Executive Group Travel Blog

Where to host your next MICE trip: Kauai

Kauai is Hawaii's fourth largest island and is sometimes referred to as the "Garden Island," which is an accurate description.  This island is known for outdoor adventures, laid back atmosphere, and Hollywood films.  There are amazing companies that provide unique experiences to Kauai.  A few outdoor adventure partners are Kipu Ranch Adventures offers 4x4 off-road adventures, Maverick Helicopter Tours, and Kauai Backcountry Adventures Mountain Tubing Tours.  Airlift is continuing to improve into the small airport, Lihue Airport, on Kauai but is still the most challenging of the four islands to fly into.

Where to Host Your Next MICE Trip: Maui

With the increase in number of flights and the price drop on airline tickets, Hawaii continues to be a busy destination for incentive travel.  For those with travelers' attending from Europe, the flight distance is still a challenge but for those with offices in Australia it could be a great middle meeting grounds.  We will explore the hotel products on the islands of Maui, Big Island, and Kauai over the next month of blogs.

Sales Kickoff & the Value of All-Inclusive Properties


Annual Sales Kickoff:

Many tech companies host an annual sales kickoff every January or February to help recap the previous year, set goals for the upcoming year, and announce new product launches.  These kickoffs have evolved from traditional Webex meetings with content delivered to live, hands on sales trainings and/or simulation tests. With the shift in these kickoffs comes many added costs.  Webex/Zoom is the low cost non personalized solution that allows companies to share their updates and changes in a concise meeting format up to 3 hours. Anything over the battery life of a computer and you start losing attendees on the other side of the screen.  And to be honest after 70 minutes you lose the focus of a majority of dial-in participants. The more popular solution today is getting employees together for a 3-4 day intensive kickoff event. An important part of these events and the shift towards in person events is the positive effect on company culture.  What better way to boost employee morale and get your employees to "drink the Kool aid" than put them together for 3 days in a sales training environment during the day and at night social networking events. Most kickoffs only include 4-8 hours of content and the rest has moved to a more hands-on experience. So this all leads to the most common asked question of meeting planners.  Where should we go next year?

And unfortunately for most growing tech companies this comes 6-9 months before their 300-600 person event!  The tech market is constantly changing with IPO's, funding, and acquisitions so meeting planning time-frames have continued to shrink while cash is watched more closely.

Grand Cayman Hotel Reviews - Incentive Travel

Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands and the best fit for MICE travel.  Unfortunately due to limited meeting space the Caymans are a better fit for Incentive Travel over meetings or conferences unless those are under 250 guests.  Grand Cayman has seen a recent surge of business in the last two years given the lack of Zika concerns and also having been missed by Hurricane Irma.  The recent renovation of the Westin, current Margaritaville project and Kimpton new build has increased the number of resort hotel rooms available to help keep up with demand.  One key factor in choosing the island of Grand Cayman is safety.  It is said to be one of the safest islands in the Caribbean in terms of violence, theft, and also food/water quality.

How to Negotiate Force Majeure in your Next Contract


Force Majeure Clause:

Force Majeure Clauses have continued to evolve over the past decade and is currently one of the most negotiated clauses in hotel contracts.  The reason for this is the recent surge in natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes, along with an increased amount of terrorist attacks.  Also there has been a recent surge in travel warnings for risks such as Zika Virus and civil unrest in the past 18 months.

Let’s start with a definition of Force Majeure before we jump into further detail.

Jonathan T. Howe, Esq is an expert on this subject and has published a great industry resource on the Meetings & Conventions site:

http://www.meetings-conventions.com/Resources/Planner-Basics/The-Law-and-The-Planner/What-Does-Force-Majeur-Really-Mean-/

In this piece he defines Force Majeure as:

“The legal concept of force majeure (French for “greater force”) means impossible to perform.  Thus, if a force majeure circumstance makes it impossible for the parties to fulfill their contracted duties, they are relieved of any liability for failing to perform because of the intervention of the superior force.  But the inability to fulfill contract terms is excused only for the duration of the force majeure circumstance.”

Park City & Deer Valley, Utah Hotel Reviews - MICE Travel

Due to the improved airlift into Salt Lake City from the East Coast, Park City, Utah has become a top choice for both winter ski vacations and spring/summer outdoor adventures.  Park City, Utah is just a quick 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport and has both Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort, as well as the Utah Olympic Park.  Guests can enjoy a bucket list experience of a Bobsled ride or explore Park City from above through hot air balloon rides.  Historic Main Street has been revived with restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries.  It's one of the top upcoming destinations in the US for year round adventure options!

Hotel Reviews for MICE Travel in Jamaica

 Overall Jamaica is a somewhat disappointing location in terms of hotel products for MICE travel.  The hotel product is a step down from Cancun and Punta Cana and unfortunately the service is a further step down.  The beaches lack the beauty of Punta Cana and the hotels lack the elegance of the 5 star Cancun/Riviera Maya properties. The one benefit is the water/food is a step up from the two other locations.  Guests are less likely to get sick but still encouraged to only drink bottled water. The airlift is also a little quicker from most East coast cities.

How to set flight budgets for your next incentive trip


There are a few different approaches when trying to set your flight budget for next years trip or even a trip 24 months away.  There will always be some risk when it comes to flight cost but there are options to help mitigate the risk.  Flight costs are constantly changing and in the last few years they have trended downwards due to competition but airlines are now fighting back by introducing basic economy fares at essentially no lower fares.  This will increase ancillary revenue to the airlines in the short term.  Plus some experts in the industry are predicting airline prices are expected to rise in the near future.  Here is a great article from Meetings & Conventions on the 2018-2019 forecast: Meetings Industry Forecast 2018.

How to Successfully Conquer your First IMEX America

The Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings, and Events (IMEX) is the largest trade show and hosted buyer program in the country.  IMEX America just concluded its 7th year in Las Vegas this October and it was how I began my career in Incentive Travel.  With over 3,200 exhibitors, 130 countries represented, and 180 education sessions available IMEX was the perfect platform for me to dive into this new world.

Has technology replaced printed agendas?

In 2017, you would assume the answer to this question is yes.  And for the most part that is right.  Technology in the meetings and events industry has transformed over the last 3-5 years with smartphone apps, websites and on site displays.  However, despite providing attendees all of this technology, from event websites, to on site agenda apps and even agenda screens displaying through the property, there is still feedback that certain guests miss the hard copy agendas.  With that said the days of printing one agenda on hard stock for every attendee is over, we recommend printing 20% of the attendee number and if you run out you can always print on site.