Friday, December 16, 2011

Enter the future with the 3120 room

Novotel and Microsoft invent the room of the future. 

Experience something completely new at Novotel Paris Vaugirard. Technological innovations and new experiences are all packed into this unique room that won't last, where you can relax and rest, and be surprised too.

Click here to experience the future through photos and videos, and the chance to take part in the contest to win a weekend stay in room 3120 and lots of other exciting prizes!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

UNWTO Volunteers promote tourism’s contribution to development

On International Volunteer Day (5 December), celebrated in 2011 under the theme ‘Volunteering Matters’, UNWTO is highlighting how tourism and volunteer work can make a difference through its UNWTO Volunteers.

UNWTO Volunteers work on tourism projects around the world, contributing to development through tourism. On International Volunteer Day, UNWTO Volunteers have been sharing their experiences and showing how their support to tourism projects in the world’s developing regions is helping to change lives (watch the video at ).

Whether in Bhutan, Brazil, Guatemala or Niger, the UNWTO Volunteers all agree that tourism is having a positive impact on the local communities they work with, economically, socially and culturally. Tourism can be one of the most effective drivers of grassroots development and employment for developing countries, and volunteers are helping to make this potential a reality.  

UNWTO’s Volunteers programme, run by the UNWTO.Themis Foundation, counts on over 200 individuals who have received training in tourism as a tool for development. Many of these professionals, including the four in the video, go on to volunteer around the world, applying their training to benefit local communities.

See full article: UNWTO

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Small encyplodia of travel errors

This is a recommendation for all German speaking readers (sorry for all others).

I stumbled upon this little booklet called «Kleines Lexikon der Reise-Irrtümer» while reading a newspaper.

The german travel author Nele-Marie Brüdgam has written this lovely booklet and gave an interview to the Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger lately.

Frau Brüdgam, wann wurde Ihr letzter Irrtum auf einer Reise entlarvt?
Kürzlich, im September, auf meiner letzten längeren Reise: zehn Tage Malta und Gozo.
Und, welchem Irrtum sind Sie damals aufgesessen?
Es waren mindestens drei Irrtümer: Erstens: Es ist sinnvoll, auf Malta einen Englischkurs zu belegen. Englisch ist zwar die zweite Amtssprache auf Malta, aber das maltesische Englisch klingt sehr eigenartig. Zweitens: Tauchen könnte ein nettes Hobby sein. Drittens: Malta hat angenehm warmes Wetter im Herbst.
Welches ist immer noch der am weitesten verbreitete Irrtum unter Touristen?
Meinem Empfinden nach gehören zum Beispiel die folgenden Irrtümer zu den am weitesten verbreiteten: Venedig ist völlig überteuert und viel zu touristisch. Die Franzosen sprechen keine Fremdsprachen. Fliegen ist gefährlich.
Warum halten sich die so hartnäckig?
Vielleicht, weil der Mensch gern das bestätigt sieht, was er erwartet. Und weil er die Gefahr liebt.
Den Fehleinschätzungen wollen Sie nun mit Ihrem «Kleinen Lexikon der Reise-Irrtümer» beikommen. Schaffen Sie das?
Das Buch liefert den Lesern sehr viele Infos und Fakten. Was aber noch wichtiger ist: dass jeder Leser seine eigenen Vorurteile hinterfragt, mit offenen Augen und wachem Geist auf Reisen geht. Und so seine eigenen Irrtümer entlarvt.

To see the full interview please visit the Tagesanzeiger

This interview was made by Daniel Arnet.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New rules for airlines kick in this week to protect fliers in the US

According to USA Today Travel, new federal rules designed to prevent long tarmac delays for international passengers, provide greater compensation if fliers are bumped off flights and make airlines better disclose extra fees take effect on Tuesday.

The consumer protection rules, from the Transportation Department, will:

•Let the department impose fines on U.S. and foreign airlines of up to $27,500 per passenger if they leave an international flight on a tarmac for more than four hours without taking off.

•Raise compensation if passengers are bumped from an oversold flight. They'd get double the price of their tickets up to $650 if their arrival at their destination is delayed just a few hours. Currently, compensation is equal to the ticket value, up to $400. Longer delays would trigger payments of four times the value of their tickets, up to $1,300. Currently, that compensation is capped at $800.

•Require airlines to prominently disclose all ancillary fees on their websites, including fees for checking bags, providing meals and canceling reservations.

The Transportation Department had proposed more rules. But the airlines complained they'd need more time to adapt to them. The department agreed to delay the following provisions until Jan. 24. The provisions require airlines to:

•Promptly notify passengers at the boarding gate, on airline websites and via their phone reservation systems of flight cancellations and delays of more than 30 minutes.

•Allow customers to cancel reservations without payment for at least 24 hours if they're made at least a week before departure.

•Include all government taxes and fees in advertised fares. Airlines typically exclude them.

•Not raise a fare after a ticket has been bought unless it's a result of government taxes and fees and the flier agrees to any increase.

To see the full report please visit USA Today Travel

Sunday, June 26, 2011

AIBTM 2011 feedback

Dear Meetings industry professional

I've attended AIBTM 2011 in Baltimore and here comes my feedback.
Overall it was an interesting tradeshow with ups and downs (as usual). As the 2011 edition was the first of its kind I would like to congratulate the organizer for a well organized trade show. Of course the format and style was similar as EIBTM and other trade shows organized by the same group but with a very interesting co-seminar organized by PCMA it was nevertheless more interesting.

As a hosted buyer at AIBTM we were not allowed to attend PCMA seminars but as control was not existent I went into some seminars the first day and I liked it.

AIBTM 2011 offered a large variety of North- and South American suppliers and even some "rest of the world" suppliers. I had some very interesting and some less interesting meetings. And some meetings I had absolutely no interest in as I will not have any business for them...

I had to ask again and again to translate sft into sqm as I am not familiar with the US sizes. When will US companies start to realize the world doesn't stop at their boarder?

But for me the main question was: why Baltimore? This city doesn't offer much (nice said) for MICE organizers and the venue as well as hotels are discutable. In one hotel (which belongs to a well known chain) there was no electricity and no water in the guest rooms and in another one from another well known chain did the elevators not work and the guests had to carry their suitcase etc up to their room (which might have been on the 18th floor).

There was no drinking water available on the welcome reception so I had to take a glass and go to the toilette to get some...

Another wish from my side would be to allow us organizer to select the travel dates as many of us would have liked to extend our stay and do some more buisness in the US while being there already.

To summarize, AIBTM should go to another city, get some of the small issues corrected and go on with what could be the best US trade show organized by an European company

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

An open letter to conference organizers by Scott Berkun

This post comes from Scott Berkun

Dear Conference Organizer:

For centuries you and your peers have helped spread good ideas. For that, I like you. Events are important and organizing them is a thankless job. I’ve run my share of events, so I know. But there is a unspoken, often forgotten, problem I’m compelled to bring to your attention: most speakers do a bad job.

Some of this is not your fault. Good speakers are hard to find, especially ones who are available, affordable, and reputable. It’s challenging to fill an afternoon with great speakers, much less a 5 day, 3 track program. But it’s commonly forgotten in your trade that speakers are the center of your event. They are the core of the agenda. They are what you advertise and what they promise to teach is why people pay to come. Yet once signed up to speak, they are often an afterthought, neglected and ignored.

There are simple and inexpensive ways to solve this problem.

1. Provide audience demographics. Make it easy for speakers to make the right assumptions about your audience. Give a sheet listing: age breakdown, job titles, gender breakdown, reasons for attending, and more. Most events have this information for marketing purposes, but rarely provide it to the speakers. This is dumb. The speakers make the product people are paying for (e.g. talks and workshops) and should be well informed about who the customers are. If nothing else providing this data reminds speakers it’s the audience that matters, not their egos.

2. Provide speaker training. There are many great books on public speaking and books are cheap. Send them to your speakers, and do it far enough in advance for it to impact their preparation. It signifies you care about their skills and want them to do their best. If even 20% of them read the book, and each avoid one basic mistake, it will pay off dramatically in higher quality sessions. Presentation Zen, which focuses on slide design, and my own book, Confessions of a Public Speaker, which covers everything else, make excellent companions. Major events and corporations hire speaker coaches, as speaking is a performance skill, but this can be expensive for large events. Books are an affordable place to start. Put this in a packet with #1, and send it out when you sign a speaker.

3. Send example videos from previous years. Talking about presenting and watching a good presenter present are different things. Give people a sense of what you, as an organizer, hope they achieve. It will also familiarize them with what attendees saw, and how they responded, in previous years.

4. Schedule a walkthrough / tech-check for each speaker. We know how fear works – unfamiliar rooms and spaces increase people’s nervousness. If you schedule a 15 minute slot early in the day, or the day before, for speakers to go to the room, try out their gear, and get comfortable, everyone wins. It’s also insurance against any compatibility issues (projectors vs. laptops), as there is nothing worse than discovering these problems in front of a live crowd. If you are not allowing speakers to use their own laptops (which is preferable), a walkthrough is extra important.

5. Have a volunteer in the room during the session. Every room should have a volunteer who can assist the speaker for any last minute needs or problems. This includes assisting with tech problems, getting water, helping with Q&A at the end and more. For a free ticket, many people will be happy to play this role, so everyone wins.

6. Provide confidence monitors in ever room. One distracting habit among many speakers is they look at their own slides, annoying the audience every time. Some of this is lack of practice, but part of the problem is room design. If you put a monitor in the front of the room, facing the speaker, so they can see their own slides while looking at the audience, everyone wins. It’s cheap to set up, has clear benefits and requires no extra work on the part of the speaker. Events like Ignite Seattle consistently do this, which helps explain why so many good talks have happened there.

7. Do not inflict a slide template on speakers. Attendees will remember where they are without an a reminder on every single slide in every single talk. Give a basic template to speakers as an option if you must, or as a head start for first time speakers, but that’s the limit of the value of slide templates. For whatever reason they tend to be ugly, confining, and just plain silly. A related suggestion: let speakers use their own laptops. Moving slide decks between computers often breaks fonts and other formatting, problems organizers rarely notice, but can be devastating to even a well prepared speaker.

8. Have a speaker’s dinner or happy hour. Have an evening early in the event where speakers can meet each other, and the organizers, and make some social connections. You want the speakers to be happy and friendly at the event, as it’s the interactions they have with your customers between sessions that are likely to be the most memorable for them. The more social you are with speakers, the more social they will be with your attendees. And some speakers are dying to meet some of the other speakers and that can only happen through you.

9. Rate your speakers and share the data. Speakers rarely get any useful feedback on how well they did. Everyone is polite and tells them they were great, even when they bombed. Most events do surveys after each session, but the data oddly never makes it to the speakers. This is broken. A simple stack ranking tells every speaker how they compared against their peers (e.g. “You were the 5th best speaker out of 10, based on audience surveys”) is a potent motivator for them to examine their skills, and to pay attention to what the better speakers did differently. Have a best session award, so everyone sees the feedback loop in action. UIE events even pays speakers a bonus that gets larger the better they scored. Shouldn’t pay be tied to performance for speakers too?

Please consider these simple things. You, your audience and your speakers all benefit at the same time. Perhaps you know better ways that the ones in this list – that’s fantastic and I’d love to hear about them, and I’d be happy to help promote their use to other organizers.


- Scott Berkun, A speaker

See here the complete list: Scott Berkun's Blog

Sunday, January 09, 2011

12 Great Sites to Improve Your Travel

The web has had a definite effect on the travel industry, enabling people to be their own travel agents. With the improvements in mapping technologies and the ability to share knowledge, it has never been easier to find the information you need regarding the places you want to see.

Here comes a great list from appstorm, and if you are looking up this website then you might find some other valuable tips and tricks there.

Enjoy and profit.