Monthly Archives: February 2010

Travel Promotion Act Faces Final Senate Vote – Please Call Your Senators

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced yesterday that one of the lodging industry’s most important legislative priorities may face a final Senate vote this week.

The Travel Promotion Act (S. 1023/H.R. 1299) promises to attract more visitors to our nation, create new jobs, and increase revenue for lodging businesses and local governments, all at no cost to American taxpayers. This is a bill that can help this nation’s economy during a time when job creation is a top action item for Congress.

AH&LA is urging members to reach out to their Senators this week and let them know the importance of the Travel Promotion Act to our industry-and their states.

Last September, the Senate passed an earlier version of the bill with a strong 79-19 vote. Please take time to call your Senators today and urge them once again to vote for the Travel Promotion Act (S. 1023/H.R. 1299). Thank them for their earlier support of the bill and urge them to again help one of the nation’s largest industry sectors during this tough economic period.

It’s easy to contact your Senators:

• Call the U.S. Capitol operator at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator’s offices, or view this list of Senators and their states.
• Explain you are resident of the Senator’s home state.
• State you are calling to register your strong support for the Travel Promotion Act (S. 1023/H.R. 1299) and urge your Senators to vote “YES” for the bill to support their state’s lodging and travel industries.

If the Senate vote is successful, the bill will then head to President Obama’s desk for his signature into law.

For more information about the Travel Promotion Act, click here.

TLC – Events in Portugal presents DMC business model of the future

Portuguese destination management company TLC has been given an operational overhaul

Portuguese destination management company TLC has been given an operational overhaul by its MD, Diogo Assis, who believes competitors will be quick to follow suit.

Assis said: “At the end of 2009 we invested in a lot of areas that DMCs wouldn’t normally. We invested in good procurement policies, risk management, technology and corporate social responsibility. These are things which should have been done years ago.”

Assis says the developments come in reaction to the changing commercial landscape and the move towards transparency. “This all started with service level agreements,” he said. “We’ve been asked to sign them by our clients but how can we without being confident? We are now making sure suppliers are financially sound, that they have insurance in place. We evaluate suppliers from a risk management point of view as well – how would they respond if there was a possible fire or a crisis?”

Risk assessment is also extended to freelance staff who must participate in a training programme in order to be added to a preferred supplier list. “We’ve also had to invest in budget management,” says Assis. “In one year 25 per cent of our clients have changed from a price per person model to a management fee. It’s really good as it shows they trust us.”

One of the biggest areas of investment made by TLC has been €250k in technology, he adds. “We’ve designed software which means we no longer have to send big proposals by email. Clients have an access area on the website where they can view the proposal and make a virtual site inspection of each venue. We sent film crews in to all the venues, hotels and restaurants to create 30-second videos so you get a great feeling for what’s on offer. I don’t know any other DMC doing that and we’ve already had two clients say ‘we don’t need to go on site; we can make a decision based on this without spending money and time’.”

In addition, TLC has achieved carbon zero status for its own business activities, neutralising by planting trees in Lisbon and clients are given the opportunity of doing the same for their events.

Assis said: “I think the investment has already paid off; we’ve increased the ratio of confirmation. 2010 looks set to be a much better year than 2009. This first quarter we’ve contracted more than 6,000 people from the UK with a 1,500 person medical congress and couple of other big events. We’re already working with 80 per cent of big event management agencies in the UK and have just won another this month, so it looks very promising.”

Thirteen Organizations Receive Award of Excellence in First Round of AAA Awards

WASHINGTON—Thirteen organizations have been recognized with an Award of Excellence in the first round of judging for the 2010 Associations Advance America (AAA) Awards program, sponsored by ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership.

Now in its 20th year, the AAA Awards program recognizes associations and industry partners that improve the quality of life in America with innovative programs in education, skills training, standard setting, business and social innovation, knowledge creation, citizenship and community service.

Selected by a panel of peers twice per year, Award of Excellence winners of two separate judging rounds are automatically entered into consideration for the Summit Award, ASAE & The Center’s highest association honor. Summit Award winners will be honored at ASAE & The Center’s Summit Awards Dinner, September 29 in Washington, DC.

“The winners of the first round of the 2010 judging represent a diverse group of programs and initiatives from a wide range of backgrounds,” said Ping Wei, M. Ed., CAE, director of educational activities for the American Society of Civil Engineers and chair of ASAE & The Center’s Associations Advance America Committee. “That’s what I think makes this a very special program. It underlines the importance of our organizations and their work in communities throughout the country. The first round was tough with lots of excellent entries and I’m looking forward to the second round of judging of other outstanding programs.”

Any association is eligible to enter the AAA Awards. The deadline for the second round is April 23, 2010.

The following programs were honored with a 2010 AAA Award of Excellence:

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
“Community Animal Research Environment (CARE)”
Memphis, TN

American Immigration Lawyers Association
“AILA Military Assistance Program (MAP)”
Washington, DC

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
“Domestic Violence and Family Courts Project”
Madison, WI

Minnesota Grocers Association
“Minnesota’s Own”
St. Paul, MN

Napa Valley Vintners
“Adopt-A-School”
St. Helena, CA

Napa Valley Vintners
“Napa Valley Vintners 5×5 Community Promise”
St. Helena, CA

National Association of Broadcasters
“Digital Television (DTV) Transition Consumer Education Campaign”
Washington, DC

National Auto Body Council
“Recycled Rides”
Boston, MA

National Council of Teachers of English
“National Gallery of Writing/National Day on Writing”
Urbana, IL

National Shooting Sports Foundation
“Project ChildSafe”
Newtown, CT

North Dakota Farm Bureau
“Buy a Sandbag for a Buck Fund”
Havre de Grace, MD

Professional Landcare Network
“PLANET Day of Service”
Herndon, VA

South Carolina Bar
“Families Forever”
Columbia, SC

In addition to the Award of Excellence winners, 24 organizations were named to the 2010 Associations Advance America Honor Roll. For more information about ASAE & The Center’s AAA Awards, visit www.asaecenter.org/aaaawards.

About ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is a membership organization of more than 22,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 11,000 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in 50 countries around the world. The Center for Association Leadership is the premier provider of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association profession. Together, ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association community. For more information about ASAE & The Center, please visit www.asaecenter.org.

Relive the Jersey Shore at the Tropicana Casino & Resort

Blow-Outs, bumpits, tanning and more all part of a fun weekend “situation”

Atlantic City, NJ (February 2010) –The Tropicana Casino & Resort, site of episode 7 of the hot MTV reality show, Jersey Shore, calls all fans to experience the phenomenon live and in-person. The “Jersey Shore package” offers guests the chance to recreate the high-energy nightlife fun that Ronnie, Sammi Sweetheart, Pauly D, Snooki, J-WOWW, Vinny and the Situation had when they visited The Tropicana during season one.

The “Jersey Shore Package” features overnight accommodations; one dinner at Il Verdi, the resort’s gourmet Italian restaurant; and breakfast at Seaside Café. Also included is a gift certificate to the Tropicana Salon, good for a “Jersey Shore Do” – for girls, guidette poufs with bumpits and for guys a guido “blow-out” ala Pauly D. A room service basket stocked with Itlalian delights, including Prosciutto, Soppresata, Bread Sticks, Roasted Red Peppers, Artichoke Hearts, Biscotti, assorted candy, nougat, Fontinella chesses, grapes, and sliced Italian bread, prepares guests to “fist pump” the night away with VIP admission to Providence nightclub and complimentary IN Cards which give access to nightclubs, food and beverage and parking discounts and more.

Package prices start at $878 per night based on double occupancy in a standard room. Guests who want the “VIG” (Very Important Guido) Jersey Shore experience can book the actual suite where cast members stayed by purchasing the Deluxe package starting at $4,230 per night for Thursday through Saturday night, priced for four people. Both packages are offered beginning February 22 through June 26, 2010, certain date restrictions apply.

The Tropicana understands the importance of a proper “GTL” (gym, tan, laundry) routine before heading out on the town—the fitness center will be open daily and guests will be able to use the hotel’s laundry services for a nominal fee, plus pick up your tanning products at bluemercury apothecary and resort spa. Before heading home, guests can take advantage of a photo op via the life size cut-out of the Jersey Shore cast displayed in The Quarter.

“Let’s face it, the Jersey Shore reality show is a hot topic,” said Mark Giannantonio, Tropicana President and Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve received so many requests for the Jersey Shore suite since the episode at The Tropicana aired, we were inspired to recreate the fun with this package and help our guests enjoy a whole new energy here at the hotel.”
Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-345-8767.

The Tropicana Casino & Resort is a 24-hour gaming destination located on the beach and Boardwalk. Featuring more than 2,100 rooms and suites and home of The Quarter, a 200,000 square foot entertainment complex, Tropicana is the premier resort in Atlantic City. With more than 20 restaurants, 25 shops, 12 bars and lounges, 2 pools, an IMAX Theatre and a spa, Tropicana is consistently rated as the “Must-See Attraction” in Atlantic City. For more information, visit the new official Web site at www.tropicana.net.

For more exclusive discounts, current information, pictures, and video, be sure to check out the Tropicana on the Web at www.facebook.com/TropAC or follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/TropicanaAC.

AH&LA Releases Six Strategies for Doing More with Less

Washington, February 2010 – AH&LA has released its official guidelines for Doing More with Less in 2010 to assist hoteliers in rebounding after last year’s challenging business climate. This strategic campaign identifies six key areas where hoteliers can easily reduce costs and maximize revenue with little or no investment. Building off of last year’s award-winning 10 Things You Should do to Protect Your Bottomline, this informative campaign provides best practices, tips, case studies, and more.

Areas of focus range from using green to get green to preventing anti-social media to incorporating free customer service practices. Here’s a sample of suggested tactics:

• Use an opt-out approach to linen and towel reuse (can save a 250-room hotel more than $15,000 per year)

• Pay attention to breakfast – it’s the third most common word referenced on travel review sites

• Utilize services such as TweetDeck and TweetBeep to automatically alert you when someone Tweets about your brand

“If 2009 was about cost-cutting, we believe 2010 is about enhancing,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joseph McInerney. “The beauty of this campaign is that it works with what you already have to strengthen your property’s performance.”

In addition to ads highlighting the six areas of focus appearing in Hotel Business and Hotel/Motel Management, an expanded Website portal, www.ahla.com/more, will be continually added to throughout the year. Hoteliers are encouraged to submit their own tips and best practices to Netanya Stutz at nstutz@ahla.com. For inquiries about joining AH&LA, please contact the association at membership@ahla.com or (202) 289-3100.

Venue development In Dubai

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) recently opened its new, state-of-the-art extension – the Sheikh Saeed Halls this October 2009, hosting Gitex Technology Week 2009 and giving the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) a total of one million square feet of covered exhibition space.

Consisting of four inter-connected halls adjacent to existing Halls 1 through 4 of DICEC, the extension includes the Middle East’s largest indoor multi-purpose hall – the Trade Centre Arena. With 14 metre high ceilings and more than 9,000 square metres of covered exhibition space equivalent to 34 regulation size tennis courts, the Arena has the capacity to host events including weddings, official sporting and athletic competitions as well as concerts for more than 10,000 guests in an enclosed air conditioned, state-of-the-art venue.

Adjacent to the Sheikh Saeed Halls is the Trade Centre Plaza, which is scheduled for completion by the end of December 2009. This will be the gateway to the Dubai World Trade Centre District, featuring shops, restaurants and coffee shops, temporary open exhibits and shaded areas, with nearby access to the new Metro.

Commenting on the new Sheikh Saeed Halls, Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre, said: “The completion of our new extension marks a huge milestone for DWTC and takes us one step farther to achieving our goal of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading events destination. With the creation of the new Trade Centre Arena, we are now extremely proud to house the UAE’s largest indoor events arena and look forward to showcasing a wide variety of events at our venue.”

The completion of the new halls marks a significant milestone in the ongoing Dubai Trade Centre District development, encompassing the current exhibition centre and surrounding areas and stretching along Sheikh Zayed Road to Emirates Towers. When complete, it will become a new business quarter at the epicenter of Dubai, offering premium office space, retail and lifestyle outlets and a range of luxury and business hotels, all set in open terraces and tree-lined promenades. The commercial office component of the Dubai Trade Centre District project is underway and currently scheduled to come on stream early in 2011.

Paragon Casino Resort Announces Results of 2009 Holiday Community Service Programs

Marksville, LA – Paragon Casino Resort announced today the results from several community service programs the property sponsors annually. The Coats for Kids drive and Slots for Tots tournament were held at the property from October – December 2009. The resort also sponsored a community food drive with KALB Channel 5 in the Avoyelles and Rapides Parish schools.

The Coats for Kids program collected 450 gently used coats from guests and employees. The coats were dry cleaned compliments of Peerless Dry Cleaners and were distributed to underprivileged families in the parish by the Avoyelles Council on Aging. Throughout the years of hosting this event, over 2,000 coats have been distributed to families in this area.

The Slots for Tots Tournament was held the week of Thanksgiving – customers donated a new toy for entry into the slot tournament. This year, 350 new toys were collected and were distributed to Hope House Women/Children’s Homeless Shelter, Pillows of Hope, and several foster children programs in Louisiana.

The Christmas Cheer Food Drive collected more than 87,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Central Louisiana. The leading contributors in Rapides Parish were Phoenix Magnet Elementary School, Brame Junior High School, and Alexandria Senior High School. In Avoyelles Parish, the winners were Plaucheville Elementary School and Avoyelles High School.

“We are proud to support the community by sponsoring events such as these and encourage others to participate in a cost-effective way for them. When we come together as a community we are able to make a bigger impact and improve the quality of life in our parishes,” commented Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Chairman, Earl J. Barbry, Sr.

For more information about Paragon Casino Resort, please visit www.paragoncasinoresort.com. Additional press releases are available in the “About Us” section of the website, including upcoming events.

About Paragon Casino Resort
Paragon Casino Resort, the Pearl of Louisiana, is the only casino resort destination in Central Louisiana. Paragon has been attracting gamers from across the country for 15 years. Paragon features an impressive lineup of luxury amenities and attractions including a new luxury hotel tower; Spa La Vie, a full-service spa and salon; an indoor tropical pool with swim-up bar; a soaring retail atrium with “living” bayou; and three movie theatres. The new Paragon Convention Center features a Showroom, Grand Hall and Ballroom. Paragon’s Marketplace Buffet is Louisiana’s largest buffet, with 550 seats and live-action stations.

Additionally, Paragon features a 59,754-square-foot gaming floor offering approximately 2,200 slot machines with Las Vegas odds, 46 table games, including Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, various poker games, as well as a nine-table poker room. Other attractions include a 531-room hotel, five restaurants, a full-service RV resort, and the newly renovated Kids Quest child care activity center. The luxurious OTB adjacent to Roxy’s is open to the delight of racetrack enthusiasts. LA 1 Market was recently completed. It features a wide range of Louisiana products from art to cookbooks. The Pelican Stage in Big Daddy E’s restaurant features live music for dining pleasure.

Paragon Casino Resort is located on Highway 1 in Marksville, La. The casino is owned and operated by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.paragoncasinoresort.com.

IMEX America increases hosted buyer programme to 2000

Strong demand from US and international associations, hotel groups and agencies to bring their top buyers to IMEX America when it launches in October 2011 has led organisers, the IMEX Group, to announce an increase in expected hosted buyer numbers. The announcement comes just four months after the show was launched.

Today [22 February 2010] Chairman, Ray Bloom, announced that 2000 qualified buyers will now be hosted to the new Las Vegas trade show for the meetings, incentive travel and events industry – an increase of just over 30 percent on the figure announced at launch. 80% of these buyers will come from North America, with the balance attending from around the world.

Says Bloom: “Our previous figures were confident but conservative. Recent discussions with our partners and other new business alliances make it clear that that there is pent-up demand. I’m confident we will see 2000 hosted buyers at IMEX America – an increase of more than 30 percent on our previous announcement. As mentioned before, the IMEX hosted buyer program is set to be the largest of its kind for any such US trade show and unique in this regard.”

IMEX America is set to follow a completely different model to any other trade show of its kind in the US due to the scale of the hosted program. Qualification for places on the program will follow the strict guidelines that have been used to build the authority and credibility of IMEX in Frankfurt. The program will bring top quality association, corporate and agency buyers from every corner of the meetings and events industry onto the show floor to do business with exhibitors. In addition, according to the ‘IMEX model’ they will spend longer periods of time on the show floor meeting exhibitors compared to non-hosted trade visitors.

As Bloom explains, “IMEX puts extremely high levels of effort and detail into making sure that only buyers who are active, serious and proven to place business attend as our hosted buyer guests. We already have some excellent partnerships with intermediaries who are similarly committed to these high standards and to driving serious business at the show. Together we place the strongest emphasis possible on getting this aspect of IMEX America absolutely right from the start. This is what our exhibitors expect and this is why IMEX has an unparalleled reputation. MPI, Site, PCMA and ASAE are just some of the most important organizations we will work with in the US to drive buyer attendance. They know and understand our unique model and are highly committed to it. Other US and international partnerships will be announced shortly.”

Bloom sums up: “Although the first IMEX America is over a year away, we have a very clear vision of what success will look like for our exhibitors, hosted buyers and trade visitors and we have a clear plan for bringing that vision to life at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas October 2011.”

Future dates for IMEX America are also now confirmed as 9 – 11 October 2012 and 15 – 17 October 2013.
Exhibitors and buyers can register their interest in IMEX America at http://www.imex-america.com/users_prereg_interest.php.

Orlando Airport Hotel Package Gives Business Travelers a Boost

Finding convenient accommodations in Orlando Florida always makes business travel easier, but the Orlando Airport Marriott has established a special getaway package deal for corporate travelers that will provide them with everything needed for a perfectly productive stay in Orlando. Whether establishing a business meeting or just spending some time in-between meetings, hotel deals near Orlando Airport are a great way to be comfortable while keeping business travel affordable.

The “Give Business a Boost” package offered by the Marriott’s Orlando airport hotel is designed to provide business travelers with the amenities they need to be successful and productive while staying in Orlando. Taking care of business will be easy from a hotel that was designed with corporate guests in mind, and with an Orlando, FL airport hotel deal, executive guests have everything they need for a perfectly productive stay including a convenient location near Orlando International Airport (MCO). The “Give Business a Boost” Orlando getaway package includes deluxe hotel accommodations with one king or two double beds, a breakfast buffet for one daily, complimentary “Wired for Business” package, which includes high-speed Internet access, unlimited local phone calls and unlimited long distance phone calls within the United States. Rates for this promotion start at just $129 and range up to $259, and are valid through May 31, 2010.

With an on-site, full-service business center, executive travelers will find every amenity they need to conduct business as usual from the Orlando Airport Marriott. Copy, fax and messenger service are all available, as well as overnight delivery/pickup and parcel post. Guest rooms feature plug-in technology for personal electronics along with an ergonomic workstation. When it’s time to relax, cable/satellite channels are available along with premium movie channels and pay-per-view movies. Soundproof windows and the Marriott’s renowned premium bedding packages, which include luxurious down comforters, pillows and designer duvets will allow business travelers every opportunity for a good night’s sleep. Just outside their hotel room, guests will find two hotel restaurants, including the popular Porterhouse offering tantalizing steaks grilled to perfection, an on-site fitness center featuring state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment and an indoor/outdoor connecting swimming pool.

When making online reservations for the “Give Business a Boost” Orlando airport hotel deal, travelers may visit the hotel’s website at http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-deals/mcoap-orlando-airport-marriott/ and be sure the promotional code BP6 appears in the corporate/promotional code box or call 1-800-228-9290 to make telephone reservations in the United States and ask for promotional code BP6. This offer is valid seven days a week through May 31, 2010; however there are only a limited number of rooms available. Tax is additional. This offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms and may not be combined with any other promotion. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. Advance reservation is required and rates are per room, per night and based on availability at the time of reservation.

Cititravel Spain Recognized

For the 7th year in succession, Cititravel Spain has been recognized by Meetings and Incentive Travel (M&IT). M&IT Awards bring together various sectors of the business to reward excellence in service and product. Public voting provides an accurate reflection of
the service provided by the winning and short-listed organizations.

Karen Jessen, a principal in Cititravel, expressed her appreciation of this recent
development: “We are honored to be recognized yet again by one of the industry’s most
respected publications. Over the last seven years we have been awarded three golds, one
silver and one bronze…and we believe that this reflects the level of service and expertise
which we continue to offer to our clients and their guests.”

Cititravel’s reputation as the leading DMC in Spain has been further validated by once
again reaching the finals for this award. Winners will be announced in London on
February 22nd.
Since 1998, Cititravel has been represented in North America by World Marketing Group
(WMG), located in Minneapolis, MN. Jane Schuldt, President WMG, is delighted with
the continued accolades Cititravel is receiving.

The consistency of Cititravel’s award nominations has been matched by their
uninterrupted investment in, and support of, the North American market. Ms. Schuldt
stated “Consistency is key to success in our market, and loyalty is highly valued. We have
been fortunate to have a client like Cititravel who recognizes this—and are proud to have
represented them in the North American market for the past 12 years. Their ongoing
dedication to service excellence, creativity and innovation has validated their position as
the leading DMC in Spain.”

Headquartered in Malaga, Cititravel also has wholly-owned and operated offices in
Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Tenerife and Mallorca. They have been serving
inbound incentives, conferences and meetings on the Spanish mainland and Balearic
Islands for the past 25 years. The country is renowned for a remarkable array of scenery,
culture, activities and cuisine, and continues to offer visitors exceptional value.