Archive for January, 2011

B&B Traveler

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Dear B&B Traveler,

More than 10,000 travelers are expected to attend the sixth annual B&B Expo on March 19 and 20 in Brussels, Belgium.

By reserving by January 31, you can get a prominent location in the group stand for only 460€, a 15% discount off the regular rates. To reserve, email today; be sure to identify yourself as a member to get this special rate! members also get a 10% discount for their ad in the B&B Expo magazine, in addition to being mentioned in the ad.

The Expo has grown in the number of exhibitors and visitors each year, with over 10,000 visitors in 2010, and over 200 exhibitors from two dozen countries. For 2011, the Expo will be held in the handsomely restored exposition halls of Tour & Taxis, close to the city centre of Brussels and the Brussels North train station, complete with all modern facilities.

Nearly 90% of exhibitors were “very satisfied” with the quality of the show and the caliber of the visitors, and many have already reserved booths for 2011. Exhibitors include both individual inns and associations of B&Bs, country inns, small hotels, plus national, regional, and local tourism boards. For greater impact, many exhibitors coordinate with area colleagues and/or with their local tourism board.

A survey of B&B EXPO visitors revealed that:

* 80% of all visitors go on holiday at least twice a year
* 72% of all visitors do not attend any other travel exhibition
* 70% of all visitors use the Internet to book their holidays
* 58% of all visitors are looking for special interest holidays (walking, cycling, motorcycling, wellness, etc.)

For 2011, continued growth in attendance and continued improvement in the quality and results of the Expo is assured by increased promotion, newsletters, an improved multi lingual website, additional information for special interest travelers, and a magazine distributed to all visitors.

Why participate? B&B EXPO is the only international travel event for travelers looking for charming holidays in small-scale accommodations. Many travelers book their vacation three months before departure, so the timing is perfect for meeting potential summer guests in a unique and personal way. B&B EXPO organizes campaigns to attract the right public in Belgium and neighboring countries. In addition, interested visitors receive regular newsletters with information about the event, the exhibitors and the sponsors.

Please register by January 31, 2010 to receive your 15% discount. Registration after the deadline is dependent on space.

Just want to attend? Innkeepers get 50% off the regular admission price of 9 euro. Just identify yourself as an innkeeper when you buy your tickets at the expo gate.

More information:

* Details in English
* L’information en Francais
* Auskünfte auf Deutsch
* Informatie in Nederlands

B&B Expo contact information:
Jean Pierre
Vandevenne Sepulkrijnenlaan
15 B-3500 Hasselt, Belgium
Tel. 00-32-(0)11-26.10.49
Fax 00-32-(0)11-24.22.16

Not Quite Modernizing an Historic Inn

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Not Quite Modernizing an Historic Inn
A renovation may include flat-screen TVs, but it maintains its quaint feel.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Caryn Eve Murray

At first glance, the concept seems to be the very definition of self-contradicting design: Guest rooms that are country-quaint and, at the same time, fresh and new.

But the Inn at Pocono Manor is betting its $4 million renovation budget that this formula is tailor-made for the 181-room Pennsylvania resort, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The aesthetic makeover is the inn’s first wide-ranging modern design in some 40 years, said general manager Robert Sighinolfi. And as the new lighting fixtures, furnishings and bedding get swapped out, along with carpets and drapes, the new look that is being phased in, in stages, should not disrupt or affect the guests at all – except to make them feel at home with a slice of old-time rural Pennsylvania.

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t lose the country inn feel, furniture that looks like it was built by the Quakers, color schemes that are warm and inviting,” Sighinolfi said. “We wanted to make sure it is still the Pocono Inn, so when you walk in you still have the flavor and feel of 1901,” the year the inn opened, he said. “The general feel is that this is an historic, quaint country inn with modern amenities.”

The original Quakers, who were the inn’s first occupants, might be a little startled at what they’d find today: A WiFi signal that even reaches snowmobilers or the golf course, and flat-screen TVs going into each of the guest rooms. And while flat-panel TVs – or any TVs at all – didn’t exist at the turn of the 20th Century, Sighinolfi said, “we’ll still be adding a flat-screen TV to the top of a piece of furniture that looks like it was built in 1901. It’s still about modern convenience.”

With wingback chairs, king beds, queen beds and other accoutrements from American Atelier, the rooms will also retain their individuality and not be recast into mirror images of one another, he said.

“These rooms are not cookie-cutters; every room has a different size,” he said. “So when you go into them, they are not the typical two-beds-and-a-nightstand.”

Dark woods will give a rich feel; green and blue hues will give a restful ambiance. One room will even have two king-sized beds – a nod to the extra space needed by the corporate market the inn is trying to attract more of. Extra padding will be installed around the doors to reduce noise from slamming and additional soundproofing will be added elsewhere, as needed.

The rooms’ overhaul, guided by the design team from Capital Design Group, based in Washington, D.C, is being done in stages by general contractor M.J. Renovations of Monroe, N.Y., and should be completed by the end of April, just as the busy season gets under way. After that, the commercial spaces, including the restaurants and 27,000 square feet of meeting space, get their turn at transformation over a two- to three-month period, Sighinolfi said.

And then the inn will be able to move, with its past, into the future: Everything old will be new again.

Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop Can Help Entrepreneurs Start or Expand Business

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop Can Help Entrepreneurs Start or Expand Business

Plus plenty of quality offerings for established businesses

LINCOLN, NEB. (January 24, 2010) — Thinking about starting an agri/eco-tourism venture or expanding your farm or ranch to include a tourism component? Then don’t miss the 2011 Governor’s Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop.

The workshop, Feb. 1-2 at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center in Kearney, will include advice on starting or expanding a business from Business Development Consultant Steve Williams of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Williams will review business plan development resources, business counseling services and entrepreneurial training programs available in Nebraska. He also will outline business financing and incentives available.

If you have a business idea you’re not quite ready to run with, the “Discover How to Do Your Own Feasibility Study” session will help you determine if the idea has sufficient market viability and if it makes sense for you and your family.

New entrepreneurs will get to hear from and network with those experienced in the industry and listen to keynote speaker Stan Meador talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t throughout his 15 years in agritourism.

Established business operators will gain insight from sessions on the benefits of value-added marketing and on building relationships with the news media.

So check out the conference agenda and register online today at Online registration ends at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28.

Nebraska Trails News January 2011

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Nebraska Trails News
January 2011

South Sioux City to Expand Trail System

What started with one mile of trail development in the late 1970’s has steadily evolved into an expansive system in South Sioux City. The Al Bengtson Trail System, at 19 miles, will expand in spring 2011 with the development of an additional mile. Parks Director Gene Maffit clears snow throughout the winter to ensure users can enjoy year round access.

South Sioux City’s trail system links users with Dakota City and the Tri-State Trail. Connecting to Sioux City, Iowa and North Sioux City, South Dakota provides an additional 57 miles of trail opportunities. Maffit would like to see these trail opportunities expanded in the future by connecting to Ponca State Park.

Development of the current system can be attributed to hardworking, tenacious Councilman Al Bengtson. South Sioux City honored the late councilman’s devoted trail work and advocacy by dedicating the system to him in 2002. His wife continues trail advocacy efforts as a Nebraska Trails Council Board Member.

Don’s PC Tips

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Don’s PC Tips January 10, 2011 Home
Don Ray Edrington with Mary Janese Hanson

Mysterious Vertical Lines Several readers have asked why some forwarded emails they receive have one or more lines running down the left side (such as seen here) and how they can remove the lines before sending the message on to others.

Well, adding a left-side line to a forwarded message is something AOL Mail has always done, and each time it continues through another AOL user another line is added.

In any case, when you click your email program’s “Forward” button the message to be forwarded will appear in an editable mode. However, deleting these lines requires HTML editing, with which to most users are unfamiliar.

What I do is simply mouse-select the part of a message I want to forward, copy it with Ctrl+C, and then create a new message into which I paste it with Ctrl+V. If I intend to forward it to multiple recipients I put my own email address in the “TO” field and put all the others in the “BCC” (blind carbon copy) field so that recipients will see only their own addresses.

Reviewing a Gmail BCC Recipient List Gmail user George Roberts wrote that after emailing several friends using the “BCC” field, he sometimes wants to go back and review the list of names. George should click on “Sent Mail” and open the target message. At the top of the message his name will appear, followed by the first name in the “BCC” list. Click on “Show Details” and all the other names will appear.

MSWord 2007/2010 Issues A lady who uses a pre-2007 version of Microsoft Word said she occasionally receives documents that were created with Word 2007 or 2010, and that she can’t open them. She asked if there is a way of opening them, short of having to buy the latest version of Word.

Yes – she can download OpenOffice, which is free from The program is able to open Word 2007/2010 documents and then let you save them as Word 2003 files.

Likewise, one can open Word 2007/2010 files with Google Docs (Google Docs) and them save them as an earlier version.

However, an even better short term solution is for Word 2007/2010 users to save documents they intend to share with others as Word 97-2003 files before sending them on. Someday – in about 10 years or so – all Word users will likely be using 2007/2010, and there will be little reason to save files in the older format. In the meantime, do other Word users a favor by sending them 97/2003 files, which can always be opened by any version of word.

Red X Instead of a Picture Tom Jackson asked why some image attachments he receives show a red x instead of a picture. Well, there can be many reasons for this, and most are explained here: Red X Problems.

Dealing with Spam Alan Brooks asked which email service is best at protecting users from spam. Well, I like Gmail. However, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and others all seem to be doing a pretty good job at filtering junk mail nowadays.

I’ve read that about 2/3 of all the email in circulation at any given moment is pure spam, and there is no way any service can be 100% sure whether a message is legitimate or not. Thus, not only does an occasional junk message get past my Gmail filter, an occasional legitimate message gets put in the Spam folder. Consequentially, it’s important to review your spam/junk folder periodically to check for errors before deleting its contents permanently.

I also like Gmail’s spell-checker, which kicks in when I do other things online using Google’s Chrome browser. For instance, if I post a comment to anything I see online (as in Facebook) the spell-checker works beautifully.

Speaking of Facebook, and other social networking sites, they can be a lot of fun – but keep in mind that anything you post online can be seen and/or copied by others, and it may come back to haunt you someday. Once you post something, you can delete it. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been seen and copied by someone. Be careful – think before you post.

Several readers have asked if Microsoft Security Essentials can be installed on a computer that already has an anti-virus program in place. No. Multiple anti-malware programs on the same computer tend to interfere with one another and can create more problems than they solve.

eValueWeb: Evaluate, Update, Regulate – Is Your Web Site Working For, or Against You?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

HOLBROOK, NEB. (June 3, 2010)—Regular maintenance is a part of everyday living. Cars’ oil levels need to be regularly checked. Children need yearly physicals. Even chimneys, air conditioning units and furnaces need looking after. Well, guess what? The same holds true for web sites.

Web sites are one of the most advantageous marketing tools available to business owners, allowing them to not only be “open” 24/7, but to reach customers and clients around the world. However, web sites also require constant monitoring and updated information, graphics, and usability features or functions. A web site featuring old information or outdated graphics could negatively impact business.

To help Nebraska business owners avoid the pitfalls of bad or ineffective web sites, GROW Nebraska is offering the affordable eValueWeb critique. The cost is $30 for basic GROW members, or $15 for GROW bundle members. Non-members will pay just $205 for the critique (includes GROW Nebraska membership through December 31, 2011). Registration deadline is June 30 and completed critiques will be received by August 1.

A jury panel of web industry experts in e-business strategy, graphic design, marketing and usability testing will rate the web sites in audience/purpose, graphics, navigation, content, functionality and search engine optimization. This year’s panel professionals include:

· Jason Berry of Wildberry Production Group

· Kurt Guntner of Blue Collar Design Studio

· Ryan Cole of Three Pillars Media

· John Stappert of Power Computing, Inc.

· Angela Stueckrath of Angela Stueckrath Consulting

· Lance Hedquist of South Sioux City Economic Development

· Kelly Diekmann of Perfect 11 Solutions

· David Hefley of Meridian Consulting

· Doris Lux of Central Community College-Columbus

· Derek Bierman of Shockra Multimedia and Design

· Sara Brownwood of Impact! Media & Marketing

· Erik Miller of CleanSheep Design

· Melody Hansen of Sublime Artistry.

The juror’s biographical information and photos are available at

GROW Nebraska member Ann Wooledge of Wingsets in Lincoln was glad she participated in a past critique. “I can say the money was certainly well spent. Their comments were very constructive and helpful.”

eValueWeb and membership applications are available on the GROW Nebraska web site at To find out more about eValueWeb, call GROW Nebraska at 888.GROW.NEB (476.9632), or e-mail

GROW Nebraska’s mission is to maximize the state’s entrepreneurial and small business spirit, create an economically viable and sustainable environment for entrepreneurs, and generate social awareness through promotion, marketing and education.

Cinnamon and Honey

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Cinnamon and Honey
Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot.. It will do what some call turning to sugar. In reality honey is always honey.. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will do what I rather call “crystallizing”. When this happens I loosen the lid, boil some water, and sit the honey container in the hot water, turn off the heat and let it liquefy. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey.

Cinnamon and Honey
Bet the drug companies won’t like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon: It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a ‘Ram Ban’ (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada , in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:

Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada , various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.

Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.

Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder.

Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.

Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.

According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that if Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘ Ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu..

Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans also increase and even a 100 year old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root..

Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.

Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.

Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P..M. when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body within a week.

People of South America , first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

Virtual Sommelier

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Virtual Sommelier

Advances in technology helps take the mystery out of wine.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Beth Kormanik
(2 of 2)

Here’s a quick fact: more people own a smartphone than a subscription to Wine Spectator magazine.

So when hotel and restaurant patrons want to enjoy a glass of wine but aren’t familiar with a brand, varietal or year, it makes sense that they would turn to their phones for help.

Making that process easier is Cellar Key, a technology that allows people to scan a 2D barcode to access information about a wine.

“Wine as a subject matter can be intimidating, and people don’t want to ask questions,” said Luke Higgins, Regional Sales Manager – Atlantic for Lion Nathan USA, an owner and importer of wines that launched the proprietary marketing platform in September. “This is one of the most exciting opportunities to communicate with consumers and give them the message we’ve always wanted to, from our cellar door.”

Smartphone users can download an app (Cellar Key uses ScanLife) and start scanning the barcodes, or tags, as they’re also called.

After scanning a Cellar Key barcode, viewers have a variety of information at their fingertips: a video tour of the winery, accolades from wine publications, an introduction to the winemaker and suggested food, wine and cheese pairings.

The idea is to convey to consumers at the point of purchase — at a restaurant, on a room service menu or in a wine shop — information about vinticulture and other characteristics about a wine.

Historically, wineries offered case cards or a blurb on the back of the bottle and enterprising wine buyers could visit a winery’s website — but that may not be practical for a consumer ready to make a purchase. A sommelier is a great resource, but one is not always available, particularly for room service orders or wine purchased from a hotel market pantry.

Cellar Key is used at hotels including New York’s Waldorf Astoria, the Marriot Marquis Times Square, Hilton New York, Crowne Plaza in Times Square,  and the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s Citrus restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.

Hotels decide how they want to market the program, but most use promotional tools such as hang tags on bottle necks, shelf talkers, case cards, brochures and tent cards.

The content is intended to educate, entertain and virtually connect the user to wineries. Imbibers can instantly rate the wine and share their experience on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

Cellar Key features 20 wines and five wine brands including Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand; Argyle Pinot Noir and Vintage Brut from Willamette Valley, Oregon; St Hallett Faith Shiraz and Poacher’s Blend from Barossa, Australia, and Argento Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.

Ben Glover, the chief winemaker of Wither Hills in New Zealand, said the content in Cellar Key conveys important information about wine to buyers.

“The magic about Marlborough is its effervescence and fantastic acidity. It cuts through oil and butters,” he said. “It’s not just about the wine, but the pairing with the food.”

For now, paper tags slip over the neck of Wither Hills bottles and instructions to buyers on how to scan them is on the back. Eventually, the tags will be incorporated into the bottle design itself.

Even though Cellar Key a consumer-facing technology, Higgins pointed out that it also can be used to educate hotel and restaurant staff about wines.

Controlling Your Pour

Promoting wine through technology is also a priority at Hyatt. At the Grand Hyatt New York, guests can experiment and educate their palate at “the Wine Gallery.”

The gallery, situated adjacent to the signature New York Central restaurant, features five interactive wine displays — coolers that contain a bottle of wine and regulate the pour. Guests can purchase a card with a pre-loaded amount of money and taste any or all of the wines. The serving sizes range from a 1-ounce “taste” to a 3-ounce “half” and a 5-ounce “full.”

“There’s nothing better than having interactivity,” said Barry Prescott, Hyatt’s corporate beverage director. “Consumers want to be a part of the process.”

The dispensing machines are the WineStation from Napa Technolgy. An argon gas keeps the wines fresh, and the system keeps track of the level of the bottle and shows the operator when the bottle was opened — although the guest does not see the date.

“As an operator we love it because it eliminates waste,” Prescott said.

Prescott said guests can get creative with the system. They can stick with small pours to get an overview of world wines, or have a small taste of an exclusive wine.

Guests can choose flights or taste a wine before making the commitment to buy an entire bottle. They can also order food to enjoy with their wine.

“It allows them to experience a wine they haven’t before,” said Jose Montalvo, the hotel’s beverage director. “We want to demystify the wines.”

It’s user-friendly for the operator, too, he noted. It’s easy to replace empty bottles of wine, or swap a low performer for a more popular varietal. He updates the wine list via computer or can scan a barcode at the station.

The Grand Hyatt New York is the first Hyatt to use the system.

When travelling, should I drink tap or bottled water?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

When travelling, should I drink tap or bottled water?


Alexander Torrenegra

October 19, 2010Posted in: Responsible Travel

Many of us have decided to stop drinking bottled water for sustainability reasons. This is easy to accomplish at home, but what are the options when travelling? Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Travelling to a “1st world” country? Most high per capita countries have very strict levels of quality for tap water. In fact, laws regulating the tap water in the United States are comparable to those regulating bottled water. More info.
  • What do most locals drink? If most locals are comfortable drinking water directly from the tap, you may be fine as well. Just ask.
  • Bring your own bottle and ask your host for water to go. For example: host Kaye Newton, from Peaceful Palms B&B in Australia, provides filtered tap water to guests. She even encourages them to fill up their bottles when leaving for further travel (congrats Kaye for leading by example!)
  • Natural juices are a great alternative to water. Ask the cook not to add water to the juice. It tastes even better!
  • In developing countries, water quality may vary in different areas of the same city. Poor and undeveloped areas may not enjoy the same quality controls as more favored and touristy areas. Be careful.
  • Bring a portable water filter. I own this one and it works pretty well. Great for hiking!
  • Beware of fake bottled water. Although this may only happen in poor countries, you should always make sure that the seals on bottles are intact before you open them.
  • Finally, but most importantly, always use common sense.

Dr. Peter Tarlow’s Newsletter

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

for January 2011
Producing Great Events

Major events are an important part of tourism. Be these events conferences or conventions, sporting events or religious rallies, major events impact almost every area of a tourism industry. Major events mean hotel occupancy, shopping at local retail establishments, food being purchased for and at the event and an increase in restaurant and entertainment revenue. Major events also offer the local community a non-haphazard approach to tourism planning. While the leisure tourism market is open to economic ups and downs due to anything from a change in weather conditions to an act of violence, major events produce a much more stable population. In the world of major events most financial outlays have been made well in advance and as such the event is less subject to market fluctuations. On the other hand, there is stiff competition between locales for the major event business, and in some cases, such as in some forms of sport championship games, it is the winning team that determines who will be the host community.
Events cover a wide range of fields, from fund-raising dinners to political rallies, from sports events to school reunions, from professional and academic conferences to family reunions or religious experiences, all are events and all add to a community’s economic health. To help you get the best meetings and special events for your community consider some of the following:

-If you are attempting to attract a new special event, study every aspect of the event prior to bidding for it. Often communities competing for special events simply do not do their homework. Before speaking with an event specialist, make sure that you know the basics: what are this event’s demographics? What are its special needs? What do they not want? How do their dates match yours? For example, if you are going after a religious convention or special event, you may want to consider what drinks to serve and what you need to avoid.

_To get the best competitive advantage consider your strengths and weaknesses. Doing a good assessment of what your community has to offer an event is essential. Ask questions such as: How do you stack up against others in your price range? Are your employees multilingual? What do potential customers think about what you have to offer and about what others are offering?

-Make sure that you know the answers to what in English are called the basic “w” questions. (Who, Why, When, and What) These are the essential questions that produce not only successful events but create positive word-of-mouth advertising. Make sure that you can answer fully: Who is holding the event and for whom is it targeted? Why are they holding this event? When will the event take place? Where do they want to hold the event and are your facilities adequate? What expectations do the event planners have and can you meet these expectations?

Develop sophisticated checklists. Make sure your checklist goes beyond the basics. Include such items as: what VIP requirements will the special event need? Do the event planners need you to make appointments with the fire marshal or other city officials? What happens if the airport closes down? Do you need to coordinate with an ambulance service? What problems might attendees have when they are outside of the event venue? What special political, medical, religious or social sensitivities might the event goers have?

Know to which threats the event may be subjected. For example, are you in a hurricane zone, is this conference liable to have political infighting that might impact your locale, does this conference act as a terrorism magnet, or will the conference become a disturbance to local businesses and citizens? For example, political events often require streets to be closed off, traffic patterns to be moved and other inconveniences to local residents. While these are not a threat to the convention attendee they may become “threats” to the sanity of the local population and to other businesses.

Decide what is the best use of your time. Events are really controlled moments in time in which memories are made. As such, how you manage your time will impact the success or failure of an event. When working with an event manager spend some time to learn who is in charge of each of the events aspects.

-Learn what the event’s time necessities are and prepare a time line for your role in the event. Often it is the small things that win over a client or make an event special. Having a time line means that there is less chance of a mistake or an oversight. Time lines should indicate not only when something is to be started but also by when it is to be completed.

-Offer the best technological support possible. In today’s world that is both face paced and multi-tasking, technology is king. Hotel’s that charge for internet are doing themselves and their community a disservice. Let your event managers know what technology you have. Do not over-promise, many event managers and business people are unforgiving when it comes to not delivering on a promised piece of technology.

-Nothing wins back people as well as a smile and a willingness to make it right. No matter how well you plan an event, something will go wrong. Most people understand that mishaps will occur, what is not acceptable is refusing to recognize these mistakes and make them right. Saying merely “I’m sorry” is nothing more than a polite way to shun responsibility. Do not make excuses, make it right and make it right with a cheerful smile. The bottom line is that major events are a form of tourism and the essence of tourism is customer service. The community that forgets this basic rule is gambling with its tourism industry and reputation.

» rss