See the Impossible: Stamm Media

Platinum Sponsor Stamm Media

 

Platinum Sponsor Feature – Stamm Media

 

Event technology is constantly evolving from digital signage and gamification to unified event system integration and much more. Working with the right technology partner can make or break your event. When looking to partner with an event technology company looking for a company that not only offers high tech / high touch but one whose main focus is on thorough customer service and exceeding expectations.

Stamm Media is one of those partners. We talked with the President & CEO, Dave Stamm to find out what See the Impossible means to the Stamm organization. Please read below to learn how Stamm Media Sees the Impossible:

This year’s M&IW Summit Theme is See the Impossible. Our message is about going beyond what is possible to uncover solutions to challenges and explore new opportunities. How does Stamm Media See the Impossible and raise the bar for your clients?

For an event production and audiovisual rental company, ‘seeing the impossible’ and executing it can be a daily task. Meetings of any scale need to be meaningful and memorable – and with that could present seemingly ‘impossible’ goals. We believe seamless service elevates the ordinary into extraordinary and makes those goals possible. At Stamm Media, we understand how important it is for your event to go smoothly and within budget. We help navigate those budgets by providing expertise in total AV production, custom interactive development, and IT services. That is why, along with our first-class level of production and state-of-the-art event technology rental inventory, our main focus is on thorough customer service and exceeding expectations.

What are some of the trends you are seeing related to your business?

Gone are the days of corporate theater for meetings and events. In its stead, Stamm Media places our emphasis on dynamic digital engagement. This provides meetings with flexibility and adaptability for the changing demographics of attendees that the theatrical design couldn’t accommodate. Digital signage solutions have been one of the biggest trends in that direction. This platform provides the client with an abundance of options for consistent branding including meeting agendas, breakout room schedules, and wayfinding to name a few. Digital signage also allows for real-time social media interaction. For example, attendees can post pictures or comments using a designated hashtag and see their participation populated on screen – or multiple screens across the venue. Another trend that will be utilized in future meetings and events is unified system integration. That is to say one overall system for your event tying together badge registration, mobile app, gamification data, etc.

Do you have any new products or services that are creating waves?

New technology can arrive with a high price point, so we’re constantly innovating ways to be cost effective while maximizing impact. One of the model ways we’ve accomplished this is with branded interactive rentals. Stamm Media has developed a dozen plus interactive experiences including; Plinko, Puzzle Master, Match 3, Golf Simulator, Trivia, and many more. Each one allows for a fully brandable game and integrated lead capture. This provides the client with a WOW factor and branded engagement piece without the cost of a built-from-scratch application. Additionally, we would say the move to LED from projection display is creating some waves. While projection has been the standard display for most meetings in the past, more and more general sessions are using LED walls to create unique stage presentations. Further along those lines, a new hardware solution is MicroLED. We now have an HD LED solution to replace the current 3 x 3 seamless monitor walls with one unified LED wall at the same resolution. As the industry continues to change, new technologies will be implemented to further leverage branding. Live streaming and secure WiFi deployment have made it possible to have remote individuals attend and participate. We have also seen emerging technologies like AR/VR experiences and holograms foster unique and purposeful engagements.

What does Seeing the Impossible mean to you personally? In your role, how are you continuing to bring new, fresh and innovative ideas to forward?

Stamm Media helps our partners bring the impossible to life through premier event production, exceptional service, and innovative event technology solutions. We operate at the forefront of our industry in a number of ways. Our team is continually educating themselves and following thought leaders to see what is on the bleeding edge. Technology is ever evolving, and we strive to quickly identify new technology that excels within the meetings and events space. Our charge is to be extremely responsive and receptive to our clients and use the right technology to exceed expectations. Finally, and most importantly, we ensure flawless execution and production with everyone on our team living out our motto of “Whatever it Takes”.

To learn more about innovative, engaging event technology solutions we invite you to talk with the knowledgeable Stamm Team at the M&IW Summit Supplier Showcase or you can visit their website at Stamm Media Website.

Posted in: Company News, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Upcoming Events

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Luxury Incentive Travel Comes to Wine Country

Written by Mary Enke | Creative Lead and Sr. Buyer, Incentive Travel Services

Like a fine wine, building luxurious 5-star hotels in Napa Valley takes considerable time. Napa Valley has long been regarded as the epitome of beauty. A countryside scene full of sweeping vineyards, award-winning wines, and fabulous food pairings, which make it the perfect weekend getaway or a well-deserved vacation. As one of the most desirable destinations in the world, Napa Valley has spent considerable time revitalizing their tourism offerings to extend into large group travel for global businesses.

Full of a wide range of bed and breakfast accommodations and boutique hotels, Napa Valley is slowly starting to build up the 5-star hotel reputation to host large incentive programs. Because of its Mediterranean climate and the permits needed to maintain the environmental integrity of the Valley, it is very difficult to build large properties. Projects have taken years and years, and hotel owners must be dedicated to both quality and sustainability.

The Four Seasons; for example, has been in the works for a long time. And, as you may know—wherever a Four Seasons builds—luxury travel follows. With that said, Napa Valley is on our radar to become an outstanding, long-awaited opportunity for high-end incentives.

Below are four of the most renowned properties coming to wine country:

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley

The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley are on target to open in early 2020. Located in Calistoga, right in the heart of California’s famed wine region. With its on-site vineyard, vine-to-table restaurant, wellness spa and 85 farmhouse-style accommodations, there is no doubt that this esteemed property will be in the top the list for any high-end incentive programs considering a wine country getaway.

Montage Healdsburg

Adding to the competition will be the Montage Healdsburg, located in the heart of Sonoma wine country and just minutes from the charming downtown Healdsburg. Offering 130 bungalow style guestrooms and private residences, the resort is set to open summer of 2020, hard hat tours will begin this summer 2019, and a showroom will be available this fall.

Las Alcobas in St. Helena

Another property worth mentioning is Las Alcobas in St. Helena, a Luxury Collection hotel. It opened in 2017 and is a 5-minute walk from downtown St. Helena and right next door to Beringer Estate, one of the oldest wineries in the area. The 5-star resort has 68 rooms and suites and is modern and minimal with a touch of chic farmhouse. All rooms are vineyard or estate views and feature a patio or balcony with an electric firepit and rockers. A beautiful spa and highly seasonal menu influenced by the local harvest are notable features. Recent reviews have compared it to the Auberge properties but offer a more urban setting and boutique aesthetic.

Archer Hotel Napa

Another new build which opened in 2017 is Archer Hotel Napa. It’s called a boutique, however, has 183 rooms and suites. Located in downtown Napa, two doors down from the Andaz, the Archer offers a very cool rooftop bar and a Charlie Palmer Steak. This solid 4-star is in a great location and could cater to some incentives looking for a downtown experience but could also be considered for meetings.

A Relaxing Adventure

While luxury may be up-and-coming in wine country to entice large group travelers, one element of Napa Valley remains the same—relaxing, awe-inspiring activities and entertainment. Historical wine tours and food pairing activities are a near requirement as a day trip in the area, while bike and hot air balloon tours showcase its scenic views. Interested in learning more about wine country for your next group, just email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com and we’d be happy to put you in touch with one of our incentive travel experts.

Posted in: Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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Employee Spotlight: Global Operations

Incentive Trip Team Photo Hawaii Top Performers
Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Lead

At M&IW, we know our culture starts and ends with our extremely talented and dedicated team members who bring their experience, passion, and creativity to each and every client event. One of these amazing employees is Kristi Stephan, Senior Program Manager on our Global Operations team. In her role, she specializes in high-end incentive programs.

We sat down with Kristi to learn more about her career in the industry and current position with M&IW. During our chat, we discovered what she loves most about her position at M&IW is the ability to create unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our clients, winners and their guests. Especially the amazing memories for the individuals who have earned an invaluable trip as a part of a reward for their hard work and accomplishments. Kristi took a bit of time out of her busy travel schedule to give us additional insight into what she values, her journey and what makes her tick.

Q: What do you value most about M&IW and why?
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What I value the most is our work family. Jean and Tina, as well as our leaders and peers, support all of us in our everyday work. More importantly, they value us as workers as well as people. I feel very blessed to be part of this amazing company.

Q: What’s the most interesting destination you’ve had a program at and why?

My favorite program destination is Dublin, Ireland. I feel the city of Dublin gives one the ability to experience the beauty of the countryside, the history of the city, and it offers incredibly unique evening event spaces. It’s the perfect trifecta of destinations.

Q: What is a weird experience you’ve had while working onsite?

Being chased by a monkey in Nevis while on my morning run. That was hands down the weirdest thing that I have ever experienced!

Q: Before working at M&IW, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

While in college, I attended Disney World’s College Program in Orlando, Florida. I was selected for this prestigious internship where I learned about Disney management as well as worked a full-time job at their Hollywood Studios Prime Time Café. It was an amazing learning experience.

Q: What is a quirky fact about you that not many know?

When entering college, I wanted to be a microbiology major and become a doctor.

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice at 13, what would it be?

Life is short, enjoy the moment, and the people around you.

We want to thank Kristi for not only taking the time to share her passion and a little bit about herself; but also for being an M&IW Hospitality Hero. Information about joining our team can be found at www.meetings-incentives.com.

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Affordable Event Technology in an Experiential World

Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Lead

How do you create an engaging event without breaking the bank? Do you have to sacrifice quality because you’re operating on a shoestring budget? Are you feeling restricted by the limited means you have to promote your event?

When it comes to events, attendees’ expectations have increased leaps and bounds over the past few years. Participants are looking for memorable experiences. They want to be part of the event, not simply a bystander. This is where experiential marketing comes into play. Experiential marketing combines various tools that allow the audience to engage and interact throughout the entire event – pre, during and post.

Here are five engaging event technologies that won’t blow the budget but can create a whole lot of engagement:

1) Hashtags / Social Media

Although social media has been around since the late 1970s with the invention of the Bulletin Board System, it never really took off until almost 30 years later. Over the past 10 plus years, social media has transformed the way the world communicates, interacts and shares content. Hashtag campaigns have added a new dimension, that appeals to the emotional side, which in turn creates engagement and memorable experiences. Great examples of this are the #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola and Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor campaigns.

Hashtags can boost impressions and improve the searchability of your event. Create an event hashtag and use it every chance you can, think of it as Frank’s hot sauce for the social world, put it on everything including printed materials. Hashtags are individually searchable and on some social sites can be followed. They increase social media engagement and attract new followers.

Social media is a great place to promote your event, generate excitement, interact with attendees & followers, and drive traffic to the event website. Encourage sharing, likes and comments. If the budget allows, use the event social media platforms for gamification, offer rewards or bonus points for each interaction that will apply to a final tally and the possibility of winning a reward at the end of the event.

2) Event Mobile App

A mobile app is a digital guide to your event, offering real-time information and updates, nowadays the various uses of event apps are only limited to your imagination. Apps can notify attendees of start times and agenda updates by pushing notifications through. When connected to the event’s social media sites it gives attendees the ability to share their thoughts, ideas and snapshots. Well programmed event apps allow attendees to search, connect and schedule meetings with like-minded peers. They offer the ability to create and manage a personal schedule. In addition, mobile apps can be used for gamification, live polling, and instant feedback.

A properly engineered event mobile app will generate excitement prior, during and after an event.

3) Gamification

Gamification brings attendees together and provides them with memorable, quality experiences. It elevates the emotional experience of your attendees by presenting challenges and point systems. It gives players the ability to complete challenges and adds a competitive, interactive element to your event. Gamification works because it accesses the emotions and motivations of attendees. It can even be incorporated into the event app and applied to social media sites. When using gamification at an event think about the expectations of the audience and what you want to achieve from the gaming experience, is your goal to have attendees gain additional knowledge, perhaps it’s to offer extra networking time or maybe it’s to add a bit of fun to your event. Regardless of what your intent is, you must keep the participants engaged and active throughout the event. Two great ways of achieving this are big screen leaderboards and public shout outs during meals. These are guaranteed to keep attendees in the competitive mode and make your gamification a success.

4) Live Audience Polling

This is another great use of experiential marketing and can very easily be incorporated into an event app. What’s great about live audience polling is how versatile it is. It’s a great way to interact with attendees and offers instant gratification and feedback to the event owners and audience. When using live polling think outside of the box, yes, they are amazing at breaking up the long drawn out PowerPoint. But have you ever considered using them for ice breakers? Ice breaker questions are a great way to welcome, spark conversations and create interaction between attendees. Live polling is also a great way to help ensure all attendees have the opportunity to participate equally. Participants’ answers and questions are anonymous, therefore offering a voice to everyone, including those that are less likely to speak in front of a crowd.

5) Live Stream Event

Reach a larger audience at a low cost. A Live stream provides value and engages audiences. Plus, experiential marketing can be applied easily by simply offering a chat box. The opportunity to interact with influencers and live polling increases engagement to those viewing the event from afar. These points will boost your online audience engagement and assist in keeping the focus of the viewers.

The evolution of event technology is rapidly changing, with these changes prices that were once through the ceiling are more affordable. This gives the event owner the ability to organize a budget-friendly impactful event.

Experiential marketing combines various tools that allow the audience to engage and interact throughout the entire event. The use of any or all the event technology ideas will increase attendees emotional experience and can assist in making events better.

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International Incentives—When to Get a Little Bit Exotic

Written by: Mary Enke | Creative Lead & Senior Buyer, Incentive Services

The best incentive programs are built around the personas of your individual travelers. Is your team repeat winners, well-versed in the intricacies of international travel? Are they hustling Millennials searching for a little bit of adventure? For both of these groups your typical European vacation is either within reach, or a bit ‘basic, motivation-lacking, and routine.’ Perhaps, you can get a little bit exotic by hosting your incentive program just off the beaten path—a short distant from the more standard European vacation destinations of England, France and Italy.

The following locations offer unique options as well as an idyllic, picturesque location that offers adventurous activities for the active traveler as well as a healthy serving of sand and surf for those who prefer the peace and solitude of an island vacation.

Sardinia, Italy

Located in the Mediterranean Sea between the shores of Spain, France, and Italy

Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is beautiful Sardinia. This is not a “cookie-cutter” tropical island. With near-alpine oak, dazzling white sand beaches and crescent-shaped bays backed by limestone cliffs, Sardinia is an exotic, eccentric island adventure… one of Europe’s last!

While visiting, guests have a multitude of activities to experience including water sports galore, sailing, snorkeling, and sea safaris. Or, take on coastline horseback riding…maybe jaunt to the different villages for shopping or secluded beaches. Definitely a destination with a lot to offer to a seasoned traveler or a first visit to Europe.

High Season               July – August                                             Crowds, but great days for the beach

Shoulder Season      April, June, September, October           Lower room rates, weather is changeable

Low Season               November – March                                  A bit colder and wetter, many sights closed

Maldives, Asia

Located in the Indian Ocean off the costs near Sri Lanka

This is truly the ultimate escape for an exotic getaway.  A very non-traditional and different destination. Sure, many destinations boast white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, but how many can say that every resort is on its own island – all 105 of them? No island has two resorts. The only way to get around is by boat or plane.

Some would call this a “drop out” destination – in the best way. Drop out of reality and celebrate the holiday of a lifetime. A pure beach destination. No roads. No off-site venues.  No cultural attractions.  Activities vary from resort to resort. This is heaven on earth … the water, the food, the spas, the resorts … all add up to an experience one will never forget.

High Season              December – February                          Best weather, little rain, low humidity          

Shoulder Season      March – April                                          Good weather, end of April hottest

Low Season               May – November                                   Storms more likely, but only for short periods

Hvar, Croatia

Located in the Adriatic Sea off the costs off the southern coast of Croatia just North of Greece

One of the most beautiful Croatian islands is Hvar. This intoxicating heaven, clouded by the fragrances of lavender, rosemary, and heather and surrounded by the azure sea, is a true year-round destination and inexhaustible treasure chest of sights, experiences and adventure.

Croatia is growing in popularity with individuals and incentives. Be part of the “in crowd”. The entire Dalmatian Coast is buzzing. Split European programs are the ultimate experience and there are so many destinations to consider along this enchanting coast.

High Season              July – August                                          Best weather, followed by Split & Dubrovnik

Shoulder Season     May – June & September                      Great time to visit, Adriatic is warm

Low Season               October – April                                       Storms & rain a bit more likely, lower rates

Madeira, Portugal

Located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of North Easter Africa nearest to Morocco.

Right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is Madeira Island. Geologically dramatic and bursting with exotic color and warmed year-round by the Atlantic sun, Portugal’s most enchanting island is a place that keeps all its subtropical holiday promises. This is definitely the pearl of the Atlantic.

Embark upon the ultimate diving, big game fishing, jeep safaris, or get up close and personal with sea life in the open waters – not to mention the food and wine scene. This tiny volcanic island has so much to offer … and more!

High Season             December & July- August                      Higher prices

Shoulder Season     April – June                                                Weather is best, main tourist season

Low Season              January – March                                       Most rain

Seychelles

Located in the Indian Ocean off the coasts of South West Africa between Madagascar and the Maldives.

Scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is made up of 115 idyllic islands. Spellbinding beaches are the main attraction. Exquisite strips of white sand lapped by turquoise water and backed by lush hills.

Sailing, diving, fishing and relaxing are the main activities for visitors. This is, without a doubt, the perfect spot to go to invoke in your inalienable right to engage in the lovely art of doing nothing at all… or do as much as you like. Mother Nature was generous with the Seychelles, a fabled paradise.

High Season              December, March, July, August           Spikes in European holidays, can be humid

Shoulder Season      April – May/October – November        Great weather for swimming & excursions

Low Season               January – May                                           Lower accommodation pricing, comfortable

Langkawi, Malaysia

Located in the Andaman Sea off the coast of northwestern Malaysia near Singapore.

Discover a faraway island and a true tropical paradise in Langkawi. Alluring and idyllic in its natural beauty. Majestic and spectacular in its culture. Langkawi is synonymous with blond beaches, sandy beaches, and jungle-cloaked valleys. Truly an exotic getaway.

Nature is literally at your doorstep. The recreation options are unbelievable from boat trips to bat caves, bike outings to waterfalls, plunging from a cliff to a pool below. Through all of these adventures, the monkeys are watching and enjoying the show.

High Season               January – March                                     High tourist season, lots of sun and activities

Shoulder Season      April – August                                          Fewer tourists, great weather

Low Season                September – October                            Rainy – but only 2 hours per day

The Choice is Yours

While these destinations may require an extra leg to get to from all US gateway cities, we feel that the experience they provide is well worth the extra travel time. With creative and unique planning and consultation with professionals who know how to incentivize these destinations, one of these may be the most ideal fit for your next program.

“A journey is not about the places you visit, but the stories you bring home to share.”

 

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Above & Beyond – Stories from the Frontline

Written by Staci Simmons | Manager, Marketing Communications & Creative Services

The only thing you can plan for is change. If something can happen at an event—it will. Our experts took time to share some of their most interesting and outrageous stories from the frontline. From mother-nature to man-made, these onsite challenges allowed our team to stretch their problem-solving muscles to save the situation from escalating, ensuring the event went as smoothly as possible.

Here are their stories:

Flood of Problems

In Barcelona for a meeting, at the end of our last day, after the meeting was done and departures had concluded, our team ventured outside to reflect on the success of the event. Moments later, we received a call from the manager on duty to let us know that there was an incident in one of our attendee’s guestroom. He explained when housekeeping entered the room, it was flooded with at least two inches of water. The description was vivid… from the foul smell to pieces of food floating in the water. Our first concern was our attendee and we were relieved to learn she was at the entire meeting and safely on her travels home. Initially, the hotel threatened to charge for damages. However, after a little digging, they realized they had shut off the water the night before and into the morning. Naturally, the attendee must have turned on and checked every faucet that morning to get ready and accidentally left them on. She went to the meeting, checked out of the hotel and departed home. However, during the day the water had come back on—flooding the entire guestroom. The hotel had not announced there would be a shut-off, so the guest was not charged for damages.

Do Not Disturb

At one of our conferences taking place at large convention center in a downtown area, our staff went to set up the registration table the second day and noticed what appeared to be a “homeless” gentleman sleeping under the skirted table. It totally caught us off guard as we were not expecting an “uninvited visitor” and especially not under the hospitality desk. He woke up, we politely told him we were setting up for a conference and he left.

Didn’t Miss a Beat

The meeting was at the Renaissance Orlando Sea World and it was the last day of the conference. We had an awesome closing keynote speaker who is a former Surgeon General. The board and co-chairs were very excited to hear him speak. About halfway through his presentation, the city of Orlando had a brown out. The hotel had no power at all and all the lights and audio shut down in the general session. Of course, the attendees were a bit alarmed completely in the dark. We propped the doors open quickly to get some light in from the atrium and grabbed flashlights. The speaker was so fantastic – he didn’t miss a beat! He walked off of the stage, into the audience, and just kept speaking – no microphone, nothing. It actually made his presentation better because it felt more intimate than just him flipping through a power point and being on a stage. He received a well-deserved standing ovation!

Of Course, We Can

One year, for a reoccurring event, an attendee asked for a specific room during the online registration process, describing the room in vivid detail. Shortly after they registered, they emailed us to follow up with the request with an attached photo of the hotel, with an arrow pointing to the specific room, on a specific side of the hotel, overlooking the pool. While the client’s room block was not in that area, we worked with the hotel to put the attendee near their requested room. Because we have contracted with the hotel annually, they were willing to work with us to accommodate the request.

$10,000 Well Spent

We manage programs all over the world in amazing places and spaces. However, the venue’s decor doesn’t always lend itself to our client’s vision. So, we need to get creative or take extreme measures. We once had a client request to take down a gigantic chandelier because she didn’t like how it looked in the general session and thought it interfered attendees seeing the presenters. She was willing to pay the $10,000 to have it removed and then re-installed after the event. As for the chandelier, the hotel took it down only for the client to realize she didn’t like how it looked without it either—so their maintenance staff put it back up.

Needy Friends

In our business, we get a lot of requests–big, small and everything in between. It comes with the territory, and we do our best. However, we once had a request for a treadmill and 8-pound weights to be put in a sleeping room for a National Sales Meeting. Oddly enough, it wasn’t a VIP request or even an attendee – it ended up being a guest sharing a room with an attendee at the meeting. Interestingly, Westin Hotels and Peloton have now teamed up to put bikes in fifty WestinWORKOUT Studios and select guestrooms. She was just ahead of her time.

It’s the Bridge’s Fault

A few years ago, we were standing outside an event venue waiting for the Board of Directors. Someone called me in a panic to let me know the CEO was upset that they were late for breakfast. They told the CEO the bridge was up and the mini coach was waiting for it to go down. Clearly annoyed, he told her to call us to “get that fixed.” Literally, as she finished asking us to “get the bridge down” the lights started blinking and siren blaring as the bridge slowly started to recede. The timing could not have been better. As a solution, we quickly had breakfast moved to the meeting room so they could eat and meet. Problem solved!

Snow in San Antonio

One December, we were onsite in San Antonio, Texas for a routine dinner meeting. As we all know, Texas is located in southern Texas and the temperatures usually range from hot to hotter. This particular night happened to be the first snowfall for the first time in about 20 years. Oddly enough, the hotel’s heat wasn’t working (probably because they haven’t had to turn it on in years), but we had a great idea—to pass out hotel blankets from housekeeping and serve hot cocoa and coffee during dinner. The participants and clients were impressed. Most attendees loved the fact most of them traveled from up north to warmer weather, only to find snow! An evening that could have turned out to be a disaster, ended up being a fun memorable moment for staff and customers, alike.

Every event is an adventure. Our expert team of event managers, coordinators, and onsite team members know how to diligently and professionally manage problems as they arise. To learn more about event management visit www.meetings-incentives.com or call 1+ 262.835.3553 to speak to one of our pros.

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Recap of the 15th Annual Pharma Forum 2019

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

Last month, six of our medical meeting masters headed to New York City to attend the 15th Annual Pharma Forum 2019 with 700 other industry professionals. The conference is presented by CBI, the health and life sciences industry leader in providing thought leadership, actionable data, benchmarking, case studies and regulatory information through a dynamic conference platform that facilitates innovation, collaboration and elevation across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and healthcare industries. In attendance from M&IW, we had representation from Sales & Marketing, Strategic Account Management, and Global Procurement.

Since healthcare is the largest segment of the meetings industry and a significant volume of business for M&IW, there is a lot to cover with medical and pharmaceutical meetings management as well as enterprise strategy. So, we caught up with our conference-goers to find out what were some of the hottest discussion topics, key learnings, and their personal highlights.

Building Relationships and Driving Business

For our global procurement team, opportunities to attend events are imperative to make new connections and deepen relationships with hoteliers and suppliers who understand the nuances and needs of healthcare meetings. “We were able to connect not only on behalf of ourselves and our accounts; but also the entire M&IW sourcing team. It can be convenient to conduct business behind a screen, but it’s another thing to shake hands and look the person in the eye, especially when you’re negotiating over several years on a large complex program” said Rachel Egan, Buyer, Hotel Procurement.

HMCC Designation and Compliance Issues

A highlight for both Peggy Weil, CMP and Rachel Egan, CMP is that they earned their Healthcare Meetings Compliance Certificate (HMCC) offered in partnership with CBI, MeetingsNet and the MPI Academy. “During our HMCC class we were able to network and discuss current issues with HCP meetings and meal caps which for some have not been raised since 2002,” said Peggy Weil, CMP, Buyer, Hotel Procurement. “We learned some companies are setting a meal cap per day no matter the country attending and during the invitation or RSVP process disclosing the caps with three options to attend without a compliance issue.” See the example below.

Dear Attendee,

Our meal cap is $150 USD inclusive per day. If you cannot meet this cap, you have three options:

  • You may opt out
  • Cover the difference personally between meal cap set and your country’s meal cap
  • Receive a meal voucher for your allotted meal cap to use in the hotel restaurant

Client Connections and Conversations

For our Global Enterprise Services team, it is an excellent opportunity for our account management team to connect with our valued clients. “A few of the hot topics were; 1)  the consequences of not continually improving your strategic meetings management program (SMMP), 2) discussing the data story – many people wanted to know what to do now that everyone has their data, and 3) best practices in contracting medical meetings such as navigating first option holds, how to adjust meal caps for global attendees and collaborating with hotels,” said Naomi Tucker, CMP, HMCC, Account Director, Global Enterprise Services. Additionally, an insight for Michael Garcia, CMP, Director, Strategic Account Management, was the level of turnover on the client side due to mergers and acquisitions and its impact on the industry.

Continuing Education and Content

Laura Coler, Account Lead, said her favorite takeaway was a comment during the presentation by David Wolfe with Merck to “work in collaboration and cooperation NOT competition.” Laura felt that one of the items missing from Pharma Forum is peer-to-peer discussions. When asked about widely discussed topics, she called out eRFPs, GDPR/HCP Compliance, Global Governance/SMMP Implementation and Event Technology.

The Pharma Forum packs a lot of content for newcomers as well as veteran attendees. One of the personal highlights for Dan Tarpey, HMCC, VP of Sales & Marketing was hearing from one of the industry’s most respected leaders on the importance of bringing the needs of the patient to the forefront of the drug development and delivery process presented by Jim Robinson, President and CEO, Alkermes. “M&IW had the privilege of working with Jim when he was with Astellas and it is impressive to see his focus on the need for improved collaboration and ongoing innovation to address real-world issues continue,” said Dan Tarpey.

In every meeting where HCPs are attendance, event management professionals have the daunting task of balancing the needs of the attendees, meeting owner and stakeholders all while remaining in compliance with regulatory standards. Our industry leaders will continue to stay ahead of the curve on the Changing Landscape of Healthcare Meetings and ensure we deliver the best solutions for our clients.

 

Posted in: Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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An Inside Look at the CMP Governance Commission

CMP Exam, CMP Governance Commission, Steve Lorenz

Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Lead

M&IW’s very own Steven Lorenz, CMP, HMCC, Senior Account Lead, and 2017 Chair Exam Development Committee, CMP Governance Commission 2015-2019; along with Liz Dombrowski, Certification Manager, Events Industry Council were approached by the Events Industry Council to co-author an article titled “Why did they ask me that? How a question gets on the CMP Exam.”

In reading this article, it sparked a few questions in my mind about what goes on behind the scenes during the creation of the CMP Exam, what’s the process, how do they come up with the exam questions, and how does it all work? So, I interviewed Steve to find out more about the CMP Governance Commission and how he was selected to serve on this prestigious board along with many other interesting questions about Steve’s journey and how it all links together. It was a thought-provoking conversation and his answers are very insightful.

  • What exactly is the CMP Governance Commission? The CMP Governance Commission is the governing body that oversees the CMP credential. It works to ensure the credential truly reflects the important work of meeting professionals and that the International Standards are current. It also oversees exam development and that all test items pass through a strenuous review process to ensure best in class certification through rigor, relevance, and value.
  • How long have you served on the CMP Governance Commission? It has been my pleasure and honor to serve since 2015 with my esteemed colleagues from all sectors of the events industry, including planners and suppliers. Read more at 2019 Events Industry Council Board of Directors.
  • When did you land this opportunity? One of my CMP mentors reached out and shared with me the structure of the CMP Governance Commission about five years ago. She thought it would be a great fit and suggested I put my name in the ring to serve on the Commission.
  • Why are you passionate about your role with the CMP Governance Commission? I am very passionate about the industry. Serving on the CMP Governance Commission is one of the ways I can give back to the meetings and event industry to keep the CMP current and relevant. It is an important function and I am thrilled to be part of it.
  • What is a unique story you have about volunteering on the CMP Governance Commission? There are so many things I have learned participating on the CMP Governance Commission. I had no idea the amount of effort and work that goes into maintaining a credential. I also had never heard of psychometrics (the science of measuring mental capacities and the key guidance practice of developing the CMP certification) before. I didn’t know this field of study even existed prior to joining the Commission.
  • As a mentor to event professionals looking to sit for the CMP, what are three pieces of advice you have to offer? Participate in educational opportunities, especially those areas that you don’t necessarily work in every day to stretch your learning outside of your current job or role. Study, study, study: the exam is rigorous, but if you accept the challenge, earning the credential and joining the CMP is well worth the effort. Don’t put it off; the application to sit for the CMP can be daunting at first glance, but if you review and start to complete it, you can see the areas that will need more of your attention or surprise yourself that you already meet the requirements to sit for the exam.
  • Give us one last item you’d like to share with regards to your experience with the CMP Governance Commission? Sitting on the CMP Governance Commission has been an incredible experience and a high point in my career. It is amazing to me that I am allowed to participate in the program at this level and I have learned so much. It is an honor to participate and advance the recognition of the CMP Community.

The CMP isn’t just a prestigious set of letters. This test is challenging because being a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is more than knowing how to plan productive meetings, execute exciting events, or even being a subject matter expert. It is also about inspiring and mentoring the next generation of event planners. When you take the CMP exam you know how much thought and care your fellow event professionals put into it and their passion for the industry. The CMP Governance Commission is always there rooting for you!

Read the full article Why did they ask me that? How a question gets on the CMP Exam. It was published on the Events Industry Council website to uncover the CMP Exam creation process.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design

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Colombia, The Tipping Point of Change

Colombia Old City Cartagena

Written by: Nicole Raudabaugh, CMP | Sr. Account Lead, Incentive Services

I had the opportunity to join Hyatt Hotels and a group of fellow MICE travel professionals on a tour to Bogota and Cartagena, Colombia. I returned excited to see that a country which has had so much negative publicity over the past several decades is, in my opinion, at the tipping point of change. There is great optimism among the native Colombians that Colombia has a bright future ahead of them. Tourism is a key component of that and everyone I met was anxious to make this growing industry viable. It was evident throughout my trip that the Colombian people have natural hospitality about their culture and the authentic nature of these cities makes the country a wonderful new destination for all types of travelers.

The first two nights I had the pleasure of staying at the Grand Hyatt Bogota; which opened in November of 2018. This stunning new build hotel is located only 15 minutes from the airport in a newly developed area of Bogota. Beyond the sleek and thoughtful design, you’ll also find immense and versatile function space coupled with spot-on customer service. The hotel’s location is important because, as I learned, Bogota is a very spread out city with a still maturing infrastructure, so being close to where you are coming and going from is important. The hotel also offers a top floor (and top-flight) restaurant, Ushin, with views of the mountains that ring this capital city. It also has a perfectly appointed fitness center, indoor swimming pool with hydrotherapy circuit and a quiet, dark and peaceful getaway in their spa.

While in Bogota I participated in a Weaving Peace City Tour where I visited two local shops run by indigenous tribe members. For decades the rural, indigenous tribes of Colombia became one of the biggest victims of the country’s notorious drug trade. Their land was the farm that grew an illegal crop and their communities were the unwilling processors. Fast forward and many of those communities have taken a stand and moved from a cash crop to a sustainable crop often in the form of cacao and coffee beans. Through small business funding and grants, these new crops have turned into a new business model including small storefronts in the urban center of Bogota. Wuasikamas Coffee and Distrito Chocolate are two examples of these tribes transforming their future and great stops to purchase gifts to take home.

I also had the opportunity to visit the incredible Catedral de Sal (salt cathedral) in Zipaquira. Carved out of an immense, working salt mine this man-made wonder is available for private corporate events and is very popular with locals for Sunday mass. The venue is located 1.5 hours outside of Bogota and day trip can be combined with lunch or dinner and local market shopping in the small towns along the way.

From Bogota it was an easy one-hour flight to our next destination in Cartagena, a city steeped in history along Colombia’s Caribbean coastline. We arrived just as the sun was setting adding even more magic to this unique location. Founded in 1553, the city hosts the largest walled city built by the Spanish in the Caribbean. But it also has a “modern” peninsula directly beyond the city walls that features a mile of glass and steel skyscrapers. My first impression was that the city was a great mix between a San Juan “esque” colonial architecture and a Miami Beach “ish” cosmopolitan style.

The Hyatt Regency Cartagena was our host hotel for the next three nights. This beautiful hotel opened its doors in December of 2016 and starts on the 14th floor of the building. Every room has floor to ceiling windows facing the bay or the ocean, including the restaurants and fitness center! There are several infinity pools with views to the sea including a family and adults-only pool. The pool decks transform into great group function spaces at night and the hotel has easily accessible indoor ballroom space and a full-service spa. Groups looking for lots of function space can check out the Cartagena Convention Center located downtown with 215,000 sq. ft of flexible space.

On our first full day in Cartagena we took a city tour and visited the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. This fortress built by the Spanish includes a foundation built of the coral rocks that surround the city and bricks manufactured in Spain and were used for ballast on the ocean-faring ships. The ships then left the bricks behind in Cartagena and headed home with their cargo holds full of gold from the Americas. We also walked through the main corridors of the old city. Around every corner was a new Instagram-worthy picture featuring brightly colored buildings, huge wooden doors, wrought iron door knockers and beautiful bougainvillea overflowing from the balconies. Cartagena combines quaint plazas and church steeples with high-end and local shops along cobblestone streets, offering visitors a perfect combination of old and new that meld together in harmony.

The beaches right outside the high-rise hotels and condos on the modern peninsula are carved from coral rock and therefore aren’t the white sand and aquamarine waters one might expect in the Caribbean. To find that, many travelers charter a boat for the day to the Rosario Islands.  This archipelago, located approximately 1 hour off the coast, features a variety of boutique hotels and day clubs on individual islands with beautiful beaches. We visited Isla Grande and the day club at Gente del Mar.  We were treated to a freshly caught lobster lunch and comfortable day beds under the palm trees.  It was a memorable way to spend the afternoon.

Watching the sunset is an unofficial sport in Cartagena. Our group was able to capture an especially beautiful one during a sunset bay cruise on the Sibarita Del Mar cruiser. While talking with the captain and owner of this company, he shared that six new bay cruise companies have opened in the past 2 months in Cartagena. This is a prime example of how the tourism market in Colombia in general, but specifically in Cartagena, is growing.

An often-asked question is about safety. I can personally say that I felt very safe during my travels. However, as with any destination, I encourage everyone to use common sense and caution when traveling and be aware of your surroundings. English is spoken readily in the hotels, but if you are not a fluent Spanish speaker yourself, I would recommend being accompanied by a Spanish speaking guide or partner when heading out to see the sights in Bogota as all transportation, communication, and signage are in Spanish. In Cartagena, you’ll find more multi-lingual residents because the city has developed as a melting pot of tourism and international sea trade over the years.

Currently, Bogota is a relatively inexpensive city. Cartagena, on the other hand, is more well known as a vacation destination on the international scene and more expensive.

I realized I’ve only scratched the surface of all this country has to offer. Because of its diverse topography with mountain ranges slicing through the country, each of the regions of Colombia has developed their own micro-culture with foods and attractions that are special to them. The Colombian Tourism Bureau is currently working to meld and market itself as one unified, yet diverse destination, for all types of travelers.

I look forward to seeing what progress the future will bring to Colombia and to the opportunity to share all its exciting possibilities with M&IW’s incentive, meeting and convention clients in the future!  If you are interested in learning more about these or other amazing destinations, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Engaging your Workforce through Corporate Responsibility

corporate giving, charity, causes, CSR, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Written by Staci Simmons | Manager, Marketing Communications and Creative Services

Over the last ten years, corporate responsibility has transformed from a single act of charity, such as sponsorships, volunteerism and community involvement to complete, brand-centric philanthropy. If done well, modern corporate social responsibility practices engrain themselves into the culture of an organization impacting employees, customers, suppliers, and even communities.

Social impact has expanded into every part of the business, by function, unit, and even geography. CSR programs can no longer afford to simply be charitable — social impact needs to be ‘built into’ a company’s strategy showcased across many aspects of operations.

Transform Your Business

  • Consider B-Corp Strategies – B Corporations build their companies around social impact
  • Encourage Influencers – Offer individual incentives for executives and employees who take social responsibility personally and mentor others
  • Create a Portfolio – Outline a portfolio of outreach programs at each level of your organization
  • Think Locally – Choose local or brand-centric activities and interest that align with corporate goals and interests
  • Promote Thoughtfully – Use consideration when sharing your CSR endeavors without diluting your message

Engage Your Workforce

The more aligned your CSR activities are with the company’s culture and values, the more they will resonate with the employees. Attendees who are personally invested will leave your meeting, conference, tradeshow or event with a sense of purpose and satisfaction. For maximum impact, we recommend starting your CSR activity in advance with some friendly competition — it is a great way to raise both awareness and funds early. Be sure to recognize top achievers and high performing teams during your event and continue to support the cause in other ways throughout the year.

Select a CSR Activity

Our clients often ask us what are the most popular CSR programs? It is a hard question to answer as the options are endless and each program is unique and customized for your group based on your objectives, attendees, location, and budget. However, below are some programs that have been a hit with our clients over the years:

  • Arrange a Scavenger Hunt
  • Build a Beehive
  • Host a Game Show
  • Run a Race for a Cure
  • Create a Charity Match
  • Build a Playground for Kids
  • Host Fitness Challenges
  • Clean the Local Ecosystem
  • Adopt a Local or International School
  • Host a Clean Water Challenge
  • Provide Packages for Rescue Animals
  • Build a Home with Habitat for Humanity
  • Pack STEM Education Kits
  • Build a Wheelchair
  • Pack Food/Medicine bags for Project Open Hand
  • Paint Shoes with Soles for Souls
  • Register for Pledge It Forward
  • Build Bikes or Red Wagons for Children

Create a Culture of Giving

As part of our corporate Global Giveback, every year we select a different charity to support and theme our CSR activity. This year we are supporting the fight against hunger. At our annual company event, our employees packed more 26,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger. Each month, we designate specific food items which makes it easy for individuals to participate and we track our collective impact. Additionally, our M&IW family is supporting a local pantry through monetary donations, food and hygiene items, and volunteering our time.

Corporations with sound CSR practices have access to many benefits — intrinsic and extrinsic. This incentive drives the implementation of corporate programs at meetings and conferences and events. More so, event marketers see that initiatives are good for business and good for the connectivity of their shareholders.

For more information about best practices in selecting, designing and executing a CSR program for your next event, contact us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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