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1:50 RCA Dome deflated and torn down built in 1984.
2:20 AIG criticized for event in an article Jon read that they held as an incentive trip. Tuscan gold tablecloths, bar and space heaters were pointed out about lavish events planned a long time in advance. Perfect meetings but not look flashy. Meetings industry and media need to connect in these unsteady times.
8:24 Airline – Spirit Airlines and a few others are considering blanketing the inside of planes with advertisements. Basically looking like a NASCAR car in the inside. Spirit will try a tourism consul for targeted ads.
10:55 Meeting News Magazine reports about high speed rail in the USA. San Francisco to Los Angeles bond measure to build a high speed rail elections. 2.5 hours from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Chunnel to Paris to London example? Greener because train stations are central to cities. Meeting rooms on trains?
14:59 Festival Express Documentary – Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Band to all touring concert on a train. Idea for getting people to bond.
16:32 Sue Pelletier Cost saving tip on her Blog Face2Face. Make sure to look at the state taxes when choosing a state to do a meeting to save some money. In California if the A/V company pays the tax on the A/V when its bought they do not have to charge A/V tax on rentals. Some A/V companies use this as leverage.
17:57 Retro cassette idea which has a thumb drive inserted where the tape would be. Great for a Rock and Roll theme or retro pitch for business. Also a fun gift if filled with music. Can put all information, music files etc on the thumb drive. Jon would like one that’s like an 8-track tape.
19:15 New Zealand hotel that scans their comment book and puts it on their website. Does this makes for a more authentic testimonials? Marketing tip.
20:00 Green stuff- Cool Blog called Green Destinations– List of green destinations for you to check out. Gives you some green destinations if your client needs examples of green venues.
23:00 Microsoft email Jon received to recycle and reuse computers links.
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Copyright 2008 MeetingsPodcast
Female: You are listening to the Meetings Podcast with Mike McAllen, Jon Trask and Tom Hillmer. The Meeting Planner podcast source for what’s new and exciting in the meetings and events industry. The information and opinions expressed in this podcast are of Mr. McAllen, Mr. Trask and Mr. Hillmer and are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of their past, present or future employers.
Please send in your question and comments to [email protected] and make sure to visit our website for pictures, video and show notes at www.MeetingsPodcast.com.
Mike McAllen: Hello and thank you for tuning into the Meetings Podcast once again, as always we have Jon Trask, Account Executive at Alliant Event Services. Hi, Jon.
Jon Trask: Hello, good to be here.
Mike McAllen: And we have Tom Hillmer, Senior Vice-President and Account Executive at Creative Group. Hello, Tom.
Tom Hillmer: Hi, Mike.
Mike McAllen: And wanted to thank our sponsor really quick before we get started, Hilton Hotels Events and BlueSky Factory our e-mail provider of choice and Brand Creative which is for all your promotional items and so let’s get started, we have a whole bunch of stuff.
Tom Hillmer: Tell everybody who you are Mike.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Mike McAllen: Oh, that’s right, thank you and I’m Mike McAllen from Grass Shack Events and Media and that’s it, let’s get started, sorry. Thank you Tom, thanks for reminding to …
Tom Hillmer: Of course.
Mike McAllen: Introduce myself. Do you want to get started Jon with your AIG?
Jon Trask: Yes, actually and before I hit AIG, I just wanted to note that a collapse the RCA Dome the other day which just a fine little tidbit because you know, you think about this facilities and to me something that was built and open in 1984 doesn’t seem that old but they’re tearing it down, demolishing it and expanding the Indianan Convention Center and going to have it done by 2010. So, this whole inflated wall and ceiling of the dam was deflated in the last few days and I just thought that was kind of an interesting bet, related tangently to our business because it is the Indianan Convention Center, so but just the image of deflating a stadium seem kind the funny, you know.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: But on the AIG for rent with all of the turmoil that we’ve been undergoing, things are just getting scrutiny in sort of interesting places and one of the local papers here in Southern California there was a rather critical article and actually some criticism from some government officials that AIG just had basically, they don’t describe as such but what have been an incentive trip? It’s a trip for like their top producers and seller that was at one of the resorts here in Southern California and there’s a definite bias in the way the article had written because it’s says things like, the tables were drape with Tuscan gold tablecloths casting to the grass, elegant flowers center pieces and a lengthy bar stocked with bottles of liquor and space hitters and basically the stuff you have at a meeting and I just – I thought that, that was worth noting that I think we may see more of this and I wonder sort of about listener if they’re running into this sort of backlash where I mean, this event was probably planned for months and months has nothing to do with the extract crisis that was going on the Wall Street but yet this meeting is now coming in for criticism because it appeared opulent and I’ve gotten instruction like that before from people that we’re just sort of interesting because maybe their company was going through some sort of situation and I’ve had people tell me, we’re not as concern about the cost of it but we can’t have a set or we wanted to look like we didn’t spend a lot of money.
So, make sure the AV is right, make sure everything is perfect but you know, don’t make it look too good or will look like we spend too much money and the stakeholders in the meeting will be upset. So, it’s just an area that I think when we get into sort of uncertain times, we all end up navigating some treasures waters of kind of mixed messages. It’s like we want the meeting to be perfect. We want things to be right. We wanted to be exciting and neat and different but it can’t look like it is or we can’t spend too much money. Have you run into that you guys on with some of your clients?
Mike McAllen: Yes. All the time now, it seems like that’s …
Jon Trask: And yes.
Mike McAllen: It’s more graphical things or run a story into it, you know.
Jon Trask: Yes and it just, it really, I felt that it was kind of unfair bash and I’ve seen another of those from a meeting that I personally did come up early this year where it was for a financial group also and I just think the financial segment is getting so much scrutiny and so much concern right now. People are paying attention to things they did but they were critical of this group because they – it’s generally because they rented a resort and they sort of took what I consider where a number of unfair shots and the article seem a little biased as this one did and to sort of inflaming that they were doing something wrong as suppose to they were having a meeting in a resort location that had been contracted and book for multiple years and you know, it’s – they really want spending that much money relative to what they could have within things but just the setting was enough to kind of make this reporter feel like they were being wasteful somehow.
Mike McAllen: So, the perception of it was their being opulent about their meeting?
Jon Trask: Right, you can’t stay in too nice of a place or you’re somehow being wasteful without looking at room rates or any of the things that are actually underneath that or I think in the case sometime of the ways some of this people are writing the articles not really have any grasp of how our industry works and maybe that’s a PR problem for all of us in the meeting industry that we need to make sure, you know, we develop maybe some contacts in the local media and we kind of start working on getting our message out. I know what was something we did in my MPI chapter, was just trying to become sort of a local spokesman or something to the reports and some of the local papers, so that they would have a reference point to go to when they had a question about our industry or when they were dealing with some of this issues that come up to maybe give a prospective on what they’re seeing, so they’re not just taking it with their understanding or their face value.
Mike McAllen: Yes, it’s an interesting dynamic of the whole – how the whole industry is going, I mean I’ve started to say kind of how we’re handling a lot of it is trying to be more creative with you know, story and graphics instead of you know, and just in the portion that we handle, to try and make it more engaging and interesting without having to have you know, pyro or, you know, explosions and you know big entertainment going on but.
Jon Trask: Right.
Mike McAllen: It is a big, a big now a days, people don’t, you know, especially with people with stock, you know, the financial market but also companies that have stockholders, they don’t want to see that kind of stuff or hear about it.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Tom Hillmer: Right.
Jon Trask: And they’re not investing the kind of deal you’ve got or how much you actually paid.
Mike McAllen: Right, right.
Jon Trask: Their growing up perception.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: And so you have to be real careful to manage that and I’m sure for a lot of planners and association incorporate setting, they have to make sure that they’re really managing the information they get out, so the people know they’re getting this great concession or that they’re getting this great deal and so yes, we’re staying in a place that appears like we’re spending more money that we really are and it’s probably just a little something that we all are going to be facing over the next couple of years is this stuff all sort of self out and work through the cycle where everybody is, you know, freak out again and probably will come down within a year or two and we’ll begin back into some growth, personal, that’s my personal take on it but …
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: You know.
Mike McAllen: Yes, I agree.
Jon Trask: So, well I had a couple other little things, one of them just an airline point because you know we’re pretty much have to have something green which I know you have Mike and something about airlines in every show and this one was also out of today’s newspaper but a different, a different edition here in California and it was that Spirit Airlines and some others are considering it, have started clustering the inside of their plane with advertising and I mean tray tables, window shades, overhead beans, bulkhead. They even talked about the airsickness bags ending up with ad on them and you know, obviously the airlines are looking to find any source of revenue they can but as they pointed out in this article if, you know, they inside of the plan may start to look like the outside of a NASCAR just covered in stickers.
Mike McAllen: And do have different ones on different flights, so you have when you go one way you have …
Jon Trask: You have a variety?
Mike McAllen: It was about now.
Jon Trask: It wasn’t very clear, the Spirit Airlines one said that they had done something with the particular tourism destination and that’s they were focusing the advertising on and they’re we’re going to do that for a couple of months before they have been open it up to other things but so for the moment it’s kind of a focus ad but it’s like by a tourism counsel and I’m trying to remember, I think it was the Bahamas, yes, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is paying for the advertising on the Spirit Airlines planes which actually it’s not a bad match when you think about it, you know, people are on the plan because they might be going on vacation or …
Mike McAllen: Right.
Jon Trask: They’re business travelers and they’re thinking about vacations and so if you can kind of implant that message of your destination in their head maybe the next time they’re planning their next trip, they’ll think about you. So, you know, not a bad target market but just one more sort of bit of advertising coming in out you from every direction.
Mike McAllen: Yes. It seems like, yes well I know they get really get you, you know than they’ll have to start – then they’ll start having the arguments about it that the ad are too racy and then the, you know.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Mike McAllen: This kind of a thing, so interesting, yes because we do get bombarded on this stuff.
Jon Trask: The other thing I had is also connected a little bit to the airlines but it’s a different form of transportation and that is because all of the struggle that are going on, there’s a little bit of discussion and push and by the way this comes out of the meeting news, recent issues the September 22 issues, Meeting News. Well, airlines was finally make a case for high speed rail and the discussion in this article is generally about the fact that we are lacking such a resource that they have in Europe of high speed rail connections between cities that provide and option beyond the airlines and one of the case point effects both Mike and I here in California.
There is a bond major on our November ballot about $42 billion bonds to work on building a high speed rail that will tie together Sacramento the Bay area, Central Valley, Los Angeles the Inland Empire, Orange County and Dan Diego and if they build that they projecting it would take two and a half hours between the bay area and cost $55 for one way ticket which is less than an airlines ticket, about twice as along if it will take you to fly but usually wouldn’t have the airlines headache to security and some of those things you have to deal with. So, then it would be become something like the Chunnel argument, you know, if you’re going between London and Paris. You go out to Heathrow, do you take a plane or do you go to, you know St. Pancras station and take the Chunnel into Paris.
And so – you know $42 billion well it’s not some of the number that are being throw right on the media this days is a fair amount of money, so you know, are we prepared as a nation to maybe commit some resources to rebuilding our train infrastructure and it’s that a good option and certainly it’s something that meeting planner had affect a lot because we’ve talk frequently on previous podcast about how the airline loads have effect plan is and getting people to places and what the expenses and the cost and it hustle and all of those different things and you know, they quote people in here and certainly I’ve taken trains and I would agree, you don’t have to go through the intense security screening and you get on and you don’t have the same restriction on opening it up your laptop and using it and you’ve can be on the cellphone and making phone calls and there are some benefits to a business traveler to consider traveling on a train.
Mike McAllen: Yes, yes. They have Wifi too on some of them.
Jon Trask: They have Wifi on some of them and one of the points I’ve always heard about train travel is the train station tend to be in Central locations within a city where an airport tend to be on the outer suburbs, so if the time difference is within a certain amount, it actually is more favorable to take that train because you’re ending up in the middle of the town and in a way that sort of circle of circles back to the green thing were we’re talking about saving energy and saving resources where we can. If you can take a train into the middle of town and get out and walk to your hotel, you’ve save that whole carbon footprint of a cab rider, a shuttle from the airport.
Mike McAllen: Yes. You’re right.
Jon Trask: But just a couple of things to – that are on the ballot here in California and something that we probably need to look at, you know as planners if we decided that rail travel is an idea that we need to be pushing maybe we need to be writing our elected officials and lubing a little bit on some of this items that will help our industry and that’s seem like something that would be real positive for our industry. Any options that’s going to get us in between places efficiently and inexpensively in the stand ages is I think going to be a real important factor for us moving us forward in meetings industry.
Mike McAllen: Yes, well, we talked about that a little bit before too of having you know setting up or maybe even having, you know, on trains having a meeting room, where like they can go somewhere and have a meeting on the way to the meeting.
Jon Trask: There was great documentary came out a couple years ago that I just watch recently called, Festival Express and it harkens back to the 60’s but a promoter in Canada decided to book, it was Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead and The Band and a number of other acts but to travel between the festival sites they hired a Canadian Northern train and so they put all this bands and all this gear onto a train and hold them across Canada and it was just a huge party apparently, you know.
Mike McAllen: Yes, it was.
Jon Trask: The 60’s where huge party anyway for those how experience it but this train look like, you know, they just had kind of floating jam session in various cars and such and it was and this guys made a documentary out of it. It’s quite a interesting thing but you could envision something like that working on almost a team building level and on a group level, put a whole group on a train, let them bond. You’ve got interesting scenery going by, you can get up and more around and you can have a meeting room on there. There’s no reason you couldn’t have a small meeting, 15 or 20 people quite easy on a train.
Mike McAllen: Yes. Absolutely and that’s a cool idea. I wonder if that will pass, that will be interesting.
Jon Trask: Yes, we should keep an eye on that and trying to remember to mention that after the election and all the others flurry of things whether it pass or not.
Mike McAllen: Okay, well moving.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Mike McAllen: I have one thing that I thought it was kind the clever friend Sue Pelletier, who has a blog called Face2Face, I know if you guys have even seen it before. It’s pretty cool, a little blog she does, that little – it’s very popular actually and she had a little thing about a cost saving tip for the meeting industry that to consider a total taxes, hotel, county, city as an invisible way to save money on a program. You can save $30,000 after of program just by choosing the destination with lower taxes, two states with the lowest taxes are Florida and California and those kind of interesting.
Jon Trask: That is interesting.
Mike McAllen: I don’t know if you guys have ever considered that because of that to save some money.
Jon Trask: Well, certainly the task issue comes in on the AV side of things and I’ve seen people before there some laws in California where if you pay the sales tax on year as you purchase it, you don’t have to tax it when you rent it I believe and so …
Mike McAllen: Oh, really.
Jon Trask: So there are certainly companies that use that as a competitive advantage where because they’ve paid the sales tax on the item already, they don have to charge sales tax on it when they’re renting it as rental item and so you know when you’re talking a eight in a quarter percent tax in some of the Counties in California that can be significant savings off a $25,000 equipment bill.
Mike McAllen: Yes. Wow and then I had another kind the couple marketing things that were kind the cool that I thought I might to share, I don’t know if help anybody out there but I saw this, they have this old school cassette, you know, you wheel had cassette before that’s – three of us have but some of people listening probably didn’t have a cassette but …
Jon Trask: Yes, right.
Mike McAllen: But this cassettes they come now, they look like the old school cassette but inside that you put your little thumb drive, it comes with the thumb driver that sets inside there, so if you’re doing a pitch maybe for a – or doing a program for a, you know, rock and roll theme or something you know, musical.
Jon Trask: Right.
Mike McAllen: Its cool way to pass out all the, you know, all the information, just hand everybody this little cassette and it opens up and you can, you know, you can ride on it. It looks just like an old cassette but it’s all built perfectly to lay the …
Jon Trask: The driver.
Mike McAllen: When it comes with the drive that matches it too, I thought it was kind of cool little idea and I’ll put the link on the site, so you can go get one if you want their like, there kind of spendy, so there, I think there like 20 something bucks for a piece but you’re getting the drive too, so.
Jon Trask: Right.
Mike McAllen: And I thought that was kind of cool little idea for if you had you know a conference or something that was Rock and Roll theme or something like that. That was one thing and then the other thing I saw was this New Zealand hotel has scan, you know trying to get, you know, to look kind of authentic in front of people when you talk about doing testimonials for your business or your show or you know, or your hotel. They scan to their guest book and then they put it online, so they actually, you can actually see the writing of the people which I thought it was kind of a cool idea that’s different and most people do for their testimonials. So, that’s another thing, just a couple of marketing things there
Jon Trask: Yes, the cassette thing is pretty cool, now they need to make one like an 8-track.
Tom Hillmer: Nice.
Mike McAllen: Well, yeah that’s a good idea, yes for the 70’s party?
Jon Trask: Yes. Because you know there are lot of people who would look at that and have no idea what it even was.
Mike McAllen: It’s true yes, that’s a funny idea, yes and so I have some green stuff. Do you want to hear my green stuff pretty of some else there Jon.
Jon Trask: No, no let’s hear the green stuff. We got to have green in every show. It’s a rule.
Mike McAllen: I had a couple of green things and I have list I thought a cool another blog called Green Destinations by Shawna McKinley and she has a whole list of them and I was going to read them of but I think, I’d rather just tell you that that’s a very cool site if you can go to that and I’ll put a link on for that but she links – she has all this different destinations with better leads certified conferences and all sort of city around the United State which is cool that she’s put them all one place because it gives you an opportunity to go and look and see okay, here are some green places that I can give as option for an event without having to dig to much if you’re doing a, you know, if your client or your boss wants to have it in a green certified conference center or somewhere. So, that’s a cooler site and then other thing I had was Intelligent Travel Blog which is another blog, talked about several airports who are trying to greening up their facilities and I thought that I would talk about what some of this they’re doing. One of them is the Bolton at Logan Airport has installed set of 20 wind turbines that will generate 3% of airport energy a year.
Jon Trask: Cool.
Mike McAllen: And it has the first lead certified terminal in the US with the censor lights low flow toilets and a large glass windows that allow for natural light and hit, another one is the Denver International and also Fresno Yosemite Airport have allocated some of their land to install solar panels which they hope will offset some of their energy cost. Denver has found the way to reuse all the DIC fluid that’s use on airplane during winter. It’s mixed with snow and use as any freeze has flashing fluid in their toilet.
Jon Trask: Oh my gosh!
Mike McAllen: Which is kind of an interesting idea.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Mike McAllen: Another one is, another toilet one is Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is installed in both low-flow toilets and urinals which they estimate will save now about 44 million gallons of water a year and the last one was Seattle Tacoma requires that all their concession, store, coffee grounds, that’s a 143 tons a year be composted and plans to begin charging all of the concession per pound of trash they create, so that will make them recycle – the recycle stuff won’t be charge so.
Jon Trask: Interesting.
Mike McAllen: Kind of interesting ideas. When I was in Vegas last week, when I was down there I was in the bathroom after I get off the plane and I was amaze at how much water was running in there too, again with Vegas, Vegas … sorry Tom, I know you live down there too.
Tom Hillmer: That’s all right.
Mike McAllen: So, that’s what I have for green stuff and I’ll put those links up on the site so you can go in, check them up more if you want.
Jon Trask: There was something that reminded me of actually, I receive just an e-mail from Microsoft and I don’t, I don’t have access to, it’s on personal account but within Microsoft they now have a link for a long list of waste and dispose of technology item in the green way which I thought it was kind of a cool thing.
Mike McAllen: That is a good idea.
Jon Trask: And I remember reading down it and it’s just, it details all of the different companies that will either recycle or reuse because there are companies that will take your old computer and refurbish them and give them to school and do things like that and there are companies that will sort of crush them and mind them for the materials and recycle those materials. There were a number of phone places where you can recycle old cellphone and things like that, so that just pop back into my head when we’re talking about green items and I realize that I should mention it, it was mixed within the Microsoft website, I’ll if can get the link and send it over the Mike to put on this week show and …
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: Will try and have their link to that page.
Mike McAllen: Sounds great. All right well, I guess that’s it unless you have something else Jon or you – or we …
Jon Trask: No, I’m talked out for the week.
Mike McAllen: Yes and I know Tom you’ve had a rough day today too, so it’s probably time for us all since Friday will do.
Tom Hillmer: I’m been critical to this show, haven’t I?
Jon Trask: You’re the glue that holds us together Tom. Yes, you know that’s being a team is all about.
Tom Hillmer: Yes it is.
Jon Trask: Somebody we pull each through, so.
Mike McAllen: All right well I want – let’s just end this thing and thank you again guys and I wanted to say once again to use our comment line, 510-735-9690 and leave us a message or e-mail us at [email protected] and I think that’s it, isn’t it? Or do I have anything else to report?
Jon Trask: That’s it for the week.
Mike McAllen: All right guys, thank you so much for taking the time again and we will talk to you guys next week, all right thanks.
Tom Hillmer: All right.
Jon Trask: Thank you.
Female: We appreciate and thank you for listening to the Meetings Podcast. You can find Mike McA.llen at GrassShackRoad.com, Jon Trask at AlliantEvents.com, and Tom Hillmer at CreativeGroupinc.com. The Meetings Podcast theme music comes from the Delgado Brothers which can be found at DelgadoBrothers.com. Special thanks to RipTideGraphics.com for the audio editing of this podcast