Monthly Archives: May 2009

TARP Recipient To Open Luxury Hotel

As Bank of America prepares to start repaying TARP dollars, it’s also gearing up to open a new hotel across the street from its corporate headquarters. And it’s not a Holiday Inn.

Five months from now, the nation’s largest bank is scheduled to open a new, eco-friendly Ritz-Carlton in a sleek 18-story building. It will have bi-level, penthouse “wellness center” – in other words, a spa – and enough meeting space to accommodate 480 dinner guests, the hotel press release says.

Bank of America started planning the Ritz-Carlton about four years ago, said Scott Silvestri, a spokesman for Bank of America. Back then, the economy looked healthy enough to support luxury hotels in places that never had them, and companies weren’t afraid of being associated with five-star lodging.

Get the full story from USA Today

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New Convention Center Hotels Planned For SLC And Tucson

Salt Lake City is one of two Western U.S. cities with plans for new convention center anchor hotels in the near future –the other is Tucson, Ariz.Both destinations would like to increase not only the amount of meeting business they have, but also the size of that meeting business.

Salt Lake County right now is looking seriously into a new convention center headquarters hotel to be constructed adjacent to the SMG-managed Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, according to Scott Beck, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The idea for a headquarters hotel, with 800 to 1,200 rooms, originally came up when the Convention, Sports and Leisure advisory and planning firm was hired to assess the convention center during its expansion, which brought its exhibit space to 515,000 square feet in 2005, Beck said.

The Tucson Convention Center already has plans for a $167 million hotel on its property, along with a $33 million multi-level parking garage and a $39 million expansion to its current space – all slated for completion by the summer of 2012, said Kate Calhoun, sales and marketing director at the convention center.

The project will commence with construction of a new east entrance to the convention center, planned for September, followed by construction of the hotel tower, parking structure and convention center.

The hotel, still officially unnamed, but currently deemed the Sheraton Tucson Convention Center Hotel, will feature 525 rooms on 25 floors, providing 35,095 net sq. ft. of meeting space next to the convention center. Expansion of the center itself will add 62,935 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space to its current 146,940 sq. ft. of space.

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Maximizing Your Time In The 16-Hour Window Of Opportunity

Does this day sound somewhat familiar to you?

I awoke this morning at 5:30 AM, helped get the kids off to school, then headed to the office to participate in a series of meetings that consumed most of my day.  Its now almost 12-hours later and I’m catching up on voice mails, emails, and gathering paperwork to take home to work on later tonight. 

On the way home from the office I picked up some last-minute groceries then took Bowser, who has been waiting patiently by the back door with his legs crossed, for a quick walk.  Now it’s time to cook dinner and if you haven’t guessed it by now, my wife works full-time and her 5:30 PM flight is now scheduled to arrive at 8:30 PM. I’ve caught up on my paperwork, watched 10 minutes of the news, kids are in bed, and now its lights out…9:30 PM.

Being busy is a fact of life that too often begs the question “Where did the time go?” Life is simply more demanding today with both work and family obligations so it’s more important than ever to get a handle on managing one’s time.

Time Management is simply getting more things done efficiently and it’s easier to achieve if you understand how to increase your productivity through more effective use of your time during what I call “The 16-Hour Window of Opportunity”.

Principle One – Prioritize

We all have just so many hours in a day with which to complete tasks.  The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.  Make a list of tomorrow’s tasks before you leave your office and prioritize each task with a number one through five (five being most important).  Those tasks that score below three can wait or be completed at another time during the day and all other tasks are to receive the highest priority based upon their respective number.

Principle Two – Avoid the “Water Cooler”

If you’re in an office environment there are plenty of opportunities to waste time especially in the break room or in another Associate’s office. Pick one day next week and carry a note pad to jot down how much time you spend blabbing with peers, talking to friends or family on the phone, and participating in other situations that wastes your time. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can gain to devote to more productive tasks.

If you’re in a home-office environment, get out of the rack like you would if you were going to an office environment, ditch the PJs for a more professional attire, and make it a priority to report to your desk by no later than 8:30 AM.

Principle Three – There’s a Place and Time for Everything

Everyone is wired differently.  I prefer to address more challenging tasks early in the morning when I am most alert where our CFO prefers to address them after lunch. I like to close my office door while on an important telephone call to avoid interruptions while our VP of Sales is a multi-task master and can handle any minor distraction without losing track of what he is doing. Seek a rhythm and environment that is most productive for you.

Principle Four – Delegate Authority

If you can say “No” you can delegate the task to be done by someone else within your organization.  When you delegate authority you increase the effectiveness of your staff, teach someone what to do in the event that they have to stand in for you, and free up the bottleneck that you would have created hadn’t you delegated authority. Remember you can delegate authority without giving up your responsibilities.

Principle Five – Time is Money

Whether you’re a Doctor, Lawyer or Indian Chief your time IS money. Knowing how much your time is actually worth can help you to determine whether to perform a task or outsource it to someone else.

Let’s say your job title is Jane Doe, CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) and you need to look for a site for your next corporate meeting.  If you make $210 a day it may take you eight hours to research a destination, one hour to put together an RFP, five hours to search for hotels, two hours calling hotel NSOs, and another 10 hours fielding calls/returning calls/emails from hotel sales.  It could roughly costs you more than $5,000 to conduct the search yourself or you could outsource it to someone else.

Here are some more Time Management tips for your consideration;

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Fairmont Announces New "Green Sheets" Program

Fairmont is looking to make it easier—and easier on the wallet—for groups to go green. Today Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced the release of its new Green Sheets, which will provide information on the environmental and sustainability initiatives at each of the brand’s 56 hotels and resorts. The sheets can be downloaded and viewed at the company’s website, and include such information as whether the food served for groups and programs is locally grown, what kind of recycling programs the property has in place, and what other sorts of conservation efforts are in place. For example, the Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda notes that it collects rainwater from the property’s rooftop in an underground storage tank for use in hotel operations.

Alongside these new Green Sheets, Fairmont is also promoting its Sweet Meeting Deal, which offers a 10 percent credit for functions booked and executed by June 30, 2010.

Also noted in the Green Sheets is what sort of green certifications and seals of approval the properties have received or are trying to receive, such as The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club’s efforts to gain certification from Florida’s Green Lodging Program, and all of the Fairmont’s California hotels and resorts participation in California’s Green Lodging Program.

The hotelier is using the sheets to help showcase Fairmont’s Eco-Meet program, which offers environmentally sustainable options for groups visiting any of the Fairmont’s properties for a meeting or an incentive. The program is divided into four components: Eco-Accommodation, Eco-Cuisine, Eco-Service, and Eco-Programming.

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Omni Unveils New Meetings Initiatives

Beginning Friday, May 22nd, all Omni Hotels will unveil two new meetings initiatives. Designed to meet the ever-changing demands in the meetings marketplace, the programs are being implemented to relieve some of the strain and uncertainty planners are facing today. On top of Omni’s already innovative ZERO Attrition program announced earlier this year, the brand is now launching a systemwide RapidResponse program which guarantees a swift reaction to all incoming inquiries as well as a standard policy to always include a ReSELL Clause in its meeting contracts.

To ensure all in-bound leads are answered within two business hours, Omni Hotels has instituted its RapidResponse program brand-wide. This effort will apply to all leads: phone, e-mail, electronic inquiries and through third-party organizations. After the initial contact, Omni will then follow-up with a formal response — such as a proposal or contract — no later than the end of the next business day. If Omni does not provide an initial response within two business hours, the inquiring customer will be entitled to request a five percent discount off the master account.

The new ReSELL Clause offers a standard rooms resell clause in each group contract without any special request from the meeting planner. With this clause, groups are entitled to a refund for any paid cancellation or attrition charges if Omni resells some portion of the unused guest rooms. For every room resold, the brand will provide the meeting planner a credit for the rate at which the room was resold.

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Prospecting Is Like Eating Brussels Sprouts

As a kid I can remember racing to the dinner table one evening hungry enough to eat a horse but my ravenous appetite quickly went south when I caught a whiff of what I considered to be the nastiest vegetable known to man…Brussels sprouts. 

My head twitched, my nose wrinkled, and my lips curled as my mother rolled her eyes and said…”Eat yah vegetables Bwobee if you wanna grow up to big and strong like yah fatha.”

My father, a handsome and very successful salesperson, took one look at my pale and pouty face and said…”You know son, prospecting is a lot like eating Brussels sprouts. They don’t necessarily smell good but they’re good for you.”

Prospecting for new clients is a necessary function of the sales process so before you turn your nose up to prospecting and decide to dig in you’ll want to make some assessments and creat a game plan to make sure that your initial call will be a quality contact and not “dialing for dollars”. 

 Here are some thoughts and strategies that will help you to become more successful at prospecting.

Assess your current situation and ask yourself the following questions;

  1. What is my territory or market segment?
  2. Is my brand easily recognized by my prospective customer?
  3. Who is my competitive set and how are they selling against my brand/product/services?
  4. Am I experienced and successful at prospecting?  What are my strengths/weaknesses?
  5. Do I continually have enough leads to generate business or do I have to supplement leads with additional prospecting?
  6. How much time do I have to devote to prospecting and can I commit to the process long-term?
  7. What are my sales goals?  Are these numbers realistic and achievable?

Prospecting Strategies

  1. Seek out a mentor who is successful and holds to the same high standards that you do.
  2. There’s gold in your backyard.  Start digging near your office first.
  3. Ask your existing customers for a testimonial or to refer you to other prospective customers.
  4. When networking be a good listener, ask open-ended questions, and get a business card.
  5. Qualify your prospect ranging from a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best) and don’t pursue those that fall below 7.
  6. Create a script that gets you past the gate keeper and in touch with someone who writes the check.
  7. Resist selling on the first call.  It’s an opportunity to get to know your prospect and to identify if your product or services meets his needs.
  8. If there is light at the end of your call do whatever it takes to arrange an appointment before you hang up.
  9. Don’t bad mouth your competitive set but be ready to share why your company/products/services are better.
  10. Don’t end your day with a prospect that says “No”.
  11. Oh, and eat your Brussels sprouts.

Here are some links and resources to help you with your prospecting.

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Industry Trade Shows Go Virtual

In an effort to draw attendees in a time of shrinking travel budgets, trade shows are going virtual.  The trade shows, which resemble virtual worlds such as Second Life, may last only a few hours or span several days.

As with any real-world trade show, there are presentations from speakers, exhibit halls, and even lounges — sans virtual cocktails — where attendees can mingle with other participants.

Get the complete details from Inc. Magazine

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