Three Meeting and Event Trends for 2021

Three Meeting and Event Trends for 2021

The landscape for the corporate meeting and event industry has been entirely disrupted by the pandemic of 2020. As we begin to unravel from it all, our hope is in what is to come.

The good news is that the demand for corporate meetings remains strong. We are social creatures, and business meetings must happen to help us align on goals and with each other. The shift organizations made to online meetings, and virtual events showed us that business, events, and meetings needed to continue to move forward, regardless of the global pandemic landscape. Networking, product research and development, collaboration, and team communication must, and will, continue.

The question isn’t whether or not group events will happen; it is how they will look and how to make them successful. As we all look forward, prepare for the future and glide into the new normal, here are three trends we expect to see strengthened.

Venues are Getting Ready for Hybrid Events

Virtual events have been the primary way organizations have held meetings of every type. As businesses that have been limited or sheltered are once again opening doors, we expect hybrid events to take over.

The boom in virtual meetings has created new best practices in the industry, improving production logistics and technology for the better. We expect hybrid events to dominate with user familiarity, and venues must get ready to meet their needs.

CVBs and DMCs are Expanding

Convention and Visitor Bureaus, along with Destination Management Companies, are expanding their partnerships and adjusting their income models. Going from a steady income of event hosting, then coming to a complete halt in some cases, due to the pandemic, CVBs and DMCs are looking at how they price and who they need to have in their portfolio of connections.

Broadening networks and outreach to be more diverse helps balance out income sources, and partnering with additional vendors will allow for more agility should something like a global disruption happen again.

Focus on Health and Safety

Hybrid events will continue to attract participants most comfortably – live or digital. Meeting technologies, along with health and safety will continue to be a focus and priority for attendees, venues, and event planners. Local government mandates will continue to shift, and those in the meetings industry will need to be flexible to meet those changes. Procedures to maintain safety will continue to be front and center with signage, technology, PPE, and more. Onsite testing is likely to be a live event standard. Find more resources here: Meeting Health & Safety

Palm Beach: LPGA Golf Meets the Iconic History of The Breakers Resort

Palm Beach: LPGA Golf Meets the Iconic History of The Breakers Resort

DE 31 | Palm Beach

 

Michelle McGann, professional golfer and Palm Beach local, shares her favorite golf courses and places to shop. Plus, we sit down with The Breakers’ Senior Vice President of Sales, Jim Mostad, who breaks down the hotel’s greatest offers and amenities, which led to Palm Beach becoming America’s first resort destination. As in all of our destination discoveries, we talk about local flare, popular sites to visit, and the unique activities to make your next meeting or event the best ever. As America’s first resort destination, Palm Beach is truly a sight to behold and a place full of exciting things to do with your meeting or travel partners.

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

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Turning pro at the young age of 18, Michelle has played in almost 40 tournaments in her first year alone. Her career brought her around the world and allowed her to play with the most prominent people, from George W. Bush to Michael Jordan.

Palm Beach is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses out there. For Michelle, the course at Seminole is somewhat challenging, but The Bear’s Club offers the true challenge. She also frequents the Old Palm, a club that she represents, and the Jupiter Hills Club, which is one of her favorites situated on the side of a mountain.

Michelle was diagnosed with diabetes when she was young. Her challenging life fighting this disease inspired her to start the Michelle McGann Fund, which brings diabetic children to camp to educate them and help build their self-confidence.

Michelle’s Favorite Food Places

  1. Captain Charlie’s Reef Grill
  2. River House
  3. The Barcelo Aruba
  4. Limoncello Ristorante
  5. Russo’s Submarine Sandwich Shop
  6. C.R. Chicks

Rapid Fire Questions With Michelle

  • Have you ever completed anything on your bucket list? My entire life is a bucket list, and I’ve ticked so many boxes off.
  • If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be? Ireland, because of its greenery that you see in pictures, magazines, and books.
  • When packing for a trip what is something you bring that might surprise people? A soft pillow and several pillowcases so I can switch them out.
  • What is your most memorable experience in Palm Beach? As a local, I’m just grateful to live in such a great community and blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family.

Andy and Todd’s Top 10 Bucket List

  1. Walking down Worth Avenue Drive
  2. Chartering JFK’s Presidential Yacht
  3. Visiting Peanut Island
  4. Enjoying the five-day SunFest event
  5. Immersing into the polo community in West Palm between January and April
  6. Attending the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival every December
  7. Seeing the annual Honda Classic PGA Tour
  8. Taking part in the Spa Wellness Month during the whole month of October
  9. Joining a baseball spring training
  10. Going to the Whitehall at the Flagler Museum

Jim Mostad, Senior Vice President – Sales at The Breakers

Dubbed as the crown jewel of Palm Beach, The Breakers Hotel is an iconic place and an admirable resort destination in Florida. Founded in 1896 by Henry Flagler, it withstood the test of time and is still owned by his direct descendants. Its current Senior Vice President – Sales, Jim Mostad, has experienced working in conferences services before getting his current position.

The Breakers’ Most Desirable Amenities

  • A dozen of exciting restaurants
  • 140-acre golf course
  • Tremendous tennis complex

Jim also highlights the hotel’s signature experience: bungalows. Unlike some destinations were renting one means only getting a pop-up tent, The Breakers ups the game by offering an entire facility. It includes restrooms, an air conditioning unit, and a television. Concierge services, dining options, and recreational activities are all available in the bungalow.

The Breakers is also not short of flavorful cuisine. Jim highly recommends dining at the Seafood Bar and Adam D. Tihany. To make the trip to Palm Beach a bit more memorable, he also recommends visiting when annual events are taking place, particularly the Concours d’Elegance and Cavallino Classic.

Jim’s Top 3 Favorite Things To Do In The Breakers

  1. Riding a bicycle along the Palm Beach bike trail
  2. Renting a bungalow for a day
  3. Visiting the Flagler Museum

About Jim Mostad

Jim has spent 36 years at The Breakers in various Sales and Conference Services positions. Current responsibilities include overseeing group, social, event sales and conference services.

Nearly a long long resident of Florida, and hobbies include golf and fishing!

About Michelle McGann

DE 31 | Palm BeachMichelle first stepped on the golf course when she was only 7 years old, having special “alone” time with her dad and learning how powerful she could feel from the perfect swing. At age 13 she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, but through diet, monitoring and proper medications, her diabetes has proved to be just another challenge in the game.

The sport has kept her traveling as a 3-time Florida State Junior Champion, the 1987 USGA Junior Girls Champion, AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year, 1987 Rolex Junior First-Team All-American, and the 1988 Doherty Cup Championship. She was also recognized by GOLF Magazine and GOLF Digest as Amateur of the Year in 1987. At age 18, Michelle decided to skip college and give the LPGA tour a go, making it on her first attempt!

Since joining the LPGA Tour, she has won 8 professional tournaments and participated in two (2) Solheim Cups. She has been fortunate to play golf with Presidents, captains of industry, and some of the greatest sportsmen and women in history.

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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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Best Destinations for Summer Meetings and Events

Best Destinations for Summer Meetings and Events

DE 28 | Best Summer Destinations

 

It’s time for your team’s summer summit! Whether your business event or meeting warrants more time in the sun or away from the heat, the world has so much to offer when it comes to this wonderful travel season. In this spotlight episode, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth shine the light on their top five best destinations for summer travel. They take a quick round trip to the northerly charms of Vancouver, Scotland, and Alaska, the tropical paradise of Bali, and the southerly quirks of South Africa. They also mention a couple of US and European cities that are worth visiting this summer. Listen in and get ready to pack your bags at one or more of these inspiring destinations!

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

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Best Destinations For Summer Travel

The world has a lot to offer when it comes to summer. Whether you’re looking to achieve a sun-kissed glow or escape the oppressing heat of your city, you are sure to find treasures all over the globe that will satisfy your hankering for summer travel. Scouring the world from north to south and from east to west, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth take on the tough, but fun task of picking the best places that you can take your family, team, or clients to during the sunny season.

First off, just across the border – the beautiful city of Vancouver. Sitting on Canada’s Pacific coast, the world-famous city features a unique urban setting surrounded by nature. From dozens of outdoor activities to exhilarating events, you’re never going to run out of things to do in this diverse and colorful city.

Top Events and Activities in Vancouver

  • Canada Day parades
  • Celebration of Light fireworks displays over English Bay
  • August Pride Parade
  • Hiking
  • Water Expeditions
  • Wildlife Tours

Halfway across the world is fair old Scotland. If you’re into long walks in historical walled towns, then the city of Edinburgh is a perfect destination for you. There is a good reason why this centuries-old city is the second most visited city in the United Kingdom. Scotland is also home to what many would argue are some of the best things in the world – golf and whiskey – all the more reason to take your plaid jackets on a plane to this Northern European charm.

If you’re more into tropical excursions this summer, then head down the Equator to Bali, Indonesia. It is safe to say that this little Hindu-Buddhist island is on everybody’s bucket list. April to October is Bali’s dry season and it is also the perfect time to enjoy its offerings while avoiding high rates at the same time. Be careful, though. Half of your sales team may not want to go back if you take them to this picturesque paradise!

Top Outdoor Activities in Bali

  • Hiking Mt. Batur at sunrise
  • Visiting the Hindu temple, Pura Ulun Danu Batur
  • Snorkeling in the black sand beach of Lovina
  • Temple and beach hopping

When it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the winter dry season in South Africa – the perfect season to visit this beautiful place. You can go inland into Johannesburg and ride along on a safari just outside the city. You can explore Kruger National Park, which is South Africa’s oldest national park and one of the best places to spot Africa’s iconic wildlife. For cooler weather and raw, beautiful beach sceneries, you can head down to Cape Town and enjoy the lower fares and fewer crowds during this season.

Closer to home, Alaska has proven itself to be one of the most popular destinations in North America. With 19 hours of sunlight at this time of the year, there is plenty of time to enjoy the state’s gorgeous outdoors, amazing wildlife, and beautiful views. It’s relatively easy to go there. You can just hop on a plane or one of those excellent cruise ships that ply their way to the state during this season.

Those are the top five destinations that you can tick off your bucket list this summer, but there are some great honorable mentions that you might also want to consider.

Top US Destinations for Summer Travel

  • Chicago
  • Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Acadia National Park
  • San Diego
  • Boston
  • Napa Valley

Other Interesting Picks

  • Paris, London, Rome, Dublin, Monaco and all other major European cities
  • Morocco
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina

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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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