Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cool Conference Center Tips: Meeting Innovation- Say What!?!

Written by Tracy Reese of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Conference Center in Jacksonville, Florida, in collaboration with Andrea Rice; Tracy is a member of the Emerging Trends Committee for IACC. Enjoy her cool conference center tips about meeting innovation.

Have you ever had a day with back-to-back-to-back meetings?  Did they ever seem to be repetitive and a bit stagnant?  Meetings today can be very structured and uniform, which understandably, sometimes is necessary; however, I think in this industry we all need to try a little harder to start “breaking the rules”…

Innovation - you have heard it before, right?  (Probably like 20 times a day!) Currently, it’s one of the hottest buzz words in the industry, but what does it truly mean??  

More and more lately, the word innovation seems to be associated with technology.  Trust me - this girl believes in using technology to the highest level!  I personally just took a 5-minute break to check in with my other half (my smart phone) and checked emails (reply to 4 of them), sent 12 texts, and checked Facebook!  However, was I really being innovative, or was I actually following the trend?  

We need to start breaking the rules a bit… start thinking beyond the box (no, not outside the box- beyond it)!  Being innovative doesn’t necessarily have to equate to modern technology, or the use of it.  

One of the most powerful meeting series I witnessed recently used NO technology at all.  That’s right; it was “old school.”  The series was held in a facility with state-of-the-art equipment, and yet, the clients simply chose not to use it.  The presenter spoke, engaged attendees, listened to feedback, and answered questions.  Pretty simply stuff… and it totally worked!  Information was communicated in a very personal, warm, engaging, and thought-provoking manner.

That’s right, this “gen-y” gal saw the benefits of simply listening to and engaging with a speaker, instead of participating in the latest PowerPoint presentation (you know the painstaking bullets I speak of!).  Don’t get me wrong, I am not against visual aids, and in the right environment, PowerPoints can be helpful.  I just think we need to start breaking the innovation mold a bit.  Let’s be innovative by going back to the basics… engaging our clients and customers through excellent communication and good ole’ customer service.  Let’s dare to be different!  

So before your next meeting, try to think of the most recent experiences that made an impact on you.  Why was that specific experience a step above the rest?? Was it the innovative technology they used?  Or was the idea of being a part of something different really the innovation in and of itself? 

Happy Meeting.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Can You Say "No" in the Events World?

Whitney Rule is a Senior Sales Associate at San Ramon Valley Conference Center in San Ramon, California. Whitney is a member of IACC's Emerging Trends Committee. With her cool conference center tips, she hopes to help you appropriately answer a client.

Saying “No” is usually the last thing Conference Centers want to say when getting a new RFP. However, due to many reasons such as lack of space or accommodations, “No” happens more in our industry than we might think. There are a couple of tools to take away the negative connotation that is associated with saying “no”.

Think about your other options, in the area or close by that could better accommodate the meeting planner. A local CVB is a great option because they can give the meeting planner a number of venues in the area.  This will make it easier to say “No” because you are offering them an alternative that could end up being a better fit for them.

Here is a model that can help you say “No” without saying “No”. It is called the L.A.O Model: Listen, Analyze and Offer Alternatives.

Using these three steps when talking to potential clients for your Conference Center will not only bring customers back, but also leave them feeling satisfied because of the referral you gave them. CVBs and other venues in the area will be grateful for your referral and in turn could send CMP’s your way. 

How do you help prospective clients without saying the word "no"? What advice do you have for others to kick "no" from their vocabulary?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

IACC's Annual Conference will Present Inspiring Content and Super Bargain Rates: Are You Ready?

Why will you be at IACC's annual conference center this year? Three words: Inspiring Conference Education.

The best IACC-Americas conference has yet to come, until now. IACC's conference education committee is working rigorously on delivering an agenda that you've never seen at an IACC conference, or any conference for that matter. Conference agenda is soon to be released on the IACC registration website. New or returning attendees, this means the annual conference schedule will be complete with a line-up of high-demand speakers, sessions about HOT trends in the meetings industry and most of all, the speakers' sessions will have you thinking, brainstorming and inspired! 

What about registration? IACC's annual conference registration is easy to do and opens this week. Properties are incentivized for registering 3 or more individuals, and he same applies for individual registrants - just simply register 3 or more people for the best rate!

Discounts are featured in two waves for the 2013 conference. Take note, the super bargain price is available only August until September 30th. An early bird rate is offered October 1st - December 31st. So, gather your resources, interested colleagues, register now and save the most money! (There's also a student discount this year, too).

Why should you attend? We’re creating a movement, where top industry professionals will travel near and far to share ideas and collaborate! If you have training needs you want to focus on, or want to learn something novel within the hospitality industry, IACC 2013 will bring those ideas to life. Over a three day journey, new inspiration will allow you to become a thought leader in the conference center industry, and explore an endless number of ideas. Register for IACC-Americas 2013: "Inspiring Conference Education"
for your development and to add value to your thriving meetings business.