The Meeting Planners podcast source for what’s new and exciting in meetings and events industry!
Show 24 Have you seen my Show cases?
Hilton Hotels Eevents- Now featuring green meetings and weddings
BlueSky Factory- Our email service provider choice
Brand Creative- Your source for promotional or marketing products
1:23 How do you handle high meetings insurance needs by venues and hotels?
3:44 In house vendors crafting agreements that can affect planners in a negative manner.
5:53 Seating is becoming an issue for air travelers?
7:54 Is their a trickle down affect for all the folks who work around the airlines industry.
9:31 Southwest airlines posted first loss in 17 years.
13:48 Is Google is good for your brain health?
14:46 Whacky Presidential hotel promotions!
17:23 Green news- US Finance stats for a very green meeting.
19:37 Green Hotel offerings.
20:00 Tom attends a Four Seasons Culture behind the scenes seminar.
22:30 Sue Pelletier of the face2face blog MeetingsNet Web editor mentioned us on her very cool blog.
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Brought to you by Grass Shack Events & Media
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: All right, hey guys. Welcome back to Meetings Podcast. My name is Mike McAllen. I’m with Grass Shack Events and Media. My co-host as usual and always is Jon Trask …
Jon Trask: Hello.
Mike McAllen: Account Executive with Alliant Event Service. Hi, Jon.
Jon Trask: Hello, there. Good to be here.
Mike McAllen: And I have of course Tom Hillmer, Senior Vice-President and Account Executive with Creative Group Inc. Hi, Tom.
Tom Hillmer: Hi, everybody.
Mike McAllen: And I’d like to thank sponsors right away, Hilton Hotels Events, group accommodation made easy, the BlueSky Factory, our e-mail provider of choice and Brand Creative, helping you creatively brand your company. So, I guess we got ton of stuff to talk about today which is great.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Mike McAllen: And who wants to start off? I could start of with my question.
Jon Trask: I think you should.
Mike McAllen: Currently working on the program up in Florida and this is the hotel is not negotiating and their, you know, normally the insurance for a production is like $1 million to $3 million and this hotel is asking $5 million to $6 million and they’re not negotiating because already kind of – to the hotel and as a production company we don’t really deal as much with the hotel as the Meeting Planning Company but we’re all kind of at lock and I just kind the wondered, I get advice from you guys because I know you’ve dealt a lot with hotels and insurance and I know that, you know, probably we can’t change them in anyway but anyway just wondered and kind the ask your advice.
Jon Trask: Well, I know on my side of things on the production AV side that’s a little higher than we’ve usually been ask for, I’ll remember back, you know, years ago it was a million dollars which seems like a lot but probably wasn’t retrospect and then I notice over the past decade or so it didn’t kind crept up around 2 million that they’re asking for like you say, two or maybe even three.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: But I don’t recall for having run in to six, now I’ve run into some weird situation, I remember a few years ago we were putting projectors on the roof of someone building and so we got two different legal departments very involved just in the whole liability question of that because, you know, they basically wanted us to warranty that if their roof ever leak after we were up there, we were going to have to put a new roof on their building, that’s sort of thing and so, you know, I’ve run into some weird sort of things where the legal departments have to get involved and sorted out but I haven’t seen that high a dollar limit before.
Mike McAllen: Yes, it’s interesting while working with the meeting planning company that out of Europe and they’re really upset about the whole thing because in Europe it’s a total non-compete thing, I mean not non-compete thing, you know, their – at the non-competitive thing, you know.
Jon Trask: Right.
Mike McAllen: Because they would say that, “Hey, you’re trying to push out the smaller companies that you know, so it’s just an interesting thing that’s happening but, you know, we’ll get through it as we also do, just one more little fire to put up.
Jon Trask: On the same thing that kind of relates to that, you know, competitive thing, it’s strikes me and some of the things that I’ve seen happening what in-house vendors sort of working on crafting the details of an agreement so that it gets in to the contract language and limits the options to the planner. It’s something that I’ve run into a lot where basically the hotel contract is trying to protect the in-house share of business.
Mike McAllen: Right.
Jon Trask: So, they try and make it very difficult for an outside company to come in and do work there and that I’ve seen much more common, a non specific to the insurance side of thing, I mean – and a lot of these rules never get enforced but they sort of put them in there and we were talking about this here in my office the other day over lunch, just some of the strange things we’ve seen. There’s one property I know of and I won’t mention but within their rules it says that you can’t store any empty cases backstage. For an AV Company that’s phenomenally difficult because what it basically means is we’ve got to take all of our empty cases back out and put them on the truck and drive them somewhere.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: And so, you know, that’s just kind of an obstacle that they’re throwing out there to make it more challenging and you can bet their empty cases in the in-house store room but you know, that doesn’t – that’s not in the meeting room.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: So, it’s not in the rules and so there are things like that get thrown in that I’ve seen.
Mike McAllen: Yes, it’s interesting and I understand that you know, like they want the best money, so they’re trying to keep it, you know, of course sales person who are dealing with who, you know, – a commission off that, you know, for an in-house thing.
Jon Trask: Right.
Mike McAllen: It’s all good, I mean I understand it’s just business so we’re working, they just wanted to kind the get your feedback on it, so.
Jon Trask: Sure.
Mike McAllen: But, those are my lows but anyway let’s move on. Hey, Tom do you have something that you wanted to share, I’m sorry I know …
Tom Hillmer: No, I was just – that was fine, I’m came across an article recently a Meeting & Convention Magazine and they were just talking the ongoing fight of the airline and you know the challenges with air lift and you know, I’m seeing it, we just seeing it more and more, I’m every flight we’re on have packed and even if you have status anymore it doesn’t have, you know, assure you some of the part you use to be able to get like, you know, preferred seating and what not, I mean I just, it’s just crazy and, so I saw some this statistics that I just thought won’t kind the really helps to drive home, why, you know, we’re seeing some of the challenges but it just listed and some of the top airports in the country and put some numbers to some of the cut back.
So, for instance it says, in Chicago this coming quarter nearly 1.5 million fewer seats will be departing from Chicago Midway and O’Hare Airports during the fourth quarter versus the same period a year ago, I mean 1.5 million seats that’s a lot of seats that’s not going – of the two airport. So, Los Angeles was see a drop of more than 1million seats or 13% of their capacity approximately 770,000 or 11% fewer seats were fly out to Phoenix and this is in one quarter like in a quarter from last year, so like October through December of this year. Air service in both Cincinnati and Oakland California will be slashed by about one fifth or close to a half a million seats each and in Las Vegas 87,000 fewer seats per day will leave McKaren International Airport, so you know, it’s just kind put some numbers to significant of what we’re dealing without there and why. In a flight are packed and you know, air fare are expensive and, you know, this article attribute it to – it’s an article by Tom Isler and Hunter Slaton, it’s called the Load Factor and they attribute it, you know, primarily to the fuel cost but then that’s interesting because now we all hearing about how all the fuel cost are dropping significantly. So, we’re interesting to see what the reaction will be, how long it will take that to react to them, you know, things like airline pricing and what not but it’s really significant stuff and it’s kind the scary when you think about it and think about all those airplane that are sit out and to some – somewhere, they just park them and …
Jon Trask: Right.
Tom Hillmer: fleets of aircraft that aren’t even being utilize and …
Jon Trask: Well, you got to think about to trickle-down effect too, I mean you figure you know, all of the employees at the airport and the services that are offer there, not just the things that into out our meetings industry but the way it kind spiders out, if there’s you know, nearly 9000 less people leaving Las Vegas everyday on flights, you got SkyCabs and you’ve got cab drivers and you’ve got all of this network of people who are connected to moving those people around who are suffering too.
Mike McAllen: Yes, so true.
Tom Hillmer: So, as Honolulu of all the major airports, Honolulu is stand to take the hardest hit with 28.5% fewer seats flying to Honolulu on domestic flight this quartered compared to a year early and so that is bad news for meetings and convention business which is been on the decline the last couple of years and that destination, so just unbelievable.
Jon Trask: Wow.
Mike McAllen: Yes, I know that we were looking into going to Hawaii recently for something we were doing over there and the plane fares are added its world expensive it’s …
Tom Hillmer: Right.
Mike McAllen: It’s not worth it for me to go over there for job now that we’re doing over there because it’s, you know, it’s kind … no making any money of them, so I’m just, you know, having local people take care of them.
Tom Hillmer: I just quote one more, I just find this statistic fascinating here, specifically for Las Vegas, one seemingly invincible Las Vegas too will stay significant cuts this fall losing 13.2% of it’s fourth quarter departure and 11.4% of it’s seats. US Airways second only to Southwest Airline as of the largest carriers in Las Vegas, by the end of the year were only fly 74 daily departure out of McKaren International Airport down from Ohio of 141 in September of 2007. Most of the eliminated flight will be during late night hours.
Jon Trask: Well, and mentioning Southwest there, there was actually a note on MPI web where they pick industry news that Southwest posted their first loss in 17 years.
Tom Hillmer: Yes.
Jon Trask: Just this week, third quarter net loss of a $120 million or a 16 cent loss per diluted share and so I mean that’s got to say something because everybody talks about Southwest and admires their business model and how well they’ve done within what they do and even they’re posting a loss at this point.
Tom Hillmer: Yes.
Mike McAllen: Yes. Well, it’s just like that guy that Darryl Jenkins, this guy that I interviewed the airline consultant guy, the guy that at Delta-Northwest consultant guy. He’s talking about how the, you know, their goals now just to get, you know, people who can afford to apply, I mean, you know it going back to where only the wealthy [00:10:20] once laying around the, you know.
Tom Hillmer: Right and I don’t know if you guys – I don’t know if you guys have tried to capture any miles lately too for an airplane, for an airline ticket but that has gone up significantly too. There’s no more 25,000 miles for a seat or, you know, I saw a one I was trying to book a flight for personal trip and it was looking at 95,000 miles for a an airline ticket.
Jon Trask: Wow. Well, I guess I was lucky I booked mine back in May and use up a bunch of my miles to book a trip for later this year.
Tom Hillmer: Right, you are lucky.
Mike McAllen: Yes. Good thinking.
Jon Trask: So, well and you know on a kind of related note also off of MPI, they posted their business barometer which definitely touches back on the air travel issue and this was a survey taken in September, so it’s pretty recent information and pretty relevant information and basically it’s seems like as they put it we’re out of the fraying pan and into the fire at this point. There industry is heavily impacted by the weakening economy, by budget cuts, by airline prices and they’re projecting about six months of decline. So, a lot of companies and I know we’re all feeling this reducing or freezing their budgets their wanting lower prices.
They’re looking for a greater ROI and it’s a general kind a negative outlook but at the same time there are something that are experience it some modest growth, a few a respondents were some of the technology providers and some of the regional destinations are seeing a little uptick and looking toward some again modest growth and it also brings the flight cost into this syntax about how, you know, airline travel is eating a larger portion of available budget, so now it’s not efficiently to get everybody to certain destination, so they’re having sort of recast where their going to go and meet and how they going to do things and basically 16, let’s see, almost 16 ½% sited poor economy is effecting meetings and events business for the next six months as the top trend budget cuts increase travel cost, fewer flights, higher fuel cost, greener meetings was down at 5% but those were the top six things that people responded as affecting and there all pretty much negative things.
Mike McAllen: Yes, well we’re running into it now. Now, it’s a time that kind of buckle down and.
Tom Hillmer: Thank you for tuning in to the happy news network, huh?
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Jon Trask: Yes, enjoy your Friday everybody.
Tom Hillmer: We are just all about doom and gloom here aren’t we? Yikes.
Jon Trask: Well, you know, we all live in a real world, I mean we have to look around and you know be aware of this stuff because if you’re aware of it, you can at least plan around it and, you know, all of us are planners by nature. We all spend a lot of time thinking through situations and looking for creative solutions and ideas, so you know, once you identify the problem, you can find the away to come up with some ideas to meet ahead on.
Mike McAllen: Yes. Well, so I had a conversation with my wife this morning about, this exact topic, it’s everything we’re talking about the doom and glooms. So, she was saying we should do some – no I should find some things that might put a smile on somebody face, so …
Jon Trask: Excellent.
Mike McAllen: I was to look for something that might make you a little bit happier. One thing she also said that I was nerd because I was on the computer early in the morning, so I found this New York Times article that’s had many people who search the internet for health information but UCLA just did a study and they found that this simple act of Googling maybe good for your brain health. So, it because using your decision making and complex reasoning portion of your brain, so that’s something good if we’re doing some Googling today, you’re doing some healthy things for your body.
Jon Trask: So, it’s brain exercise?
Mike McAllen: Yes, kind of.
Jon Trask: I’m going to have a really healthy brain I guess.
Mike McAllen: And the other was some wacky presidential election hotel promotions, which I though it was kind of interesting in this time that were we have debate and those time of the presidential. Fix guest at the W Hotel are partnering with get the vote organizational declare yourself to push the (motto 00:15:06) one step further and they’re allowing guest to register to both right from the bed.
Tom Hillmer: Oh, my god.
Mike McAllen: They didn’t say how they’re doing but that’s one thing, another one is California’s Avalon Beverly Hills has created the Obama Martini and the McCainade drink in honor of the candidates.
Jon Trask: And I wondered which one is selling better.
Mike McAllen: The executive … that’s right, yes, the executive chef there said, “I wanted to offer our politically charge dinners a fun and playful way to support their favorite candidate. Another one was the Hotel Concorde in Paris which is interesting, they created two burger with the candidate in mind, the Hawaii team O’Burger and the – for Obama being from Hawaii and the Southwestern flavored elephant burger for the senator from Arizona and one on the (Rich 00:16:12) Carrolton in Florida, Amelia Island in Florida, my favorite one, Amelia – has the election night package, they offer a real presidential perks, a private jet, a motorcade even fireworks but it’s $15,000 to do that and so may require some tax per dollar they said. The U.S …
Tom Hillmer: (Somebody will buy it too 00:16:34)
Mike McAllen: Yes, they probably will.
Jon Trask: I wondered if you can find a way to make it deductible.
Mike McAllen: The US Grant Hotel in San Diego which is highlighting the presidential heritage because it is named after the 18th president. Has a new politically theme bar menu and we thought – they said, “We thought it playing off the campaign would be fun and appealing way to keep the guest excited about the property”. So, you know of course they’re doing this just to generate media attention and which is kind of interesting but anyway, I thought that those were kind the fun and that’s it, that’s all I have, that’s my fun stuff for today.
Jon Trask: I had something green because again we have the whole green rule.
Tom Hillmer: Yes.
Jon Trask: And it’s …
Tom Hillmer: Funny I had too, you go first.
Jon Trask: Okay, cool, okay. Well, there’s just a conference starting here in LA that it’s US Finance Professionals. Starts on the 19 and they’ve, it’s just had some neat little statistics in here that jump out at me, so I wanted to throw them in. This folks have 25,000 attendees and they’re starting to meet on the 19th here in LA and it’s just a typical five day conference with the 25,000 attendees, uses 62,500 plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups or glasses and 90,000 cans or bottles and I thought kind of like some of your airline numbers, I thought that just really amazing numbers when you think about and but so their meeting green and they’ve really taking some initiative to go out and it list a number of the areas that they’ve done green things in and just kudos to them for doing.
They’ve credit all their marketing materials on recycle chlorine free paper using soy based ink. They’ve got a community involvement where they’re going out to sponsor a volunteer day at the homeless shelter, the convention center itself has a green community and so it’s affiliated with the EPA’s ways, wise and green power partnership. The food and beverages is going to use reuse dishware, flatware and linens, organically and locally gone and produce in the meals and excess food is being donated to a homeless shelter. They partner with the company that uses a shuttle busses with new engines and logistics technology to reduce its carbon footprint and they choice housing and hotels that all have recycling and different plans like that. So, we’ve talked a lot about green, there’s a whole bunch of ways that they found to make their meeting have a less of an impact on the environment just in one click list.
Tom Hillmer: That’s crazy, great.
Jon Trask: So, and what did you have?
Tom Hillmer: Just a couple random things the one saw and I was interesting they had an article here about, you know, putting some of this convention hotel they call themselves green kind the to the task and one of the interesting thing I thought was cool – somebody hotels are offering is free or at least discounted but free ballet or self parking for hybrid cars, so if you drive in hybrid car, you don’t pay for parking so that’s was an interesting incentive and this week I was – I have been publish early this week of attending in San Diego of Four Season University class which is a really, really cool offering that they do for their incentive travel partners that brings us in for a couple of days and exposes us to the entire internal working of the Four Season culture and how, you know, how they instill that culture in their organization worldwide and I know there were whole subject but it was a fascinating couple of days but one of the things that we got to do is first spend half a day talking about, you know, how their selection process, the training process, etcetera and then ultimately then we spent better part of one afternoon and then the entire morning of another day behind the scenes in the hotel and seeing how they actually operate behind the scene, house keeping and the whole deal and one of the departments who went it was purchasing and the gentleman – and it started there actually because everything in the hotels comes to the back door into purchase thing and this team of five people, now they break it all down and they run it to wherever what they’re doing in the hotel after the golf course, you know, to the spa or wherever it all goes to and but he had a product I had never seen before because combining that green is so big right now. It was paper and plastic product and I mean like a regular, you know, like a regular plastic cup that you might see on a coffee break or whatever which of course typically are recyclable. The – made up a corn product and are completely biodegradable, so it was a plastic cup and then they also show us paper cups, paper coffee cups style like, not Styrofoam but they were like an insulated coffee cup, there was like the little cup that – ice cream in and all these different kinds of papers sort of cut the product and there were all made – and I wish I had gotten the name of the company, I certainly can for a different (children 00:21:40) mention it but I never seen that they – it was all made from corn and the – I mean to look at you have no idea what’s any different than I have a plastic cup but it was completely biodegradable.
Jon Trask: Wow.
Tom Hillmer: Thought that was that cool.
Jon Trask: There some clever folks out there making things aren’t there?
Tom Hillmer: Yes.
Mike McAllen: Yes, I had – I was in Bolinas out of the beach and they – we stopped in at this place to have lunch and they had all the stuff same things was made out of corn, the beer glass I was drinking my beer, paint glass and it was plastic and it’s like made out of corn, that’s interesting, that’s a good, I guess it’s a good trend that happening now.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Tom Hillmer: Yes.
Jon Trask: Well, and Mike you pointed out something about a little mention of our modest little podcast here?
Mike McAllen: Oh, yes, yes we were mentioned on the Face2Face blog which is a very popular blog by Sue Pelletier which is a great thing, a meeting net, its kind cool. It’s great to be mentioned.
Jon Trask: Yes, I was reading seriously he’s got a number of things on the AIG situation and quite bit of stuff and that’s of meetings net, so very interesting blog.
Mike McAllen: Yes, very cool.
Jon Trask: Then we certainly appreciate the mention.
Mike McAllen: Yes and the last thing too I saw – I actually I was talking to you Jon about your feeling a little under that weather after your flu shot that you got.
Jon Trask: Yes.
Mike McAllen: That they’re inoculating people all over at airports now, you can get flu shot on the fly is what they call it, kind of an interesting thing.
Jon Trask: Clever.
Mike McAllen: Yes, yes. So, I guess that’s it huh guys?
Tom Hillmer: We got it.
Jon Trask: I think that’s a wrap for this week.
Mike McAllen: Yes, thank you very much again and where you guys going to be, are you guys is going to be anywhere this upcoming week or you’re just around – you’re in Vegas, right?
Tom Hillmer: I am – yes I’m around, I’m actually in Las Vegas –
Mike McAllen: And you Jon you’re …
Jon Trask: Client meetings here locally, a lots of those.
Mike McAllen: Yes, same with me. All right well, I want to remind everybody to use our comment line to call in for any questions or you know comments, it’s 510-735-9690 or e-mail us at [email protected] and of course we have our link in group (two 00:24:02), come on over there and just get in to conversation. So, thanks guys.
Jon Trask: Thank you. Have a good week.
Mike McAllen: Thanks. Yes, you too.
Female: We appreciate and thank you for listening to the Meetings Podcast. You can find Mike McAllen at d72.c4e.myftpupload.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.