Monthly Archives: May 2012

Strawbale Winery Kicks Off Summer Events in Sioux Falls

Renner, SD – Strawbale Winery is pleased to announce Summer Porch Series is back! This relaxing summer event will be held every Thursday night from 5-8pm May 24 continuing through August 30. Those who attend the event will enjoy music, food vendors, local artists and wine.

Also on the calendar this year will be Strawbale Winery’s Sangria Sundays. Enjoy live music every Sunday from 1-4pm May 27 through August 28. Attendees are invited to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the farm setting while sipping wine and sangrias.

Event admission is $5 per carload. For more information, visit our event calendar on our website at to check out food vendors and artists.

The National Conference Center Weighs in on GSA Issue

NCC Awarded First GSA Schedule Conference Center

LEESBURG, VA. – The National Conference Center (NCC), one of the largest and most comprehensive conference centers in the country, annually hosts thousands of government departments and agencies for their training meetings.

“Our government meetings team at NCC works tirelessly with government meetings managers, planners and contracting officers in the federal government to streamline and cut meeting budgets, making sure dollars are spent most efficiently and effectively,” explained NCC General Manager Kurt Krause. “Also, most of these agencies are located within close proximity to our facility, helping to further reduce travel expenses.”

“While we hope that those individuals and organizations that played a role in the recent GSA scandal are brought to justice, we also hope that there aren’t penalties from this for the many government entities that play by the rules,” Krause continued. Congress’s recent vote to freeze travel spending is just one unfortunate reaction to this incident that will harm the meetings industry and cost America’s hospitality workers hours and, likely, jobs.

NCC recognizes that to be effective, companies, corporations and organizations require regular training, conferences and seminars to keep abreast of fast moving technology, rules and regulations and to help develop effective leadership skills. The federal government is no different. While some may see leadership development as an extra and potentially unnecessary expense, it actually does save money in the long run by eliminating wasted employee time in trying to understand processes and procedures. Cutting that training is short-sighted and results in poorly run organizations. In addition, much of the training hosted at NCC is with departments and agencies charged with making our country and communities a safer place for Americans.

The government’s reaction to the recent GSA scandal has inflicted draconian measures that severely limit training and leadership development, resulting in a negative financial effect on hotels and conference centers, particularly with hourly employees.
In essence, “government training has been put in a state of suspension,” says Eric Whitson, Director of Sales & Marketing at NCC where more than 150 hourly employees are likely to feel the effects of limited hours from canceled or shortened government training meetings, prolonging an economy still mired in uncertainty. According to Whitson, “the ripple effect of this government initiative imposes a dramatic setback for the industry that was just beginning to emerge.”

NCC has had their own struggles with GSA in initially setting up a designation for conference centers on the GSA Schedule. Given the fact that NCC hosts so many government departments and agencies, this designation was significant—providing government planners a one-stop, cost-effective, planning option for planning and booking meetings and training.

“The GSA just needs someone to be able to evaluate and implement efficiencies and oversight.” Krause added. “Our greatest fear now is that, instead of setting up oversight and review, the government will overreact and punish the many government employees who carefully follow the rules in planning meetings and training, which is what’s happening with the congressional vote this week.”

The NCC GSA meeting package includes a General Session Room; breakouts to accommodate group; storage space before and after the meeting; registration desk; basic audio-visual package in general session including projector and screen; basic AV package in breakout room; pens, pads and candy at each station; two flipcharts with paper and markers; overnight accommodations; three buffet-style meals in guest dining; continuous beverage and snack breaks; complimentary internet access in guest room; free parking and use of fitness center, all for the valued added price of $169.00 per person, per night. Which is established based on the GSA per diem allowance in Loudoun County, Va. NCC offers flexible meeting space for groups of 4 up to 1800 and is located on 100 safe acres just 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 35 miles from Washington, D.C.

NCC received a Multiple Award Schedule Contract Number GS-33F-0005W awarded effective November 18, 2009 for conference center services (under SIN 599 99, Introduction to New Services/Products). The contract is good for one five-year basic contract period through November 17, 2014 and three five-year Evergreen option periods.

For more information, visit or call 877-363-3108

The National Conference Center (NCC), located in Northern Virginia 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 35 miles from Washington, D.C., is one of the largest and most comprehensive conference centers in the nation. With 917 guest rooms and over 250,000 square feet of meeting space, NCC has become a hub for productive meetings and is on the GSA schedule. NCC is also home to West Belmont Place, Northern Virginia’s largest ballroom with 16,500 square feet for holding an elegant wedding or accommodating a large trade show or special event. For information call 800-640-2684 or visit, or
The National Conference Center is managed by ARAMARK Conference Centers. ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. In FORTUNE magazine’s 2009 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies,” ARAMARK was ranked number one in its industry, consistently ranking since 1998 as one of the top three most admired companies in its industry as evaluated by peers and analysts. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 260,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at the company’s Web site,

How You Can Help on Federal Meeting Restrictions

Thank you to everyone who signed our 2,000+ signature letter to Capitol Hill and who have actively shared their stories and examples on the harm the provisions restricting federal meeting attendance would have on their organization. However, we still need your help to make a difference on this issue.
Since we sent the letter to Capitol Hill, ASAE, the U.S. Travel Association, and other associations have been visiting key Congressional offices to explain what the provisions mean and how it harms our meetings and conferences. Many offices understand our explanations, but misunderstood what the provisions said when the amendment passed very quickly prior to the Congressional recess. We are concerned that Congress could act and pass these provisions without understanding the implications, and so we need to conduct a major educational effort on what the provisions mean and why they need to be amended.

Here is how you can help:

1. Using our template, send a personalized message to your members of Congress educating them on the provisions and what it would mean to your association.

2. If your organization works with members of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee AND/OR the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, contact us to coordinate meeting with or contacting those offices to ensure these committees of jurisdiction understand the issue.

3. Send your stories, anecdotes, and examples of how these provisions would impact your organization to ASAE will be posting these examples on its Power of A site to give members of Congress a place to visit and see the real-life implications of this policy.

4. If your organization would like to conduct Hill visits on this issue, contact us and we will help with arrangements and information.

If you have any questions, contact us at 202.626.2703 or, and thank you for your support on this important issue.

AIBTM To Take Place On The Heels of The Star-Spangled Sailabration Event in Baltimore

AIBTM Follows Dozens of International Ships Anchoring Where “The Star-Spangled Banner” Was Penned, Launching the National Bicentennial of The War Of 1812

The Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition (, Reed Travel Exhibitions’ premier provider for the U.S. meetings, incentive, business travel and events industry, will begin at the conclusion of the Star-Spangled Sailabration in Baltimore. The three-day networking event, held June 19th – 21st at the Baltimore Convention Centre will feature a full day of education, followed by two days of exhibitions.

Baltimore will welcome an international parade of tall ships and Navy warships that will anchor, launching the national Bicentennial of the War of 1812 on June 13th. The Star-Spangled Sailabration features seven days of free entertainment, lasting until the start of AIBTM, including ship tours, a Blue Angels air show, patriotic fireworks, memorial ceremonies and much more. With more than three dozen ships hailing from around the world, vessels will offer free, daily tours from June 14th-18th.

AIBTM 2012, will feature AIBTM Education Day, comprised of a series of conferences, forums and workshops in conjunction with AIBTM’s Association partners, including the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), the Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI).

The Hosted Buyer programme is a highlight of the show, where qualified AIBTM Hosted Buyers will have the opportunity to pre-schedule appointments with exhibitors of their choice, receive complimentary travel and accommodation, attend exclusive Hosted Buyer networking events, participate in pre-show and post-show city tours and enjoy other VIP benefits. There is expected to be 20,000 pre-scheduled, on-site appointments, with a mix of new and returning buyers.

“We are so excited to be coming to Baltimore as these amazing festivities and cultural celebration have been affecting the area,” said Jaime Rosov, Marketing Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions. “It is an amazing opportunity to visit Baltimore for the Star-Spangled Sailabration and stay for AIBTM. Not only will individuals be able to get a true taste of the city but they will experience all that AIBTM has to offer.”

“As the city of Baltimore, we are thrilled to be hosting these two large scale events,” said Sara Warfield, Director of Public Relations, Visit Baltimore. “From our Inner Harbour, offering breath-taking views of the city, dining, cultural experiences and exciting nightlife, to our historical neighborhoods, AIBTM is a great time to explore the city.”

Additional features of AIBTM include a street themed Visit Baltimore Welcome Party at the Power Plant Live near the famed inner harbour for all visitors and exhibitors, networking events, Future Events Experience Area, a “Show Your Badge” Programme resulting in discounts at local restaurants, and so much more.

For more information about ways to attend AIBTM please visit You can apply for the Hosted Buyer attendance option by filling out the registration form – Hosted Buyer Registration. Alternatively you can choose the Flexible Choice Option and attend as a Trade Buyer which will permit you access to all education, business and networking opportunities which will take place over the course of the show – Trade Buyer Registration.

AIBTM takes place from 19th June – 21st June, 2012.
Join AIBTM on Linked in, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

50 Fun & Free Summer Activities in San Diego

Having fun during the summer in San Diego doesn’t require a lot of money. In fact, many things to see and enjoy in San Diego are absolutely free. With 70 miles of beautiful beaches, near-perfect weather and a variety of summer street fairs, concerts and arts and cultural events, San Diego offers a fun and inexpensive summer getaway.

Following is a list of 50 fun and free activities that guests can enjoy during San Diego’s summer months:

1. Put on your bathing suit, grab your towel and head to one of San Diego’s 33 beaches, all open to the public, and perfect for body surfing, boogie boarding, building sandcastles, collecting seashells and basking in the sun.

2. Bring a picnic and listen to Coronado’s Summer Concert Series in Spreckels Park on Sunday evenings throughout the summer. On the first and third Sundays of the month, come early and browse the work of San Diego artists during the Coronado Art Association’s bi-monthly Art-In-The-Park event.

3. Soak up the international flavor at the House of Pacific Relations in Balboa Park during the free International Cottages’ Lawn Programs. A summer-long event, a different country is celebrated each Sunday through ethnic foods, songs and dance.

4. Head to the historic Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside on June 9 – 10 for the Annual Inter-Tribal Pow Wow. Hosted by the San Luis Rey Luiseno Mission Indians, this event draws tribal members from all over the United States for contest dancing, Native American arts and crafts, games and food.

5. Catch a magnificent Pacific sunset and watch sea lions play along the shoreline at La Jolla Cove, one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world.

6. Visit Seaport Village on weekends for free entertainment and hours of leisurely strolling and window shopping. Guests can also walk along the bay-front or sit in the grass and gaze at passing yachts and ships along picturesque San Diego Bay.

7. Listen to live bands lined along the 26.2-mile route of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on June 3. The course begins in Balboa Park, runs through various popular locations around the city and ends at SeaWorld San Diego. Visitors can also stop by the marathon’s free Health and Fitness Expo on June 1−2 at the San Diego Convention Center.

8. Stroll through the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. Once the stomping grounds of the legendary Wyatt Earp, the Gaslamp Quarter is now home to unique stores and numerous restaurants, nightclubs and bars, many of which are set in turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture.

9. Check out the La Mesa Car Show along La Mesa Boulevard in the village of La Mesa every Thursday night during June through August. In addition to vintage cars on display, guests can enjoy shopping, dining and live music.

10. Take free fly-fishing lessons from the San Diego Fly Fishers club on Sunday mornings during 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Lake Murray, located in La Mesa. If you don’t have your own gear, arrive early for a free equipment loan.

11. Sample some of the more than 200 varieties of fresh produce grown in San Diego at one of the region’s many Farmer’s Markets, held daily at locations throughout the county.
12. Enjoy free organ concerts during the Annual International Summer Organ Festival at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Concerts are held on Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. during June 25 – August 27.

13. Bike, walk or jog along Mission Bay Park’s many trails. Bikers, walkers and joggers share more than 20 miles of scenic paths winding through sunlight and shade near the shoreline with workout courses at planned stations along the route.

14. Attend the 33rd Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off on June 23, featuring more than 200 vendors, local artists, food, a children’s area and entertainment on five stages.

15. Rollerblade, skateboard, bicycle or people watch along the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach Boardwalk, a scenic three-mile boardwalk running along the coastline of these lively neighborhoods.

16. Stargaze on the first Wednesday of every month from the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park during “Gazin’ with the Experts.” Members of the San Diego Astronomy Association set up huge telescopes and offer guests a great view of the moon, planets and brighter stars.

17. Join the festivities at San Diego’s many Fourth of July celebrations, held in numerous communities throughout the county. Coronado’s popular Independence Day Celebration on July 4 features a two-hour parade followed by a family concert in Spreckels Park and spectacular fireworks over Glorietta Bay. The Port of San Diego celebrates with the Big Bay Boom fireworks extravaganza over San Diego Bay, the largest fireworks display in the county.

18. Take a scenic drive to Mt. Laguna to hike, bike or picnic while enjoying the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines.

19. Hike the trails of Torrey Pines State Reserve and see the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, a number of animal species and miles of unspoiled beaches below.

20. Visit Mission Trails Regional Park featuring a state-of-the-art Visitors Center where guests explore and learn about the wonders of nature and the native people who once lived on the land. The park also offers over 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
21. Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego’s shores to see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Shores and Cove offer some of the clearest waters on the California coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserve to explore.

22. Watch the 57th Annual World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament, San Diego’s original boisterous beach softball event, during July 14 – 15 and July 21 – 22 at Fiesta Island on Mission Bay.

23. Walk along the downtown Embarcadero and view impressive public art sculptures, tributes and memorials set along San Diego Bay. The artworks celebrate San Diego’s international ties, cultural diversity, military significance and unique oceanfront environment.

24. Join San Diegans in a local natural phenomenon, the grunion run, on warm summer nights when the tide is high and the moon is full. Guests can witness thousands of small grunion fish swimming ashore to mate and bury their eggs in the sand before riding the waves back out to sea.

25. Watch tail-waggin’, Frisbee-catchin’ and stick-fetchin’ dogs splash in the surf. Man’s best friend is permitted to roam leash-free at all hours of the day on designated beaches in Ocean Beach, Coronado and Del Mar.

26. Join the festivities of the Annual San Diego Pride Celebration, one of the most popular events of its kind in the country. Free festivities include a mile-long parade through Hillcrest on July 21, beginning at 11 a.m.

27. Celebrate the discovery of gold in the East County mountain community of Julian during the Julian Gold Rush Days, June 9-10, beginning at 10 a.m. The weekend includes gold panning, gold mine tours, face painting, historic skits and more.

28. Check out the local craft beer scene during free, daily brewery tours at Stone Brewing Company in Escondido. Beer lovers can go behind the scenes and sample several microbrews from one of the world’s top breweries.

29. Hang 10 at the California Surf Museum, which houses a permanent collection of historic boards, photographs and videos on Highway 101 in Oceanside. During free admission day on Tuesdays, visitors can explore its colorful and educational display on the sport of surfing and the legends who braved the waters over generations.

30. Take a walk through Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the United States, and discover its beautiful Spanish Colonial-Revival architecture and glorious gardens. Also, visitors can take advantage of the Park’s variety of other free offerings, including ranger-led walking tours at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Sundays.

31. Dance along Fifth Avenue during the annual Hillcrest Cityfest Street Fair on August 12 featuring crafts, food booths, three entertainment stages and beer gardens.

32. Gather friends, family and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of San Diego County’s bonfire-friendly beaches, located in Coronado, Ocean Beach, Oceanside, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

33. Go on a self-guided walking tour of The Stuart Collection, a display of contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla. Tour maps are available at the Gilman Drive campus entrance.

34. Spend the afternoon at Tidelands Park in Coronado. The park’s 22 bayfront acres feature four baseball fields, a playground, skatepark, picnic tables, small beach with an exercise course, boat access, fishing pier and bike and pedestrian paths.

35. Explore the clear shallow tidepools of La Jolla Cove and Point Loma when the tide is low and the pools are teeming with aquatic life.

36. Visit Julian in San Diego’s East County and enjoy this quaint, historic mining town that grew into San Diego County’s second largest urban center during the Southern California gold rush of 1869.

37. Take a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, home of the Mt. Soledad Veterans War Memorial, for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego. Spectacular views also await at the top of Mt. Helix in La Mesa, offering visitors a birds-eye glimpse of San Diego’s East County communities.;

38. Experience the history of the local Hispanic community’s struggles and triumphs with a visit to the Chicano Park Murals, established by activists in 1970. This cultural park has received international recognition as a major public art site for its commanding mural paintings set underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Some of the murals narrate the history of Barrio Logan where the park is located.

39. Take in the action as fun-loving canines brave the waves during the 7th Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition on June 16 in Imperial Beach.

40. Witness the living legacy of California’s birthplace in Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego’s first “downtown.” The six-block park features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, restaurants, museums and several carefully preserved or restored adobe and wooden buildings.

41. Visit the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the nation’s first warm-weather, year-round Olympic training facility, located in Chula Vista. Free guided tours of the 150-acre lakefront facility are offered at 11 a.m. on Saturday; tours begin at the Copley Visitor Center. Self-guided tours are also available 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Mondays – Saturdays.

42. Take advantage of San Diego’s warm summer nights and enjoy a number of free summer concerts held throughout the county.

43. Explore the mediation gardens of the Self-Realization Fellowship Ashram Center in Encinitas. It is here that Paramahansa Yogananda, one of the preeminent spiritual figures of our time, wrote his Autobiography of a Yogi. The meditation gardens are open to the public 12 p.m.- 4 p.m., Tuesdays – Sundays.

44. Walk 1,942 feet along the Oceanside Municipal Pier, the longest wooden pier on the U.S. West Coast; the pier is a perfect setting for fishing, walking and wave watching.
45. Browse through the Ocean Beach Antique District, located along Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, offering the largest concentration of antique and collectible dealers in San Diego County. Here, guests can find one-of-a-kind antiques, mid-century modern furniture, fine estate sale items, vintage jewelry and specialty memorabilia.

46. Listen to the rhythmic sounds of jazz during the TGIF Jazz in the Parks concert series in Carlsbad. Concerts take place at Stagecoach Community Park, Poinsettia Community Park and Calavera Hills Community Park during June through August.

47. Celebrate summer with art, food and music during the Fiesta Del Sol summer music festival, June 2-3, at Fletcher Cove Park in Solana Beach. Guests can enjoy live performances, an international food court, beer garden and activities for the kids.

48. Walk along the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad and look for birds, insects, plants, fish and animals in one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the Southern California coast. The nature reserve is open 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Mondays – Fridays, and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.

49. Have fun during the Festival of Bells, July 13 – 15, the anniversary celebration of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first of California’s 21 missions. Guests can celebrate the beginning of Christianity in the western United States with food, entertainment, dance and traditional activities like the blessing of the bells.

50. Experience the monthly Ray at Night art walk in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, featuring art, live music and fresh food. Guests can stroll through 15 galleries and business venues displaying new and current works by local and nationally known artists. The event is held from 6-10 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month.

Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website at

IMEX America Wins Best International Launch Award

Organizers of worldwide meetings, incentive travel and events trade show, IMEX America, came away from the Exhibition News Awards in London last Thursday proud winners of the Best International Launch Award.

Explaining why IMEX America triumphed over some stiff competition, the judging panel summarized their decision as: “IMEX America ‘nailed it’ as a show concept. It was a clear winner in terms of development of the brand and its success with its chosen industry – as well as against its competitors.”

Judges declared this year’s competition “incredibly tough” and said “competition across our 20 categories this year, including 10 company and 10 people awards, reflected the diversity and significant achievements made in the past year.” The judging panel comprised organizers, venue and supplier representatives.

The Awards, which are run annually by Mash Media, publishers of magazines and directories for the event, exhibition, meetings and conference sectors, saw 850 guests gathered for dinner and presentations in the newly renovated West Hall at London’s Olympia.

The Best International Launch category was new for 2012 and intended to recognize the achievement of one UK-based organizer who successfully launched an existing brand or new product in a market outside of the UK.

IMEX America debuted on October 11, 2011, at the Venetian Palazzo/Sands Expo in Las Vegas. It combined a three day trade show with one day dedicated to professional education – Smart Monday – immediately prior to opening. An exit survey of IMEX America hosted buyers revealed that total orders placed onsite amounted to $281 million with an expected $1.9 billion worth of orders to be placed with exhibitors in the nine months that followed.

Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group said, “We are honored to have been voted as the Best International Launch Exhibition at the Exhibition News Awards. We would like to thank our industry colleagues from across the world for helping to ensure that our inaugural show was so successful. We are looking forward to building on this success for 2012 and beyond.”

The other finalists in the Best International Launch Award category were: Aidex – Centaur Exhibitions; Grand Designs Live Australia – Media 10 and Diversified Exhibitions Australia; IFSEC Arabia and OSH Expo Arabia – UBM; IFSEC West Africa – UBM Montgomery and Occupational Safety and Health Expo Africa – UBM Montgomery.

The National Conference Center Reveals Five Secrets to Knock-Your-Socks-Off Events

(Leesburg, VA) – May 2012 — The National Conference Center has unveiled five secrets to knock the socks off your meeting attendees. According to Eric Whitson, Director of Sales & Marketing at The National Conference Center, “we all have that potential to deliver ‘knock- your-socks-off’ events; it’s a matter of knowing how and having the right tools and elements to make it happen!” While it is important to know how to execute the details, Whitson says “it’s even more significant to add modern meeting elements to activate and move your attendees.”

With the increased demand for face-to-face meetings and interactions, having the right conference tools and elements can help transform your event into one that attendees want to and need to travel to each year. Citing noted industry experts, The National Conference Center exposes five elements that can help you create a conference that engages the audience and creates word-of-mouth marketing from their mind-opening experience.

Design engaged learning environments
Develop a deeper understanding for what supports an active learning en¬vironment. Dr. Lennie Scott-Webber, who researches design in the academic community, spends her time overseeing research for the development of Steelcase design products in education facilities. She defines active learning as a huge paradigm shift from passive learning in the past 15 years. Scott-Webber is an advocate of peer conferences and active learning environments, where she says each “student” is able to develop the content by working in groups and migrate with their feet to what’s of interest to them. At conferences, Scott- Webber explains, “People want to be engaged in learning and to be able to tell their ‘boss’ what they learned. Millennial and Genera¬tion Y aren’t willing to come into a [school or conference] classroom where it’s ‘chalk and talk’…” As a result, this is forcing the academic and confer¬ence community to do something different.

Have longer conference breaks and ample space
Tom Condon, who specializes in designing meeting experiences for Steelcase, the world’s largest office environments manufacturer, explains, “People want to connect to speakers or other colleagues at a conference. Conference organizers are listening and reacting by creating more opportunities for engagement.” For example, conference innovators are creating longer lunch breaks, building space where individuals can hang out and a designated lounge area with time-slots for attendees to have conversations with presenters, all of which promote face time and one-on-one interaction.

Pair Gen Y with Baby Boomers
According to Jeff Hurt, Vice President of Education and Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw, there are significant differences in training experiences between Generation Y and Baby Boomers late to adopt technology. He explains, “Technology is a part of the training experience and Baby Boomers that refuse to adapt technology are not utilizing training tools at their disposal. However, the perfect mix for train¬ing is to pair Generation Y with Baby Boomers.” Studies re¬veal that Generation Y enjoys being in the company of Baby Boomers to ask questions and learn about their past experiences, while Baby Boomers love coaching and men¬toring. To build upon the ideal pair, Jeff adds, “Generation Y can offer Baby Boomers technology insight; this becomes peer-knowledge sharing, which is highly rated.

Put an end to mediocre hybrid events by catering to your virtual audience
Hybrid technol¬ogy is the ability for users to watch and receive content from a confer-ence without physically attending. Typically, an emcee will moderate the virtual experience. For example, at Event Camp Europe 2011 in London, the organizers established remote pods in Poland, Sweden and Amsterdam and had up to ten participants at each pod; plus, there were Google+ Hangouts where 20 additional people participated in the conference. For the remote au¬dience, the organizers had a mod¬erator to emcee, provide specific content and field their questions.

Since the virtual audience couldn’t partake in the evening social, the organizers closed the session with a virtual wine tasting for the three remote pods; they shipped wine to these different locations and had a sponsor describing each pour. Corbin Ball, an international technology speaker and a huge fan of the Event Camp conference series explains, “[The virtual attendees] saw it, smelled it, felt it, tasted it, they blogged or interacted and chatted about it. You can engage remote audiences with all five senses. It’s a clever, in¬teresting idea and shows creativity using these tools.” At Event Camp, these tools gave attendees the ability to engage with the audience and have a unique experience that would occur at the real event.

All attendees want to voice their opinion
Instead of talking at your attendees, give them tools so they can contrib¬ute. Attendees can help you share your strategy by participating. How do you get them to participate? Simon Bryan with IML Worldwide recommends polling or text messaging as meeting tools for everyone to share their insight; then it becomes a meeting with actionable intelli¬gence. You can also find out what all your audience is thinking. Employees can leave the meeting knowing goals were set and they can do their job better in the office, therefore increasing productivity and profitability for the company.

More about The National Conference Center
Just 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 45 minutes from Washington, DC, The National Conference Center, operated by ARAMARK Conference Centers, features a secure, distraction-free setting with self-contained buildings surrounded by 100 scenic acres in Leesburg, Virginia. One of the largest conference centers in the United States, the entire facility was purpose designed to accommodate larger meetings and conferences that concentrate on training.

Each of the 250 meeting rooms – representing 265,000 square feet of flexible meeting space — features high-speed Internet access, individual climate control, advanced conference technology, and sophisticated presentation technology with on-site audio/visual and IT support. The 917-room facility (including 78 suites) can accommodate meetings and events up to 1,800 people. Dining options include the popular Black Olive Sports Bar, and the 800-seat dining facility which features a wide variety of healthful buffet selections as well as specialty selections. Recreational options include a fully equipped fitness center along with volleyball, basketball, racquetball, tennis, and more. A fully staffed Business Center is conveniently located to provide administrative support service throughout the course of each meeting and a professional conference support team is available. Free onsite parking is provided.

ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by the Ethisphere Institute, one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies,” by FORTUNE magazine and one of America’s Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 250,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at

W Hotel Reveals a Rebellious Underground in New Orleans French Quarter with Redesigned Look and Style

Announcing W Opening Offer Guest Package Giveaway

New Orleans, LA – To provide an enhanced W experience for its guests, W French Quarter will unveil a new image this summer inspired by the soul and charm of New Orleans as it transforms the look of its 97 guest rooms, Living Room, restaurant and bar. The hotel announced the completion of the first phase of guest rooms today along with the chance to win a W Opening Offer guest package.

Redesigned Guest Rooms
The redesigned guest rooms bring the artistic energy and the intrigue of the Crescent City to life with two unique and distinct design concepts inspired by the jazz and the mystery of tarot. Each room will boast a palate of clean lines and modern blacks and whites mixed with vibrant gold tones and rich primary colors. Room options include Wonderful Rooms with signature W beds and Bliss lemon + sage Sinkside Six products made exclusively for W; Spectacular Rooms with a balcony or patio and a view of the romantic courtyard; Fantastic Rooms, which are more spacious and include a view of the courtyard or historic French Quarter and Carriage Houses that include a private entrance from the courtyard, spacious guest room, exclusive Jacuzzi on the back patio and a personal balcony with a sitting area overlooking the courtyard.

“Our goal was to infuse the strong, eclectic culture of New Orleans with the modern, vibrant W character and weave it throughout our property so our guests feel the energy from the moment they step into our Living Room to the time of their departure,” said James Wroblewski, general manager for W Hotels of New Orleans.

In addition to the guest rooms, W French Quarter is adding a state-of-the-art SWEAT fitness facility and revamping the hallways, lift foyer and the Living Room. The 24-hour SWEAT facility offers cardiovascular fitness and personal training programs using free and machine weights from Technogym featuring integrated TV and Fast Track controls in a sleek design. The Living Room will feature new check-in desks for Welcome agents to interact with guests as well as direct access to SoBou, the new restaurant and bar.

The Commander’s Family of Restaurants introduces SoBou, their new Modern Creole Saloon at W French Quarter that showcases innovative design and creative cocktail culture. The spirited restaurant South of Bourbon Street will offer sleek restaurant and bar areas that attract locals, guests, tastemakers and trend setters alike. Completely reconstructed and reinvented,
the contemporary restaurant space will display a new palate of dark woods, bold grays and rich golden tones and offer unique dining experiences throughout. An artful and classic cocktail program, self-serve wine dispensing machines and a beer garden with beer booths will all compliment a next generation Creole dining experience. The locally sourced menu, created by Executive Chef Juan Carlos Gonzales, will debut Louisiana street food inspired small plates paired with cocktail creations and wine selections.

W Opening Offer Guest Package Giveaway
In celebration of its new image, W French Quarter is announcing a new W Opening Offer guest package and giving away a package to one lucky winner through its Facebook page. To enter, people must first “Like” W French Quarter and then visit the sweepstakes tab. The package includes a 2-night stay in a Jazz or Tarot Room, breakfast for two in SoBou, specialty drinks for two, discounted parking and a copy of the book, In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks.

Any guest can book the W Opening Offer package now and redeem it starting in July through Dec. 31, 2012. Packages start at $289 and are available for a limited time. Please mention the promotion code WEN when making a reservation through the Customer Call Centers.

W French Quarter is investing more than $9 million in its redesign. The entire project will conclude in early July. For more information about W French Quarter or to make reservations, please visit or call 1-888-627-8260.

Become a fan on Facebook at and follow the hotel on Twitter @whotelsnola.

About W French Quarter
W French Quarter, named to the Travel + Leisure 2009 World’s Top 500 Hotels list, offers a private oasis in a city full of life. With 97 guest rooms including four Carriage Houses, W French Quarter is channeling rebellious energies in its new redesign featuring jazz and tarot-card design motifs. The property offers a charming outdoor courtyard, a WET deck surrounded by an intricate wrought-iron gate, SWEAT facility and SoBou, a spirited restaurant and bar South of Bourbon Street. The hotel sits just steps away from some of New Orleans’ most popular attractions including historic Jackson Square, electrifying Bourbon Street and renowned Royal Street. For more information, visit

Industry Trends & Bidding Strategy Highlighted at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center Annual Association Seminar

Kuala Lumpur – Now in its seventh edition, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s (the Centre) annual Association Seminar provides a platform for local associations to network, exchange information and gain first-hand information from industry experts. This year’s programme included presentations by representatives from the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), the Institute of Internal Auditors Malaysia (IIA) and the Kliman Group on industry trends building the capacity of local associations.

This year’s topics included the successful bid win, and hosting of, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Conference 2011 – a true Malaysian success story. Mr Wee Hock Kee, Organising Chairman, Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Conference 2011. “we highlighted the country’s unique qualities such as easy accessibility, fully integrated transportation, ethnic diversity, abundant food choices and myriad of pre- and post-tours, which worked to our advantage.

“In addition, we had tremendous government support which gave us the edge against countries like China and Japan.”

Representing the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Ms Ho Yoke Ping, General Manager and Cik Yushiza Mohd Yusof, Senior Sales Manager shed light on the various programmes initiated by MyCEB and provided useful tips and advice to help associations in the bidding process.

This year’s international speaker Mr David Kliman, President of the Kliman Group, USA, focused on global industry trends and the growing impact of technology. “mobile apps, cloud computing, demand for greater bandwidth, social media, Near Field Communication or NFC and ‘Freeconomics’ are some of the technology trends that are truly impacting the global meetings industry. These trends are being seen at meetings, conventions, exhibitions, association meetings, corporate meeting, etc.”

Kliman cited NFC as the next big impact as the technology allows one to use a smart phone device for their secure retail transaction for example, to register for a meeting that the participant has not paid for, one could go up to the registration desk, take out one’s mobile phone and immediately carry out a secure transaction to pay for his meeting registration. He was confident NFC will take the meetings industry by storm; from using one’s smart phone to communicate with a vendor of an exhibition on the tradeshow floor to carrying out secure transactions for point-of-sale food & beverage purchases.

Asked about how Malaysia can interest the very US-centric international meeting planning associations, Kliman’s advice was to focus on those that rotate internationally versus associations that won’t leave the shores of the US, and those who are looking for new destinations!

“As a leading convention centre in the country, we are conscious of the importance of bringing more meetings and events to Malaysia as we grow and improve our business tourism industry. Our annual Association Seminar is aimed at providing local associations with the necessary knowledge by bringing together industry experts and spokespersons to share insights and experiences,” said Datuk Peter Brokenshire, General Manager, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The Centre’s Association Seminar this year saw approximately 200 participants in attendance. According to one of the participants, Ms Aldia Lai, General Manager, AOS Conventions & Events Sdn Bhd, “the Centre’s annual Association Seminar continues to benefit us, Association Management Companies (AMC) as the renowned speakers at the event help us understand which way the meetings industry is moving. I applaud the Centre for taking on this role yearly and I hope more people take advantage of this programme to better understand what an association is all about and who to work with when planning for conferences or conventions.”

The Centre’s annual Association Seminar was supported by its Team Malaysia partners; MyCEB, Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airport and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur

About the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) is a component of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and is managed and operated by Convex Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a joint-venture company between KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd and AEG Ogden Pty Ltd, Australia.

A winner of numerous awards including the MICE Report Awards 2012 for ‘Best Convention Centre in Asia’; Business Destinations Travel Awards 2011 for ‘Best Congress & Convention Centre, Asia’; TTG Travel Awards 2011 for ‘Best Convention & Exhibition Centre’; Meeting Industry Marketing Awards (MIMA) 2011 for ‘Best Use of Budget (Bronze)’; CEI Industry Award 2009; and TravelWeekly (Asia) Industry Awards 2007 and 2008 for ‘Best Convention & Exhibition Centre in Asia’;

The Centre is a wholly-owned facility of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Sdn Bhd which in turn, is owned by KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS).

The Centre has ISO 9001, ISO 22000, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications, EarthCheck Bronze status (environment) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Certification (HACCP) recognition, the international food safety system for international convention facilities and five-star hotels. It is also the first in Asia; and one of only 12 AIPC centres worldwide, to receive the ‘Gold’ AIPC Quality Standards certification.

The Centre, comprising of two auditoria (seating 3,000 and 500 respectively), 9,710 sq metres of Exhibition Halls, a Grand Ballroom which seats 2,000 diners, a Banquet Hall for 500, a Conference Hall for 1,800 and 20 other meeting rooms, provides 20,059 sq metres of function space in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

DMC Network Announces New Puerto Rico DMC Member

DMC Network is excited to officially announce that “Destination Puerto Rico”, also known as Travel Services, Inc., is the newest member of the DMC Network. Joanne Ferguson-Twiste, President, and her team at Destination Puerto Rico are a great addition to the world’s most renowned DMC organization.

Destination Puerto Rico (Travel Services, Inc.) is the first DMC to ever operate on the island of Puerto Rico and has been a respected member of the travel community ever since 1955. The firm is the “Preferred DMC” for many stateside incentive travel firms. In addition they are the in-house DMC for some of the largest resorts on the island including the InterContinental San Juan and San Juan Marriott.

With three generations of family management and ownership, they pioneered Destination Management in Puerto Rico and are still setting the standard on the island. With certified personnel on staff (both DMCP and CMP), they are Puerto Rico’s only Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC).

As President, Joanne Ferguson-Twiste, has carried on the legacy of her grandfather (founder) and father (Chairman) to be a driving force in the Puerto Rico Tourism community and is an active member of both the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association and Puerto Rico Convention Bureau Board of Directors. With a long tenured staff (some over 20 years) and great leadership, it’s no coincidence that Destination Puerto Rico has received countless awards for excellence over the years.

Joanne Ferguson-Twiste commented, “Destination Puerto Rico/TSI is honored to have been selected to form part of such an esteemed group of high quality DMCs who share our values and standards. When we heard that the organization was considering expanding into our destination, as the oldest and most experienced DMC on the island, and the first and only Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC) in Puerto Rico, our joining The DMC Network’s team of professionals just seemed like a natural fit. We are delighted to be the newest members, and all of the Destination Puerto Rico/TSI family are excited to work hand in hand with our new associates at The DMC Network, LLC”.

“We are very proud and excited to have Destination Puerto Rico/TSI join the DMC Network team. They exemplify the type of company that is respected by peers and clients alike and deliver exceptional service and commitment. They have joined an elite group of DMC’s who as members of the DMC Network, LLC have proven they are the best in class in the destinations they serve,” stated Dan Tavrytzky, Managing Director of the DMC Network.

About the DMC Network, LLC:
Unique in the industry, the DMC Network is an LLC of the top-performing, independently owned DMCs throughout North America. Through their alliance with Ovation Global DMC, it extends their reach across five continents. With an average of over 25 years in business and more than twice as many accredited DMCs as any other DMC consortium or company, each DMC Network member delivers unsurpassed knowledge of their market and a confidence that they are a sound, professional organization that consistently exceeds clients’ expectations. With an insider’s knowledge, the DMC Network makes it effortless for our clients to produce meetings and events around the world. We are your knowledge network and are dedicated to doing business your way, in every way. As a network, we represent many destinations, but only one relationship — the one with you.