hilton Hotels recently sold five Canadian hotels to privatelyowned Westmont Hospitality Group for $243-million. On the chopping block were Toronto’s 600-room downtown Hilton and 413-room Hilton Toronto Airport, the 571-room Hilton Quebec, 486-room Hilton Montreal Aeroport and the 197 Hilton Saint John in New Brunswick. In related sales, Northstar Hospitality LP picked up the Toronto and Montreal properties, while the Quebec and Fredericton hotels were snapped up by Toronto-based Inn Vest REIT.

FAIRMONT NEW ORLEANS DELAYS OPENING Having sustained significantly worse damage than originally thought from Hurricane Katrina, the 107-year-old Fairmont New Orleans has pushed back its reopening to 2008. The hotel will not open next spring as planned, and is currently rebooking groups that had reserved meeting space in 2007. In Bermuda last month, Hurricane Florence caused only minimal damage and all hotels there are reported to be open for business.

TWO NEW EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS The Mandarin Hotel in Prague opened last month, possibly becoming one of the Czech capital’s most illustrious meeting facilities. Nestled in a 14th century monastery and featuring Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, it boasts 99 rooms, a spa, meeting space for up to 80 people and a 1,720-square-foot ballroom. For fans of Bacchus, Starwood hotels recently christened: a hotel in the heart of Spain’s Rioja wine country designed by acclaimed Canadian architect Frank Gehry. The Marqués de Riscal features 43 rooms and suites in two buildings, a cooking school and two restaurants (one run by Micheline-starred chef Francis Paneigo). Oh, and a 150-year-old winery! On the Web: www.luxurycollection.com/marquesderiscal

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Hotel News DALLAS ROPES NEW HOTEL INDIGO Dallas, Texas is the newest recipient of a Hotel Indigo, the fifth in the company’s boutique line of the same name. Though originally raised by Conrad Hilton in 1925, the building has been restored to such glory as to merit a place on the Lone Star State’s National Register of Historic Places. It has 170 rooms, as well as 3,300 square feet of meeting space.

WESTIN ENTERS NEW ZEALAND MARKET The first Westin Hotel in New Zealand will throw open its doors in 2007. The fivestar Auckland, Lighter Quay, will have 173 rooms and 3,300 square feet of meeting space smack dab in the heart of the $300 million Lighter Quay district. The community itself is currently under development, but its Web site says it will provide a private marina and “the ultimate inner-city address for a fortunate few...” On the Web: www.lighterquay.co.nz

CANCUN RITZ-CARLTON REOPENS This hotel took full advantage of down-time caused by Hurricane Wilma to install some new facilities that it debuted at its reopening last month. In addition to its 365 rooms and whopping 27,000 square feet of meeting space, the resort now also features a culinary centre and a tennis program run by former pro player Cliff Drysdale.

ANSWER EASY SUDOKU FROM PAGE 18

LOW-COST LONDON Whether you’re scouting a new venue or just shopping ‘til you drop at Harrod’s, your wallet will take less of a pounding if you stay at one of London’s new breed of chic (absolutely) and affordable (relatively: It is London) bed and breakfasts. High Road House (www.highroadhouse.co.uk) offers no-frills yet classy double rooms from £160 per night (about $340 Cdn.): A bargain in a city where rooms often start upwards of $500. Even better, the new Hoxton (www.hoxtonhotels.com) has doubles starting at £59 and the Base2Stay (www.base2stay.com) has doubles with flat-screen televisions from £99.

CANNERY ROW CONSTRUCTION BEGINS Though originally approved more than two decades ago, the Cannery Row hotel project in Monterey, Calif. is finally set to take off. In the next two years, 208 luxury hotel rooms, over 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a 95-seat restaurant and nearly 20,000 square feet of retail space are expected to be completed on the heavily-touristed seaside street first made famous by John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name.

HOTELS SPEED UP THE CHECK-IN PROCESS Those who cringe at the thought of a lengthy check-in process after a long journey should ask about automated check-in next time they travel: Many hotels are working to help you bypass the front desk altogether. Hotels like Hilton and the Hyatt have been allowing high-ranking loyalty club members to check in over the Internet. Additionally, some Hiltons – such as its New York property on the Avenue of the Americas – have a self-serve kiosk that forks over your keys with the swipe of a credit card. Several Ritz-Carlton hotels allow preferred clients to skip the lineup and check-in instead at the club level. Marriott and others are beta-testing check-in from PDAs, which may also be available in the near future.

OCTOBER ’06

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ANSWER INTERMEDIATE SUDOKU FROM PAGE 18


Hotel News

FIRST BRAND HOTEL ARRIVES IN ST. MAARTEN The arrival of the Westin Hotel on St. Maarten marks the first brand hotel chain to this bustling Caribbean island. The hotel fits well with the inroads St. Maarten has made recently in attracting the mega-yacht, upper-income clientele. “We are delighted to welcome the Westin Hotel to our island and with it, the hotel’s excellent reputation for quality service,” said Regina Labega, Director of Tourism for St. Maarten, a half Dutch and half French island. Located on the Dutch side of the Island, the hotel is slated for opening January, 2007. This winter, the Westin is featured exclusively with Air Canada Vacations, with package prices starting form $2,639 per person, double occupancy. The property will offer 310 luxurious guest rooms, suites and condominiums, oceanfront gourmet, sushi and casual dining, the European-style Hibiscus Spa, casino, several retail shops with duty-free shopping, fresh water pool complete with swim-up bar and whirlpool, Ultra lounge and nightclub, on-site dive shop and other watersports. On the Web: www.westin.com

PURCHASERS EXPECT ROOM RATES TO RISE Increased room rates and dynamic pricing are expected to force corporate travel managers to pump up their hotel budgets in 2007. Increases in so-called ‘gateway’ cities alone are expected to hit the double digits. “You can’t budget for it,” said Brenda Miller, purchasing manager of travel services for Nestle Ltd. “It’s floating. All we can do is budget for a benchmark increase of 10 per cent to 15 per cent and anywhere we come below that is savings to the company.” A spokesperson for Hilton said the company would be seeking the largest rate gain possible in 2007. Some experts predict rates will only go up by as little as 5.25 per cent, while others note that rates in New York City went up by as much as 30 per cent last year and are bracing for a similar phenomenon next year.

Join the ranks of the pros: www.mpiweb.org

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October 2006