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 Meeting Destinations For Winter Travel

Best Meeting Destinations For Winter Travel


DE 29 | Winter Travel

 

After the holiday season, there’s no better escape to have than an exciting winter travel plan. But with so many places in the world to visit, where should you take your winter meeting venue? In another spotlight episode, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth count down their most exciting winter destinations, diving deep into what each place has to offer. They also share their personal experiences and their thoughts on the must-try activities for every winter traveler.

Todd Bludworth and Andy McNeill are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels for winter meetings to corporate event management around the world, their team sources event venues and meeting planners for their clients worldwide. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

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Best Destinations For Winter Travel

After discussing summer destinations in their last spotlight episode, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth now turn their discussion to winter travel. They have been to many places fit for a cold escapade, both for business or vacation.

1. Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Mostly featured in film, Rio de Janeiro is one place in the world that fascinates many people. It has warm weather that attracts big crowds throughout the year. When the season turns colder in the latter parts of the year, tourists may find smaller crowds.

Most Significant Things:

  • Rio Carnival, where you can be involved in endless parades and activities that turn the city into a huge bundle of energy

2. Seville, Spain

Offering mild weather, Seville (pronounced in Spanish as Se-BEE-ya) attracts only a manageable crowd during the winter season, even with its popular Christmas markets.

Most Significant Things:

  • Seville Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church that showcases the grand art of Gothic architecture, also a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Royal Alcazar’s Palace, the palace of kings in Seville built for the Christian King Peter of Castile
  • Three Kings Day festivities, which involves a long parade through the streets of Seville featuring giant elaborate floats and camels
  • Affordable room rates

3. Tulum, Mexico

Located in the south of Cancun in the Iberian Peninsula, Tulum is home to the most breathtaking beaches. By tracking the hurricane seasons, this specific body of water can be hit pretty badly by natural calamities every year. Therefore, the best time to visit is between October and December, when the hurricane season ends. The crowd is not that big as well, and the weather is quite warm.

Most Significant Things:

  • Ceviche, an appetizer consisting of marinated raw fish of seafood, commonly served in South America
  • Cenote, or natural swimming holes
  • The best nightlife in the entire Mexico

4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Offering the warmest winters to every traveler, Dubai has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the Middle East for the last 30 years. It is one of the favorite destinations by a lot of people from the US and Europe.

Most Significant Things:

  • Golden Spice Markets, locally known as souk, where you can find the most unexpected yet amazing purchases
  • Indoor ski mountain, found in the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest in the entire world
  • Gorgeous beaches
  • Sandboarding
  • Camel rides
  • Amazing hotels

5. Tahoe, California

Found on the western coast of North America, Tahoe is a popular tourist destination even during summer. With beautiful snowy landscapes, this place is a great addition to the bucket list of winter athletes or anyone who simply in love with winter sports. MTV even hosted their SnowGlobe Music Festival here, which is a real delight for lovers of live music.

Most Significant Things:

  • Lake Tahoe, which provides an amazing amount of snow that makes for an incredible skiing experience
  • Ski biking
  • Whitewater rafting

6. Patagonia, Argentina

While it is winter in the United States, Patagonia is actually enjoying the summer heat, making it a wise choice for a holiday trip. Located in the very southern tip of South America, it is a lovely place that every traveler would love.

Most Significant Things:

  • Torres del Paine National Park, known for its blue mountain iceberg and the iconic three granite towers from which the place derived its name
  • Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, the biggest attraction in Argentina, home to the world’s most dramatic icefalls and a huge variety of bird species
  • Amazing kayaking experience
  • Whale watching
  • Long hiking trips
  • Endless outdoor activities

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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.

Watch the episode here:

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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