The Jewel of the Pacific

hyatt regency la jollaFind yourself at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, blending the charm of a European village with the panache of Southern California.

Located in the city known as “The Jewel of the Pacific,” our hotel offers an exceptional location with ideal meeting space, cultural attractions, fine dining and a short drive from the beach.

Elevate your group gatherings to a new level when you choose our award winning event venues at Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.  Allow our experienced Sales and Event Planning Managers to tailor every detail of your meeting or convention, so that attendees feel inspired and motivated during and after their stay.

Give your attendees an indoor and outdoor feel throughout the week as they flow from the Aventine Ballroom through the Asteria Terrace into the open air Vicino Ballroom.  Whether you are planning a small meeting or a large convention in the La Jolla or San Diego area, our hotel provides an ideal location.

Please click here to experience our best of the season!

Pick Your Perks in Paradise

hilton aruba

Nestled on the largest expanse of Aruba’s Palm Beach, discover the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, a AAA-four-diamond resort. It’s the perfect place for your next event.

Meeting options range from 24,000-sq. ft. of outdoor space – a favorite for evening poolside receptions and events requiring lush garden settings – to 15,000-sq. ft. of indoor meeting facilities in traditional conference and boardroom set-ups. Several penthouse suites readily accommodate executive retreats, receptions and dinner functions.

Discover guest rooms and suites each with a private balcony or patio and free Wi-Fi, six restaurants, two zero-entry free form pools, an expansive beach, eforea spa, activity programs, the casino or golf at the nearby Tierra del Sol Championship Course. Explore the entertainment district with dining and shops.

The resort’s Pick Your Perks in Paradise program offers incentives for meeting planners – the more room nights booked, the more perks you get to pick, up to 8.  Also earn rewards with Hilton HHonors® Event Planner Bonus Program. To discover great rates, go to pickyourperksinaruba.com

Convenient air service to Aruba is via all major U.S. cities. For group reservations, email auahh-salesadmin@hilton.com, visitarubacaribbean.hilton.com or call 1-800-250-0134 or +011 297-586-6555 and request the Sales Department.

New “Wow” Learning Formats for Your Next Meeting

By Al Rickard, CAE

When is the last time you introduced new learning styles at your major meetings?

Megan Denhardt, CAE, Senior Learning Consultant at ASAE and President of The Denhardt Group, believes the meetings industry is undergoing a paradigm shift in how it defines, plans and executes learning programs.

She talked about this in a session at the ASAE Springtime Expo called “Alternative Learning Formats That Wake and Wow Meeting Attendees.”

“People learn in different ways,” Denhardt declared, “and no one has a better learning style than anyone else. Some experts say there are as many as seven different learning styles; but it’s easier to narrow it down to three types of learning.”

She cited the example of one of life’s earliest lessons to illustrate learning styles, called “The Stove Can Burn You.”

  • Listening learners heard their mother, believed the information, and never touched a stove.
  • Seeing learners watched their brother touch the stove, and never touched it.
  • Experience learners touched the stove, but only once!

These styles suggest the types of programs you may consider for your meetings, and Denhardt offered these examples of alternative learning formats:

Point-Counterpoint Session – A technique used to present two different sides of an issue. It takes the form of a structured argument, with two people presenting their viewpoint in opposition to the other, hoping to persuade the audience to adopt one of them.

Design Thinking – In this format, a problem is presented to the audience, which breaks into small groups and answers specific questions designed to solve or address the challenge or problem.

Informal Chat – Leverage the meeting venue for unique settings that support learning and stimulate conversation. Consider chats by the fire, in cabanas at the pool, during spin classes, in early-morning exercise sessions, or in late-night dessert and coffee get-togethers.

Discussion Den – To fill in short windows of time such as during a break, set up a 20-minute themed conversation with a facilitator on a specific topic. It can be done in a meeting lounge set up near a high traffic area to attract people or in a separate room.

Snap Learning Spot – This can be a 30-minute session with just 1-2 speakers and a small group of under 30 people. Speakers can guide discussions centered on a particular theme such as personal development, ideas that worked, lessons from failure, etc.

Ignite Session – The “Ignite” name is trademarked so any session using this moniker needs to match the established format, which includes a series of speakers presenting for five minutes using 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. Topics can run the gamut but are usually connected to the life experience of the presenter.

Speed Solo – Designed to deliver content in a high-energy format with audience engagement, this session features a moderator plus four speakers who each give an 8-minute talk followed by a 4-minute discussion at tables. The moderator ties the pieces together and facilitates audience questions.

Micro-Coaching – One-on-one or very small group targeted learning or troubleshooting sessions that are ideal for people who want private help in a comfortable and safe setting. For example, these sessions could be used to assess marketing materials, get social media coaching, personal technology coaching, or career coaching.

Conversation Café – An informal bar-table setting for intimate peer-to-peer open learning involving 2-3 people at each table. Set up an area with several tables and a topic card on each one to start conversations. Include a few blank signs so people can choose their own topics.

Content-Sharing Marketplace – Set up similar to a poster session often used in exhibit halls, this is like a “reverse expo” where members showcase their work, learnings, successes, and award-winning campaigns. They can be set up during a reception or other casual gathering.

Reflection Zone/Un-Engagement Lounge – Sometimes attendees become over-programmed and need time to process content they have absorbed from your meeting. This lounge features comfortable furniture, softer lighting, and perhaps background classical music to help people relax and have a mini-retreat in the midst of a busy conference.

“Not all of these work for every audience or attendee,” Denhardt explained. “That said, a good balance and mix is important to support different types of learners and to help people create a customized experience for themselves. By providing a mix of offerings you help serve your audience and meet them where they are.”

Al Rickard, CAE is President of Association Vision, a communications company based in the Washington, DC area, and Director of Communications for ConventionPlanit.com.

Personal Service & Superlative Style

wynn encore

At Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, we truly measure our success by yours. The team is driven by attention to detail and anticipating questions. The goal of creating an event experience unlike any other you will encounter in Las Vegas.

That’s why you will enjoy the services of a dedicated convention services manager, catering manager and meetings concierge, each of whom will work with you personally to ensure group needs are handled with the expertise and finesse one has come to expect from these award-winning resorts. Among the 260,000 square feet of space, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows—some featuring open-air terraces—with pristine views of the Wynn Golf Club’s rolling hills or one of the sparkling pools or cascading waterfalls.

These Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star resorts flow seamlessly into one another with 4,750 beautifully-appointed guest rooms and the finest in dining, shopping and entertainment. Inspiring describes these environments from signature chefs in their kitchens nightly to vibrant nightclubs that keep the party going.  When business or pleasure calls for a ballroom for thousands or an intimate gathering for 25; an extraordinary guest experience awaits. Call 866.770.7201 or visit www.WynnMeetings.com.

Omni Homestead Celebrates 250 Years Every Day

omni homestead 250 The iconic Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., will mark its 250th anniversary in 2016. The resort will commemorate the momentous milestone in 2016 with 366 days of anniversary celebrations, which include afternoon anniversary parties starting at 2:50 pm with a different flavored cake each day, a monthly speaker series, fireside chats, historic menu items in the Main Dining Room, special concerts, fireworks displays and much more.
“Each month will have a theme, beginning with a focus on our associates in January. Since Nov. 21, 1766, we have been here to welcome and serve our guests, and we felt it very fitting to honor all of our associates, past and present, as we begin this monumental year,” said David Jurcak, managing director of The Omni Homestead.
Affectionately known as the birthplace of southern hospitality and founded a decade before John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, The Omni Homestead Resort has been welcoming guests to experience the beautiful and historic hot springs since 1766. The historic resort has hosted countless notable individuals, including presidents, royalty, dignitaries and celebrities, as well as generations of vacationers since the 18th century. Those interested in learning more about the resort’s 250 years of history and next year’s festivities may visit OmniHomestead250.com.
“Generations of travelers have been making memories here for almost 250 years, and next year, we want to celebrate those special moments in time,” said Jurcak. “We have so many activities and events planned, we couldn’t fit them all into just one weekend, or even one month, so we’re going to celebrate every day, and we invite guests and associates to share their stories with us.”
Known as America’s First Resort, The Omni Homestead Resort offers more than 30 resort activities, including hikes to explore the property’s 2,000 acres of countryside; the Allegheny Springs, a two-acre water park; archery; falconry; horseback riding; an award-winning spa; golf on the famed Old Course and Cascades Course; tennis; and more.
For more information or to make reservations at The Omni Homestead Resort, please contact (800) 838-1766 or visitomnihotels.com/thehomestead.

Visit Anchorage Booth takes Gold…Again!

With the Summer Olympics going on in the background of ASAE this year, it is only appropriate to highlight our own “Booth Olympics” Winner – Visit Anchorage!

Visit Anchorage at ASAE Annual

Visit Anchorage at ASAE Annual

For the umpteenth year in a row, their unique design elements incorporating company identity, product presentation, exhibit personnel and overall presence on the floor earned them First Place for Inline Booths.

And they always have a herd or two of cute, fluffy moose as giveaways’J We are proud to have them as a CP.com Supplier Partner!!

Look for ASAE Annual to head north next year…see you all in Toronto!

ASAE’s Tradeshow Buzzes With Activity

The ASAE Exposition trade show floor buzzed with activity Sunday and Monday with both Association members and exhibitors interacting face to face to build business relationships (you all remember how that works??:))

Along with virtual reality, exhibitors focused on tasty treats and contests to draw wandering attendees into their booths. Along with s’mores, Omaha steak, Korean tea and ice cream, a Pokémon Go contest vied with the always popular Build-a-Bear station to attract planners.

Pictured are a few of the ConventionPlanit.com supplier members in attendance, Mohegan Sun Pocono and Visit Jacksonville.

Mohegan Sun's Booth

Mohegan Sun’s Exciting Booth 

Visit Jacksonville at ASAE

Visit Jacksonville at ASAE

Also we noticed Team San Jose, Memphis CVB, Experience Columbus, Hargrove Inc., Meet Puerto Rico, Little Rock CVB, Delta Air Lines and the Mexico Tourism Board busy educating planners on their destinations and services.

ASAE Annual Visits Salt Lake City

David Markham, Mara Buckner and Maureen Pickell enjoying ASAE Salt Lake City

David Markham, Mara Buckner and Maureen Pickell enjoying ASAE Salt Lake City

If it’s mid-August, it must be time for your intrepid blogger to report on the 2016 ASAE Annual Conference & Exposition. Salt Lake City was the fortunate city this year to host 4,800 attendees anxious to network and attend educational sessions positioned to help them:

  • Grow globally
  • Foster volunteerism
  • Be a collaborative leader
  • Design inclusive, safe and welcoming meetings
  • Establish a disaster plan
  • Educate tomorrows workforce
No these weren’t the window washers!

No these weren’t the window washers!

ASAE’s opening night receptions are always epic, but Salt Lake brought a new dimension to their event held against the dramatic backdrop of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges in downtown Library Square. Along with the local food and drink and a giant social wall projected onto the side of the city’s art, science, and technology museum, attendees were treated to aerial dancing on the public library’s glass exterior wall by Project Bandaloop.

That’s right, the WALL of the building served as the stage as we all looked to the sky to follow the intricate performance.

I don’t think that this was planned as the lead-in to the Opening General Session the next morning, but we found ourselves focused heavenward again as astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly enthralled the audience with a dual keynote “conversation” about the challenges connected with their combined 550-some days in outer space.

Using a combination of brotherly bantering and serious reflection, the Kelly’s presentation demonstrated how we should always welcome the opportunity to accomplish something that is hard. Thank you ASAE for kicking off the conference with men of action instead of just “talking heads.”!!

Premium Meeting Accommodations & First Class Service

hyatt regency vancouverIt has been many years since the U.S. dollar was so strong against the Canadian dollar.

The current exchange rate provides U.S. organizations a rare opportunity to experience first class accommodations in Canada at significantly discounted rates. Meeting planners and the traveling public are often not aware of this easy way to extend their purchasing power.

Hold your next event at Hyatt Regency Vancouver and experience premium meeting accommodations and first class service. By booking your event in Vancouver you’ll get rates you won’t believe. At current exchange rates you can benefit from discounts of 30%-35% or more on guest rooms, food & beverage, audio-visual, Internet, displays, décor, DMC, entertainment, printing and much more.

Hyatt Regency Vancouver is a premier convention and meeting destination you won’t soon forget. Our hotel is located in the heart of Vancouver with easy access to everything this unique city has to offer, shopping, dining and attractions.

Learn more about the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.

10 Must-Ask Questions When Choosing Local Suppliers for International Meetings

By Carol Krugman, MEd, CMP, CMM

Let’s start with a simple premise: No matter how expert you may be, no matter how many years you have been managing meetings, you should not attempt to plan and execute a meeting overseas without help from local supplier partners. If you think that you can do everything alone, as you may be doing here at home, then stay home. Get local support lined up and you will save time, money, and, quite possibly, your job.

Here are my top 10 questions to ask before you select a supplier, be it a destination management company, professional congress organizer, tour company, transportation company, or any other vendor you are considering:

1. How long has your company been in business?
Three years is usually enough time for a business to achieve some internal stability and a presence in the community. I would never risk a meeting on a startup unless I knew the owner personally and had successfully worked with him/her previously.

2. Can you provide names and contact information for three previous clients whose groups or meetings were similar to mine?
Once you get this information, follow up with an e-mail and a phone call. You want to know if this supplier will really understand the details and nuances of your particular group of attendees and if you can rely on the operations team to carry out the promises made by the salesperson.

3. Can you provide references from your bank and creditors?
Verify financial references. This is not difficult for a public company. For a privately held enterprise about which you know nothing, at the very least ask for a letter from the company’s bank. A statement from a reputable bank confirming that the company has a currently active business account is not a guarantee of future solvency. However, a good relationship with a commercial bank and an active account is one indicator that a business is functional. You could also ask for references from three creditors, to see whether the company’s accounts are up-to-date and if it pays its bills on time. Again, this doesn’t guarantee against bankruptcy in the future, but at least gives snapshot of the current financial health of the company and the responsibility of its management.

4. Is your company and/or its staff active in at least one recognized regional professional association and, preferably, an international professional association?
Membership is not a guarantee of competency or performance, but it does indicate that the management subscribes to an internationally recognized level of professionalism and code of practice. It also indicates a willingness to be accountable to colleagues in the industry and to invest time and money in continuing professional education and training. These are all good signs.

5. Are all necessary licenses current?
Business license requirements, if any, vary from country to country, but if they are required, your local partner should have them up-to-date and available.

6. Is any required insurance current?
Like business licenses, insurance requirements vary. Most developed countries require some kind of business insurance. Even in countries where requirements may be less stringent, most reputable suppliers who work with American clients will carry insurance, since this is such a major concern in the U.S.

7. May I visit your office and meet your staff?
If the answer to this question is not an immediate “yes,” this may be an indication that the supplier may not have the physical and/or human resources required to support your meeting. If there is an office, visit it. In what part of town is it located? What kind of IT and communications equipment are in use? Is the staff busy? Are they pleasant? What overall impression of the company do you get from watching the staff in action?

8. Is the English proficiency of your operations staff as good as that of the sales staff?
Insist on talking with members of the operations staff. If their English is not as proficient as that of the salesperson who so eloquently pitched the business to you, how will you and your staff communicate with them on site, especially in an emergency?

9. Can you work with within my budget?
I always make the meeting and budget parameters clear from the outset. This does not mean that you cannot and should not negotiate with suppliers overseas. It simply provides a foundation for a more efficient and successful negotiation. Accurate and realistic information with which a supplier can prepare a proposal is the first step toward developing a long-term relationship of trust and respect. In many areas of the world, the relationships you do or do not establish may determine the success or failure of your meeting. I have always been straightforward with my suppliers about what I can and cannot spend, and, as a result, I have often gotten more value for my budget. They appreciated an honest, professional dialog that did not waste their time and more often than not found creative ways to add extra value to their proposals.

10. What is my gut telling me?
Trust your instincts. Chemistry, comfort, and trust are crucial. As with all relationships, those we establish with support partners abroad will often depend on intangibles that cannot be measured, researched on the Internet, or provided by references. We like to work with people we like. Sometimes we “click” and develop long and fruitful relationships, sometimes we do not. I have been fortunate to meet and work with extraordinary people all over the world who remain valued colleagues and friends after decades of collaboration. Through them I have met other members of my global resource network and we continue to share assistance and advice as needed.

Carol Krugman, MEd, CMP, CMM, has managed programs in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, as well as in the United States and Canada over the past 30 years. As Director of Meeting and Business Event Management for the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management at Metropolitan State College of Denver, Carol is currently teaching undergraduate courses in meeting and event planning full time.

For more global meetings tips, visit ConventionPlanit.com.