Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Low season marketing ideas for Hotels

By: Christian W. Frei, CEO, MICEpoint

During the low season it seems everywhere you try to get more business your competition is already there using a variety of techniques to draw in customers. When you develop a low season marketing plan, you have to consider two things - your unique business and your customer demographic.

If you keep these things in mind while you are coming up with low season marketing ideas, you are more likely to choose marketing tools that will yield success.
Independent Hotels and small Hotel chains face a unique challenge when they are developing a low season marketing plan. Most small businesses operate on a tight budget and have limited funds appropriated for marketing.

Your budget need not get in your way when it comes time for low season marketing. With a little creativity and know how there are plenty of marketing ideas that you can implement successfully.

Let's take a look at some simple, creative and affordable low season marketing ideas.

Get into the MICE market. Groups can bring you nice revenue if you offer them value for money. And one medium size group will bring you around 100 rooms for approx. 3 nights. How much do you need to work on the FIT market during low season until you generate 300 room nights?

So why not invite some organizers and MICE experts to your property? Get to know them personally, you will benefit much more. Let them encounter your beautiful hotel, your amazing services and hospitality. Treat them to an unforgettable stay in your house and you can be sure they will be back with groups.
However, you need to really consider your customer base when you choose these organizers. You may want to consider giving them a gift they can take home and they will remember the stay in your hotel.

Send Out Vouchers for your special offer

Vouchers are another great way to generate low season business. Send vouchers out to Event and Conference organizers that are good only during the low season. Make the amount on the voucher worth their time and make the voucher easily redeemable for their clients.

Don't send your vouchers out so early that your customers forget about them, but send them out so they have an adequate amount of time to redeem them. There are even some online MICE platforms who publish these special offers to a wide organizer audience. On MICEpoint listed Hotels can publish their special offer free of charge to registered Event and Conference organizers.

Make the Price Right

Keep your customer's budget in mind when you are coming up with low season marketing ideas. Highlight offers for every budget level from $80 to $200 dollars. Create a profile on MICEpoint that makes customers aware of the fact that you have gifts in multiple price points. Even if you have to repackage your products to accommodate this promotion, it will be worthwhile.

Continue Promotions through the Season

It is important to keep your Event and Conference organizers returning for additional business during low season. One way to do this is through a staggered low season marketing promotion.

Offer a voucher (or gift) of the week or month that is unique, desirable and different. Make sure you inform your organizers that a new gift is on the horizon. Many companies do this in the form of collectibles. They give one item away each month or season and customers return can get the next item to complete a set.

Marketing your small business during the holiday isn’t hard - it just takes a bit of creativity and some smart planning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New MICE Industry Jargon Tool

An antidote to the industry''s obsession with jargon has arrived in the form of www.Traveljargon.org - the industry’s first fully-interactive jargon buster.

It is an A – Z of nearly 11,000 terms, acronyms, and expressions for including, air, associations, car hire, catering, conference and meetings, event management, hotels, and rail travel. Its is the fast, simple and friendly solution for explanations of travel industry phrases aims to provide concise definitions of terms for experienced professionals and anyone unfamiliar with the meetings industry to learn how the terms are currently being used.

Acronym Addicts (or AA’s for short) can also feed their habits - and demonstrate their expertise - by adding new pieces of jargon, together with their explanations.

Take a look ….

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

MICEpoint at EIBTM

We would like to thank you for all your visits to our booth during EIBTM.

Your feedback and ideas will be carefully reviewed, first RFP`s received during the show have already been answered and yes, the future is looking bright!

We are looking forward to welcoming you at IMEX in Frankfurt in 2009.

Christian W. Frei
and the MICEpoint Team

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Russian and Ukrainian Tourism Markets Riding High

The UN World Tourism Organisation ranks Russia ninth in the world, in terms of spending on travel abroad. Outbound trips increased by 17% in 2007, the countries with the highest growth in Russian tourists being Vietnam, Thailand and Austria. As the trend in overseas holidays continues to grow, encouraged by the increase in disposable income for many Russians, these figures can only increase further.

Russia itself is growing as a tourist destination and, with new destinations being announced regularly by airlines such as Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines, Russia is developing its tourist infrastructure and opening up to the world. In August, a new programme for tourism development was announced, which will see 50 million roubles from the government budget invested into promoting tourism in Russia. A further 160 million roubles will be used to promote Russia as a destination for tourists from all over the world.

Ukraine is following in Russia’s footsteps. Its travellers are quickly gaining a reputation for being big spenders like their Russian cousins. With a population of 48 million and GDP growth of over 7%, Ukraine is becoming a desirable market for many destinations. Increasing numbers of Ukrainian residents are taking holidays abroad and many are venturing further afield from the more traditional destinations in Russia’s neighbouring countries. This can be attributed to two major factors: the increase in charter flights to and from the country and increased competition amongst destinations promoting themselves in the Ukrainian market.
The Ukrainian government is investing heavily in the tourism market and, in 2008, UAH 20 million from the national budget will be spent promoting Ukraine as a tourism destination. 23 million tourists visited Ukraine last year and this figure is expected to grow significantly as a result of the new investments and UEFA’s decision to host the Euro 2012 football tournament in the country. Hotels are springing up across Ukraine, including those commissioned by global hotel chains, such as Intercontinental, Radisson and Hilton.

MITT continues to grow and, in 2008, the event covered 11% more space and commandeered an extra pavilion, Pavilion 8. Amongst the 118 countries and regions represented at the show, there were many new destinations and MITT’s first ‘partner country’, Turkey presented over 500 companies. This year, a strict admission policy was introduced whereby the first two days of the exhibition were ‘trade only’. This proved extremely popular amongst exhibitors, who were able to concentrate fully on business during these two days, making their participation much more effective.

This year,UITT was chosen as the venue for the launch of Ukraine’s ‘Year of Tourism’. At the launch, the President of Ukraine, Victor Yuschenko commented, “Over the last 2-3 years, the growth in visits to our country by foreign tourists has been 25% annually, which shows great prospects for our travel industry”. Confidence in the market is growing and a large number of new destinations could be seen at UITT. The exhibition featured 688 exhibitors from 58 countries and regions, and showed an impressive 40% compared to the previous year. UITT also had ‘trade only’ visitors on the first two days of the show.

Meanwhile, Ukraine International Travel Market, (UITM), has moved site and will celebrate its 15th edition next month when it opens at the International Exhibition Centre (IEC) at Brovarsky Ave in Kiev. Relocation to the new ground is a result of qualitative and quantitative growth of the Travel Market that annually brings together key tour operators and national travel agencies from 40 countries as well as hotels, SPA, recreation centers and even museums. The new site also offers a significant number of conference rooms enabling those, who wish, to hold more events and extend their traditionally comprehensive Travel Market program.
As well as displaying a variety of travel destinations available for Ukrainian tourists today, UITM 2008 will also showcase current world trends and brand-new products available in the travel market. As usual, national pavilions will form a significant part of the event, with at least 14 countries being represented and Poland hosting the largest pavilion.

There are a number of changes occurring in the market and UITM reports an increase in SPA tourism. Compared with the last year, SPA offers increased by 70%, and the number of exhibiting resorts and health centers doubled. ITE’s Travel Division, the organizers of MITT, report an increasing number of Russian tourists visiting Africa but there are still only a few African countries actively promoting in the Russian market. To encourage this area of growth, ITE Travel has signed a joint promotion agreement with Africa Travel Association, ATA.

Another area that appears to be on the increase in both Russia and Ukraine, is that travellers are discovering much more ‘exotic’ destinations. UITM notes a large increase in companies offering products to destinations further afield and Seychelles, Mauritius and Singapore are all newcomers at this years’ event.
All in all, as the choice of destinations and holiday types continues to grow, many more opportunities are being created for those involved in travel and tourism in the region. Add to this the fact that some countries are cancelling visa requirements for Russian citizens and it looks as though both inbound and outbound traffic is set to move up a gear.

SOURCE: Travel Daily News

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Listen to an Interview with Christian W. Frei

Recently, Mike McAllen of GrassShackRoad interviewed me for the Meetings Podcast. The title was “The Meeting Planners podcast source for what’s new and exciting in meetings and events industry!”

As I just returned from ITB Asia, surely I spoke about some new and exciting ventures in Asia. But listed to the podcast yourself here:
Meetings Podcast Interview

Christian W. Frei

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA)

The International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA) brings together 20 of Europe’s greatest tourism exhibitions. Membership is strictly controlled so only the best and most productive fairs that adhere to a rigorous set of professional standards can join. This means each and every ITTFA tourism exhibition guarantees participants a business environment that is dedicated to negotiating deals at critical periods in the travel industry calendar. ITTFA’s members meet every three months to discuss how Europe’s premier tourism fairs can be made even more productive for the exhibitors and trade visitors. They hammer out common working practices to ensure that anyone attending a new ITTFA exhibition feels like they are visiting a familiar old friend. This allows both buyers and suppliers to get immediately down to business without delay.

ITTFA also develops educational projects to ensure tourism industry professionals get the most out of the fairs they attended. The association’s latest publication is a booklet called ‘Guidelines for Exhibitors’ that has been produced with the help of the World Tourism Organisation. ITTFA has a full-time secretariat based in London that promotes stronger links with key tourism industry players and co-ordinates the association’s activities. ITTFA also runs its own exhibition stand at member events where exhibitors and visitors can pick up the latest news from the association’s members and talk directly to the organisers of Europe’s leading tourism trade fairs. Feedback like this is vital to ensure ITTFA’s members recontent the most effective way of building business contacts in the European travel industry.

Source: Travel Daily News

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Research key to travel industry tie-ups

Research is a key driver to improved partnerships between all stakeholders in the travel & tourism industry including, amongst others, airlines, hotels, tour operators and national tourism authorities.

That's the view that PATA's Strategic Intelligence Centre Director John Koldowski shared with more than 130 delegates at the Tourism Strategy Forum in Kunming, China (PRC) on Sat Nov 1st.d
The two-day PATA Forum, hosted by the Kunming Municipal People's Government and the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration, embraced five workshops covering the application and implementation of research in strategic business planning.

"Transforming research into winning strategies is a constant challenge for business leaders. That's why this inaugural Tourism Strategy Forum is so significant. We're delighted that it has attracted so many senior delegates from such a broad cross-section of our industry," says John Koldowski.

Organisations represented in Kunming included national tourist bodies from Abu Dhabi, Thailand, Guam, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

"The importance of research and its implementation into business planning has never been greater," adds John Koldowski. "I'm confident that this forum, led by distinguished academic Dr Ian Yeoman, will be of major benefit to all delegates."

Monday, October 27, 2008

ITB Asia exceeds exhibitor and visitor targets

Exhibitor space selling out in just nine months.

After three years of meticulous planning and research, Messe Berlin launched the inaugural ITB Asia at Suntec Singapore, “comfortably exceeding our initial 500-exhibitor target,” said Messe Berlin CEO Mr. Raimund Hosch. The final count was 651 exhibiting companies and organizations from 58 countries and territories worldwide -a far cry from the 12 exhibitors who took part in the first ITB Berlin 42 years ago- with ITB Asia exhibitor space selling out in just nine months. The number of buyers was announced at 812 carefully-selected, hosted buyers. In addition, there are more than 1,000 trade visitors.

ITB Berlin, which is held annually in March, is the world’s leading international travel show, attracting some 11,000 exhibitors in 2008 from 186 countries and territories. Exhibitors at ITB Berlin this year utilized 160,000 square meters of floor space. ITB Berlin focuses primarily on the European and North American markets. Messe Berlin’s intention, in launching ITB Asia, was to take its trade show expertise, contacts, and technical skills and diversify its well-known brand into a completely new space.

Why Asia? “Because it has a track record of offering impressive economic growth rates,” said Mr. Hosch, “and it also offers a massive population, youthful demographics. and amazing cultural diversity.” Will it work? “All we know at this stage is that buyers and exhibitors have turned out in mass to attend ITB Asia. We have had virtually no cancellations attributed to the new economic crisis. This tells us that in good times or bad, the travel and tourism industry is committed and resilient. In fact, Messe Berlin believes that the global economic crisis has added impetus and importance to the first ITB Asia. We believe ITB Asia delegates correctly saw this week as their chance to come together from all corners of the industry to discuss proactive policies and plans for the recovery to come.”

Both Messe Berlin and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), its strategic partner in the new venture – “without whom we could never have hoped to achieve such fantastic support across the whole of Asia” – believe the staging of ITB Asia has proved timely. As the first international travel trade show in Asia to be held after the tumultuous events of the past couple of months, ITB Asia is being seen as a barometer of business confidence in the future of travel and tourism demand. The strategic partnership between Messe Berlin and STB covers a minimum of three years, but Messe Berlin fully expects it to continue in the long term, attracting strong growth in exhibitors and buyers/trade visitors year on year.

Whether or not ITB Asia will also be opened up to the public is yet to be decided. “This will depend on what our exhibitors want,” said Mr. Hosch.

Source: Travel Daily News.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tourism and the Financial Crisis - 84th Session of the Executive Council of UNWTO Madrid 15 October 2008

UNWTO’s Executive Council (Madrid 14-15 October) agrees to create a “Resilience Committee” to support its Members with accurate economic analysis and response mechanisms. The tourism sector is suffering from reduced consumer demand – business and leisure – and tourism businesses are already feeling the credit crunch.

International tourism registered solid growth in the first half of 2008 – at around 5% between January and April, compared to the same period of 2007. The slowdown began with the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere.

The Panel of Experts of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, which up until then maintained favourable views of the sector's situation, now shows a perceptible loss of confidence regarding the short-term outlook.

Addressing the Executive Council, UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli said that “Experience teaches us that tourism is resilient, but there is no denying that there is a certain stage of deterioration of the situation beyond which tourism too will begin to suffer.”

Early in 2008 signs of en economic downturn emerged. Although demand still produced solid growth figures in that period, UNWTO commissioned a study of the impacts of economic scenarios on the sector. An outline of “Global Imbalances and Structural Change in World Tourism” was discussed during the Executive Council:

* The economic shocks and crisis of the current year.
* Analyzing of the impacts on world tourism.
* Identifying key factors of change.

In considering these matters, the Members the UNWTO Executive Council confirmed the deterioration in their own markets, while maintaining the long-term confidence in the resilience of the tourism sector.

The challenge lies ahead – late 2008 and the first half of 2009, when the economic slowdown is expected to be more widely felt and consumers might decide to cut back further on their travel expenditures. The Executive Council therefore agreed:

* To create of a Resilience Committee open to all of its public and private sector Members.
* To support this work with state of the art information with special focus on air transport and major origin markets.
* To provide its Members with ICT-based up-to-date information on these impacts and emerging response initiatives.

Source: World Tourism Organisation

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First international tourism online & marketing conference in Sharm El-Sheikh

Recognizing the growing importance of online marketing, leading Middle East tourism organizations endorsed the

Electronic Union of Travel Industry (EUOTI) online marketing conference. Speakers represent leading companies such as Google and Microsoft, leading international universities, the UN World Tourism Organization and Canadian e-Tourism Council.

Dr. Bandar Bin Fahd Al-Faheed, President of the Arabic Tourism Organization (ATO) notes the ATO’s care about spreading the E-culture and teaching the E-Industry in Arab Countries and the Middle East. Consequently, the “ATO is sponsoring EUOTI’s International Conferences in the Middle East to support this booming international marketing platform.”

Similarly, Mr. Amr El-Ezaby, President of the Egyptian Tourism Authority “supports EUOTI in its international mission to train those who work in E-Travel and E-Tourism to enhance their performance and increase their sales through the Internet.” As Mr. Mohammad Almehaizae, EUOTI Chairman confirmed, “The union’s main mission is protecting and developing the E-travel industry and providing professional training to those working in the E-field to enhance their performance and increase their productivity.”

E-tourism is increasing even faster than E-commerce and should reach 55% of the E-Commerce Sector during 2008. The phenomenal growth in E-Tourism is due to the growing reliance on the Internet, e-mails, cell phones and recently, Web 2.0 applications such as TripAdvisor and Yahoo Travel, and meta-search engines such as Kayak or Sidestep. EUOTI’s International Online Tourism Conference, featuring industry and academic experts, gives Arab and Middle-Eastern operators the chance to learn and take advantage of the latest E-tourism trends.

EUOTI has organised the 15-19 December 2008 conference in conjunction with the world’s leading academic body dedicated to tourism and technology, the
International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism and tourism (IFITT). Conference attendees will benefit from a range of activities, tailored for both beginners and advanced online marketers, including workshops, panels and presentations.

EUOTI conference will be managed by the international organization of IFITT together with the collaboration of the Arab travel Organization and under the supervision of the League of Arab states and The Egyptian ministry of Tourism authorities.

EUOTI conference main objective is to create awareness, educate and update Travel industry producers and concerned people with the latest E-travel, E-marketing and E-commerce strategies to enable them to achieve best sales and profits with the minimum effort and human power, as recently proofed that around 52% of the world wide E-commerce is covered by the E-travel industry.

Conference Outlines and important Topics:

* Web Development
* Web Designing
* Online Sales Techniques
* Online Marketing technologies
* Mobile Marketing strategies
* Online Hotel Reservations systems appliance
* Video online Marketing
* Hotel & Restaurants E-Marketing
* Travel Companies business promoting
* Duplicating Investments aspects
* Broadening The Horizon of E-Travel business

EUOTI, herewith extend a sincere invitation to all Travel business concerned individuals, corporations and properties to attend its booming international conference event and to get an official certificate approved from the leading world wide travel organizations of attending this unique in the middle east event , which will take place 15-19/12/08 in
Sharm el-Sheikh – Egypt.

Source: Travel Daily News.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

U.S. Hotels To Bottom Out In 2009

PKF Forecasts Two Years Of Declining Lodging Demand

A new study released today by PKF Hospitality Research reveals that demand for U.S. hotel rooms will contract for the next two years. Compounding the negative impact of declining demand is a projected concurrent increase in supply. PKF-HR is forecasting a combined net increase in 2008 and 2009 of nearly 275,000 new hotel rooms compared to year-end 2007. This represents a 6.2 percent jump in accommodations over this two-year period.

With supply and demand levels moving in opposite directions, occupancy rates are projected to decline in both 2008 and 2009. Considering the 0.3 percent occupancy decline reported by Smith Travel Research in 2007, the result is three consecutive years of fewer accommodated roomnights for the average U.S. hotel.

These findings are based on the recently released third quarter 2008 edition of Hotel HorizonsSM, PKF-HR's quarterly forecast report for six U.S. chain-scales and 50 major markets. The forecast was released at The Lodging Conference 2008 in Phoenix this morning.

'Because of the extended slowdown of the U.S. economy, compounded by the negative consequences stemming from airline capacity cutbacks, we are now forecasting a 0.2 percent decline in lodging demand in 2008, followed by another loss of 1.1 percent in 2009,' said Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. 'According to data from Smith Travel Research, this is the first time since 1988 that the U.S. lodging industry will experience two consecutive years of decline in lodging demand.'

Source: Hotel News Resource

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Facing Competitiveness with Destination Management and Marketing

Constantly increasing global tourism competition in tourism has contributed to underscore the increasingly relevant role of destinations. Attractions, resorts, a city or a region are gaining relevance as deciding factors for travel, rather than a country, implying the decentralization of branding and marketing. This development is at the centre of the 4th UNWTO International Conference on "Destination Management and Marketing: Two Strategic Tools to Ensure Quality Tourism", organized in collaboration with the Directorate of Tourism of France and the City of Bordeaux (16-17 September).
Read more

Monday, September 15, 2008

HRG Hotel Survey Shows U.S. Rates Leveling, Elsewhere Strong

Hotel rates for corporate travelers leveled off in North America for the first half of 2008, while other regions—particularly Eastern Europe and Asia/Pacific—continued to show strong rate hikes, according to six-month hotel surveys recently released by HRG.

The surveys, based on industry intelligence and actual room nights booked and rates paid by HRG clients in the United Kingdom during the first half of the year, showed double-digit percentage increases in a number of U.S. markets, including Atlanta, Boston and Dallas. Overall, however, North America has been the first region to see rates begin to level off, and HRG said to expect larger decreases in the second half of 2008, as hotels increasingly begin to open up corporate rate availability.

While New York remained the most expensive North American city, with an average rate of $358.98 per night, it remained stable compared with the same period in 2007. Rates also were flat in Los Angeles and even went down in Houston and San Francisco, according to the reports.

In Canada, rates were up by 12 percent in Vancouver and by 23 percent in Calgary, which HRG attributed to lack of supply in the face of high demand from the oil sector.

New York's stability also reflected a shake-up in terms of the most expensive cities worldwide, HRG reported. While it remained in the top 10 overall, it dropped to eighth place, compared with second place in 2007, and it was the only North American city to appear on the list.

"We are increasingly seeing rates level off in certain markets as they adjust pricing structures to meet market expectations," according to Margaret Bowler, HRG's director of global hotel relations. "This has been noted in London, where rate growth slowed significantly in the second quarter, and in New York, where growth dropped from 6 percent to zero. In this instance, we expect to see a shift in pricing strategies as hotels streamline corporate packages and increasingly strip out extras with less hotels upselling executive rooms, corporate packages or in-room bar pricing deals to make rates appear more attractive."

Regionally, Eastern Europe, with rates up by 22 percent, and Asia/Pacific, with rates up 20 percent, saw the largest year-over-year growth. HRG saw the rates largely stemming from lack of supply and developer focus on the luxury market.

Moscow remained the most expensive city globally, according to HRG. Average rates increased by 25 percent from 2007. Mumbai was second, with rates up 37 percent from 2007. It also was the second-highest increase of any city, topped only by Berlin, which saw rates soar by 39 percent in the first half of 2008.

Most cities, however, saw much higher growth in the first than the second quarter. One exception was Johannesburg., South Africa, which saw rates increase by 26 percent in the first quarter and by 23 percent in the second. "There's huge growth there," Bowler said. "It's lack of supply. Rates have doubled in the last couple of years."

Source: Business Travel News Online.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Historic Conference Centres of Europe Goes America

The Historic Conference Centres of Europe enchanted North American clients who attended MPI`s MeetingPlace in Las Vegas and ASAE's Exposition in San Diego this August. It was another chance for HCCE to connect their heritage buildings with an audience longing for authentic, inspiring historic meeting locations.

To attract visitors to the stand, HCCE’s Executive Director Mr. Jochen Manninger dressed up in a historic costume and invited the meeting planners to have a glass of champagne while they explored information on 25 culture rich convention centres set in churches, castles, palaces and other characteristic buildings. HCCE member M:CON Congress Center Rosengarten Mannheim in Germany had joined the stand to familiarize the visitors with the HCCE network in detail.

“It’s my impression from these two shows”, says Jochen Manninger, “that smaller organizations with limited budgets stay on the North American continent as their costs for air travel have increased. However the large multinationals continue to hold meetings abroad, a fact which was reflected in our stable number of these visitors to our stand. HCCE wants to be the answer for those international planners who need to impress their meeting participants with exclusive venues.”

Source: Travel Daily News

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Al Ain Convention Centre showcased in key South East Asian market

Picture shows Shaikh Sultan briefing Shaikh Tahnoun about the Dh3.5 billion Al Ain Convention Centre.

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) participated in the 3rd MICE, Business & Incentive Travel Expo (ITE MICE), which was held from June 12 – 14, 2008, in Hong Kong; to showcase the recently launched Al Ain Convention Centre and district in the South East Asian market.

A team of ADNEC representatives attended the event, and also promoted the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, Capital Gate, Capital Centre and the company’s recent acquisition of ExCeL London.

Simon Horgan, CEO of ADNEC, said: “Business tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, which is why events such as this are thriving. Our recent announcements about ExCeL London and the Al Ain Convention Centre, coupled with the on-going development of ADNEC and Capital Centre made this a good time for us to present our portfolio of world-class facilities to the key South East Asian market.”

Organised by TKS Exhibitions, ITE MICE Hong Kong has emerged as one of Asia’s top international travel fairs, welcoming industry players that include airlines; conference and exhibition venues; hotel groups; and MICE planners. This year`s attendance surpassed 2007’s 650 exhibitors, 11,655 corporate trade visitors, and 53,000 public visitors. Hong Kong served as the perfect backdrop for this premier travel and tourism event, as local residents make over 75 million trips annually.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

AMEX Biz Travel Highlights Findings in Asia Pacific Industry

The 2nd quarter 2008 American Express Asia Pacific Business Travel Monitor provides little relief to corporations struggling to keep control of rising travel costs. Asia Pacific published fares were up 3% overall quarter over quarter and 9% year over year. Fuelling this increase were flights originating in Asia Pacific going to Intra Asia Pacific destinations which rose 5% quarter over quarter. Both full business class and full economy class saw increases of 3% quarter over quarter.

Kurt Knackstedt, head of Advisory Services for American Express Business Travel, Japan, Asia Pacific and Australia commented, 'Economic pressures and the simple equation of supply and demand continue to force base airfares up, meaning corporations have to act smartly to keep travel budgets in check.

'Increasingly, companies view business travel as an investment in their business and are interested in doing everything they can to maximize their return. Many companies are still keen to travel despite rising costs, so they need to evaluate all aspects of their travel programs and work harder at finding reasonably priced options.'

'One other outcome of rising airfares is that many companies are finally putting greater emphasis on encouraging and promoting traveler compliance with corporate travel policies. On average 20% of travel and entertainment spend is out of policy' so this represents a huge opportunity for corporations to regain control of the purse strings.'

'To help corporations improve policy compliance, we've recently introduced Change Management as a consulting competency to defray the rising cost of travel. Depending on the methods used, incremental cost savings made possible through this new practice area can range between 11 percent and 33 percent of a company's total air spend.'

The second quarter 2008 report tracks data for the quarter ending 30 June 2008.

The American Express Business Travel Monitor, Asia Pacific is available on a subscription basis.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Ca' de Vèn in Ravenna, Italy

I was visiting Ravenna in Italy and while I knew a lot about the amazing history of this beautiful city, I did never expect to encounter a restaurant like that.

The second we walked into this fortress-looking edifice called Ca' de Vèn, we knew we were in for a treat. The entrance is a preserved ancient shop, I think once a pharmaceutical supply or such, but long ago converted to a wine cellar and store – an enoteca, as such a place is called in Italy. The front salon has a massive bar and lovely old cabinetry and a high vaulted ceiling complete with a decaying fresco.

The cavernous back room has plain brick walls that are at least two stories high. Right down the middle of the room runs a massive A-line heavy-timbered rack supporting wine casks up high – and a balcony above that. Within the rack is built a single heavy table upon which is a pair of marble griffin-carved stands supporting fresh flowers. The remainder of the room has long refractory tables set perpendicular to the rack, and a row of doubles along the wall.

The enoteca has another room equally as large as the one mentioned above. This is a garden room culled from an old courtyard with a majestic entrance door (closed for good) used for horses to enter the courtyard.

The enoteca can seat up to 150 guests and offers traditional but amazing food with wines you can expect at such a place. Try it out, and enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Highlight Icelandair

If you have followed my blog in the past, you know that I have been invited to Iceland.

One of the sponsors of this trip was Icelandair. The airline has been in the news lately: "Icelandair is to lay off 240 employees this fall in preparation to meet expected reduction in demand. Among the unlucky employees are 133 flight attendants and 88 pilots."

You might wonder why I am writing about this now; it is very simple. I had an amazing trip onboard Icelandair, one of my best flights ever.

Not only the state of the art aircraft, but foremost the incredible kind and service minded staff made both trips a true enjoyment. In a moment of sadness and shock, I think it is about time to write something positive. And to let the meetings industry world know, there is an amazing island with stunning people ready to host your group, conference or meeting.

Do you need a hotel in Reykjavik with a wine cellar you have never seen before? Check out the Hotel Holt. You will like the selection of wine and whiskey...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Black sheapes of the online travel industry?

According to an article in BusinessWeek, European Union and Danish officials named seven online travel operators and airlines Thursday in an ongoing crackdown against misleading ads and price schemes.
Online travel sites run in Denmark by Ryanair, Air Berlin, Air Baltic, SkyEurope, Aer Lingus, Brussels Airlines and Seat24 were singled out for violating European consumer law.

Consumers are being "led down by the airline industry," despite the EU investigation into online sales practices launched in September, EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said.

"There are serious and persistent problems with ticket sales throughout the airline industry as a whole. It is completely unacceptable," Kuneva said in a statement.

The seven operators, some already criticized for Web sites run in other European nations, were accused by Denmark's consumer ombudsman of misleading consumers on booking procedures, notably on prices and terms under which flight tickets can be used.

Henrik Oee said his investigation involved 13 foreign companies that run online travel services in Denmark, five of which have already moved to change their practices.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Event Planner - Meeting Planner, what else?

I am looking for a nice description of Event Planner, Meeting Planner, Conference Organizer and all other positions available in the world wide meetings industry.

What other positions are international recognized?

Who can help? Thanks.

If you would like to send me an email with job descriptions then please send it to welcome@micepoint.com.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Mind of the Meeting Planner

I would like to share with you one of the funniest CVB promotion videos I have ever seen.

Enjoy, meeting planners!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How sexy is the MICE industry?

Lately I have been attending a trade fair somewhere in the wide world. It struck me like a flash: "How sexy is the MICE industry?". Looking at large scale trade fairs (not MICE!) all over the world, you will find plenty of beautiful people dressed up according to their marketing campaign representing their products or services. I know, we are doing the same but looking at the photo it still looks slightly different at another fair. We are a sexy industry with amazing products and services but when are we starting to show it?

This is not a question of cheap marketing but rather a question of being proud about what we are doing and making the most out of it.

What do you think? Write me a comment...

MICE conference calendar

The first ever conference and event calendar dedicated solely to the worldwide MICE industry is now available online on www.miceconferences.com.

Plenty of conferences, seminars, workshops and trade shows dedicated to the meetings industry are featured on this calendar. By clicking on an event title you will find further helpful details about the event including contact details of the organizer. Events and conferences listed include also those of MPI and SITE. To visit the MICE calendar simply go to www.miceconferences.com.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Gulf's fastest MICE venue

Welcome to the world's premier motorsport facility - the most modern, user-friendly and exciting venue in the high-speed, high-tech, high-adrenaline industry on the planet!

What truly sets BIC apart in the Gulf is the amazing variety of facilities and services it has to offer.

In tandem with the numerous unique activities, BIC is able to offer there are a number of elegantly appointed and excellently equipped facilities, suitable for any event or occasion.

All of these facilities are contained within BIC, the Home of Motorsports in the Middle East and the venue of choice for those who have a true understanding and appreciation of real quality.

Exquisite cuisine, extraordinary service

From a full banquet to something as simple as a tray of canapés at a much more intimate celebration, we recognize the crucial role catering has to play in the success of any occasion.

All catering at the circuit is provided by Kafer, the well established and internationally acclaimed German company that lists the German Bunderstag and the FIFA World Cup as two of it's internationally recognized clients. In keeping with a venue that is truly international, highly skilled chefs are more than happy to create menus tailor-made to suit the needs of any size and type of function.

Kafer professionalism also extends beyond cuisine to the quality and etiquette of their serving staff. The end result is an experience that would not be out of place in the world's finest restaurants.

Conferencing & Exhibitions

While BIC is first and foremost the Home of Motorsports in the Middle East, racing isn't the only business to be conducted at BIC, it is also the ideal venue to stage conferences and exhibitions.

BIC boasts facilities ideal for conferences involving 10 or 10,000 delegates. Having been designed to play host to the massive media interest in Formula One, BIC's audio-visual and other electronic facilities are truly state-of-the-art. All our venues benefit from this superb technology and infrastructure.

All conferences and exhibitions are also fully serviced for catering with our catering partner, Kafer.

The circuit benefits from its own in-house Hotel & Transportation Department and the BIC team can manage every facet of your event; from booking flights and hotels to arranging transfers for delegates and visitors.

Product Launches

There isn't a product on the planet that couldn't use a little of the style and glamour associated with Formula One to grace its launch.

Easily accessible from anywhere in the Gulf and the Middle East, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the BIC makes this more than possible with a range of venues that enable any product, from a car to a cold drink, to be launched in spectacular style.

A key part of any launch is ensuring media interest and coverage. In this respect BIC facilities, able to handle the media coverage of a Grand Prix, are truly to none.

The end result is a launch where your guests and the visiting media have their every need taken care of. It is without a doubt the perfect way to ensure a perfect first impression of your product.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why Iceland is a MICE destination

Iceland with its exotic beauty and inspired, fun loving people has never been hotter. Increasing number of companies and corporations around the globe, particularly those keen to try something new, are choosing Iceland when it comes to holding meetings and conferences. And for good reason, as I have discovered during my trip last week.

Iceland’s meeting and conference facilities are top-class, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed with friendly professionals that are skilled in making every event a success. Reykjavik’s culture and nightlife has been the focus of much international media attention in recent years. The city is known for its vibrant cultural energy and has become a real ´Festival City´ during weekends.

If Iceland’s incredible nature is what you are seeking, you might be hard pressed to choose between the magical season of the midnight sun in summer, or the enchanting Northern Lights in winter. Yet what ever the season, few places can match Iceland when it comes to uniqueness and diversity of activities, hence the country’s popularity among planners of incentive tours. With an array of activities such as skiing, white-water rafting, horse riding, hiking, glacier tours and whale watching, not to mention exploring caves, playing golf in the midnight sun or touring the highlands in super jeeps … how could such a tour miss it´s mark? And with tour operators who have years of experience in Icelandic conditions, you can rest assured that every precaution is taken to ensure the safety – and enjoyment of the participants. Whatever your requirements or personal tastes, Iceland has something for everyone. Come on over for a one-of-a-kind experience. You won’t be disappointed!

For more information about MICE in Island please visit www.icelandconvention.com

Monday, May 05, 2008

On my way to Iceland

Christian Badenhop, Area Director Sales & Marketing of Worldhotels, has put together a small but fine group of MICE professionals and invites us to a fam trip to Iceland.

Highlights (amongst many) will be a visit of the Blue Lagoon (right after arriving by airplane, thanks Christian!), an Iceland Adventure tour (whatever it may be) and sea angling (not fishing...?).

The whole trip was also made possible thanks to Icelandair, Hotel Holt, Icelandic Tourist Board, Elding and may more.

I will keep you posted about this beautiful trip to the world's most developed country.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Comparing IMEX and EIBTM

MICEpoint has been an exhibitor at both, IMEX and EIBTM. They are (as far as I know) Europe's most important MICE trade shows. There are some other (smaller) very interesting trade shows (see the MICE conference calendar on miceconferences.com for more details) but I want to focus on the two largest ones.

Some facts:
EIBTM 2007:
7'218 visitors whereby 3'326 were Hosted Buyers and 3'892 were Trade visitors.
IMEX 2007:
8'310 visitors whereby 3'592 were Hosted Buyers and 4'718 were Trade visitors

Looking back now at EIBTM 2007 and IMEX 2008 (sorry, no figures available yet), I must admit that EIBTM had more qualified hosted buyers and trade visitors then IMEX. While during EIBTM, MICEpoint had 3 diaries fully booked and some times up to 5 people waiting for an appointment at our booth, at IMEX we had one (almost) fully booked diary and very few additional visitors passing by.

At IMEX 2008, about 30% of pre-scheduled appointments did not show up, while at EIBTM only 10% did not show up.

Quantity is one thing but Quality is more important to me. And also there I have to admit that EIBTM is two steps ahead of IMEX!

And if I am talking about trade shows and hosted buyers:
Dear IMEX and EIBTM, please stop bringing organizers who will arrange a conference in 2018 (or similar). I have listened several of these "organizers" who commented something likd "I will enjoy with my wife a nice trip to Barcelona/Frankfurt free of charge". These are not the organizers we want. Quality is more important then Quantity!

Still, MICEpoint will keep exhibiting at both trade shows for the coming year.

What is your opinion?

Thanks to IMEX for the photo!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What has a bathroom to do with your next conference venue?

We all travel a lot, and we all see a lot. And while we all travel the world, we encounter amazing locations with amazing facilities. One of those amazing facilities are public bathrooms, right? Oh yes, we all can write books about them. I have seen (but not used!) bathrooms I will never forget. And I have seen bathrooms (and have loved using them) I will also never forget. One of them is this one here on the picture, coming from the Sofitel Queenstown, New Zealand. For us men it is quite a challenge to do our "daily business" in such circumstances, but it has been a unique experience.

Designers Brett Taylor, Mark Perriam, and Cam Marsh installed life-size photographs of female voyeurs, who peep saucily from behind the cone-shaped urinals—with binoculars, glasses, cameras, even a tape measure in hand.

Well, why not choose your next conference venue with a special bathroom? It sure will contribute to great communication. And that's always good. Would you like to see more such ideas? Then write a comment, thanks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Visit us at the 4th international MICE Forum in Moscow

The next chance to meet me at an international MICE trade show will be in March.

The 4th international MICE Forum will be held on March 18 at the T-Modul Exhibition Hall in Moscow, Tishinskaya sq., 1, building 1. See the map.

The Russian Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions business is growing. It is reported to be worth more than $.150 million per year and increasing fast with more than 3 million Russians traveling internationally on business trips. This is becoming one of the most dynamic sources of business travel in the world.

At the Moscow International MICE Forum you will have the opportunity to meet with most of the leading Russian MICE specialists and corporate travel buyers in a professional workshop environment.

So come and say hello to MICEpoint!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Global Hotel Alliance welcomes two new members

Cooperations are growing and so is it no wonder that the Global Hotel Alliance is welcoming two new hotel chains as member.

The first one, Anantara Resorts , is currently located in Thailand in the seaside town of Hua Hin, on Koh Samui, in the Golden Triangle; and also in the Maldives and in Bali, with several new resorts already under development.

Second hotel group joing the Global Hotel Alliance is Cham Palaces & Hotels , a collection of eleven city and resort hotels in Syria and Jordan and soon Algeria. Royal Regency International Hotels is also part of the Cham Group with its properties in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Marsa Allam in Egypt and Minsk.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Egyptian rescue for Swiss village?

Andermatt, a sleepy village in the Uri canton of Switzerland perhaps best known for producing the champion Olympic skier Bernard Russi, commands a strategic post in the Alps. Three passes--Oberalp, Furka and the famous St. Gotthard--all meet in Andermatt's bucolic valley 4,737 feet above sea level, historically a mountainous choke point for travelers trying to cut through the Alps en route from Italy to Germany or vice versa.

But now this peaceful Swiss village is moving up two ranks to the same level as St.Moritz, Gstaad or Zermatt, thanks to Samih Sawiris, worth $1.5 billion. He runs Orascom Hotels & Development, one of the Egyptian family's companies, which built from scratch the 2,500-bed El Gouna resort on the Red Sea.

Doubling the town's hotel room inventory, he'd make it big enough to attract tour operators and then add an ice rink, a golf course and an indoor pool with its own beach. He'd quickly follow up with 600 apartments and 100 villas. Let's hope it will work out the way the entire village and valley thinks.

Welcome to Switzerland, Alpine Pharao!