Hawaii Governor Refutes Boondoggle Image
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie took to the stage during the recent National Conference on Public Employees Retirement Systems to address widespread criticism aimed at the trade association for choosing to meet in Hawaii. Speaking at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Abercrombie refuted the “boondoggle” charges hurled at the event. Abercrombie noted that Hawaii has hosted high-level serious meetings, including the 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Meeting, which was attended by President Obama and other heads of state.
“Hawaii stands on its own merits as a premier location to host meetings and conventions,” Abercrombie said. “Planners are assured of the value they are getting. They know their events will be invigorating, while allowing attendees to relax, think clearly, collaborate, and most importantly, fulfill their business objectives.”
MPI Sets Agenda for World Education Congress
Meeting Professionals International will feature Candy Chang, a TED senior fellow and urban space artist, as the keynote speaker during its upcoming World Education Congress (WEC), July 20 to 23 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. MPI has also signed on former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman to discuss transformational leadership and how to find purpose through social action.
Programming at the conference will also include two Flash Point sessions in which speakers will deliver 15-minute presentations. The speakers will also conduct Master Classes for attendees who want an in-depth version of their presentations. Along with more than 60 educational sessions, WEC will offer an area devoted to new technologies; a Hosted Buyer Program, in which planners and suppliers meet during pre-arranged appointments; a performance by country music artist Dierks Bentley, and the chance to participate in a community service project.
Cruise Ships Added to ALHI Meetings Portfolio
Associated Luxury Hotels International now includes a selection of luxury cruise ships among its portfolio of venues marketed to meeting planners. The new Ocean Line ALHI segment consists of three Regent Seven Seas ships and three Oceania Cruise Line ships, all of which are available for private group charters.
The ships, which accommodate between 496 and 1,250 passengers, were selected on the basis of their services, cuisine, facilities and “imaginative” itineraries, according to ALHI president David Gabri. “These premier ships are exceptional, essentially like four- or five-star floating resorts,” he said.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Is Key to Choice of Venue
What are meeting planners looking for when choosing a conference facility? Ease of wireless connectivity tops the list of most-important factors, according to a new survey of planners by the International Association of Conference Centers. Other top factors include the onsite presence of a staff planner and conference room design. Respondents also noted that adequate meeting rooms and space flexibility, along with a destination’s appeal, were highly important.
The top reasons for declining a facility were cost and excess charges, followed by inadequate meeting space, location appeal and appearance/condition of the property. Perhaps the most surprising finding? The preferences of meeting attendees didn’t rank as important.
The survey found few generational preferences among meeting planners when it comes to choice of meeting space. The one exception: Generation Y was most concerned about destination appeal and about space for entertainment and awards presentations.