Archive for Incentive Travel Programs

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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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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Top 3 Benefits of Partnering with a Women-Owned Business

Meetings & Incentives Worldwide (M&IW) is honored to be a trusted certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the WBDC-Chicago, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) for the seventh consecutive year. M&IW owned by sister team, Jean Johnson and Tina Madden, are committed to a diverse work environment that backs its words with accountable actions.

“We are very excited to offer this additional value to our current and future clients committed to supplier diversity programs,” said Jean Johnson, CMP, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer. By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations, and government agencies, organizations demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

While there are many benefits of working with diverse suppliers, there are three that stand out as being the most impactful to a business’s bottom line.

Top Three Benefits of a Supplier Diversity Program

  1. The Federal Government Offers Tax Incentives

Partnering with diverse and minority-owned suppliers, including WBENC provides many tax incentives from the federal level. Not only does a business receive a tax break, but they also may be able to take advantage of reduced tax liabilities if minority vendors and suppliers are being used for federal or state-funded grants or loans. As a certified organization, we can provide you with all the information needed to leverage this opportunity.

  1. Diverse Partners Can Increase Procurement Channels

Diverse suppliers have deep relationships with other vendors that may provide additional saving across your business. The strength of these relationships and their commitment to quality and innovation often leads to a tangible increase in savings and resources for obtaining goods and services.

3. Strategic Diversity Aligns Revenue & Economic Impact

Supplier Diversity programs offer an impactful and marketable way to differentiate yourself from your competitors to shareholders, employees, and consumers, which may increase business opportunities. Diversity-leading organizations know they need leaders who both understand and reflect the needs of their customers. Women-owned businesses are also one of the fasted growing sectors of our economy. Showcasing your company’s commitment to doing business in diverse markets increases economic growth in many communities.

Why Diversity Matters to Us

We live in a deeply connected and global world. It should come as no surprise that more diverse companies are achieving better performance. “We need to attract, develop and retain diverse leaders who both understand and reflect the needs of our customers,” said Tina Madden, Co-CEO and Chief Customer Officers. Additionally, as a certified WBE, we are dedicated to a supplier diversity strategy that seeks out and utilizes women-owned and minority suppliers internally and within our customers’ events.

 

 

 

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2019 Meeting Industry Trends to Watch

Whats Trending in Event Management

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

With 2019 upon us, and to help you prepare you for an amazing year of change, transition and growth–we’ve gathered meeting and conference trends from across the industry we feel are notable and that we will continue to track through 2019. (1)  

Below are a few of our favorites and insights:

  • Global Outlook – Although there is conflicting information in recent reports, there are indications of a global slowdown that will likely be triggered by what is going on in the EU concerning some of the unknowns with Brexit. This will likely not impact the US market immediately but may have effects on our industry because of the strength of the dollar making it more difficult for international travels coming to the US.
  • Top News in Hotels – Rates are going to continue to run high globally because of demand. Revenue per Available Room, also known as RevPar, is increasing globally and across the US. Some of the hottest cities for 2019 in North America are Las Vegas, New York, and Orlando. Additional US locations to watch this year include San Diego, Toronto, and Nashville. Globally, high demand cities for the upcoming year include São Paulo, Mexico City, London, Shanghai, Singapore, and finally, Moscow made the list because of their competitive rates based on the inventory from the Olympics.
  • Air Booking & Group Travel – Airline ticket costs are on the rise because of fuel costs. The trend to allow individual mileage rewards toward a company’s airline fulfillment is emerging. Group online booking tools are gaining popularity for their ability to connect ground transportation to ticketing and group air travel making managing air travel and ground transportation for attendees seamless. More and more meetings and conference locations are being decided on based on an air cost analysis. Finally, airline capacity is increasing to meet the increase in traveler demand.
  • Technology –There is a 60% increase in technology growth within the meeting and conferences space. Phy-digital is the future where the physical and the digital world collide. Live meetings with the integration of digital technology are far outperforming traditional virtual technologies. It is estimated that 75% of meetings planners will have some sort of phy-digital technology in their meetings. Finally, more event technologies on the horizon include event bots, facial recognition, voice-activated apps, go-pro robots and much more.
  • Mobile Apps – Mobile apps are getting increasingly sophisticated with features such as facial recognition. Areas of anticipated growth within mobile apps include the agenda, pre- and post-attendee engagement, attendee behavior tracking, networking capabilities, and safety features.
  • Meeting and Event Management – Some of the tried and true trends of the past remain constant including unique venues, local product sourcing, sustainable food and beverage options, unique room sets and innovative seating environments. Two of the newest trends are the personalization of the experience regardless of the size and localization; meaning bringing the local culture into the event and embracing the surroundings outside the hotels four walls as part of the attendee experience.
  • Safety and Security Practices – California is releasing new and updated digital privacy laws coming in January 2020. GDPR is still trending with new countries being added and the Brexit implications. As it relates to event-level emergency policies and procedures, “duty of care” is still top of the list. The Exhibits and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI) continues to evolve and release industry-wide guidance for the cyber safety and physical safety of the meetings industry.
  • Business Intelligence (BI) – BI and data analytics is still king. The rise of data scientists as a role within the industry is the newest emerging trend. It is no longer enough to collect and analyze data. This new role of data scientist will take the way the meetings industry utilizes data to help make smarter, more informed decisions to a whole new level.

If you would like to learn more about these topics and trends as well as others not mentioned here, you can watch the replay of Shauna McNaughton, HMCC, Sr. Director, Strategic Account Management, presenting Powerful Trends that will Impact Your 2019 Strategy.

 

(1) Sources used for M&IW Insights Report include BTN Articles, MGM’s Michael Dominiquez, CWT Annual Report, AMEX Annual Report, SmartMeetings, MeetingNet

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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Two Weeks in Thailand — The 2019 SITE Global Conference

SITE Classic Incentive Travel Thailand

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

This month, M&IW Director of Incentive Services, Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, had the pleasure of attending the 2019 SITE Global Conference in Bangkok, Thailand where more than 375 industry professionals from around the world met to discuss current and forecasted trends in incentive travel. 

The biggest takeaway from the conference was how successful incentive programs integrate into an organizations structure and align with overall business and sales objectives. Travel programs make sense from a business perspective; measuring organizational effectiveness and combining continuing education and professional development, while increasing operational sales and performer loyalty.

SITE Classic 2019 - Bangkok Here we Come!

While in Thailand, Tracy had the opportunity to connect with peers at all levels of the industry. This included tourist boards, airlines, cruise companies, hotels and convention centers, global DMCs, transportation companies, inspirational industry speakers and educators to discuss some of the most significant topics in incentive travel.

Core Incentive Travel Topics Included:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Incentive Program Design
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Human Resources
  • Managing Incentive Travel Programs
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing Communications
  • Risk & Crisis Management
  • Site Management
  • CSR & Sustainability

Breakout session and talk tracks at the SITE Global Conference dug deep into each of these topics followed by peer discussions and one-on-one networking. From these immersive meetings, Tracy had some key takeaways for our clients and community:

Develop a Balanced Scorecard—Build a holistic way to measure your operational effectiveness at all levels of your organization.

Leverage Big Data—Security, safety and technology integration is leading to more metrics than ever, use this data to create a more impactful corporate culture and segment the types of incentive programs your company offers.

Embrace Authenticity—The definition of luxury is changing. The era of big brand logos is now far less impactful than authentic, unique and personal experiences.

Adopt Inclusivity—Inclusivity is a critical concept for incentive programs. Incentive travel changes behavior and builds motivation at all levels of an organization.

Incentivize Diversity—In today’s markets, businesses who wholeheartedly embrace diversity and corporate responsibility continue to see economic growth.

Make Your Own Trends—Rather than choosing between the latest “hot-spots” in travel, consider an out-of-the-box adventure for your team that immerses travelers in localism and culture.

Incentive travel contributes significantly to economic growth and partnerships within and between organizations. Organizations must think globally both internally and externally. It is no longer enough to ‘gift’ your top performers with high-end travel—inspire the rest of your team to reach higher, offer unique experiences and create realistic metrics at each level of your business to properly create stakeholder benchmarks.

Click here to learn more about the SITE Global Conference in Bangkok. For more information about incentive travel programs, visit meetings-incentives.com or call 1+ 262.835.3553 to speak to a Meetings & Incentives Worldwide team member.

 

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Lighting a New Fire: Finding Vision and Strategy (Part 3 of 3)

WBENC Tuck Executive Course

Written by Tina Madden, CPA | Co-CEO and Chief Customer Officer

When I reflect on this history of M&IW, I think about my father and grandfather—their courage and perseverance to start a family business more than 50 years ago. I think about their unwavering principles and values that have stood the test of time and continue, to this day, to run deep through our employees and our company’s culture. However, there is one attribute that particularly stands out and that is grit.

Grit is a character trait that is deeply ingrained in our family, and also one that we strongly value at M&IW. To us, grit is the courage to go first, the resolve to always do the right thing by our clients even if it is difficult, and the strength of character to admit we may not have all the answers, but you have our promise that we will work together in partnership and figure it out. It is having the perseverance to fail, pick yourself back up and keep going.

After completing the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, I had a realization that while our company has continued to grow and innovate, we have reached an inflection point with a unique opportunity to shape our future. I asked our executive team to redefine the objectives that will drive future strategies, create more alignment across teams and departments, as well as provide us with a means to track our performance and ongoing success. Through this exercise, we came up with three focus areas: GRowth, Innovation, and Talent. And, guess what? There you have it—our new meaning of Gr.I.T.

As M&IW evolves, apparently so does our definition of grit. Our goal over the next few months is for our leaders to continue to define and refine. We will put objectives in place to grow our business and build relationships, lead the industry in innovation, and recruit/retain the best talent that aligns with our culture and values.

It amazes me as we begin this journey of mapping out our future success how transformative it is! Even in the early stages. Which is the reason I share this with you now even before we have it all defined, because we realize it is not our final destination that matters most, it is the journey and learnings along the way.

And while we are at the beginning of refining these objectives; our mindset is solid. We are focused on putting the practices in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of M&IW for the next 50 years.

So, what does our GRIT mean for you?

Through this exercise into 2019, we are going to get really clear on how to best serve you. This will result in more innovative service offerings, enhanced customer service, and streamlined operations all with the goal in mind to help you grow your business. Because, we firmly believe in our vision to transform organizations through the power of human energy, one event at a time. And, because we believe in our mission to focus on aligning enterprise and event customers while designing and executing innovative solutions to drive continuous improvement and deliver exceptional experiences. We are excited to continue to partner with our clients in the year ahead and deliver amazing outcomes.

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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Tis the Season for Giving…

Global Giving Fighting Hunger
Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing & Media

Since the inception of our Global Giveback initiative, M&IW team members have shown it is always the season for giving. However, around the holidays, most of us feel increasingly inspired to support those in need.

This year we focused our attention on ending hunger domestically and abroad. We launched a yearlong food drive and each month designated items for our employees to donate. Our December featured is canned green beans as the traditional holiday dinner would not be complete with grandma’s famous “green bean casserole.”

At our annual company meeting in August, our 250+ amazing team members helped assemble and package more than 28,000 meals. So, you can imagine our delight when we received word that RISE AGAINST HUNGER was sending a container holding 285,120 meals to the Dominican Republic in support of CitiHope International.

CitiHope International is an organization that nourishes lives through food assistance and other services in the Dominican Republic. To learn more, please visit the partner/country spotlight and click on the Impact Stories tab and click and drag on the World Aid Map at https://www.riseagainsthunger.org/world-aid/.

Additionally, we recently joined Jean Johnson, CMP, our Co-CEO, in supporting an effort closer to home. Giving to the Nations initiated a program called “Filling the Gap…” Their goal is to raise $250,00 to provide healthy food, hygiene products and basic household goods for local families in our hometown of Racine, Wisconsin who are having a hard time making ends meet and facing tough financial choices. CLICK HERE to learn more and donate to the cause.

Ending hunger is only possible if we continue to grow the movement. Since 2005, volunteers have helped distribute more than 310 million meals worldwide through Rise Against Hunger. We can end hunger by 2030, but we can’t do it without you. Please visit their website www.riseagainsthunger.org to get involved or donate.

We look forward to Giving Back in 2019!

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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Pros and Cons of Designing in Cvent Flex

Cvent Flex Event Website Design

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

Cvent, an event management software used by many top-tier travel and meetings management companies, recently released its new drag-and-drop website builder—Flex. This new functionality lives up to its name with easy-to-use features and a beautifully designed interface, allowing users to create and publish their own event websites.

At first glance, this is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses and program managers. They have the means to build their own registration websites without a web developer or knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Upon further consideration, you may uncover what most web, graphic, and marketing communications professionals already know—it’s not that easy.

In the last ten years, drag-and-drop email, website, and app builders have taken complicated coding and simplified it for the masses. It’s been an excellent tool for professionals who understand the principles of design, saving clients thousands of dollars and countless hours in web development. On the other side of the coin, those without that knowledge may cost themselves thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to figure it out for the sake of “doing it themselves.” Cvent Flex is no different.

If you’ve ever tried to build your own email or website with a drag-and-drop builder, you probably had several “pull-your-hair-out” moments— you’re not alone. Most website builders are harder to use than they appear. They claim to offer an easy way to build a beautiful, functional website, but more often than not that’s not the case.

While Cvent’s design showcases look absolutely stunning, mimicking that level of design and functionality is nearly impossible “in just a few clicks.” Trying to achieve a great design yourself is often cumbersome, and not quite as easy as advertised. At the end of the day, the people who built those showcases are seasoned designers who know how to leverage the tool correctly and know how to maneuver through its limitations in order to create a functional, unique, and on-brand design.

The Pros of Cvent Flex

– Easy-to-use drag and drop functionality
– Allows for easy, real-time editing and updating
– Provides a live preview feature without publication
– Fully responsive on all devices (desktop, tablet and phone)

The Cons of Cvent Flex

– Big Learning curve for first-time users
– Customization options are limited
– Differentiating your event from other templates will be difficult
– Layering text and images for legibility is time-consuming

Cvent does offer many support options to help build and publish your event registration website. If you have the time and means to take creative control, click here to learn the platforms design and development best practices.

If, however, you’d like to focus on the other seventy-five percent of your event’s needs, let Flex be a tool for your friendly, neighborhood web designer. Ultimately, the time it takes for a professional to leverage this tool will simplify your workload and allow you to focus on the rest of your event’s needs—managing its infinite amount of moving parts.

For more firsthand information about Cvent Flex, email Meetings & Incentives Worldwide at marketing@meetings-incentives.com to connect with our event technology and creative service experts.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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Lighting a New Fire: Finding Purpose and Intent (Part 2 of 3)

WBENC Tuck Executive Course

Written by Tina Madden, CAP | Co-CEO and Chief Customer Officer

As business leaders, we are often caught up in dealing with things in real time. People rely on us to help solve immediate challenges and make quick decisions, all while pushing our team leaders to the next level. It is incredibly difficult to take a break from the work that is in front of us to strategically plan for the future. It’s a commitment to make something abstract the main priority.  In Part 1 of this series, published last month, I wrote about my experience at the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business, how it lit a fire beneath me and what it means for our colleagues and partners moving forward. I want to take a moment to expand on this further.

Going into it this program, I knew the basics of what to expect. I knew we would work on business operations and marketing strategy, hear from various business experts, and learn about some of the challenges and solutions experienced by our peers. But what I didn’t expect, was that I would get so passionate about empowerment. Empowerment has always been a part of my purpose as a leader, but I discovered during this program that there was more I could be delivering and that my excitement for creating purpose runs deeper than I could have ever imagined.

During the program, we were asked to consider what legacy we wanted to leave and how we could continue to give back. In experiencing the ‘transformative’ moments my peers had during this program and thinking about my own leadership journey, it became clear to me how fascinated, and passionate I was about women empowering other women. I saw women being lifted by their peers. I saw breakthroughs because of the support and ideas being shared among the group. I saw very established women leaders let go of the “woman-doubting guard” they had been carrying and honestly realizing that they were right where they were supposed to be. It wasn’t just luck. It was hard work, dedication and focus, not happenstance.

So, there you have it. The legacy I want to leave is to become the best women leader I can be and intentionally work to support other leaders. It is a harsh society today. In an age of technology, transparency, and social media there is a lot of criticism on what we are all doing “wrong.” What if we stopped focusing on what we are doing “wrong” and start to focus on what we are doing right and how to continue to create opportunities and successes? Magic may happen.

What does this mean for all of you?

At M&IW, we are very passionate about our culture. It is essential to my sister, Jean, and I as Co-CEOs that we create an environment where our employees, leaders and executive teams feel empowered and empower others. To continue to build and sustain a culture free of criticism to let creativity thrive, one full of support even when mistakes are made, one that allows different types and levels of leaders — program leaders, account leaders, thought leaders, and people leaders – to all THRIVE. The best leaders really do see beyond what people currently are to what they have the potential to become. This applies to our clients and suppliers, as well, because we are in partnership together to create amazing outcomes through the power of human energy and live events.

I look forward to sharing the final part in this series next month in which I will dive deeper into our business and vision into 2019 and beyond.

 

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