Monthly Archives: January 2014

Colorado’s Extraordinary Gateway Canyons Resort Joins Associated Luxury Hotels International

. . . Increases ALHI’s “U-200 Gems” Meeting Options

WASHINGTON, DC (January 2014) – The Gateway Canyons Resort in western Colorado has been accepted as the newest member of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), which now provides authorized and dedicated Global Sales Organization (GSO) services and sales support for companies and organizations interested in conducting meetings and/or incentive programs at the AAA Four-Diamond resort. Gateway Canyons Resort becomes ALHI’s only Member in western Colorado, as well as the newest addition to ALHI’s “U-200 Gems” specialty segment, which now consists of 21 exclusive meeting solutions with fewer than 200 guest rooms.

Gateway Canyons Resort becomes ALHI’s sixth Colorado Member, joining the Five-Star, Five-Diamond The Broadmoor, featuring 185,000 square feet of meeting space in Colorado Springs; The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley, a charming all-inclusive enclave in the midst of the Pike National Forest in Colorado Springs; the acclaimed 1,200-room Keystone Resort & Conference Center, offering 100,000 square feet of meeting space in Keystone; suburban Denver’s contemporary, AAA Four-Diamond The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood; and the sophisticated boutique resort hotel The Sebastian Vail, offering 8,500 square feet of banquet and event space nestled in Vail Village.

“Located in the spectacular red rock canyons of western Colorado, Gateway Canyons Resort is a wonderful addition to ALHI’s exclusive Membership and to our ‘U-200 Gems’ specialty segment,” said David Gabri, CEO of ALHI. “Featuring an incredible natural setting and experience, it is a true ‘gem’ of a resort that is an outstanding choice for smaller meetings and incentive programs, as well as for meetings that require a high degree of privacy. We are very excited to be working with this exceptional resort, and to sharing its amazing attributes and activities with planners.”

Gateway Canyons Resort, which was recently recognized as “Best Luxury Hideaway Resort In The Americas” in the 2013 World Luxury Hotel Awards, is a world-class resort designed and owned by John Hendricks, founder and chairman of The Discovery Channel. Set against one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world, the retreat is known for its luxurious accommodations and amenities, breathtaking views, and impeccable service. Opened in 2008, the resort recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, which included the renovation and expansion of its accommodations, which includes the Kiva Lodge, Kayenta Lodge, and in the Palisade Casitas of Gateway Canyons Resort. Named for the small town of Gateway, which has served as a “gateway” from Utah to Colorado since 1904, the resort features more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space, with such diverse venue options as the new Kayenta Conference Center, the Palisade Event Center, the 56-seat Discovery HD Theater, and the Mission Bell Amphitheater. Providing an array of teambuilding options for groups, the resort has an on-site Adventure Center and a world-class Equestrian Center, and offers such unique experiences as exploring dinosaur tracks, touring the area in a helicopter, and off-road expeditions. In addition, the resort features a signature spa, a fitness center, a salon, three restaurants, and the Gateway Auto Museum. Part of the Noble House Hotels & Resorts collection, the resort is located just minutes from the renowned Moab Desert of Utah, and one hour southwest of the Grand Junction (Colorado) Regional Airport.

Meeting professionals have chosen ALHI for nearly 30 years, for reliable one-call professional sales assistance and access to their distinctive hotels and resorts for meetings and incentive/recognition programs. There is no cost to planners’ organizations to utilize the ALHI GSO services, expertise, and account advocacy, as its Members’ dues fund the Global Sales Organization to best serve planners with local professionals.

ALHI’s 160+ Member hotels and resorts include extraordinary Four- and Five-Diamond quality meeting, convention, and incentive resorts on land and sea, incomparable city hotels, exclusive smaller hotels, golf resorts, historic and landmark properties, island destinations, resorts with spas, properties in international destinations, and hotels with world-class gaming and entertainment. With a worldwide portfolio of over 115,000 rooms and suites and nearly 10 million square feet of meeting space, ALHI provides planners and their organizations experienced Global Sales services with diverse options among its outstanding worldwide member hotels and resorts which specialize in meetings and incentive programs. ALHI provides reliable one-call professional sales assistance and access to their distinctive hotels, resorts, and venues for programs ranging from 10 to more than 6,500.

For a list of ALHI’s portfolio, visit www.alhi.com, and preview details of ALHI’s Membership, including useful information on the 12 defined specialty segments within the portfolio, which are designed to make it easy for planners to identify properties, destinations, venues, and/or ships that will best suit their programs’ objectives, unique desires and specific needs.

On the ALHI website, planners can quickly see details of the properties’ meeting, accommodation, recreational and dining offerings, as well as destination information and “Luxury on Sale” value opportunities. A photo gallery, meeting floor plans and specs, and a location map for each property are also easily available.

ALHI has 20 professionally-staffed Global Sales Offices to serve, with locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Richmond, Savannah, Southern California (3), Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Washington (state). Go to www.alhi.com to identify the “ALHI Team” sales professionals in your state/area.

Contact any office for professional assistance and let ALHI help you identify distinctive opportunities to meet your objectives with your meetings, incentives, and conventions. For more information about ALHI, to inquire about any of the ALHI member properties, and/or to acquire a free copy of ALHI’s new “2014 Global Sales Guide To Meeting Facilities,” contact your nearest ALHI Global Sales Office, or call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit www.alhi.com.

U.S. Double Header to Kick Off at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

Two major US-based financial services organisations are set to ‘double bill’ at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) when the award-winning facility welcomes the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Experience (2014 MDRT Experience) from 13 to 15 February followed by the GAMA International LAMP Asia 2014 (GAMA LAMP Asia 2014) on 16 and 17 February.

The MDRT is the premier association of financial professionals with nearly 36,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 430 companies in 78 countries on its membership roll. The 2014 MDRT Experience (www.mdrt.org) will bring together some of the best and brightest MDRT members and industry experts from around the globe. GAMA International, on the other hand, is the only association dedicated to supporting the professional development of field leaders in the insurance and financial services industry and LAMP Asia (www.gamaweb.com/lampasia) is seen as the industry’s most dynamic international conference.

According to the Centre’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Angeline Lue, the venue is observing increased awareness in North America of Malaysia as a premier business events location in the Asia Pacific region and “this in part, can be attributed to our continuous engagement and creative marketing campaigns since we started reaching out to the North American meetings market three plus years ago.

“We are now seeing the results of our efforts with the hosting last year, of major international gatherings such as the 3rd Global Women Deliver Conference (Women Deliver 2013) and 4th edition of the Barack Obama-initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) where US Secretary of State, John Kerry gave the keynote address.”

In addition to the 2014 MDRT Experience and GAMA LAMP Asia 2014, a third prestigious US-based organisation which has picked the Centre for their annual conference this year is Toastmasters International, a world leader in communication and leadership development. The Toastmasters International 82nd Annual International Convention 2014 from 20 to 23 August will be the first time in the organisation’s 89-year history its international convention is being held outside North America.

Lue shared that the three events alone are expected to bring together 9,500 delegates and generate over RM100 million (USD31 million) in economic impact to the country.

Another upcoming US-based event will be Offshore Technology Conference 2014 taking place in March. Other major events at the Centre in 2014 include the 12th International Congress on Obesity, XXV FIG (International Federation of Surveyors) Congress 2014, 20th ASEAN Federation of Cardiology Congress, 16th Asian Congress of Architects 2014, 14th Western Pacific Congress on Chemotherapy and Infectious Diseases 2014 and Asia Water Expo 2014.

For the latest on the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, visit www.klccconventioncentre.com

Geneva Meets Green

The Geneva Convention Bureau together with some major conference hotels have set up a Green Daily Delegate Rate, a sustainable alternative to the traditional DDR that a number of our partners are offering:

• Grand Hôtel Kempinski Geneva
• Mövenpick Hotel & Casino Geneva
• Hôtel Novotel Geneva Centre
• Hôtel Ramada Encore Geneva
• Hotel Warwick Geneva

All of these partners include in their Green DDR a donation of 1 CHF per delegate to the Association pour la Sauvegarde du Léman (Lake Geneva Conservation Society). The latter takes action in different ways to protect the lake and preserve the quality of its water.

Meetings Mean Business, Economic Growth and Strong Communities

“Meetings Mean Business” campaign emphasizes impact of meeting and event industry on businesses, destinations, local economies and the development of human capital

BOSTON—Leaders from across the meetings and events industry on Tuesday unveiled a new national campaign to showcase the substantial value derived from business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions. The campaign – under the moniker of the coalition backing the effort, “Meetings Mean Business” – will create an information and advocacy platform that highlights the industry’s pivotal role in creating jobs, generating economic value and driving business success.

“The launch of this industry-wide campaign is an exciting moment as diverse voices from across our industry unite behind a powerful, singular message to communicate the benefits meetings bring to communities, businesses and the economy,” said David Peckinpaugh, President of Maritz Travel and Co-Chair of Meetings Mean Business coalition.

“The broad-based coalition of meeting, event and convention professionals, destination marketers as well as the greater travel and hospitality industry reflects the importance our industry has placed on ensuring that our value is well understood by all our customers, stakeholders and policymakers,” said Larry Luteran, Senior Vice President of Group Sales and Industry Relations at Hilton Worldwide and Co-Chair of the coalition.

A recent U.S. Travel Association study conducted by Oxford Economics found that companies depend on face-to-face meetings to win new customers, close new deals and develop high-performing talent. A Maritz Institute white paper finds that face-to-face meetings more effectively capture the attention of participants, inspire positive emotional climates as a way to drive collaboration and build meaningful business relationships.

To actively engage with stakeholders, the media, and key policymakers, the campaign is organized around three pillars:

o Creating Personal Connections – Personal relationships are at the core of every business decision, no matter what industry. A face-to-face meeting provides professionals with that personal interaction, which leads to deeper relationships.

o Driving Positive Business Outcomes – Meetings and events deliver profits, help win new accounts and serve as education platforms. They provide a venue for introducing new products and ideas and allow colleagues and partners to come together to innovate and achieve results.

o Building Strong Communities – Outside of the results driven by business meetings, the events and meetings industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, generates billions of dollars of revenue and supports communities across the country.

The campaign will also focus on how meetings and conferences are an essential business tool for departments and agencies across the entire government. They facilitate effective information sharing, employee training and development, taxpayer services, and collaboration with other agencies and private-sector partners in a way that cannot be accomplished by other means.

The launch of Meetings Mean Business coincides with a Tuesday hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, “Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government.” The hearing is expected to highlight the harm to key federal agency functions caused by dramatic, across-the-board cuts to travel budgets, and pursue a framework for preserving the value of meetings along with proper transparency and fiscal oversight.

Meetings Mean Business draws support from leaders across business, professional associations and destination marketing organizations (DMOs). Members include the U.S. Travel Association, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Caesars Entertainment, Convention Industry Council (CIC), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Disney Destinations, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), Helms Briscoe, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Corporation, the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE), Maritz Travel, Marriott International, Meetings Professionals International (MPI), MGM Resorts, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), Site Global, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, and many of the major DMOs across the country, among others. A full list of the coalition can be found at www.MeetingsMeanBusiness.com.

“The unfortunate trend in the professional workplace is that we are all disappearing farther behind our electronic devices, and both empirically and intuitively, that’s counterproductive in multiple respects,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Meetings Mean Business will change the discussion by presenting the airtight case for the irreplaceable value of face-to-face collaboration. A decline in in-person communication would measurably threaten the quality of outcomes in a number of critical spheres—government policymaking, business bottom lines, scientific innovation, not to mention workplace bonhomie and the impact on local economies. We’re not going to allow that to happen.”

The campaign officially kicked off Tuesday with thousands of meeting professionals at PCMA’s Convening Leaders meeting in Boston.

“We’re honored that our event marks the start of this important effort,” said Deborah Sexton, President and CEO of PCMA. “Our members, along with the thousands of industry professionals, are engaged and excited about the campaign. Now is the time to tell our story and demonstrate the value of face-to-face meetings and events.”

To learn more, visit www.MeetingsMeanBusiness.com.

About Meetings Mean Business
The Meetings Mean Business coalition was created in 2009 to showcase the incredible value that business meetings, travel and events bring to the U.S. economy. Its members span all facets of the face-to-face meeting and events industry, which have come together behind a common goal: providing the resources, tools and information to show the real impact the industry has on businesses, economies and communities. For more information, visit www.MeetingsMeanBusiness.com.

Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau Honored as 2013 Platinum Choice Award Winner

Cincinnati USA CVB and Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza recognized among Select CVBs and Hotels in North America for exemplary service and achievements in the hospitality industry

CINCINNATI, OH – The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has been awarded its first Platinum Choice Award by Smart Meetings magazine, a leading publication in the meetings and convention industry. The 2013 Platinum Choice Awards – a coveted industry honor, with winners selected by top meeting professionals and Smart Meetings readers – recognized 130 hotels and 50 convention and visitors bureaus across North America. The Cincinnati USA CVB was the only CVB recipient in Ohio.
Qualifications for recognition include excellence in service and amenities among meeting hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, with a specific category recognizing outstanding service and exemplary standards set by convention and visitor bureaus. The only other Ohio organization was also a Cincinnati institution – the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, honored as a leading hotel destination for meetings.

“The winners represent a broad spectrum of destinations and reflect the diverse needs of meeting planners. These organizations and properties exceeded expectations and demonstrated professional standards that met the requirements of event professionals and attendees,” said Marin Bright, founder and publisher of Smart Meetings magazine. “We are thrilled to honor industry leaders that celebrate innovation, exemplary service and facilities to make meetings and events extraordinary for planners and attendees.”

Other recognized top 50 CVBs included renowned destination organizations throughout North America, such as the San Francisco Travel Association, Meet Hawaii, Tourism Toronto, Visit Denver, and the Las Vegas CVA. The honorees were celebrated in the December 2013 issue of Smart Meetings magazine and on smartmeetings.com.

“As the Cincinnati USA region enjoys unprecedented growth, the CVB team has strived to meet the growing needs of our industry partners and best represent our destination,” said Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This award recognizes the hard work and collaboration of the entire region as we expand and improve our destination, from new hotel developments and meeting facilities to our thriving urban core. We are honored to be recognized by Smart Meetings for our 2013 achievements and look forward to being a key driver of Cincinnati’s promising future.”

About the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau is an aggressive sales, marketing and service organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact Hamilton County’s and the City of Cincinnati’s economy through convention, trade show and visitor expenditures. The travel and tourism industry traditionally has been a $4.1 billion industry in Cincinnati USA, employing 94,000 people in a variety of fields and bringing 22.7 million visitors to the region in 2011.

AIBTM and IMMPA Announce Strategic Co-Location Partnership at AIBTM 2014

Medical Meetings Association to Offer Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate

ORLANDO – The Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (AIBTM) announced today a new industry partnership with the International Medical Meeting Professionals Association (IMMPA). In conjunction with Saint Louis University’s Workforce Center, the co-location agreement will offer show attendees the opportunity to take the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate Program at AIBTM on June 9 from 8:30-1:30 p.m. Additionally, IMMPA will host an education session during AIBTM’s Education Day on June 10 at the Orange County Convention Center. More details on the session and Education Day are to come.

“AIBTM is thrilled to announce this first-time partnership with IMMPA,” said Michael Lyons, AIBTM’s Exhibition Director. “Healthcare remains one of the largest industries today, and those who attend AIBTM 2014 will benefit greatly with the opportunity to enhance their professional development through IMMPA’s Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate.”

AIBTM 2014 attendees will be offered a 50% discount on certificate program fees for the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate. Attendees can register for the certificate program through Saint Louis University’s Workforce Center website using a special AIBTM code. Registration details will be announced soon.

“We are very pleased to partner with AIBTM to bring the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate to attendees and extend our reach.” Pat Schaumann, IMMPA Founder said.“ This partnership will bring many benefits to AIBTM attendees as well as our membership.”

IMMPA will be a Group Coordinator at this year’s show and bring Hosted Buyers from the medical meetings industry to AIBTM.

This announcement comes as The Healthcare Convention & Exhibitions Association recently ranked Orlando as the third best destination in the U.S. for medical meetings.

AIBTM takes place from June 10-14, 2014. Join AIBTM on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About AIBTM
The Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (AIBTM) is a leading global exhibition for the U.S. meetings and events industry. AIBTM delivers individually qualified Hosted Buyers and eligible Trade buyers from the U.S. and around the world. Tailored to the U.S. market, AIBTM serves and guarantees the attendance of top-level decision makers. The exhibitions provide time and business efficient matching services for buyers and sellers through unique Hosted Buyer Programs. For more information, please visit www.aibtm.com. AIBTM takes place from June 10-12, 2014. Join AIBTM on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
AIBTM forms part of the Reed Travel Exhibitions Meetings, Events and Business Travel Portfolio along with AIME (www.aime.com.au), GIBTM (www.gibtm.com), CIBTM (www.cibtm.com) IBTM India (http://www.ibtmevents.com/IBTM-India/), IBTM Africa (www.ibtmevents.com/IBTM-Africa) and EIBTM (www.eibtm.com).

Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.

About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in 39 countries. In 2011 Reed brought together six million active event participants from around the world, generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organized by 33 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 44 industry sectors with trade and consumer events and is part of the Reed Elsevier Group plc, a world-leading publisher and information provider and a FTSE 100 company. www.reedexpo.com

About IMMPA
The International Association for Medical Meeting Professionals is dedicated to promoting professionalism through advocacy, education, research and service. IMMPA’s purpose is to provide conformity of medical meeting professional’s education, training, certification and networking. IMMPA supports and promotes the medical meeting industry through peer directed and operated services, advocacy, career development, and global connections.

About Saint Louis University’s Workforce Center
The mission at the Workforce Center is to provide the highest quality training, value and customer service to business professionals in the Midwest and beyond. The Center offers day, night and virtual sessions for over 400 IT and Professional Development courses and certificates annually, covering such topics as Healthcare, Application Development, Project Management, Mobile Development, Information Security and much more. For more information, visit workforcecenter.slu.edu or call (314) 977-3226.

Romance on the American Riviera

From Simple Romance to The Bachelor Wedding, Santa Barbara is a Couple’s Paradise

Santa Barbara, CA—On Sunday, January 26 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) ABC will live telecast
the wedding of former Bachelor Sean Lowe and fiancée Catherine Giudici at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore
Santa Barbara. Thousands of viewers will tune in to witness the spectacular ceremony set in the dreamy wedding
locale nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. The lush gardens, red roof tiles, and
Spanish colonial archways of the glamorous resort will serve as the perfect backdrop as the two reality stars say
“I do.” While some may gawk at the stunning scenery and attribute it to the magic of TV, the truth is, it’s real—and
you can experience it too.

The name itself, Santa Barbara, The American Riviera®, conjures up romantic images. The picturesque city
bordered by palm-lined beaches and majestic mountains make Santa Barbara feel like it is in its own little world –
just how two people in love feel. It’s no wonder why it is consistently chosen as a wedding destination and
romantic escape. Horseback riding through the sand, strolling through vineyards in wine country, snuggling up
under the stars—Santa Barbara offers all of the traditional romantic activities, and goes above and beyond.

Adventurous couples can kayak or stand-up paddle board alongside sea lions and dolphins, sharing amazing
views of Santa Barbara from the water. A bouquet of flowers has been done; instead, stroll through the Santa
Barbara Botanic Garden’s exquisite exhibits of California native plants displayed in beautiful landscaped settings.
A lunch in the mountains can inspire romance at Cold Springs Tavern, an old stagecoach rest stop from the late
1800s. Or, simply breathe in the salty air and swirl your glasses at Deep Sea Tasting Room on Stearns Wharf,
soaking in 360-degree ocean views and sipping delicious wine. A picnic at the iconic Santa Barbara County
Courthouse is always a treat, just be sure to climb up the clock tower and gaze out over the red-roof dotted
horizon. The Sunken Gardens below are a site to behold all by themselves, and in the summer movies are shown
on the grassy courtyard lawn—a perfect date night. Score tickets to the Santa Barbara Bowl for a live concert in
the amphitheater, a unique venue under the stars that is sure to spark a romantic evening full of music and fun.

For romantic digs during a getaway, look no further than Sean and Catherine’s pick—Four Seasons Resort The
Biltmore Santa Barbara. A Hollywood favorite since 1927, the oceanfront resort’s secluded twenty-acre property
features a blend of botanical gardens, coastal panoramas, and world-class amenities. Book your very own
Spanish-style cottage and unwind to the sound of crashing ocean waves. Dine on the patio of its Bella Vista
restaurant, spotting hummingbirds hopping from flower to flower and whales breaching in the distance. A couple’s
massage at the spa can end the weekend on a high note – choose from a variety of options and then head home
feeling healthy, happy, and more in love than ever before.

The Resort offers a number of packages and experiences specially designed to fan the flames of romance. Enjoy
champagne and strawberries then linger over breakfast in bed with the Celebration Package, or spend an extra
day exploring or escaping together with a third night free.

ABOUT SANTA BARBARA
Featured on the cover of Travel + Leisure in May 2013 and voted Best Getaway by L.A. Times Readers’ Choice
Awards in 2012, Santa Barbara is located just 92 miles north of Los Angeles and 332 miles south of San
Francisco, on the Pacific coastline. Visitors can arrive via scenic Highway 101, train, bus or by flying into Santa
Barbara Municipal Airport or Los Angeles International Airport. For travel and accommodation information and to
request a free copy of the official Santa Barbara County Visitors Magazine, contact Visit Santa Barbara at
800.676.1266, 805.966.9222, tourism@santabarbaraca.com or SantaBarbaraCA.com. Visitor information is also
available at the Visitor Center, 1 Garden Street (at Cabrillo Boulevard).

Sweet Victory for Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s Chef de Partie Tay Chee Siang Part of Winning Team

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) continues to raise its profile in the international culinary arena, this time with one of its chefs being part of the Malaysian team which won gold in the Cold Show category at the much-coveted Salon Culinaire Mondial 2013. The team also won the bronze in the Hot Show class.

Held in Basel, Switzerland, the impressive sugar showpiece “Fairy Factory in Steampunk” won the judges’ hearts to beat nine other national teams for the accolade in sugar art. And for the Centre’s Chef de Partie, Tay Chee Siang, it was a sweet victory that comes with no less than two months of hard work and research with the team to conceptualise, develop and enhance the masterpiece to perfection.

“Tay has done the Centre proud,” said a delighted Richmond Lim, Executive Chef, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, “as he was the only one in the team attached to a convention centre while his team mates all hail from the hotel sector. The fact that the team captain had specifically requested him to be part of the delegation is a clear testimony of his skills and professionalism.”

For 25-year old Tay, the Salon Culinaire Mondial win is not his first taste of success. He was a silver medallist in the Chocolate Showpiece and Dessert Challenge category and part of the ‘Most Outstanding Team in Culinary’ at the bi-annual Culinaire Malaysia 2013 held in September in Kuala Lumpur.

“Tay is well on his way to being a top pastry chef and his creativity, hard work, passion and talent will take him far. The Centre is pleased to be able to support him in achieving his career goals,” said Lim.

Selected by the Chefs Association of Malaysia (CAM) based on their performance at Food & Hotel Malaysia (FHM), Culinaire Malaysia 2103, past records and resumé, the Malaysian team’s outstanding sugar display showed off their excellent and remarkable skills, especially given the challenging nature of sugar which cracks easily in either very cold or hot weather and, cold it was in Switzerland during the competition! The just under a metre in height display also incorporated four plated desserts and four petit fours.

The Malaysian team’s next challenge will be to come out among the top four in the Asian Pastry Cup 2014 in order to qualify for the World Pastry Cup 2015 to be held in Lyon, France.

For a detailed photographic journey of the Malaysian team’s participation in Salon Culinaire Mondial 2013, visit http://malaysiachefs.com/salon-culinaire-mondial-2013-malaysia-national-culinary/.

Puerto Rico Convention Bureau Looks to Bring More Meetings to the Island

The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, the lead organization dedicated to promoting and booking group meetings for the Island, recently held its Annual Membership Meeting. More than 250 member-partners representing the local tourism industry and other businesses directly serving the meetings and conventions market attended the event at La Concha, A Renaissance Resort.

During the presentation, Milton Segarra, president & CEO, Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, provided a ‘state of the industry’ to the membership, demonstrating the importance and significant impact meetings and conventions have on the economy.

“In the United States alone, there are 1.8 million meetings and conventions held each year, representing more than $263 billion in spending on hotels, transportation, entertainment, dining and more,” Segarra said. “We need to come together as a destination to tap into the enormous potential that meetings and conventions offer as an economic driver for our local tourism community.”

Puerto Rico Industry Snapshot
The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau’s Business Development & Research Department provided a snapshot of the Island’s current meetings and conventions market. Several key research findings include:

• Group business represents one-quarter of room nights booked at Puerto Rico’s top 10 largest meeting hotels.
• Top market segments booked by the Bureau are Corporate (41 percent), Association (34 percent) and SMERF (25 percent).
• Top vertical markets are Education, Sports and Health/Medical.
• Top geographic regions for group business booked by the Bureau are almost split evenly between the Southeast (19 percent), Mid-West (19 percent), Northeast (18 percent), Caribbean (18 percent) and Mid-Atlantic (18 percent).
• Top destination competitors for the Bureau are Florida (31 percent) and the Caribbean (23 percent). In Florida, top competitors are Miami, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. In the Caribbean, top competitors are Jamaica, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.
• Top competitors for ‘citywide’ bookings are Florida (29 percent) and California (16 percent). In Florida, top competitors are Orlando, Miami and St. Petersburg/Clearwater. In California, top competitors are San Diego, Palm Springs and Los Angeles.

Staying Competitive Through Innovation
Outlining his vision for the organization and Puerto Rico as a world-class meetings and conventions destination, Segarra discussed the aggressive, corporate turn-around approach being implemented and key steps taken in his first hundred days leading the PRCB to restructure, refocus and reinvigorate the organization to better compete within the marketplace.

“Innovation is a critical component to our success if Puerto Rico wants to compete in the global arena of the meetings and conventions,” stated Segarra. “We’ve taken a look at how we can work smarter, innovate and incorporate new technologies and strategies into our activities. We’ve already begun implementing a new approach to succeed in this ever-evolving, highly-competitive industry.”

Defining the Brand: Meet Puerto Rico
As a first step toward rebranding and part of a growing trend among destination marketing organizations (DMOs), the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau will begin doing business as ‘Meet Puerto Rico.’

“We’ve been using ‘Meet Puerto Rico’ as part of our communication strategy and it’s time to fully embrace it as a brand,” Segarra stated. “It’s simple, clear and provides us with a more commercially-viable way to describe what we offer meeting planners, members and the community as a whole.” Segarra went on to discuss the elements of a reorganization strategy that impacts the PRCB’s membership, client services, sales and marketing divisions.

Membership Services
After meeting with a cross-section of the PRCB’s membership, Segarra is placing a priority on providing more education and business opportunities for members. Initiatives include:

– Open communication with members at all times;
– A new section of the PRCB’s Members-Only website section dedicated to ‘How-To’ topics such as ‘Elements for a success tradeshow booth,’ ‘How to develop a marketing plan,’ as well as access to PRCB documents including the Destination Business Plan, etc.;
– An outreach program to Puerto Rico association leaders and Academia aimed at providing an understanding of the PRCB’s mission and services, and fostering relationships for the further development of group business;
– Additional opportunities to take part in Bureau-hosted events such as sales blitzes, tradeshows, client events and the upcoming Puerto Rico Showcase, expected to draw 70 qualified meeting planners considering the destination for their group program to the island.

Destination Services
With the appointment of a new Destination Support Services Director, the PRCB implemented a change in how to work from the perspective of services with meeting planners and other clients. Under the new structure, meeting planners with business booked through the PRCB will have a dedicated group service executive to provide assistance throughout the meeting planning process. From site inspections through wrap-up reports, on anything from ground transportation to entertainment, offsite-dining to printing services and amenity gifts, there will be one point person to ensure client’s needs are being met in a timely and professional manner.

“For the first time, we’re providing a truly ‘one-stop-shop’ approach for the meeting planner,” Segarra said. “We’re confident this will result in an exemplary planning experience for planners that will transfer into better delegate experiences and repeat business for Puerto Rico and its partners.”

A Refocused, Reinvigorated Selling Strategy
Several new selling initiatives have already been put in place at the PRCB aimed at developing new business leads, building stronger relationships with local influencers who can help drive group business and working with industry partners to close group business.

Utilizing an approach that stresses the attributes of the destination, key selling activities will include:
– A focus on selling primarily through the San Juan sales team, with an expanded team and focused selling to the sports/entertainment, luxury, medical and other niche groups;
– The addition of the ‘Meet Puerto Rico Development Fund,’ providing $2 million in sponsorship funding every year to remain competitive in the market while encouraging group business to Puerto Rico;
– Hosting a ‘Puerto Rico Destination Sell-a-Thon’ in November, in which PRCB sales executives will team up with hotel sales partners to coordinate calls to help close existing business leads;
– Partnering with PRCB-member hotel sales executives to assist in booking group business that is measured in direct spending versus room nights;
– Restructuring the PRCB Ambassador program with the primary focus on working with ambassadors to close existing leads on group business.

In addition, the PRCB sales team will focus selling activities at international and regional tradeshows which draw meeting planners with potential group business, participate in Bureau-hosted client events and sales blitzes, as well as actively participate in the Bureau’s upcoming Puerto Rico Showcase taking place on the island in December.

Brand Marketing & Communications
In addition to the new ‘Meet Puerto Rico’ brand, the PRCB has appointed a new marketing director, as well as a new advertising agency and social media marketing partner to promote the destination to the meetings and conventions market. TURKEL Brands, an international branding company and SparkLoft Media, a social media agency, both have extensive experience in the tourism arena and will work with the Bureau to market Puerto Rico as a world-class convention destination.

Elements of the Bureau’s new campaign include:
– A roll-out of a new advertising campaign in early 2014;
– Focus on more digital advertising placement while continuing to place ads in traditional print trade outlets;
– An emphasis on social media, with the launch of the first social media campaign aimed exclusively toward the meetings and conventions
– Incorporating mobile media technologies and developing social apps for meeting planning and other group business activities;
– The development of a new ‘Meet Puerto Rico’ website, with consumer-driven content and interactive tools for planning a meeting in Puerto Rico;
– A public relations initiative that includes press trips, a NYC press luncheon and media tour, industry speaking engagements and media interviews as well as a focus on inclusion in feature articles which positions Puerto Rico as a leader in understanding industry trends.

In closing, Segarra stated, “This new era for the Bureau not only represents innovation, but empowerment. Empowerment of the Meet Puerto Rico team, our member-partners and our industry. It’s about incorporating simplicity and authenticity in all of our messages and actions.”

Meeting Professionals and Incentive Specialists Have Chance To Win Stylish Maui Jim Sunglasses By Visiting Associated Luxury Hotels’ Facebook Page

…ALHI Will Give Away One Pair Each Weekday In January

WASHINGTON, DC (January 2014) – Attention meeting professionals, incentive specialists, and business executives: looking for a nice way to brighten your day? Then you should visit the Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) Facebook page in January, where you can register for the chance to win a pair of stylish Maui Jim sunglasses. From January 6-31, 2014, ALHI is giving away one pair of the prized sunglasses per day, Monday-Friday – valued at as much as $350 – to one of its Facebook fans. To be eligible you simply need to “Like” ALHI on Facebook and then register for the chance to win. Visit www.alhi.com/mauijim for details. Daily winners will be announced Monday-Friday on the ALHI Facebook page beginning January 6th.

“We are giving away the Maui Jim sunglasses in January as a fun way to spotlight ALHI’s many outstanding Four- and Five Diamond quality Member hotels and resorts that are located in very desirable warm weather destinations,” said David Gabri, CEO of ALHI. “This includes the 22 exceptional resorts in ALHI’s ‘Caribbean Collection’ specialty segment, the nine ultra-luxurious cruise ships in the ‘ALHI Ocean Line’ specialty segment, and four superb hotels in Hawaii. It just takes a few moments to register for the chance to win these popular, high-quality sunglasses.”

The recently launched “ALHI Caribbean Collection” features 22 Caribbean meeting and incentive options in 11 countries and territories, making it the Caribbean’s largest luxury-level portfolio that serves the meetings and incentive marketplace. The specialty segment features a collective total of more than 12,000 guest rooms and over 550,000 square feet of meeting space in the Caribbean area, with options in Antigua, The Bahamas, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, and Turks & Caicos. ALHI’s Caribbean Collection is five times larger than that offered by Ritz-Carlton, seven times larger than Four Seasons, twice the size of Westin, and three times the size of Hilton. Among the options in the “ALHI Caribbean Collection” are 9 Sandals Resorts International’s “Luxury Meetings & Incentives Collection” resorts.

Additionally, ALHI recently added nine ultra-luxurious cruise ships (i.e. “Floating Resorts”) to its portfolio, consisting of four exceptional luxury-level Regent Seven Seas ships and five upper-premium Oceania Cruise Lines ships, which are each available for programs from USA Gateways and Global Ports worldwide for complete and private Charter “Custom Voyages,” and for integrated meeting and incentive programs of all types on established itineraries, including the Caribbean.

ALHI also features four appealing choices in Hawaii: the oceanfront Halekulani on famed Waikiki Beach in Honolulu; the cosmopolitan The MODERN Honolulu with sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean and legendary Waikiki shore; the newly renovated Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s fabled North Shore; and The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, nestled on 30 oceanfront acres on the Kohala Coast, on the Island of Hawaii.

ALHI’s exclusive portfolio also boasts 19 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts in Florida; 7 great options in Arizona; 23 exceptional hotels and resorts in California; 6 appealing choices in Arizona; and one luxurious property in New Mexico.

Meeting professionals have chosen ALHI for nearly 30 years, for reliable one-call professional sales assistance and access to their distinctive hotels and resorts for meetings and incentive/recognition programs. There is no cost to planners’ organizations to utilize the ALHI GSO services, expertise, and account advocacy, as its Members’ dues fund the Global Sales Organization to best serve planners with local professionals.

ALHI’s 160+ Member hotels and resorts include extraordinary Four- and Five-Diamond quality meeting, convention, and incentive resorts on land and sea, incomparable city hotels, exclusive smaller hotels, golf resorts, historic and landmark properties, island destinations, resorts with spas, properties in international destinations, and hotels with world-class gaming and entertainment.

With a worldwide portfolio of over 115,000 rooms and suites and nearly 10 million square feet of meeting space, ALHI provides planners and their organizations experienced Global Sales services with diverse options among its outstanding worldwide member hotels and resorts which specialize in meetings and incentive programs. ALHI provides reliable one-call professional sales assistance and access to their distinctive hotels, resorts, and venues for programs ranging from 10 to more than 6,500.

For a list of ALHI’s portfolio, visit www.alhi.com, and preview details of ALHI’s Membership, including useful information on the 12 defined specialty segments within the portfolio, which are designed to make it easy for planners to identify properties, destinations, venues, and/or ships that will best suit their programs’ objectives, unique desires and specific needs.

On the ALHI website, planners can quickly see details of the properties’ meeting, accommodation, recreational and dining offerings, as well as destination information and “Luxury on Sale” value opportunities. A photo gallery, meeting floor plans and specs, and a location map for each property are also easily available.

ALHI has 20 professionally-staffed Global Sales Offices to serve, with locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Richmond, Savannah, Southern California (3), Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Washington (state). Go to www.alhi.com to identify the “ALHI Team” sales professionals in your state/area.

Contact any office for professional assistance and let ALHI help you identify distinctive opportunities to meet your objectives with your meetings, incentives, and conventions. For more information about ALHI, to inquire about any of the ALHI member properties, and/or to acquire a free copy of ALHI’s new “2014 Global Sales Guide To Meeting Facilities,” contact your nearest ALHI Global Sales Office, or call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit www.alhi.com.