Four Tips For Choosing Your Next Corporate Meeting Destination

Four Tips For Choosing Your Next Corporate Meeting Destination

DE 38 | Corporate Destination

 

Choosing the right corporate destination contributes a lot to having a successful – and memorable – business trip or event. But it is more than just choosing a lovely place and going there. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth share their most important tips when picking event destinations for a corporate purpose. Looking into their own experiences, the two break down how to make meetings and events as organized as they can be by learning the proper way of determining the most suitable place out there.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

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Four Tips For Choosing Your Next Corporate Meeting Destination

Your chosen destination for a formal business event can make or break your trip. Therefore, in-depth planning is required when picking a venue for such an important gathering. With various factors to consider, remember that it is not only about the place’s overall atmosphere. Instead, you must also take into consideration the current weather, the activities you want to perform, and a lot more.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth look back on their own corporate travel experiences to list down seven essential business tips in finding the perfect business destination out there.

  1. Contact the local CVB

The Convention and Visitors Bureau or CVB serves as a wealth of knowledge about a particular area. Through their help, you can discover what to expect in that place, from what kind of venues you can rent to which restaurants you can dine in.

Moreover, CVBs typically offer incentives to bring in business. By taking advantage of their rebates, you can get access to special deals and build direct relationships with other businesses within the local community.

  1. Create a list of top things you want to do

Narrow down your choices by listing down everything you want to do once you are at the destination. Be specific with each one so you can come up with the best keywords and make your research more targeted and quicker.

  1. Consider the time of year based on the destination

A simple Google search will help you discover the weather in your chosen destination depending on the time of the year. For example, heading to Florida in the summertime will make your nose a little hot and sticky, but visit San Diego in June and expect to have an awesome time.

With this information, you can carefully choose the most appropriate month and date for your trip to ensure an optimal and memorable experience.

  1. Do a quick Google Map search

After deciding the venue for your event, it is time to know the establishments next or near it. Again, a quick online search will help with this. Using Google Maps, you can see detailed pictures of the buildings and neighborhoods around the hotel’s vicinity. This can contribute to your activity planning around the area, from comfortable walking/jogging paths to biking/skiing lanes.

Most importantly, checking out Google Maps will allow you to estimate travel times between your venue and the places you want to visit. 

  1. Get in touch with the hotel concierge

Aside from your salesperson or conference service person, the hotel concierge is your next best source of information. They will be your best friend not only in getting directions but also in embracing the place’s overall feel. In fact, they can even assist you in choosing the loveliest restaurants around to get the most exquisite food.

  1. Research about lifts

Although it seems not that necessary, checking available lifts within your chosen venue is a great idea. This can determine if the attendees will either have an easy or hard time reaching and leaving your venue. Once more, looking up the features of the place online can greatly help you in discovering the lifts’ location and how to access them.

  1. Read reviews about the venue

Finally, secure your trust in your chosen venue by searching reviews about it on the internet. This will offer you a general idea of their services, the level of their customer service, and any edge it has against other potential venues.

Another great sign of a good hotel is if they keep an active account in online forums. They may also be interacting with former guests by leaving replies on the reviews about them, both favorable and not.

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Luxury Hotels In Portugal

Luxury Hotels In Portugal

  Those having a business trip to Portugal must consider the Penha Longa Resort for their accommodations. As a Ritz Carlton property, high-quality service is always expected there, no matter how big your group is. Joining Todd Bludworth are Penha Longa’s Director of Group Sales, Liliana Pinheiro, and its Senior Catering Manager, Diogo Rebelo Rodrigues. Together, they enumerate the resort’s most sophisticated features that combine classic architecture, history, and natural environment. They also discuss the most exciting getaways beyond Penha Longa itself, from various water activities to authentic Portuguese marketplaces.    Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels in Portugal to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

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Luxury Hotels In Portugal 

Located in Central Portugal is a Ritz-Carlton property that speaks elegance and beauty – the Penha Longa Resort. A wonderful five-star establishment, it is one of Europe’s most attractive and exclusive retreats. Aside from top-notch service, the resort is known for its awesome combination of history and nature, being located inside a national park.  With its gorgeous golf courses, grassy areas, and relaxing spas, guests can truly connect with the natural environment right here. A visit here all by yourself, with your family, or with your significant other is sure to be worthwhile.  Todd Bludworth sits down with Penha Longa’s Director of Group Sales, Liliana Pinheiro, and the Senior Catering Manager, Diogo Rebelo Rodrigues, to dive deeper into what Penha Longa has to offer.  Accessibility  Penha Longa Resort offers easy access to a lot of tourist destinations around the city. 
  • In 5 minutes, you can reach Sintra, which can be described as a Disneyland for grownups. 
  • In 10 minutes, you can visit the coast and enjoy the sun at the beach. 
  • In 25 minutes, you can find yourself in the city center and the airport. 
Monastery  One of the well-guarded treasures of Penha Longa is the 14th-century monastery deep inside it. The resort transformed it into a meeting venue while keeping its classic architecture and feel.  This is a perfect spot for those who want to give their event a different touch. You can finally escape from the typical corporate locations that lack the uniqueness you want attendees to remember even long after the gathering is done.  Things to do at the monastery: 
  • Decorate the place depending on a certain theme of purpose. 
  • Long, quiet strolls in the gardens. The outdoors can also be used for dinner parties, surrounded by the ruins. 
  • Visit an ancient church, where you can have a chance to listen to singing monks. 
  • Drink cocktails in the courtyard. 
Aside from this, Penha Longa also has four exclusive venues outside their property. Despite being away from the resort itself, they can still provide exquisite service and food to these areas.  Restaurants  Penha Longa takes pride in nine exemplary restaurants. Three of them have Michelin stars, making the resort the only one with such a culinary distinction. Besides their delicious food and wine, what makes the place stand out is the unique experience.  For small groups, they host immersive market visits. One of the most usual destinations for this is the Cascais Market. Here, guests go to the local shops with a professional chef to buy ingredients, which will be cooked back at the resort for everyone to enjoy.  Golf Courses  With a lot of grass on the property, Penha Longa is a great place not only for its accommodation but golf experience as well. It houses the following courses: 
  • Atlantic Champion, a 19-hole course, one of the best in Europe. 
  • The Monastery, a nine-hole course. 
Different group activities are also hosted here. Guests can either join a clinic or do a bit of training. But what separates it from the rest is its incredible food golf.  Water Activities  If guests want to go outdoors and get wet, the coast near Penha Longa offers excellent surfing experiences. For those who prefer a more relaxing trip, buying a boat from Cascais and enjoying the sunset in the middle of the sea is highly recommended.  Liliana’s Day Off Activities 
  • A good Portuguese meal partnered with a fine wine 
  • A relaxing day at the beach 
  • Watching the sunset 
Diogo’s Day Off Activities 
  • Getting on the boat and going around Cascais 
  • Going to a nice restaurant 
  • Having a nice red Portuguese wine with some grilled meat 

About Liliana Pinheiro

Liliana is responsible for the MICE Segment at Penha Longa Resort. She has been at the resort for 7 years now, first starting in the Golf Department, then moved to event operation, and finally sales. Travelling is one of her biggest passions and hobbies, and one of her favorite trips was to Japan.  

About Diogo Rebelo

Diogo is originally from Porto, and is currently based in Cascais (Lisbon). He enjoys traveling the world searching for the best restaurants and is always in the loop for what’s new. He is a food and wine enthusiast where the choice of restaurants take a central part when booking a trip. He studied Economics and after two years working in Financial Auditing, he made a shift to hospitality. As a feverish traveler, he has more than 40 countries under his belt.
6 Destinations For A Company Incentive Trip

6 Destinations For A Company Incentive Trip

DE 33| Incentive Trips

 

Choosing destinations for incentive trips are our specialty. From wine tours in Napa Valley, to hiking Machu Picchu, here is our guide to the top incentive travel destinations. Join in as we rave about six wonderful destinations you’d want to consider for your next company incentive trip. The key to having a successful company trip is proper planning to ensure comfortable accommodations for your members. Don’t miss out on these must-visit destinations! 

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

6 Destinations For A Company Incentive Trip

Planning a company incentive trip brings up a wide array of destination options. You’ll want to ensure your group has an established list of activities and finds comfort in their accommodations. When it comes to coming up with destination options, the sky is literally the limit. Your group could zipline through the Costa Rican rainforest, sip Hardy Cabernet in California’s wine country, or do anything in between 

We’ve put together a list of destinations that will inspire all types of travelers. Here are top six destinations for a company incentive trip you can try out.

1. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It’s best known as a year-round ski resort destination for outdoor recreation. If your team loves outdoor recreational sports, you should definitely check out Aspen!

Places You Can Visit

  • Maroon Bells
  • Snowmass
  • Glenwood Springs
  • Silver Queen of Gondola

Things You Can Do

  • Skiing
  • Hiking
  • Ski tube snowmobile during winter
  • Zip Line
  • Rope Courses during summer    

2. Napa Sonoma Region In California

Since Napa County is found north of San Francisco, you can easily ride across the Golden Gate Bridge going there. The Napa Valley is known to be the “wine region” because of the hundreds of hillside vineyards you’ll encounter along the way.

Places You Can Visit

  • Opus One Winery
  • Viansa Sonoma Winery Tours and Activities
  • Castello di Amorosa Tours and Activities
  • Opus One Winery
  • Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Tours and Activities

Things You Can Do

  • Ride on hot air balloons
  • Private wine tasting

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a breathtaking country of rainforests located in Central America. It contains over 5% of the world’s biodiversity. If you’re into ecotourism, you should definitely check out Costa Rica! Also, did you know that it’s known as one of the happiest countries in the world?

Places You Can Visit

  • Monteverde and the Cloud Forests
  • Tortuguero
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Mal Pais and Santa Teresa

Things You Can Do

  • Cabby tours
  • Rainforest surf lessons on the Pacific or the Atlantic
  • Yoga Retreat
  • Waterfall rappelling
  • Zip line
  • Rafting tours
  • Visit a coffee plantation

4. The Bahamas

The Bahamas is a chain of islands within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Atlantic. We’ll focus more on the properties around Paradise Island.

Places You Can Visit

  • Vacation Resort Atlantis Paradise Island.
  • Cove Luxury Bahamas Resort
  • Baha Mar Resort Complex
  • Harbor Island
  • Abaco Beach Resort
  • The Capital City Nassau

Things You Can Do

  • Swim with dolphins in the Cove
  • Island hopping

5. Ireland

Ireland is a country in Western Europe that holds many unique experiences for you. If you want to be able to take folks to Europe without having to spend a whole lot of time getting there, Ireland is a great choice.

This country is also known as the “Emerald Isle” and “The Land of Saints and Scholars”. It’s famous for being the home to more Nobel Prize winners for literature than any other place in the world.

Places You Can Visit

  • Dublin (UNESCO City of Literature in 2010)
  • Shannon
  • Castles across the country

Things You Can Do

  • Pub crawls in Dublin
  • Golf

6. South America

South America is a continent of the superlatives. It houses the longest mountain range in the world (Andes), the greatest biodiversity (Amazon rainforest), driest non-polar desert (Atacama Desert), and more!

Places You Can Visit

  • Lima
  • Cuzco
  • Machu Picchu (with a sanctuary resort at the top)

Things You Can Do

  • Hiking
  • See Inca culture
  • Taste southern American food

That concludes this episode for top incentive destinations. To learn more about Andy McNeill & Todd Bludworth’s travels visit https://www.destination-everywhere.com/ Don’t forget to like and subscribe. Until next time and safe travels! 

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New Delhi and Northern India

New Delhi and Northern India

DE 30 | New Delhi

 

Looking forward to New Delhi and Northern India as exciting destinations for future meeting adventures, our guests today will provide the ultimate India travel guide from the “Yoga Capital of the World “to the Taj Mahal. Join us in our discussion with Anupam Dasgupta to highlight the exquisite cuisine and elegant facilities of luxury hotels in New Delhi as the General Manager of The Leela Palace. We also delve into the spirituality of the entire country, with author John Sambalino sharing his own yoga journey across India. In this episode, we’ll enumerate the most interesting destinations in New Delhi that truly encapsulate the historic beauty of the city, as well as its unique character when it comes to food, shopping, and adventure.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels in New Delhi to corporate event management in New Delhi, their team sources corporate event venues and have a team of corporate meeting planners in New Delhi for their clients. They provide ideas for convention themes and how to run global meetings and events in New Delhi and around the world. For more information go to www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

New Delhi

Local GM Anupam Dasgupta Of The Leela Palace Talks Luxury Hotels In New Delhi, And Author John Sambalino Shares Spiritual Journey In India

At the heart of India lies the historic city of New Delhi. In 10 years, it will celebrate its centennial as the country’s capital, founded as a walled city in 1939. But if there’s one thing to know about India is that the entire nation is divided into various regions or states, making each area completely different from the next. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth explore this mesmerizing place deep in Asia, delving into its hospitality, cuisine, and spirituality.

Anupam Dasgupta, General Manager of The Leela Palace

A gem-encrusted at New Delhi, The Leela Palace is a five-star property and voted as the second-best city hotel in entire Asia. It consists of 194 deluxe rooms, 18 luxury suites, 42 royal club rooms with their own butler, and a rooftop infinity pool with rose-scented towels. For its General Manager Anupam Dasgupta, it is a heaven anyone who travels in luxury can ask for.

The Leela Palace’s Three Signature Restaurants

  1. Jamavar Restaurant, which puts together various kinds of cuisines from all over India in one single menu, since their food changes every hundred kilometers.
  2. Megu, the only restaurant in New Delhi that serves authentic Japanese food.
  3. Le Cirque, a 6300 square feet restaurant that offers fantastic Italian food with a French sensibility.

At the hotel’s lounge, they serve drinks India is most famous for: teas and coffees. As a former colony of the British Empire, they have turned these beverages into their very own.

Anupam recommends travelers to plan everything ahead of their trip since tourist destinations can get extremely busy at certain times. Nevertheless, The Leela Palace provides a 25-30 minute drive to the city’s famous locations.

Learn more about The Leela Palace at https://www.theleela.com/.

Andy and Todd’s Bucket List

  1. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
  2. International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh
  3. Chandni Chowk, translated into Moonlight Street, a 300-year old market
  4. Moonlight Tour at the Taj Mahal
  5. Holi, India’s festival of color
  6. Diwali, a five-day festival of lights in October or November
  7. Red Fort, the main residence of moguls and emperors
  8. The Maharajas’ Express, India’s only luxury train that travels across the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur
  9. Bukhara Restaurant
  10. Garden of Five Senses
  11. The Kingdom of Dreams, New Delhi’s most famous Bollywood theater

John Sambalino, Author of Is God in That Bottle Cap?: A Search for Truth

With John Sambalino always having that feeling of being trapped in a body and a system that’s not entirely right, he went on to seek enlightenment in life. He found the answer in yoga, particularly in spirituality within India.

His experience at Rishikesh, the world’s yoga capital, opened his eyes to the truth of mindfulness, mainly through Yoga Ashrams. This personal journey taught him that meditation could eliminate more stress than anything that you could do.

Rapid Fire Questions With John Sambalino

  • Have you ever completed anything from your personal bucket list? Meditating in a cave in India and hiking in the Himalayas.
  • If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be? I would live in Hawaii because I’m a surfer, and there are waves there and good weather.
  • When packing for a trip, what is something you’d bring that may surprise others? Tiny rolls of toilet paper. I also take coloring books and crayons that I give away to kids.

Through his book, he provides insights about the power of meditation and learning everything that’s going around you besides what your senses are picking up.

Discover more about John Sambalino and his book at https://www.isgodinthatbottlecap.com/.

About Anupam Dasgupta

DE 30 | New DelhiAnupam Dasgupta has over 25 years of extensive hospitality experience, having worked with leading hotels. He loves to read classical and modern literature and has a passion for music both Jazz and Hindustani classical. He loves to play the guitar.

Anupam also has an interest in analyzing different businesses and learning about various industries. Lastly, talent development and mentoring people is one of his key areas of interest.

About John Sambalino

DE 30 | New DelhiJohn D. Sambalino is the author of Is God in That Bottle Cap. He received his Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of Florida.

Since early childhood, he has had the sense that the world that surrounds us is not as real as it appears and that there must be some unknown, hidden truth underlying all that we perceive. He has dedicated his life to uncovering this hidden reality, and in addition to having read over 300 books on spirituality, religion, and martial arts, he has meditated two to three hours a day, every day, for over forty years, practiced yoga and tai chi for over forty years, and qigong for over twenty years.

Sambalino is a venture capitalist involved in real estate, solar energy, and 3D technology. He has executive produced three movies, including The Four-Faced Liar which won the 2010 HBO Audience Award For Best First Feature Film. Sambalino is an avid stand-up paddleboard surfer and he lives with his wife, Niki, in Southern New Jersey.

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Dubai

Dubai

DE 27 | Dubai

 

Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure? When you are in Dubai, you can have the best of both worlds. In this episode, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth dive deep into the Jewel of the Middle East, Dubai! They are joined by TV Host, Ryan Pyle, who will explore with us why this city of gold is the top business hub, charting with us its dynamic growth over the last few decades. He takes us to some of the great hotels and destinations that are fit for meetings, events, and, of course, travel!

In line with that, Andy and Todd also sit down with Omar Souab of Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk to share with us some of the unique opportunities offered in this luxury hotel. He also takes us outside to give his recommendations on how best to enjoy the city. Join this episode for some fun and luxurious travel options, where you get to enjoy the finer things in life while discovering a different culture that just might enhance your appreciation of respect and tolerance.

Todd Bludworth and Andy McNeill are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels in Dubai to corporate event management, their team sources corporate event venues with and meeting planners for clients worldwide. They provide ideas for convention themes and how to run global meetings and events in Dubai and around the world. For more information go to www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

Dubai

TV Host Ryan Pyle Calls The City Of Gold The Top Business Hub, And Explore Luxury Dubai Hotels With Omar Souab Of Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk

Who says traveling for business has to be a task? In Dubai, you can mix business with pleasure as you enjoy not only its growth as a global business hub but also its many luxurious travel destinations. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth dive deep into the Jewel of the Middle East with none other than two great people who live there who can share with us all there is you need to know about the city.

First up, they sit down with Ryan Pyle. After realizing a lifelong dream, Ryan took off from his hometown in Toronto, Canada, to China, where he became a regular contributor to the New York Times. In 2009, he was listed by PDN Magazine as one of the 30 emerging photographers in the world. Having designed a career-making travel television based on the aspirational idea of making people want to travel and see the world, he shares what drew him into the city of gold and what he is seeing that makes it so attractive to business people travelers alike.

Ryan regards as Dubai his home. He talks about why it has a fantastic social club with so many things happening all the time—from people in entertainment to the incredible restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

Lest you forget the old world in this cosmopolitan environment, Ryan shares his top must-try things and must-visit places in the city that are unlike no other:

  •     Walk through the gold market
  •     Cruise in a morning boat along the Dubai Creek
  •     Visit some of the deserts just north or south of the city

Plus, if you want to bask in the beautiful sunset with unforgettable views and a fine and luxurious experience, then you don’t want to miss visiting Burj Khalifa.

From one great landmark to the next, Andy and Todd also sit down with Omar Souab, the General Manager of Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk—the second largest in the world and largest in the Middle East and Africa. Fit for a luxurious city, Omar talks about the great things that make this luxurious hotel unique:

  •     One, this iconic building is adorned with a gold pyramidion and in the shape of an obelisk, representative of the Luxor Obelisk currently in Paris.
  •     Two, it is in a great downtown spot, just 10 minutes away from the airport.
  •     Three, it houses five amazing restaurants.
  •     Four, it offers the Sofitel Spa with L’Occitane
  •     Five, it has three signature suites inspired from the emperor Napoleon and Cleopatra and designed by an Italian designer

Going out to the city, Omar then shares his recommendations that any international visitor must try:

  •     Safaris in the desert
  •     Boat trips in the Arabian sea
  •     Indoor activities such as ski slope and diving
  •     Shopping malls

Through it all, Dubai has proven itself to be one of the must-visit places, be it for business or pleasure or both. Before we forget, it helps to be reminded of the cultural differences any well-meaning traveler needs to know about Dubai. So get yourself acquainted with their culture and, most of all, always keep in mind to be respectful.

Capping this amazing episode off, here are Andy and Todd’s bucket-list items to do in Dubai:

  •     Sand Dune Bashing and Sandboarding
  •     Visit the Dubai Souks (Markets)
  •     Lounge 152 stories up at Burj Khalifa
  •     Zipline across the Dubai Marina
  •     See the world’s largest natural flower garden at the Dubai Miracle Garden
  •     Experience the culture during Ramadan
  •     Attend the activities at the Dubai Opera House
  •     Enjoy the Arabian Gulf on a private yacht

About Ryan Pyle

DE 27 | DubaiBorn in Toronto, Canada, Ryan Pyle spent his early years close to home. After obtaining a degree in International Politics from the University of Toronto in 2001, Ryan realized a lifelong dream and traveled to China on an exploratory mission.

In 2002 Ryan moved to China permanently and in 2004 Ryan became a regular contributor to the New York Times. In 2009 Ryan was listed by PDN Magazine as one of the 30 emerging photographers in the world.

In 2010 Ryan began working full time on television and documentary film production and has produced and presented several large multi-episode television series for major broadcasters in the USA, Canada, UK, Asia, CHINA and continental Europe.

About Omar Souab

DE 27 | DubaiAs General Manager of Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, Omar Souab leads the strategic direction and managed the pre-opening and current operations of Sofitel Hotels & Resorts largest property in the Middle East.

Souab brings a wealth of hospitality experience with an in-depth background in operations and sales following a 15-year career with Accor Group in Morocco and the UAE.

Souab holds a Bachelor in International Business from Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, USA, a Bachelor of International Business majoring in Marketing from Schiller International University in Madrid, Spain, and a Masters in Hospitality from Accor’s International Hospitality Management Program in Paris, France.

In his free time, Souab is a keen golfer, enjoys running – aiming for a semi-marathon – and discovering new Hospitality as well as Food & Beverage trends.

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