Executive Group Travel Blog

The New Events "Norm"

After an 18 month sabbatical it’s amazing to be back in the events game. 

Our first events happened to be back to back events in Austin, Texas with companies headquartered in Sacramento, CA and Boston, MA. The employees were ready to travel and the companies were ready to implement safety precautions to help protect everyone attending.  These events were followed by two domestic and four international Club trips where all of the group events were focused on outdoor venues.  We are finding cancellations are happening less, clients are traveling more, and attritions are high within the group block.  

After eight successful corporate events over the last two months I wanted to share a few lessons learned.

 

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 delivering content, to live hands-on sales trainings and/or simulation tests. This shift in the way kickoffs are held comes with many added costs. A Webex/Zoom meeting is a low cost, non-branded 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 (to be honest, you lose the focus of most dial-in participants after 70 minutes).

While there are certainly benefits to these webinars or sales trainings,  the more popular solution today is getting employees together for a 3-4 day intensive kickoff event. An important part of these events is the positive effect on company culture. What better way to boost employee morale and get your team ready for the year ahead, than to put them together for 3 days in sales trainings during the day and social networking events at night. Most kickoffs only include 4-8 hours of content and the rest is focused on having a more hands-on experience.

So this all leads to meeting planners' most commonly asked question: where should we go next year? Unfortunately for most growing tech companies, this question comes a good 6-9 months before their 300-600 person event! The tech market is constantly changing with IPOs, funding, and acquisitions, so meeting planning timelines have continued to shrink while cash is watched more closely.

Has technology replaced printed agendas?


In 2020, you would assume the answer to this question is yes. And for the most part, that's right. Technology in the meetings and events industry has transformed over the last 5+ years with smartphone apps, websites, and on-site displays. However, despite providing attendees with all of this technology (from event websites to agenda apps, and even screens displaying throughout the property), there's still feedback that certain guests miss hard copy agendas. The days of printing agendas for every attendee are over, but if you find it necessary to provide hard copies for some, we recommend printing 20% of the attendee number. If you run out you can always print more on site.

The main benefit of having your agenda online is the ability to make live updates. Our world is more unpredictable than ever, so this is an increasingly important aspect in event planning. When COVID-19 started to impact everything earlier this year, we were able to update itineraries and communicate with clients as soon as changes happened. This is crucial, especially when planning for a large group traveling from all over the world. Even when things are going smoothly though, apps and event websites are the most streamlined way to communicate effectively with large groups of attendees.

10 of the best hotels for incentive travel in Caribbean & México in 2020

Here are our top hotels for incentive travel in 2020.

Malliouhana Anguilla (63 rooms; opened 1984, renovated 2019 and became an Auberge property). This property recently reopened after a large renovation and Auberge taking over management of the hotel. From the moment you enter the lobby, there's definitely a wow factor from the view down to the decor, and it doesn't stop there. The beach, service, food, spa, and pools are all extremely impressive. This is the perfect opportunity for an incentive program buyout for groups with 50-60 rooms. The addition of the beachfront casual dining restaurant, Leon’s, is perfect for a casual lunchtime option or entertainment each evening.

The Value of Good Hotel Partners

When looking for the perfect hotel for your next event, it’s essential to have strong partnerships with individual hotels, third party sales teams, and regional corporate reps.

Los Cabos Five Star Boutique Hotel Reviews

Cabo has been a recent hot spot for travel from the US, especially the West Coast.  There has been a recent boom in luxury hotel development in the past 3 years that isn't stopping anytime soon.  Competition will be fierce for hotels to compete in filling their beds.  There are 6 brand new properties that just opened their doors or opening their doors in the next 6 months;  Ritz Carlton Reserve, Nobu Los Cabos, Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, Vidanta East Cape, Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos and Villa Valencia.

Small Touches to Improve the Attendee Experience

One core focus in the incentive travel industry each and every year is improving the attendee experience. At the end of the day, the attendee experience is the true measurement of the success of an event. In fact, the attendee experience does not start when the attendees arrive, but up to a year before the trip (in terms of event communication).

Ft. Lauderdale Hotels For Your Next Corporate Event

Fort Lauderdale has seen a recent increase in MICE business due to the recent improvements to their hotel product.  Recent renovations along with new properties provides companies with plenty of options when looking for a warm weather location with affordable and frequent airlift.

Goodbye Vegas, Hello Dallas!

Every time a tech company brings up Las Vegas for their annual sales kickoff event I cringe.  As a millennial myself, I understand the excitement of the bright lights and hoopla of Las Vegas.   It's great for bachelor/bachelorette parties, 21st birthday tilts, 40th birthday celebrations, March Madness reunions, poker events, and even an annual family vacation. It truly is one of the most remarkable .8 miles in the world in terms of man-made “wow factor.”

Big Island Venues for your next MICE Trip

Officially known as Hawaii, the Big Island is the largest of the Hawaii islands with over 4,000 mi².   Due to the size of the island there are two main airports that travelers use, Kona and Hilo.   The airlift into the Big Island is strong from the West Coast and even International with daily direct flights from San Francisco, LAX, Portland, Seattle, and Tokyo.  Many large companies such as Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle host annual events on the Big Island each year therefore the hotel product is continually improving to keep up with MICE travel industry demand.