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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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!
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.
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.
Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas has been recovering from the 2014 Hurricane for the last few seasons and hotels are finally reopened and travelers are returning! It is currently one of our top 10 Hotel Destinations for Incentive Travel in 2018 and the all-inclusive properties can be a great fit for most MICE travel. As we mentioned in our April blog growth is the story for Cabo currently so it will be very interesting to see what it will look like in 2020 once the hotel surge is completed. The Hard Rock Los Cabos will compete in the incentive space with approx 600 rooms and 26,000 square feet of meeting space expected. And don't forget for those looking for 5 star non-all inclusive options, the Ritz Reserve, the Four Seasons, Nobu, and Montage are all opening in Cabo sooner rather than later!