Not everyone is a skilled event or meeting planner, for those that have either elected (or been selected) to plan a large or small scale event, there are a lot of choices out there. Read on to find out what successful event and meeting planners consider when selecting a venue.
What kind of event is it?
This is the place to start. The needs for large corporate events is obviously quite different than those of weddings or social events. Many venues cater to both, but stop to consider the type of environment that you are hoping to create. I’ve planned weddings in spaces that were geared more for the corporate crowd, and it can be quite challenging to create the kind of romantic ambiance that most couples desire for their wedding. Meetings also have different needs than weddings, so while a venue may be a beautiful setting, it’s important to know if an event venue will be able to provide you with what you need to have a successful event.
Location, Location, Location
This is an important consideration for a number of reasons. Take into account the accessibility of the event venue in relation to where the attendees are coming from. Business meetings held off site of the hotel will require some form of ground transportation, perhaps on a very large scale. Ground transportation companies work with event planners daily providing them with group transportation, and there are many options to work with, but definitely something to keep in mind while making this choice.
Many venues have onsite catering, which is a very convenient feature, however, I’ve worked with a number of venues that don’t provide it as well. Regardless of whether or not you are using onsite or off, generally whoever is providing the catering will be the one providing the service staff as well. Generally venues have preferred vendors that they will be happy to put you in touch with if you are not familiar with any caterers.
Inside or Outside?
If you are in charge of planning a social event, outdoor spaces weather permitting, can create amazing events. Some things to remember when making this choice.
Guest Attire – Women in heels walking around in grass will make for some crabby women
Regional Weather – If you have some sketchy weather that changes at the drop of a hat, have a back up plan inside should you need it.
Vendor Access – Bear in mind what vendor you will be using and how they will get what they need to your event
Wireless Internet/Electricity – Make sure your event venue can accommodate these needs.
Handicapped Guests – Think about any guests you may have and mobility issues concerning stairs, remote locations or wheelchairs on uneven surfaces.
These are just a few of the many considerations you will be making while planning your event. Employing a little out of the box thinking will go a long way in making sure that you are thinking like an event planner and all of your bases are covered with the right event venue.
Finally, domestic air travel gets a well-deserved upgrade. No longer will you have to sacrifice your comfort and personal space on a long flight from coast to coast. American Airlines announced yesterday that it will add lie-flat seats to the first class section on transcontinental flights. The announcement comes along with an order of 460 new Airbus and Boeing planes.
While many airlines offer lie-flat seating on international flights, American is the first to offer the lie-flat model on flights across the country. This means that the next time you catch the red eye back to New York from San Francisco or Los Angeles, you won't have to lose any sleep.
Business class travelers will also get more space, as the new planes will feature 20 business class seats with two on each side of the aisle. Those seated in these premium sections can also enjoy high-quality entertainment content on 15.4-inch HD monitors, with the added convenience of Bose QuietComfort noise canceling headsets.
The airline is also redesigning the cabins of existing planes, with several models upgrading to leather seats, in-flight entertainment screens and Wi-Fi throughout. The goal is that passengers on American Airlines will be more comfortable on transcontinental flights, and also that the airline can keep up with more recent design trends.
The planes are also supposed to be more energy efficient and less expensive to maintain than previous models. Delivery of the aircraft is expected to begin in November 2013, continuing through 2014.
If you plan to try out the new planes on your next trip across the country, don't forget that Hermes Worldwide can take you to the airport. We offer airport service in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, so your entire trip can be smooth and luxurious.
If you travel frequently for business, you probably already know how important it is to have a hotel room that's perfectly situated on the premises. Rooms near noisy areas like parking garages or in proximity to strange smells from kitchen vents can be distracting and impact your amount of sleep, leaving you groggy and unfocused in meetings.
Last week, CNN's JIll Becker, an award-winning contributor to the publication, told business travelers how to get the most comfortable room. With her advice and our expertise, we compiled this list of four essential travel tips that can help business travelers secure the best room at their next hotel:
Before booking, Becker suggests that you should always:
1. Ask if there is a convention or special event. "Groups that take up a large portion of the hotel typically overwhelm the facilities and reduce the quality and levels of service for the individual traveler," Becker writes. If there is, she says you should consider staying somewhere else or ask that your room be far from the convention rooms. Another tip: make sure that your room is far from the hotel's ballrooms so that late-night events don't keep you up. The article advises against booking the second or top floors for this reason.
2. Ask if there are business-friendly rooms. Some hotels now have rooms that come with special business arrangements like fax machines or secure internet. Having a room outfitted for your business needs will help with your productivity.
3. Book your car in advance too. Price-gouging taxi drivers and complicated public transit systems can also be a real hassle. Consider booking luxury transport not just from the airport, but also from the hotel to any meetings or scheduled activities. For the most comfort, select a luxury transportation provider with a history of first-rate, punctual service.
4.Take allergies into account. Since no one wants to spend the whole night sneezing, if you are easily irritated or are allergic to pets, you should take this into account when booking. If you have a pet allergy, be sure to avoid pet-friendly hotels. Smoking rooms and rooms near the pool can also be irritating to the allergy-prone.
On July 10, United Airlines announced that it plans to add 10 new flight routes to its existing offerings. The new service includes non-stop international flights to top luxury travel destinations like Taipei, Paris and Mexico.
The flight services are expected to begin in early April of next year, with some flights being handled by large Boeing 777 aircraft. All trips will include first-class, business-class and coach seating.
Here are a few tips to make sure that your first-class experience is safe and smooth whether you're traveling to Paris or Mexico City on one of these new routes or traveling to one of the many other destinations served by United:
1. Make sure you get to the airport early. This isn’t new advice, but your plane won’t wait for you if you’re running late. United offers time-saving options such as airport kiosk check in to ease lines, which can be beneficial, even to those who plan on showing up three hours early. Bring a form of entertainment with you in case you’re waiting at the gate.
2. Stay comfortable. Airplane air can be cold and dry, whatever the airline, so bringing a blanket and a travel-sized (3.4 oz. or less) container of hand cream can make your flight much more comfortable.
3. Take a hard copy with you too. Planes offer lots of in-flight entertainment, and there are now many portable options too. But, don’t forget that all electronics must be turned off for takeoff and landing. Take along a book or magazine to read for the time when all electronics must be switched off and seatbelts must be fastened.
4.Take the worry out of transportation. Why should you harass a friend or family member into driving you to the airport when you can begin your vacation as soon as you get in the car? Hire yourself an airport limo and travel stress-free.
The U.S. economy has been recovering from the recession for some time now, and recently, it's shown signs that it may be soon approaching stability. While worldwide luxury travel was down for a while, it's been bouncing back faster than the economy in general. And, of course, that is a significant indication that widespread global prosperity may not be far off.
A particularly telling aspect of this trend is the increase in sales at high-end airport stores. In a recent report, Reuters cites a study from Generation Research that says the duty-free and airport retailer sales of perfumes, cosmetics and other luxury items increased by 28.3 percent between 2008 and 2011. By 2014, the source estimates that these sales will expand by another 25 percent.
To take advantage of a potential boom in the luxury transportation industry, airports and retailers have been stepping up their efforts to appeal to affluent travelers. The media outlet says that, in particular, while Estee Lauder Cos Inc. and Louis Vuitton have been in many of the world's major airports for quite a while now, the recent growth in sales at these and similar retailers has lead other luxury companies to follow suit.
Tiffany & Co is set to open a shop at Changi Airport in Singapore later this year and will cut the ribbon on another outlet at the new Brandenburg Airport in Berlin in 2013. The news source says that Hublot, a Swiss watchmaker, is expected to open a branch at Frankfurt Airport. And, as if its 1,000 airport stores weren't enough, Estee Lauder Cos will open up a number of new shops in small airports throughout China and Brazil.
Executives and other businessmen and women often take advantage of first-class travel accommodations if they are going away for work. Most airlines offer exceptional cabins and services to these passengers, but there are a few carriers that feature particularly outstanding amenities.
While upper-class passengers only account for a small number of the population that fly everyday, that demographic of fliers generates nearly a third of all airline revenues, according to the Air Transport Association.
"In order to stay competitive, airlines need to keep pace with the rapidly changing demands of corporate travelers," Nigel Page, vice president of commercial operations for Emirates airlines, told CNN. "That's why we consistently invest in refining and enhancing our first-class product."
In order to get their hands on some of this income, some airlines have gone above and beyond their competitors to create unparalleled in-flight accommodations.
One of these companies is Singapore Airlines, which offers suites for passengers that feature large beds, televisions and wide seats. While relaxing in these luxurious cabins, guests order fine dining from a menu that lists plates such as lobster thermidor and rack of lamb.
Etihad Airways' suites have been chosen by airline-reviewer Skytrax as the best first class for the last two years. With big TVs that have a number of entertainment options such as newly released films and video games, these suites have it all. Passengers can even treat themselves to a private mini-bar or catch up on some sleep in the 80-inch bed.
Often times, businesses will arrange lavish travel accommodations for their executives who are required to go away for company matters. These frequent fliers are no strangers to a diverse number of cities all over the United States, but perhaps none are on the road as often as professional athletes, who play against teams in nearly every major city in America every year.
While luxury transportation and first-class airport service can certainly make any destination pleasurable for athletes who only visit cities for a day or two, Major League Baseball players are usually laid over in a metropolitan area for three or four days at a time. Because of this, one could deduct that they are the ultimate business travel authorities.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, winner of the 2011 American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards, told USA Today Travel that he's particularly fond of visiting Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, "because [he gets] to see some family and friends that drive up from Virginia."
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino said that he also enjoys playing the national's capital, despite the fact that it means his team is facing division rival, the Washington Nationals.
Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Matt Kemp said that, similar to Verlander, he enjoys playing in St. Louis and Houston thanks to their close proximity to his family.
Aside from personal attachments to cities, New York Yankees ace pitcher CC Sabathia told the media outlet that he enjoys the restaurants in Chicago and going to wine tastings in California's Napa Valley.
While reports show that the American economy is rebounding, it may still seem as though many people are trying to recover from the recent recession. With that in mind, one may assume that the luxury transportation and travel industries haven't been as popular in recent years.
However, according to Starwood Hotels chief executive officer Frits van Paasschen, not only are luxury vacations becoming more popular, businesses are also paying for an increased number of high-end accommodations for their employees.
"Last quarter, we suggested 2012 has more potential to surprise on the upside, and we still believe this. Our corporate clients and leisure guests tell us the appetite for travel is quite robust," van Paasschen told Wall Street analysts in a conference call last week. "I still have yet to hear from a customer that plans to travel less in 2012 than in 2011."
He explained that there is a "Golden Age" in luxury travel coming in the near future as more and more people have been experiencing greater wealth. He said that the global ranks of middle class has actually doubled in the last two decades to reach 2 billion people. His estimates indicated that there will be 3 billion more people classified as middle class within the next 20 years.
While the impression commonly held in regards to the real estate market is that it has been struggling through the recession, he cited reports that have shown that the "number of ultra-high net worth households around the world" has risen by an astonishing 30 percent since 2006.
The Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles has a reputation for being one of the finest lodgings in the United States. With its iconic swans and food by Wolfgang Puck, the hotel features amenities that are more than unique, they epitomize the high-class image that the Bel-Air has established over the last 70 years.
As if ordering room service weren't easy enough, Bel-Air guests don't even need to pick up a phone to request it. Recently, the hotel added an Apple iPad to each of its rooms for the sole purpose of ordering room service. So far, it's been a success, as 75 percent of those who request room service have done so with the iPad provided by the Bel-Air, according to USA Today Travel.
While it may seem like an unnecessarily expensive investment to add such technology to a hotel room, it's actually rather reasonable considering the cost to stay there for a night. Since the release of the new iPad, the price of the least expensive iPad 2 has dropped to $399, while the starting price for just a single night's stay at the Bel-Air is $595 after taxes. It's no wonder, then, that the lavish hotel has attracted guests such as Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Reagan and Russell Crowe, the source reports.
While the hotel's guests will be treated with superb accommodations upon arrival, their services are limited to their own walls. By taking advantage of Hermes' luxury transportation, guests of the Bel-Air can fully experience high-end special treatment whether it be for door-to-door service or airport service.
Flying first class is a great way to take advantage of luxury transportation in the sky. While that's always been the standard for wealthy VIP passengers, the bar has been set even higher thanks to the new Virgin Atlantic "Miss Sunshine" A330 aircraft.
The plane, which made its first flight last weekend, features a new Upper Class Dream Suite. The ultimate first class experience is futuristically lit with purple LED backlights and loaded with technology. Each seat, which can convert into a lounging position for comfortable resting, features a touchscreen television and a handheld entertainment system.
While flight passengers are always instructed to turn off their mobile devices or, at the very least, put them in airplane mode, that is not necessary when flying in the Dream Suite. The cabin features Virgin Atlantic's Aeromobile system that allows for passengers to make phone calls, send text messages and access the internet, according to Australian Business Traveler.
The only catch is that the devices must be activated for international roaming. Some additional charges may be bestowed upon users depending on the plan they have with their mobile service carrier, but that shouldn't be a concern for any parties with enough financial security to afford a ticket on these flights.