Raise the bar on customer satisfaction

Document Sample
Raise the bar on customer satisfaction Powered By Docstoc
					Raise the bar on customer satisfaction
                    BY BARRY SISKIND          aisles, hard floors, harsh lights,          the focus away from “pitching” to wel-
                                              inconveniently-located washrooms and        coming.
                           n Joseph Pine II   exhibitors displaying the same thing            3. Encourage interactivity. The

                    I The
                           and James H.
                           Gilmore’s book,
                                Experience
                                              they had last year. Trade show visitors
                                              feel abused. It’s what they have come to
                                              expect. Neither the show organizer nor
                                                                                          experience is through one or more of the
                                                                                          senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and
                                                                                          taste. Think about your booth and estab-
                      Economy, the two        the exhibitor has done anything to make     lish experience points where the visitor
                      authors/professors      the experience memorable and inviting.      can get involved. Perhaps it is hospitali-
                      refer to the faulty        As an exhibitor, we can work closely     ty, real products and services (yes, serv-
method many organizations use to              as part of a show advisor committee to      ices) rather than photos, the sound of a
measure customer satisfaction. It is sim-     encourage the show organizer to make        well-oiled machine working, the smell of
ply the numerical difference between          the changes that would humanize the         fresh flowers or coffee brewing, and
what the customers wants less what            show for visitors and that would be one     large, show-stopper graphics.
they perceive they get. The problem           important step. The problem is that             4. Create an environment. Your
with this equation is that in many cases      change on this scale takes time. You        physical space should be more than a
the customer has come to expect less.         wouldn’t want the organizer to revamp       showroom but a place where visitors
So the gap between wants and per-             the show completely hoping that the         feel comfortable enough with you to
ceived gets is narrow.                        change would work. The prudent              interact openly and honestly.
   Here’s an example: When Home               approach would be to take smaller               There is lots more that you can do,
Depot first opened in my neighborhood,        steps, testing them out and then taking     but at very least try these four.
the service was amazing. All my ques-         more steps after. This way, the change      Remember: It’s those companies and
tions were answered, someone helped           in the show is methodical, tested and       organizations that keep their customer’s
me carry bulky purchases to my car and        appropriate.                                expectations higher than their wants
cashiers seemed genuinely interested.            As exhibitors we can make changes a      that will win.
What I wanted was that level of experi-       bit faster. If we can change our display        Barry Siskind is North America’s foremost
ence to remain – it didn’t. Over the years,   to include a visitor experience then        trade and consumer show expert. Visit his Web
it has badly deteriorated and Home            while we are waiting for the rest of the    site: www.siskindtraining.com or e-mail him
Depot has forced me to lower my stan-         show to catch up, we are miles ahead of     at: barry@siskindtraining.com.
dards. When I go to Home Depot now to         everyone else.
buy a 2 X 4 I don’t expect much else. So,        There are many steps you can take to
by all accounts, if I can purchase that 2 X   accomplish an experience focused
4 at a reasonable price I’m happy and         display. Here are a few:
Home Depot can pat itself on the back
thinking I’m a satisfied customer.               1. Let your customer’s expect the
   Recently I went to another Home            unexpected. Offering good service and
Depot where the woman who helped              friendly booth people becomes the
me knew about the product, relayed            baseline for superior customer satisfac-
personal information about how she            tion. Once that baseline of what is
had successfully used it in her home,         acceptable has been established then
helped me understand the difference           you need to find ways to improve. Little
between one model and the next and            things often have great impact; for
thanked me for my business. I was             example, if you have an appointment
amazed – but I shouldn’t have been. All       set at your booth then have the meeting
she was doing was what Home Depot             area cleared, a sign welcoming the guest
promised in the first place.                  and a cup of their favorite brew waiting
   Now, think about those thousands of        (you can learn their preferences by call-
visitors who come to your trade shows.        ing an assistant ahead of time.)
They pay good money and invest lots of           2. Booth attitude. Your booth peo-
time to have an enjoyable and profitable      ple should forget about selling and
experience. But, what do they get: long       adopt the attitude of a host. This shifts

September ’08                                               THE
                                                                  PLANNER                                                            3
                                                                                                                THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION

                                                                                                                In this Issue
                                                                                                              8 Planner’s Green Wish
                                                                                                              > Becoming a greener planner is not going to
                                                                                                                happen by wishing it, but having a wish list
                                                                                                                might help do the trick. Sandra Wood offers
                                                                                                                a multitude of great tips on ways to make
What is this meeting about                                                                                      your meetings greener and cost-effective.

and who is it for?                                                                                           24 Meet me in T.O.
   We plan them. We attend them. We try to get out of them. We know                                           > Many a planner has lamented the fact that
they are necessary. Of course, I am talking about meetings.                                                     most major cities are quite expensive.
   For a planner, they are a kind of raison d’être, one of the the prime                                        However, Associate Editor Jyl Ashton
reasons for their existence. You live them everyday, but can you see the                                        Cunningham was able to unearth several
change that is coming in the industry? For example, the new generation of                                       gems in Toronto that won’t break the bank
workers is better educated, more comfortable with technology, and yet                                           and offer good value for the money.
they will be more difficult to satisfy unless they are treated in new ways
to match their expectations of unlimited choice.                                                             27 Goldilocks could plan
   The meetings that planners develop usually have many people, some-                                         > Planning an event can be so complicated it
times hundreds, even thousands, and few clients understand the stress plan-                                     can make your head spin. Regular contributor
ners live everyday putting events together. At The Planner, we try and spot                                     Don Murray helps us simplify by taking a
industry trends to provide you with information you can use. Some trends that                                   new look at a famous children’s story.
are here to stay are planners learning how to “green” events and encouraging
people to buy locally. And we will continue to supply you with articles on                                   30 F & B budgeting
those subjects. Change is inevitable, so we help you manage it.                                               > Rachel Coley discusses ways to operate on a
   The Planner is committed to providing info you can use to simplify your                                      limited Food & Beverage budget that will not
job. Malcolm Gladwell in Blink and Barry Schwartz in The Paradox of                                             only help reduce your carbon footprint but will
Choice have both shown that 24 options of jam will draw shoppers in but                                         produce savings as well.
having six options of jam will actually trigger sales.
   Having too many choices gives rise to feelings of pressure and overload.                                  31 Videoconferencing
With that in mind, we are trying to give you the proper dose of knowledge                                     > With gas prices shooting through the roof,
that is both valuable and fun to read. If you have any ideas or info to                                         every planner needs to look for alternatives
prescrive, send it along – we’ll be sure to pass on the right amount.                                           to travelling to meetings. Videoconferencing
                                                              — Leo Gervais                                     has become a popular option, and the tech-
                                                                                                                nology is improving all the time.


               THE
                                PLANNER
The Planner is a monthly publication distributed to professional meeting and event planners across Canada.

            M ANAGING E DITOR              Leo Gervais lgervais@theplanner.ca
            A SSOCIATE E DITORS            Camille Lay clay@theplanner.ca
                                           Jyl Ashton Cunningham jashton@theplanner.ca
            G RAPHIC A RTIST               Matt Riopel
            S ALES                         James Paulson jpaulson@theplanner.ca
            C IRCULATION                   Tania Joanis, Patricia Lemus
            EXECUTIVE   ASSISTANT          Debbie Barlow
            C ONTRIBUTORS                  JimClemmer, Rachel Coley, Tim Ferguson, Stacey
                                           Hanke, Kathie Madden, Jeff Mowatt, Barry Siskind,
                                           Sandra Wood
                                    Cover photo: Design by Matt Riopel
                                2105 de la Montagne, suite 100
                                  Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Z8
                     Telephone: (514) 849-6841 ext. 315 Fax: (514) 284-2282
                        We welcome your comments: info@theplanner.ca

                               The Planner uses 30% recycled post-consumer paper.
                                        Poste-publication No. 40934013

4                                                                                       THE
                                                                                               PLANNER                                        September ’08
Preparing for better presentations
in three simple steps is easy to do
BY TIM FERGUSON                                                     question I can’t answer, what will I say? Asking yourself such
                                                                    questions ahead of time will help you “visualize” your pres-
     veryone gets nervous before “going on,” no matter how          entation, thereby reducing the “unknowns” and getting your
E    cool and collected they may appear when they do. This
goes for professional actors, politicians and athletes, as well
                                                                    nerves under control. And you’ll be improving your presenta-
                                                                    tion at the same time. Athletes close their eyes and “watch”
as the rest of us. By following a simple three-step process uti-    themselves shoot the perfect shot in order to improve their
lized by these professional performers, we can improve our          real performance. The same goes for your presentation.
own presentations.
                                                                    MAKE IT FRESH
REHEARSE                                                               Athletes refer to “staying loose.” Actors call it “being in the
   It may sound too obvious to mention, but rehearsing is           moment”. It means rehearsing as much as you can, then per-
essential to reducing nervousness when the big day arrives.         forming as if for the first time. Rehearsing is not meant to take
Jotting down bullet points, writing your presentation out in        the life out of your presentation. The goal is to achieve a
full sentences, reading it aloud to yourself or a colleague,        heightened state of readiness so that each performance is
delivering your opening lines in the mirror – all are great         uniquely dynamic and that you perform at your peak, no mat-
ways to get in control of your presentation, especially if you      ter what gets thrown your way. To make it fresh, you need to
want to appear “off the cuff.”                                      trust that you’ve prepared and that the words will come out
                                                                    as planned. You need to think only of what happens next, not
VISUALIZE                                                           ten steps down the way. You need to pay attention to your
   It’s a simple fact of life: the unknown makes us nervous. A      audience and deliver each thought as you think it!
live presentation is full of such unknowns. How will I look             Tim Ferguson, President of Audience Communication and Events,
when I walk on stage? Is there a podium? Will I be able to see      is considered to be one of Canada’s finest presentation coaches.
the audience? What will I do with my hands? If I’m asked a              He can be reached at tim.ferguson@audienceinc.ca.




6                                                          THE
                                                                 PLANNER                                             September ’08
The Great Hassle?
   When the Brits – usually your biggest
supporters – lay into you, it’s got to be bad.
   A recent headline in The Guardian of
London – “America – more hassle than it’s
worth?” – highlighted a persistent global view
that the Land of the Free is not the Land of the
Tourist anymore.
   The numbers bear it out. The world’s long-
haul international travelers have jumped by 35
million since 2000, yet America has been
largely overlooked by those new travelers,
despite favorable exchange rates – resulting
from a weak currency – and attractions like
Disney World, New York City and the Grand
Canyon. In fact, the annual number of foreign
visitors to the US is about two million lower
than in 2000, leading travel-industry experts
to figure that from 2000 to 2007, the US
economy took a hit of about $150 billion.
   With the economy anchored as voters’ top
concern for the fall elections, Congress is tak-
ing notice of the foreign-traveler deficit,
considering ways to better communicate US
entry requirements and to develop a “See
America” promotional campaign. But travel
experts say even with that, it could be several
years before America’s welcome recovers its
lost luster.
   “If you look at international travel as a pie,
then the world pie is growing, but the US slice
of it is shrinking – and that despite the fact
that we are a great bargain,” says Roger Dow,
president of the Travel Industry Association
(TIA), a Washington-based representative of
the $740-billion-a-year travel industry.




September ’08                                       THE
                                                          PLANNER   7
A planner’s green wish list to implement
BY SANDRA WOOD                                                        • Ensure housekeeping doesn’t turn on the radio or leave
                                                                   lights on after turndown service to conserve energy (we can
      ere’s a handy list you can send to your hotel/venue/sup-     explain this to the attendee in our pre-meeting green info we
H     plier of the things you’d like to have them implement for
your green meeting/event. Some hotels/venues/suppliers are
                                                                   give them)
                                                                      • Are you using eco-conscious cleaning products in gue-
further along the greening process than others and better able     strooms but also throughout venue
to meet your needs. There may be associated costs with                • Do you have low flow showerheads and toilets and tap
implementation so make sure you identify where those costs         aerators or what other initiatives have you undertaken to con-
are as this will help you to prioritize short and longer term      serve water?
objectives. Remember that by “making the ask” you are cre-            • Do you have occupancy sensors or timers to control
ating the demand and that is a step forward even if you can        lighting in guestrooms as well as programmable thermostats?
not implement everything right away.                                  • Fair trade coffee and organic tea in the guestrooms?
   Work closely with your CSM and don’t let the responsibil-          • Do guest rooms have access to the hotel’s TV station
ity of delivering a green event fall upon the shoulders of the     where we can post tips on the environment and/or a list of
CSM alone. Work with them, support them, share your ideas          the successes (environmental) the hotel has realized as a
and welcome theirs. Hotels/venues and suppliers are very           result of greening?
receptive to greening but they have their own challenges              • Are you replacing linens (once they need replacing) with
which may depend on many factors including what services           those made from organic cottons, bamboo and other renew-
and infrastructure are available in the city, what contractual     able fibre sources?
obligations they are bound by and securing reliable/quality           • Are you using recyclable plastic key cards not made from
growers/supplier (of food, etc.).                                  PVC (see www.greenkeycard.com)

   Sources: Green Meetings Industry Council, Meeting Strategies    CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY/
Worldwide, PCMA, MPI, Environment Canada, US Environmental         CARBON OFFSETTING/RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS
Protection Agency and numerous articles from industry and trade      • Are you donating furniture, sheets, other hotel supplies
magazines.                                                         you no longer use to charities?
                                                                     • Are you purchasing green power for any areas of the
GUESTROOM SERVICES                                                 hotel and are you carbon offsetting?
    • When guest checks in give them a “green check-in” and
ask if they want newspaper delivery or not, paper copy of          FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS/GARDENS
their invoice or e-mailed to them?                                    • All flowers left in areas where conference was held as
    • Have a system whereby the guest puts a card on the bed       well as in the guestrooms to be collected and placed in an
when they want the bed sheets changed (don’t automatically         area (a charity will be arranged to pick up these items)
do every 3 days)                                                      • Does hotel wish to keep any plants for planting on their
    • What types of amenities do you provide and are they cer-     property including any herbs for the chef’s garden?
tified organic and not tested on animals?                             • Are you maintaining green space around your property
    • Unfinished shampoos etc. to be donated to charity – even     and are you using natural landscape products and avoiding
better can hotel have bulk dispensers installed instead?           used of leaf blowers and pesticides?
    • Don’t automatically replace the shampoos etc. if they are
in use or replace every 2 days instead depending on usage by       KITCHEN – FOODS/BEVERAGES
guest                                                                 • Non-consumed foods to be eaten by hotel staff and/or
    • Are you using recycled toilet paper and biodegradable        donated to local food bank, and finally anything else is com-
garbage can liners?                                                posted
    • Drapes closed during day in summer to reduce heat,              • Covers for food – can you use something other than
open in winter to warm up room                                     plastic wrap?
    • Have you eliminated any smoking room floors and there-          • Can you tell me what percentage of foods are locally
fore avoid the use of air cleaners?                                sourced (i.e. are you following the 100 mile diet program?),
    • Has the hotel retrofitted energy efficient lighting?         organic if available locally, seafood and meats purchased
    • Are there recycling bins in the rooms and do they clear-     from environmentally responsible farms and not on the


                                                                                                                            
ly explain what materials can be placed in them, if not can        endangered list?
you ensure something is in the room to explain
8                                                         THE
                                                                PLANNER                                          September ’08
From corks to seafood, everything is on the list
   • Have you got, or can you develop a good vegetarian                 • Do you have mugs (in good condition) instead of tea
menu as well and/or a reduced protein menu                            cups and saucers?
   • Wines on list to include local and good selection of               • Don’t use any paper doilies, paper napkin rings
Canadian including wines from vineyards where they are sup-
porting environmental programs (e.g. Painted Turtle, Plant a          GENERAL
Tree wine, etc.)                                                         • Can you extend either free parking or parking discount
   • What is the hotel doing with the corks from the wine bottles?    to cars that are hybrids?
   • Where is used frying oil going? Can it be sent for recy-            • Are you Green Key rated by the Hotel Association of
cling or even used for biodiesel to fuel the lawn equipment           Canada, if no, can you look into securing the accreditation?
for the hotel?                                                           • Do you have any other green accreditation?
   • Use bulk containers for all condiments, no individual               • Escalators turned off in meeting areas during non-use
packaging, please make sure you have jugs for milk, water,            times
juices etc. – containers should be designed to eliminate con-            • Lights turned off in meeting areas when not in use and
tamination to avoid having to throw out unused items (such            HVAC turned down or off
as sugar)                                                                • Can hotel use environmentally friendly cleaners and
   • Water service during plated service, can you place nice          washing fluids throughout including in the kitchen and in the
jugs on the tables and do not pre-pour the glasses, allow peo-        guestrooms, general areas?
ple to do that themselves and then just have your servers                • Does hotel have recycling bins for paper, plastics, metals
check to see if people want more water (this will eliminate           and glass in areas and clearly labeled?
the huge amount of drinkable water that is thrown down the               • Can you use biodegradable plastic bag liners in all
drain daily!).                                                        garbage cans where bags are used?
   •Can you arrange to rent water coolers or do you have any             • Can you use reusable plastic coat check “chits” instead of
that we can use, or please provide details on whether you             paper tickets?
have a water filtration system for the drinking water you serve?
   • Where are you sourcing your seafood? Is it from sustain-
                                                                                                            CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
able fisheries?




September ’08                                                THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                                         9
What exactly is a “green team?”
                   CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9                                • Do you have any programs/incentives in place to encour-
                                                                      age staff use public transport to/from work?
   • Do you have a digital signage system that we can use               • Are you offsetting any travel for your sales team?
and rely on to provide direction and labeling of events so that
we can reduce the amount of additional signage we must                WEBSITE/PRINTED MATERIALS
bring in?                                                                • Can you enhance your website to include a virtual tour
   • Do you have whiteboards instead of flipcharts but if you         that shows all the meeting rooms and what the various types
only have flipcharts are the pads of paper for them sourced           of hotel guestrooms look like as well as the outdoor and
from post consumer content?                                           pool/spa/gym areas, detailed floor plans with capacities so
   • Hold off putting pads of paper and pens out unless the           that we don’t have to rely on hard copy glossy sales kits for
client asks for them and can you arrange to donate any used           this information?
pads or pens to local schools (if pen caps are missing, do not           • If you are printing any materials, are you able to use FSC
throw the pen out), also are the pads made from recycled              certified, post consumer content papers using a waterless sys-
papers and are the pens biodegradable?                                tem, certified by Eco-Logo?
   • Are you considering replacing banquet tables with ones
that do not require skirting?                                         MEASUREABLE
                                                                         • Can you give me statistics that will identify our power
OPERATIONS                                                            consumption during our event, our waste (in terms of what is
    • The hotel should ensure they are recycling in all areas         thrown in landfill, what is recycled and what is composted).
and that minimal amounts are actually put into landfill               But you will need a baseline from which to measure these
(plastics, papers, metals, glass all recycled), food wastes from      items, especially anything operational such as energy/power.
restaurant and hotel kitchens to be composted if not con-                • Can you give me a list of all the things the venue is
sumed or donated                                                      already doing that has environmental benefits so we can start
    • Alternative could be donating to local pig farmers for          to build a “brag list” that can then be provided to attendees so
feed (this saves the farmers money and they yield a higher            they know the extent to which efforts are made to “green up”?
grade meat at the end)                                                   • Once you have implemented changes, can you let me
    • Make sure that cabs, buses and shipping vehicles do not         know what benefits you realize in terms of additional busi-
sit and idle their vehicles outside the hotel (can you have signs     ness or cost savings?
around hotel to say “no vehicle idling allowed on premises”)             • Can you have your GM send my CEO (name will be pro-
(for example, Vancouver has a no idle city bylaw)                     vided) a letter to outline the efforts you are going to green up
    • Ask cab companies that service the hotel to consider            before our event so senior management are aware of what is
hybrid vehicles to service clients at the hotel                       happening?
    • Can hotel investigate purchasing green power to run it’s
front desk operations or some other portion of their hotel            ULTIMATE GOAL/CHALLENGE – HOW CAN WE
    • Are you using, or can you start using low volatile organ-       GET TO A ZERO WASTE EVENT (VIRTUALLY
ic compound (VOC) materials such as paints, carpets, wall             NOTHING GOING INTO LANDFILL), MINIMAL
coverings in all areas of the venue?                                  IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT AS DEFINED
    • Are you replacing all your lights with energy efficient         BELOW:
lighting and are you replacing all your fluorescent light bulbs          “A green meeting incorporates environmental considera-
from T12’s to T8’s? Are you recycling your light bulbs?               tions throughout all stages of the meeting process in order to
    • Are you recycling batteries collected at and recycling them?    minimize the negative impact on the environment and make
    • Are you sending the printer toners for recycling?               a positive impact to host communities in terms of environ-
                                                                      mental and social legacies.” Green Meetings Industry Council
STAFF
    • Do you have a “green team” in place to both innovate                                          •••
and generate interest and ideas on how the hotel can improve
it’s environmental performance on an ongoing basis?
    • Are you training your staff on the new procedures for              Sandra Wood is the Annual Meeting Manager for the Canadian
greening (e.g. does housekeeping staff know and understand            Medical Association in Ottawa, Ontario. She can be reached at:
the linen program?)                                                   sandra.wood@cma.ca.

10                                                           THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                            September ’08
                                                                      learned that his previously-known pancreatic cancer was
                                                                      terminal. He died on July 25, 2008.
Doggies are a no-no in Saudi Arabia                                      In May, Time magazine named Dr. Pausch as one of the
   You may be able to bring your dog to a hotel and walk him          world’s top-100 influential people. His last lecture has been
outside in Canada to meet those of the opposite sex, but don’t        viewed by millions of people on YouTube and it has also
try it in Saudi Arabia. In its zeal to keep the sexes apart, the      become a best-selling book inspiring countless people in the
Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention             process. He liked to joke that his mother would introduce him
of Vice (the official name of the Saudi religious police) want        as a doctor, “but not the kind that helps people.”
to make sure the technique doesn’t catch on there.                       But becoming a professor allowed him to to enable the
   The solution? Ban the selling of dogs and cats as pets, as         childhood dreams of others, he said, and the website for his
well as walking them in public.                                       book is filled with thank you messages from those he inspired.
   The prohibition went into effect recently in the capital,             On the Web: www.thelastlecture.com
Riyadh, and authorities in the city say they will strictly enforce
it — unlike previous bans in the cities of Mecca and Jiddah,
which have been ignored and failed to stop pet sales.
                                                                      Flying the unfriendly skies
                                                                         The fear of flying (aviaphobia) affects millions of global
   Violators found outside with their pets will have their
                                                                      travellers. You’ve seen them: They are the ones gripping the
beloved poodles and other furry companions confiscated by
                                                                      armrests with their white knuckles or sweating with anxiety
agents of the Commission, who are tasked with enforcing
                                                                      at 40,000 feet. The causes are many, and they include the fear
Saudi Arabia’s strict Islamic code.
                                                                      of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), fear of turbulence and
                                                                      loss of personal control. But there are some things you can do
At last... a true inspiration                                         to alleviate your aircraft anxiety:
   If you aren’t familiar with Randy Pausch you should be.               • Make the right pick. Try to pick flights on larger
Pausch was an American professor of computer science,                 aircraft. Turbulence is usually more noticeable in the rear
human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon              aisle seats, so request a window seat.
University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a best-sell-           • Cut out the coffee and cola. Caffeinated drinks can
ing author who achieved worldwide fame for his “The Last              intensify anxiety so cut them out.
Lecture” speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon.                • You’re safe. Statistically speaking, air travel is one of the
In summer 2007, Pausch conceived the lecture after he                 safest modes of transportation today.




September ’08                                                THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                                           11
Websites of                               interest                Travel booking with a boom
                                                                  www.boo.com
                                                                     The interesting thing about this website is that it puts trav-

Recycling computers                                               el talk back into trip planning in a big way. The site claims it
                                                                  has received more than two million reviews of about 2,000
www.reboot canada.ca                                              destinations. Not only does it act as a functional search tool,
   They accept drop-off donations or arrange for pick-up for      navigating through the myriad of travel stories and opinions,
a fee of computers and some electronic equipment at several       the site is modern with a great presentation making both a joy
locations across the country.                                     to read and contribute to.
   This non-profit organization provides computer hardware
and training to charities and non-profits and people with
limited access to technology.
                                                                  Cruise tips can prove invaluable
                                                                  www.voyage.gc.ca (Before You Go section)
AND HERE ARE A FEW MORE RELATED SITES...                             Cruises have become an alternative to popular destinations
                                                                  for meetings, and offer attendees a chance to bring families
Electronic Recycling Association (for Western Canada) –           along and other benefits. The Depertment of Canadian
www.era.ca                                                        Foreign Affairs and International Trade recommends that you
                                                                  take certain precautions to ensure your well-being during a
Free Computer help for Anyone                                     cruise. These include:
www.computerhope.com/disposal.htm                                    • Purchase travel and health insurance. This should
                                                                  include coverage for accidental injury and medical evacua-
Small Business Canada                                             tion. Your provincial health plan may not cover anything or
www.sbinfocanada.about.com/od/environmentbiz/a/compre-            only a portion of medical expenses.
cycling.htm                                                          • Carry a valid Canadian passport. Useful when transit-
                                                                  ing through another country to join a cruise. Keep a photo-
  If you still have questions about recycling computers, call     copy of your passport’s identification page.
your local municipal government for information.                     • Remember to bring an extra pair of eyeglasses.




12                                                       THE
                                                               PLANNER                                            September ’08
                                                             October 16-19, 2008
                                                             Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners,
                                                             Annual Conference, Sheraton Hamilton Hotel,
                                                             Hamilton, Ont. Contact: www.cspep.ca.

                                                             October 29
                                                             BIZBash, Event Style Show, Jacob K. Javits Center, new
                                                             York, New York. Contact: www.bizbash.com.

                                                             November 9-12, 2008
                                                             MPI Montreal Chapter, Convivium 2008, Sheraton
                                                             Laval, Laval, Que.
                                                             Contact: www.mpimontreal.com/en/convivium.
 September 23-25, 2008
 Incentive Travel & Meeting Executives, The Motivation       November 1-5, 2008
 Show, Chicago, Ill. Contact: www.motivationshow.com.        International Congress & Convention Association,
                                                             47th ICCA Congress & Exhibition, Victoria Conference
 Sept. 24, 2008 (Toronto) and Oct. 24 (Vancouver)            Centre, Victoria, BC.
 Leveraging Trade Shows sponsored by The Portables,          Contact: www.iccaworld.com/dbs/congress2008.
 featuring experts Barry Siskind and Dr. Jonathan Calof.
 In Toronto at the Monte Carlo Inns, Mississauga and in      November 9-13, 2008
 Richmond (near Vancouver) at The Radisson Airport           Financial & Insurance Conference Planners, Annual
 Hotel Richmond, B.C. Contact:                               Conference, Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach,
 www.siskindtraining.com/company_training.php#c16            Cancun, Mexico. Contact: www.ficpnet.com.
                                                                                    •••
 October 5-7, 2008
 Association of Corporate Travel Executives, ACTE
 Global Education Conference, Rome marriott Park             If you have an event you would like us to consider
 Hotel, Italy. Contact: www.acte.org.                        listing, please send it via e-mail to: info@theplanner.ca.




September ’08                                       THE
                                                          PLANNER                                                    13
                                                                    counted accommodation tariffs by up to a further 20% on
                                                                    2008 levels, and also force reductions in the price of meals,
                                                                    parking, and drinks
                                                                       Pedersen argues that five-star hotels will remain successful
                                                                    because there are sufficient numbers of recession-proof, high
                                                                    net worth individuals who are status-driven, including sports
                                                                    stars, celebrities, and senior corporates, particularly from
                                                                    emerging countries. He anticipates a massive switch by
                                                                    around a third of travelling executives to three-star hotels and
DOWNTURN WILL BE WORLDWIDE,                                         away from four-star properties which will respond with cuts
IRREVERSIBLE: HOTELS CHIEF                                          in restaurant and leisure club hours, fewer reception and
   Niels Pedersen, managing director of the 1250-member             night porter personnel, and also less cleaning staff.
global Supranational Hotels consortium anticipates a ‘long
hard fight ahead’ with three- and five-star properties likely to    FAIRMONT TO OFFER LEXUS HYBRIDS
do best, and four-star and budget venues probably the hard-             Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in the United States plans to use
est hit. He believes the downturn in the industry will be           Lexus hybrid vehicles as hotel courtesy cars.
‘worldwide, irreversible, and is likely to last beyond 2010’.           Reserved exclusively for members of Fairmont’s guest
   Pedersen suggests that aside from rising costs and credit        loyalty program, the new fleet of Lexus hybrid vehicles,
pressures, emerging trends in the market are adding to              which provide greater fuel mileage with lower smog-forming
the problems being experienced. Here are some of the trends         emissions, will be available to conveniently transport guests
he cited:                                                           around the destination while making less of an impact on the
   • a likely ceiling for web-bookings and return to voice          environment.
reservations as identity fraud puts customers off the internet          Lexus is the only luxury automaker with hybrid vehicles in
and no longer willing to give their credit card details online.     its line-up and Fairmont guests will be able to travel in the
   • pre-payment will decline as an option                          style and comfort of a RX 400h hybrid luxury utility vehicle or
   • the weakening of hotel brand loyalties because too many        the GS 450h, a luxury performance sedan. Both vehicles
weak-link properties within chains create disappointment and        demonstrate how eco-savvy customers can enjoy making less
a desire for change                                                 of an impact on the earth without sacrificing luxury.
   • procurement professionals will drive down already dis-
                                                                    SANDCASTLE HOTEL SEES BRISK BOOKING
                                                                    BUSINESS
                                                                       Quebec might have the ice hotel, but England now boasts
                                                                    one made of… sand?
                                                                       The world’s first ever sand hotel has been made in Dorset
                                                                    and is accepting its first guests for £10 a night. It took 1,000
                                                                    tonnes of sand and a team of four sculptors working 14 hours
                                                                    a day for seven days to build the structure on Weymouth
                                                                    beach.
                                                                       Guests can book to stay in the hotel, which includes beds
                                                                    made out of sand, until the rain washes it away. The struc-
                                                                    ture was created by a hotel company to celebrate a resurgence
                                                                    of holidaymakers flocking to the seaside.
                                                                       Research by Laterooms.com predicts 37 million people will
                                                                    enjoy British beaches this year.
                                                                       The sand hotel offers a twin and double bedroom, while
                                                                    the roofless structure gives guests the chance to “star-gaze” at
                                                                    night, the firm said.
                                                                       But there are no toilet facilities and people were warned
                                                                    the sand “gets everywhere.”
                                                                       Mark Anderson, creator of the sand hotel, said: “It is the
                                                                    biggest sandcastle-like structure ever in the UK. The best
                                                                    thing is in the morning when the tide laps through the door,
                                                                    what a great way to wake up.”


14                                                         THE
                                                                 PLANNER                                            September ’08
     Sudoku
  Sponsored by the Centre Mont-Royal
                                                                STARWOOD GETS MIXED NEWS
                                                                   Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. reported a
                                                                   bigger-than-expected 16.4 percent drop in second-quarter
                                                                profit recently, although the stock fell after Starwood cut its

 Fill each square with a number from 1 to 9 so that every
                                                                full-year outlook, citing a weakening U.S. market.

 number appears only once in each row, column and cell.
                                                                   Starwood shares fell $4.56, or 11.5 percent, to $35.26. The
                                                                stock has fallen from a 52-week high of $74.05 last July to


 SOME SUDOKU RESOURCES ON THE WEB:
                                                                touch a low of $30.26.
                                                                   “The slowdown we see continues to be consumer-led,”
 • www.websudoku.com •www.sudoweb.com                           chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu said during a conference
 •www.dailysudoku.com •www.sudokupuzz.com                       call with analysts.
                                                                   He said the company’s weakest markets are those where
                                                                leisure business plays the biggest role in revenue, such as
                                                                Phoenix and Hawaii.
                                                                   Overall, bookings in the U.S. are declining, Prabhu said,
                                                                though he noted that cancellations are not on the rise.




                                                                                   PROMISES
                                                                   ARE AS FRAGILE AS SHORTBREAD.
                                                                               OLD SCOTTISH SAYING




        LEVEL: EASY                Solution, page 38



       LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE        Solution, page 38




September ’08                                          THE
                                                             PLANNER                                                        15
                                                                      CUSTOMERS LESS SATISFIED: J.D. POWER
                                                                         Overall satisfaction with hotels is down notably in 2008, as
                                                                      hotel brands try to cut costs during economically difficult
WYNDHAM HOTELS OFFERS CLEARAIR                                        times while still attempting to meet high customer expecta-
INITIATIVE                                                            tions according to a recent study.
    Do you have allergies? Then a Wyndham hotel may be the               The recently-released J.D. Power and Associates 2008
place for you.                                                        North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study(SM) is
    Health-conscious travelers—especially those suffering from        now in its 12th year, and measures overall hotel guest satis-
allergies and asthma—may breathe easier at Wyndham hotels             faction across six hotel segments: luxury, upscale, mid-scale
thanks to the upscale chain’s new Wyndham ClearAir initia-            full service, mid-scale limited service, economy/budget and
tive to offer allergy-friendly guest accommodations.                  extended stay.
    While eight Wyndham hotels offer the rooms today, all will           Seven key measures are examined within each segment to
be required to convert 10 percent of their room inventory or          determine overall satisfaction:
a minimum of 25 rooms into allergy-friendly environments by           •reservations
the end of 2009. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts is the first              • check-in/check-out
national upscale lodging chain to mandate allergy-friendly            • guest room
rooms systemwide.                                                     • food and beverage
    The chain’s move responds to guest concerns over rising           • hotel services
consumer health issues and costs associated with allergic             • hotel facilities
reactions. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation             • costs and fees
of America, allergies and asthma affect one in four Americans.           Four of the six segments—upscale; mid-scale full service;
    Following a system designed by New York-based PURE                mid-scale limited service; and economy/budget—decline in
Solutions NA, Wyndham ClearAir rooms undergo a multi-step             overall satisfaction, compared with 2007. In particular, over-
cleaning process designed to remove up to 98 percent of allergens.    all satisfaction with the economy/budget segment declines
    First, guest room walls, carpeting, bedcovers and fabrics are     significantly, posting the largest year-over-year decrease of
sanitized and treated with a long-lasting microbial shield, mak-      any segment since the inception of the study. Among econo-
ing them free from odors and resistant to bacteria and viruses.       my/budget properties, the largest declines in satisfaction
Next, a medical-grade air purification system is installed.           occur in the guest room and food and beverage measures.
    Air-handling units and vents are deep-cleaned and                    The study finds that although satisfaction is down overall,
equipped with PURE Solutions’ signature tea tree oil car-             the majority of hotel brands that rank highest in their respec-
tridge, which acts as a natural antiseptic and disinfectant to        tive segments in 2008 have maintained consistently high lev-
maintain sanitary conditions.                                         els of customer satisfaction since 2007. Five of six brands
    In hotel meeting rooms, air is purified at greater intensity      receiving awards in 2008 have ranked highest in their seg-
and filtrated eight times more frequently than standard air-          ment for at least two consecutive years.
handling systems. The goal is to achieve 99.9 percent effec-             The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfac-
tive treatment of air and surfaces.                                   tion within their respective segments:
    On the Web:                                                          • Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a second consecutive year)


                                                                                                                                   
    www.wyndham.com/ClearAir                                             • Upscale: Embassy Suites Hotels (for a second consecutive
    www.pureroom.com.                                                 year)




                                                                             Breathing easy isn’t always so easy
                                                                                Most of North America is smoke free, as most cities in
                                                                             Canada and the US offer hotels, restaurants and airports.
                                                                             Mexico and the Caribbean, however, are another story.
                                                                             To “clear the air” before you travel, call ahead to inquire
                                                                             about city and hotel smoking policies. At hotel check-in,
                                                                             ask to see your room and do a “sniff test” to confirm it is
                                                                             smoke free. Finally, when you book a tour, insist upon
                                                                             non-smoking restaurants and transportation. Follow these
                                                                             steps and you will be a planner who is ahead of the game.

16                                                           THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                              September ’08
                                                                          MARRIOTT GOES GREEN IN A BIG WAY
                                                                             Marriott International has made a major, five-pronged commit-
    •Mid-Scale Full Service: Hyatt Place                                  ment to the green movement. The hotelier last month took steps
    • Mid-Scale Limited Service: Drury Inn & Suites (for a third          aimed at addressing the plan’s first area: carbon offsets. It signed
consecutive year)                                                         an agreement with the state of Amazonas, in Brazil, to help pro-
    • Economy/Budget: Microtel Inns & Suites (for a seventh               tect 1.4 million acres of endangered rainforest. The company
consecutive year)                                                         pledged to contribute $2 million to the newly created Amazonas
    • Extended Stay: Homewood Suites (for a second consec-                Sustainable Foundation and to announce a way for guests—
utive year)                                                               including groups—to contribute to the fund to offset greenhouse
    The study finds that problems with hotel/room mainte-                 gas emissions and a green meetings program later this month.
nance are more common in 2008, compared with 2007, with                      The other four portions of Marriott’s plan are to reduce water,
this issue being one of the top five most frequently reported             waste, and energy consumption; green its supply chain; build
by guests across all segments. In the extended stay segment,              greener hotels; and engage employees and guests to take action.
Internet usage (particularly connection and speed) makes the                 “The future of business is green,” said Arne Sorenson, CFO
list of the top five problems for the first time in 2008. Among           and co-chair of Marriott’s Green Council.
luxury hotel guests, parking issues emerge within the top five               Added Stephanie Hampton, senior director of corporate
most frequently reported problems for the first time.                     public relations, “Our customers expect this now, and meet-
    Technology offerings also need to be in top working order             ing planners are asking more about greening their meetings.”
to avoid disappointing guests. In addition, while guests who                 Marriott promised to cut down on fuel and water consump-
visit luxury hotels tend to be somewhat more immune to price              tion by 25 percent per available room over the next 10 years,
pressures, parking fees are becoming more commonplace and                 and install solar power at up to 40 hotels by 2017. Also, it
an increasing source of dissatisfaction among these guests,               will expand existing “reduce, reuse, recycle” programs at 90
who may be used to complimentary parking.”                                percent of its hotels, starting in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los
    The study also includes the following key findings:                   Angeles, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC. A big difference
    • Guest awareness of property-initiated “green” programs              also will be made among Marriott’s suppliers, as the company
declines significantly in 2008, with 57 percent of guests stating that    has asked its top 40 vendors to supply price-neutral greener
they were aware that their hotel offered environmentally friendly         products to its $10-billion supply chain. Pens, paint, towels,
conservation programs, compared with 63 percent in 2007.                  and numerous other items will be more earth-friendly. Also
    • Nearly nine of 10 guests (89%) say they prefer a smoke-free         under consideration are compostable key cards, recyclable car-
hotel environment in 2008, compared with 79 percent in 2006.              pet, and more responsibly packaged soaps and shampoos.
    The proportion of hotel guests making reservations online                By the end of 2009, hotel design guidelines will be in line
continues to increase steadily -- 52 percent of guests made their         with the U.S.Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy
reservations online in 2008, compared with 44 percent in 2007.            and Environmental Design (LEED), and Marriott plans to
    Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and             receive LEED-Existing Building status for its headquarters.
Associates is a global marketing information services compa-              Lastly, Marriott plans to encourage employees and guests to
ny operating in key business sectors including market                     take earth-friendly actions daily.
research, forecasting, performance improvement, training,                    On the Web: www.marriott.com
Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.
    On the Web: www.jdpower.com                                                                                    CONTINUED ON PAGE 23




September ’08                                                    THE
                                                                       PLANNER                                                             17
What to do with your hands?
                     BY STACEY HANKE                                        • When you gesture, make the action deliberate. If you
                                                                        are using a gesture to illustrate how high expenses are, let
                           ommunication is all about influenc-          your gesture stay in that position for a moment so your audi-
                      C    ing others to take action. Whether
                      you are having a face-to-face or phone
                                                                        ence can take it in. When you are finished making your
                                                                        point, go back to that neutral resting position.
                      conversation, facilitating a meeting or               • Use a variety of gestures. Use one hand or both at times.
                      delivering a presentation your goal               The key is gestures must be appropriate to the words.
should be to influence others to take action. Unfortunately                 • Keep objects out of your hands unless there is a reason
our body language creates distractions rather than enhance              for them. I have seen people hold full cups of coffee in their
our message. When this occurs you begin to sabotage your                hands while gesturing. All I was thinking about was when
message and your listener may question your intent. Over the            the coffee was going to fly out of the cup. I have seen some-
next several months, I will increase your awareness of what             one play with a paper clip the entire time he was talking. All
your body language communicates.                                        I was paying attention to was the sculpture he was creating.
   Appropriate gestures can help you influence others to take           If you are using markers, put them down when you are fin-
action if used appropriately. Because of the visual image they          ished. If you have a remote for your laptop and need to use
create, they make it much easier for you to get the point you           it often, place it in the palm of your hand in a way that you
are making.                                                             can still gesture.
    I have heard so many people tell me they have been told                 • Avoid pointing at people with your index finger. Use an
they use their hands too much. They go to extremes by trying            open palm instead.
to find ways to not use their hands. They cross their arms,             Why should you gesture? Gestures can help:
clasp their hands, put their hands in their pockets, put their              • Add emphasis to your message
arms behind their backs, carry a pen (or a cup) as a crutch, play           • Grab your audience’s attention
with their jewelry or hair, ball their hands into fists. All of this        • Create a picture for your audience
is done to give them something to do with their hands or to                 • Make your points memorable
prevent them from using their hands too much. Do not go to                  • Help you relax
those extremes. What should you do? Gesture appropriately.                  Begin practicing the above recommendations today!
   How should you gesture? Everyone will gesture different-                 · Have you ever received feedback on what your facial
ly. There is not a formula that says you should have one ges-           expressions communicate? If not, what is stopping you from
ture every three sentences. The key is to put yourself in a             asking for feedback?
position that your gestures are appropriate to your message.                · If possible, record yourself to see if your facial expres-
Here are tips to let that happen for you.                               sions are consistent with your message during a presentation
   • Adopt a neutral resting position. By resting position, we          or during a practice session for an upcoming face-to-face con-
mean where to place your arms and hands when you are not                versation.
gesturing. If you are standing, your arms should be relaxed at             Stacey Hanke is an executive consultant, author, coach and speak-
your sides with your hands open. If seated, your arms should            er with 1st Impression Consulting, Inc. in Chicago, Ill. Contact her at:
be resting on the table with your hands relaxed and open.               stacey.hanke@1stimpressionconsulting.com or (773) 209-5970.




18                                                             THE
                                                                     PLANNER                                                  September ’08
                                                                       green attributes is the green roof – planted with low-mainte-
                                                                       nance plants – which improves the thermal performance of
                                                                       the hotel and helps keep it cool in warm weather and insu-
IHG LAUNCHES THE WORLD’S FIRST                                         late it in winter.
‘GREEN’ HOTEL IN THE U.A.E.                                                The plants and thin layer of soil work like a sound barrier,
    This could be the world’s first ever 100 per cent ecologically-    particularly when they’re wet, helping to reduce noise pollution.
friendly hotel – and its ‘green’ credentials will set the bench-           Other environmental benefits include improvements to air
mark for hoteliers around the world.                                   quality, biodiversity and storm water run off.
    The solar powered ‘Innovation Hotel’ – which is the brain-             Natural lava stone signage at the entrance and on the lawns
child of the InterContinental Hotels Group – provides the latest       replaces traditional plastic and metal signs.
technology in energy and water conservation and recycling.                 All the furniture in the reception is made from recycled materi-
    Among the ‘green’ features of the futuristic hotel in the          al and all the paper used by the receptionists will also be recycled.
United Arab Emirates:                                                      All unused food from the kitchens is packaged and deliv-
• The forwarding of all unused non-perishable food to chari-           ered to local charities or food banks to cut wastage.
ties or food banks                                                         In the bedroom all furniture and fittings including towels
• Solar panels on the roof to heat water                               are made from recycled materials, mattresses consist of natu-
• A rainwater harvesting system to supply water to toilets             ral fibre such as horsehair, as will carpets.
• A roof garden rich in shrubbery to provide extra insulation              On the roof there will be up to four huge solar panels
• Windpower to generate electricity for the hotel                      drawing energy from the sun to heat water and help cut back
• Recycled glass windows                                               on non-renewable energy use.
• Furniture and fittings made entirely from recycled materials             In regions where there’s plenty of regular rain, harvesting
• And household waste to provide heat and power                        is an effective and low-cost way of reducing demand on local
                                                                       water supplies.
   Hotel chiefs say the Innovation Hotel’s features could be               The hotel uses the rain water to flush toilets and water
earmarked as standard across all IHG brands within the next            grounds, as well as for dishwashers and washing machines.
few years. The virtual property has been put on the company                Oil produced from household waste can be used as
website to get guests views on its features.                           bio-fuel instead of fossil fuels to generate heat and power.
   The first inkling a guest will get of the Innovation Hotel’s            On the Web: www.ihgplc.com/innovation/




September ’08                                                 THE
                                                                    PLANNER                                                              23
Toronto will surprise you, if you let it
                    BY JYL ASHTON CUNNINGHAM, CMP                       The Planner’s second Toronto Venues Guide includes lots
                                                                     of choices for lower budget venues and while hotel accommo-
                              here is a common misconception         dation rates are generally negotiable, it pays to look out for

                     T        that incentive trips to expensive
                              cities equate to big budgets.
                      However on recent visits to London,
                                                                     added perks offered by several Toronto hotels. The Manager’s
                                                                     weekly reception at The Cambridge Suites, for example, is a
                                                                     pleasant way to unwind after a day’s meetings, and rejuvenate
                      England and Paris, France, we made a           for a night on the town. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic bever-
conscious effort to seek out ways of being wined, dined and          ages are offered, together with hot and cold snacks, all com-
entertained by doing things the local residents do. Instead of       plimentary for hotel guests.
frequenting the usual tourist spots, we went off the beaten             On the Web: www.cambridgesuiteshotel.com
track and were very pleasantly surprised at how far our
money went. Some examples: Small bistros, more than happy               Using hotels where breakfast is included in the room rate
to offer buy-outs to groups of 30 or more; great pubs with a         also helps to keep costs down. The Grand Hotel has an
private room and an option to join the regulars; small comedy        excellent buffet breakfast which can be taken at leisure either
and fringe theatre venues; and lots of outdoor entertainment         in the restaurant or on the attractive glass patio.
free for anyone wishing to experience it.                               On the Web: www.grandhoteltoronto.com.
   Returning to Toronto with fresh and budget-conscious
eyes, it soon became apparent that while the city is renowned           Entertainment in Toronto is as diverse and exciting as the
for its popularity as a high-end incentive destination, there are    city itself, and is widely available without cover charge in
lots of things to do, see and enjoy that won’t break the bank.       local bars and clubs. Check out Whitney Smith’s Big Steam
With air fares currently being so high, bringing clients             Band most Tuesdays at Alleycatz on Yonge Street (check the
from the US, Europe and beyond requires some innovative              website for a performance schedule). Whitney’s music puts
planning and careful budgeting in order to entice them to            everyone in a great mood and his band is available for corpo-
Canadian cities.                                                     rate events at reasonable rates.
                                                                        On the Web: www.bigsteamband.com.

                                                                         For a one-stop destination experience, try The Distillery
                                                                     District, with its wonderful selection of restaurants, interest-
                                                                     ing stores and vibrant night life. Walking around and soaking
                                                                     up the atmosphere costs nothing and there is often a film
                                                                     crew on site for celebrity spotting.
                                                                         Interactive entertainment is great for team building and
                                                                     potentially cuts down on costs. Rock The Stars and Drum
                                                                     Café continue to be two of the most popular options to bring
                                                                     into venues, with Playdium, Rynx and Grand Prix Kartways
                                                                     being purpose-built venues offering team-building competi-
                                                                     tions at reasonable rates to delegates.
                                                                         It is true that the best way to see a city is on foot, and the
                                                                     ubiquitous Tour of Toronto is made so much more interesting
                                                                     by allowing delegates to take time to tour areas that interest
                                                                     them at leisure. Drop them off in various locations, with the
                                                                     option of being picked up later by the tour guide, or making
                                                                     their own way back to the hotel on foot. Take advantage of
                                                                     Toronto’s excellent public transit system and keep your meeting
                                                                     green – street cars are a novelty for many visitors, yet still under-
                                                                     utilized for incentive events, and Toronto’s subway stops at
                                                                     most places of interest. Restaurants and coffee/dessert bars in
                                                                     the Greek, Italian, Indian, Chinese and Portuguese quarters of

                                                                                                                                     
                                                                     the city offer a delectable selection of foods and an unparalleled
                                                                     experience to enjoy authentic cuisine at reasonable rates.

24                                                          THE
                                                                  PLANNER                                               September ’08
The CN Tower continues to be a major attraction
    A Dim Sum meal is still available for under                     the famous 360° revolving restaurant, as the
$10 per head in Chinatown. Stroll through the                       wait is much shorter.
neighbourhoods after dining, for the complete                          On the Web: www.cntower.ca
international experience.
    For those who favour the true Canadian                             For a true outdoor and inexpensive experi-
experience, The St. Lawrence Market offers                          ence, hop on the ferry over to the Islands and
arguably the best peameal bacon sandwiches                          rent bicycles for delegates, or wander around
in the city at under $7. The ambiance is eclec-                     the gardens at Casa Loma or the waterfront
tic and casual and a recent visit was highlight-                    west of the downtown core.
ed by the chance to see one of Toronto’s most
famous restaurateurs, Susur Lee being filmed                           While it certainly helps to have a respectable
there. Susur is currently marketing his latest                      budget to experience the finer aspects of
restaurant venture Madelines, which opened                          Toronto, planners with less money to work with
in July this year. The prices are more accessible                   should not discount the city, whatever the time
than Susur’s other restaurants and his fabulous                     of year. All it takes is creativity, enthusiastic
food should be experienced by everyone at                           supplier negotiation tactics and the ability to
some time in their life.                                            convince delegates that an incentive destination
    On the Web: www.susur.com/madelines                             can be just as much fun on a lower budget.

   The CN Tower is a must for all visitors to                                             •••
Toronto, however the view is just as spectacu-
lar from the look-out level as the restaurant,                         Jyl Ashton Cunningham, CMP is owner of JAAC
and costs less. Line-ups are an issue during the                    Meetings & Events By Design and an associate editor
high season, so many groups still opt for the                       of The Planner. Jyl welcomes your comments and can
wonderful Canadian-inspired prix-fixe menu in                       be reached at: info@jaacevents.com.




September ’08                                       THE
                                                          PLANNER                                                   25
Tech-etiquette is good to know
BY KATHIE MADDEN                                                                           table because sadly she was his
                                                                                           colleague.
   generally provide helpful tips on                                                          Here are a few basic guidelines and
I  creating events; conversely an incident
at a recent luncheon convinced me to
                                                                                           suggestions on tech-etiquette to imple-
                                                                                           ment within the business environment.
offer suggestions on proper guest eti-
quette. Although this may be wishful                                                          1. Inform the appropriate person
thinking, I am hopeful that this article                                                   prior to the beginning of a meeting,
will be hung on every office bulletin                                                      luncheon, etc. that you are expecting an
board to give reference to some wrongful                                                   “urgent” call. Sit nearest the door. Use
trends that have developed.                                                                ‘vibrate’ only. (Because ‘vibrate’ can be
   The business environment is the per-                                                    distracting, keep your phone worn on
fect setting to observe evidence that a                                                    your body or below table level and leave
number of etiquette practices remain                                                       the room before taking the call.) Only
unchanged, several are carelessly                                                          leave to answer the one expected call.
untrained or forgotten, and in the case of technology, the            2. Never respond or check messages in meetings, lunch-
strongest proof that protocols need to frequently adapt. As I      eons, training sessions, appointments, business conferences.
was developing this article, others were eager to share stories    Turn off all devices or transfer calls to voice mail. (Step away
with me. I will share two that prove that while we allow our-      to a private area after the event or during a break to respond.)
selves to become instantly accessible; we are unmindful to            3. Remove wireless earpieces.
how discourteous we can be to those around us.                        4. Keep conversations short and at a low volume when
   Example A: A client booked a 2 hour appointment with            there are others within a hearing range of 10ft. (e.g. Standing
his financial account manager and during the scheduled time        in line-ups, during intermissions)
the client answered his cell phone and proceeded to conduct           5. Never place your BlackBerry™ or cell phone – that is
business over the phone. This one action interrupted the           not turned completely OFF – on a conference, meeting,
valuable time of the account manager and forced the meeting        training, dining table, or on someone else’s desk. (Leave ‘ON’
to go beyond the allotted time and caused a delay for the next     only if everyone understands that you need to be reached by
scheduled appointment. If he was being charged an hourly           someone who has not yet arrived.)
fee by the financial account manager my bet is; he wouldn’t           Staying connected with your clients, associates, and
have taken the call.                                               resources is important to the strength of your business, by
   Example B: While giving a speech during a luncheon, the         being an exemplary model of proper tech-etiquette you can
keynote speaker was distracted by a woman sitting at the           further enhance your image and those you represent.
table directly in front of his podium. She received and sent          Kathie Madden is a Delta based event planner and is involved in the
continuous messages with her BlackBerry™ device. It was            sales of promotional items. She can be reached at kmevents@telus.net
uncomfortable for the speaker and the other guests at the          or via her website at: www.kathiemaddenevents.com.




26                                                        THE
                                                                PLANNER                                                September ’08
Goldilocks and the Three Meeting Rooms
BY DON MURRAY, CMP                                                      If your desire is to have a more formal setting then either
                                                                     tables or a theatre setting will be required. You should always
        e all know the children’s story of Goldilocks and the        take into consideration your audio-visual needs prior to deter-
W       Three Bears, but what if our Goldilocks was a meeting
planner and the trip to the bears’ house was a site inspection?
                                                                     mining your set-up and your choice of room. Your choices
                                                                     will be affected by actual dimensions, ceiling height, sight lines
Not to overly simplify the task at hand, but sometimes knowing       and exposed windows, to name a few possible challenges.
what you don’t want helps you in choosing what you do need.             As for room set-ups if you were to go with theatre style,
    Goldilocks had choices to make and in fact used a process        which involves no tables, you should know that this arrange-
of elimination to do so. Her decisions were guided, at least at      ment does not encourage “Hands on Learning” whereas
first, by knowing specifically what she did not want. As a           classroom or schoolroom would lean more towards an
meeting planner, you should always hold true to your convic-         education-friendly environment. Conference style is used for
tions and choose wisely when deciding on a meeting room.             a more interactive setting. You should try to avoid
    There are many factors that come into play when prepar-          rectangular set-ups because it
ing to hold a meeting. If there were only three differences your     tends to position people in
choice would be far simpler. But we all know that the varia-         an adversarial manner and is
tions are more complex and the choices far more numerous.            not conducive to open
                                                                                                          If you see your
    Your ultimate goal, as a meeting planner, is to facilitate in
creating the proper meeting environment so that your partic-
                                                                     discussion.
                                                                        Another important detail is
                                                                                                             room as a
ipants can best achieve the desired goals of the meeting.
There are many factors that go into that decision process,
                                                                     to know the exact number of
                                                                     participants you expect to
                                                                                                          canvas and the
some of which I will touch on, others I will not be able to          attend. Although one or two             walls your
because of space and time constraints.                               extra chairs at the table is
    The overall size of the meeting venue is important, being        acceptable, missing one or            frame then it
too small or too large will affect your meeting and what you         two is not. These are small
can and can not accomplish. If you see the room as your can-         details but will lead to             is within those
vas and the walls your frame, then it is within those pre-set        an awkward and avoidable
boundaries where your environment is set.                            situation.                                pre-set
    The way you choose to arrange your meeting room is
almost limitless, however certain guidelines should be fol-
                                                                        As for some quick rules of
                                                                     thumb, remember each per-
                                                                                                             boundaries
lowed. Although there is not a consensus on this, room tem-
peratures should not be kept too cool since warmer body tem-
                                                                     son should have at least two
                                                                     feet of space allocated at the
                                                                                                             where your
peratures produce greater mental activity. Keep in mind the          table, three would be better if        environment
room temperature will rise quickly in a confined area with           a lot of notes have to be
even a small amount of attendees.                                    taken. Also be mindful that if            is set.
    With reference to a confined area, a meeting room should         there is a screen your partici-
give a feeling of privacy and, whenever possible, meetings           pants in general should be no
should take place behind closed doors having the door shut           closer than two times the width and no further than eight
once the meeting has started. Any attendee who arrives late          times the width of the screen surface.
will feel awkward, however, one of the goals is to run an effi-         As you see the process is not always straight forward nor
cient, productive and timely meeting.                                are the choices simple, but by knowing what you want up
    Regardless how you choose to set your room, having a             front in a meeting room helps narrow your decision process.
clean meeting environment is critical. It is your reputation that    Just as Goldilocks had choices to make and eliminated what she
is being reflected and how the room is kept and freshened up         didn’t like, so do you as a meeting planner have a decision
during the day could affect the outcome of the meeting.              process to follow. At the end of the day, what is important is
    The specific room set-ups will depend on your meeting            for the meeting room to be the best possible environment for
goals. For example, a small informal meeting designed for            the specific goal of that day to be attained.
brainstorming could be best served by removing all tables and                                       •••
having a more casual living room setting. If a table is required
you would be best served with a round, as this will facilitate         Don Murray is the Operations Manager for Avtec Professional
an open discussion and a free exchange of ideas.                     Audio-Visual Services. he can be reached at : dmurray@avtec.ca.



September ’08                                               THE
                                                                  PLANNER                                                           27
Food knowledge is indispensable
What is the difference between beer,                                  different offerings. In some dim sum restaurants, the bill is
                                                                      tallied simply by counting the plates.
ale and lager?                                                            Popular dim sum include bao, a yeast-risen bun filled with
   Beer has become a kind of umbrella phrase covering brews           barbequed pork (char su bao), sweet bean paste (tou sha
such as lager, ale, porter, and stout. The difference has less        bao), or chicken and duck egg (gai bao); chang fun, rice flour
to do with what beer’s made of, than in what proportions.             noodles wrapped around fillings such as pork and shrimp;
   Beer, which came into being almost 8000 years ago, was             har gow, steamed shrimp dumplings covered with a translu-
originally brewed from barley and water, with a little piece of       cent tapioca flour coverings; pai gwat, tiny spareribs in black
bread added to induce fermentation. To the Egyptians and the          bean sauce; and siu mai, open-faced steamed dumplings filled
Greeks it was a god-given drink, and the beer was christened          with minced pork or shrimp.
cerevisia, after Ceres, the goddess of grains. Malted barley (bar-
ley made to sprout by heat) was added in the sixteenth century
by the British which resulted in a pale drink called ale. Hops
                                                                      What is the difference between
were added shortly thereafter, and the brew was called beer.          saccharin and aspartame?
   Ale (4 to 5 percent alcohol), rich in hops and slightly bit-          Saccharin is a synthetically produced, non-caloric sweeten-
ter, is still the most popular type of beer in England, whereas       er five hundred times sweeter than sugar. Chemically it
America prefers the lighter, drier lager (3.6 percent alcohol),       breaks down to C7H5NO3S, which translates to benzosulfamide
and, to a lesser extent, malt liquor, which is sugar enriched         glucide. It was discovered in the 1880’s, apparently by acci-
and quite alcoholic (5 to 9 percent). India pale ale (5 percent       dent, by a researcher at John Hopkins University. Several
alcohol) is a somewhat stronger ale, and porter a darker,             studies have shown saccharin to be carcinogenic.
heavier lager. Stout (6 percent alcohol) is an extremely dark            Aspartame, known popularly by its brand name Nutrasweet,
and rich beer of the British Isles, made with roasted barely          was introduced in the 1980s. A synthesis of amino acids L-
malt and a great deal of hops, and aged for a year in oak bar-        aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine, it is 180 times sweeter than
rels. There is also triple stout, a hair-of-the-dog milkshake for     sugar. It loses its sweetening power when heated, but has, for
grown-ups, and bock, a sweet, dark German beer.                       the most part, replaced saccharin as the artificial sweetener of
   British pubs often combine beers with each other or other          choice in cold, sugar-free beverages. It is not, however, rec-
beverages. Half-and-half is half stout and half ale; shandygaff,      ommended for pregnant women, those with pre-existing pig-
half ale or porter and half ginger ale; and Black Velvet, half        mented melanoma (a type of cancer), or for people suffering
stout and half champagne.                                             from PKU (pheylketonuria, an inherited disease).
                                                                         Claims that artificial sweeteners aid in the fight against
                                                                      obesity have been repeatedly discredited. It seems the body,
What is Dim Sum?                                                      tasting this artificial “sugar,” anticipated sugar’s effects. When
   Dim Sum (Cantonese for “heart’s delight’) are southern             these fail to occur, the body begins to crave sugar and calo-
Chinese dumplings and pastries traditionally served for break-        ries, stimulating the desire to eat. Hence, any calories saved
fast. Individually plated dim sum are wheeled around on               by choosing, say, a diet drink, are usually made up for later
carts or brought on trays, the diner picked from dozens of            in the day by actual food.




28                                                           THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                             September ’08
                                                                      Want a vacation? Don’t be self-employed
In vino veritas (In wine, there is                                       Entrepeneurs and small business directors don’t get much
                                                                      rest, according to a recent poll of 401 small business owners
truth), or at least we thought so...                                  in England conducted by Lloyds TSB Business Insurance.
   What’s in a name? For a restaurant, plenty. Especially when        A fifth of those asked claimed that they did not have time to
it pays $250 to apply for one of Wine Spectator’s coveted             take a single day’s holiday during the last year and 36 percent
Awards of Excellence. The magazine, an American publication           said they took 10 or fewer days off. Only one in five took 20
for wine snobs, was recently caught with its decanter empty           or more days as holiday.
as Robin Goldstein, aka The Fearless Critic, created a fake              Among those that did take a break, 62 percent travelled
restaurant for Osteria L’Intrepido, paid the fee and submitted        with their business phones and 19 percent packed a laptop.
a menu, and was awarded an Award of Excellence by the
Wine Spectator. Goldstein deliberately included some of the           Going to Greece with grease
magazine’s lowest-ranked Italian wines in the restaurant’s               As planners, we need to “think outside the box.” Take this
reserve list, but he noted the “...central point is that the wine     next story, for example.
cellar doesn’t actually exist.” Goldstein is the author of The           Eight teams recently completed a 2,500-mile car rally from
Wine Trials: 100 Everyday Wines under $15 that beat $50 to            London to Athens that started in which drivers raced to Greece
$150 Wines in Brown-Bag Blind Tastings, which contends                in cars fuelled by waste vegetable oil. The “Grease to Greece”
that people think wine tastes better just because it is               race, the brainchild of 34-year-old Londoner Andy Pag, took
expensive.                                                            the teams on a 10-day mission across Europe in which they
   In blind tastings of 6,000 wines that ranged in price from         begged oil to fuel their cars from restaurants, motorway cafes
$1.50 to $150 a bottle, he found, for instance, that two thirds       and fast-food joints along the way in a bid to promote aware-
of people picked a $12 bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut,          ness of cheap and environmentally-friendly bio-fuels.
a sparkling wine from Washington State, over a $150 Dom                  The race ended on Aug. 27 with a ceremony at the British
Pérignon.                                                             Embassy in Athens where Ambassador Simon Gass presented
   Wine Spectator has removed Osteria L’Intrepido from its website    a Golden Lard award to the team which had earned the most
and condemned Goldstein’s “act of malicious duplicity.”               “Grease Marks” for collecting fuel.
   Its statement only provided further embarrassment by                  Unlike expensive conventional rallies such as the Paris-
revealing its prize-giving and verification methods, citing           Dakar, Pag paid only 500 British pounds ($900) for his second-
bogus customer reviews on the Internet.                               hand Peugeot 405 and spent nothing on fuel since leaving
   Almost 4,500 restaurants paid the $250 fee to apply for a          London -- saving the equivalent of what he paid for the car.
Wine Spectator Excellence award and all but 319 won, earn-               An experienced eco-traveler, Pag drove to the desert town
ing the magazine more than $1 million.                                of Timbuktu in Mali last year using a truck powered by waste
   “While Osteria L’Intrepido may be the first to win an              chocolate. His next scheme is a round-the-world trip next year
Award of Excellence for an imaginary restaurant, it’s unlikely        using aviation fuel made from recycled plastic bags.
that it was the first submission that didn’t accurately reflect          “Whenever people have had oil they have been really,
the contents of a restaurant’s wine cellar,” said Goldstein.          really willing to give it. It’s a waste product for them so we
   On the Web: http://osterialintrepido.wordpress.com                 are taking away their rubbish,” Pag told Reuters.




September ’08                                                THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                                        29
Managing the spend properly
Food & beverage budgeting
for events
RACHEL COLEY, CMP

    hese days, the move is on to be more conscious of the
T   environment and the carbon footprint. Consumers are
better informed and therefore more aware of the origins of
fresh produce. Healthy living and a balanced diet is the
mantra of the moment, with meeting planners being
challenged on a daily basis to be more creative with menu
planning, while at the same time working with reduced
budgets and moving to a greener society.

    There are a number of options to managing a limited budg-
et for consideration:
1. Work directly with the venue’s Chef for creative yet cost-
effective options.
2. Keep portions small, offer smaller plates and glasses –
human nature is to fill up at the buffet, resulting in uneaten,
wasted food.
3. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However,
avoid items that are laden with sugar and choose fresh and
healthy options. Offer a couple of choices rather than a mul-
                                                                   Health-conscious foods are becoming the standard.
titude, thus reducing the amount of waste.                                                Photo courtesy of Catering By George.
4. Eliminate bottled water and juices, saving budget and
helping the environment. Offer pitchers of iced water and          an explanatory paragraph at the start of registration as to why
fresh juices.                                                      the information is important. Delegates will be more likely to
5. At morning and afternoon breaks, provide health-conscious       take the time to complete a more detailed questionnaire if an
options.                                                           explanation is given. Provide delegates a clear outline of the
6. Cocktail Reception – the key is to keep it short and sweet.     meeting agenda and details of meals provided. Include a cost
Plan for only one hour or maximum an hour and half.                for each meal or day of meals and the implications to the
Present the hot hors d’oeuvres in chafing dishes with a limit-     budget. If a gala dinner is an option to attend, add a token
ed selection of butler passed cold appetizers. Consider offer-     cost, making it more likely for a delegate to confirm atten-
ing guests an array of flavoured flatbreads with a variety of      dance or not. Remember that the delegate will only complete
dips, a filling choice at a comparatively low cost.                the questions that are asked, and may not always volunteer
7. Limit alcohol to domestic beer and house wine selections.       information regarding specific diets, allergies and medical
If the reception is being held in place of dinner, serve sub-      needs if not prompted to do so.
stantial hors d’oeuvres rather than a sit-down meal.                  A company survey of individual employee menu choices
8. For a multi-course dinner – reduce the number of courses.       could provide useful information to the meeting planner for
Remember less is more and most people prefer to eat small          future reference in planning healthy meal options and greater
meals earlier in the evening.                                      budget control.
9. Consider the use of drink tickets with a cash bar option,          In conclusion, by offering delegates interesting and varied
however always be aware of drinking and driving and                food choices at a reasonable cost, keeping food budgets on
potential liability issues.                                        track will be a win-win situation for both the meeting planner
                                                                   and the client. Happy Menu Planning!
   Strict management of the event registration is an important        Rachel Coley is a product buyer based in Oakville Ontario. She is a
factor when working with large food and beverage orders.           regular contributor to The Planner and welcomes your comments.
Introduce the delegates to a more detailed questionnaire with      Rachel can be reached at: rcsltd@cogeco.ca.

30                                                        THE
                                                                PLANNER                                                September ’08
Videoconferencing is a great way
to do business without being there
BY THE PLANNER STAFF                                                  MOVEMENT
                                                                           Because movement is compressed and decompressed in



V
           ideoconferencing has existed in some form since the        videoconferencing, it is important that motion be minimized.
           invention of television. High-quality video streaming
           came about in the 1980s with the advent of digital         MATERIAL
video and the use of ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)             Produce visual material ahead of time. Material pro-
lines. Finally, in the 1990s, IP-based (Internet Protocol) video-     duced ad hoc may not be easily seen or understood.
conferencing became possible and more efficient video com-
pression technologies were developed, allowing people to use          KEY DESIGN ELEMENTS FOR VISUALS
desktop or personal computers. ISDN lines use combined tele-          • Use larger than normal font size sans serif (e.g., minimum
phone lines to transmit video images. This is the preferred tech-     18 point Helvetica)
nology to using the Internet for several reasons: ISDN allows a       • Print horizontally on the page
private signal. The Internet is open to everyone and if confiden-     • Keep the design simple
tially is an issue it cannot be guaranteed. Also, experience has      • Limit the amount of wording on each page
shown that the Internet is not as dependable. Using a secure          • Choose colouring with high contrast when using electronic
digital video signal offers a better connection success rate.         presentations
    The type of connection you will be using is the most              • Arrange paper visual aids on a blue pastel background to
important aspect when planning a videoconference as you               increase impact
will have to arrange two locations with the same technology.
You cannot videoconference an ISDN line with someone                  GLOSSARY
using IP because both sites must have compatible technology.          Bandwidth: Range of frequencies between some upper and
Another factor to consider may be the difference in time              lower limits. Also, the speed that data travels over a telecom
zones. Most importantly, always schedule a connection test.           line, usually expressed in kilobits per second (kbps).
    A final technical matter to be aware of when using ISDN is
your speed or bit rate. The lowest quality is one line at a           Continuous Presence Video: A type of videoconference that
speed of 128 kilobits/sec. In my experience, the average              provides simultaneous and continuous pictures of all partici-
speed is 3 lines at 384 kilobits/sec. Be aware the speed will         pants. The images are usually close-range shots of the group
also factor into cost for long distance. For example, a one line      and may be viewed on a large screen or on one or more mon-
call from Montreal to Paris is $18 per hour while a three line        itors. People images are usually "stacked" on one another.
call is $54 per hour.
    Videoconferencing is an expanding technology that allows          Desktop Videoconferencing: Attachment for a personal
quick access to meetings on short notice, reduces travel cost         computer that allows an individual to videoconference direct-
and allows for easier planning. Have a pre-conference with-           ly from a desk to another location within the building or
out having to go to the site or use it as a starting point to plan    through a network to a remote site.
a larger meeting. It has further implications in the world of
medicine and education allowing remote communities access             Ethernet: Local area network used for connecting computers,
to otherwise formidable services.                                     printers, workstations, terminals, servers, etc. within the same
    What was once the world of George and Judy Jetson is              building or campus. Operates on twisted wire and coaxial
here today and growing with the future. Videoconferencing is          cable at speeds up to 10 million bits per second (Mbps).
a great technology – use it.
                                                                      Full-Motion Video: Transmission of live action images
Here are some tips from AVTEC Professional Audio-                     through the videoconferencing system, normally at 30 frames
Visual Services for videoconferencing:                                per second. Participants see real-time movement of the image
                                                                      being sent from the video source.
WHAT TO WEAR
    Avoid clothing that has bright colours and busy patterns.
Wear plain fabrics of muted colours.                                                                         CONTINUED ON PAGE 33

September ’08                                                THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                                         31
Organization limits or
liberates high performance
BY JIM CLEMMER                                                           Another organization in the office equipment business, had
                                                                      started an intense focus on customer service and quality
   "Structure influences behavior. When placed in the same            improvement. As they began finally listening to their cus-
system, people, however different, tend to produce similar            tomers, they kept hearing how bureaucratic they were. One
results." — Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and            day a customer in one of the biggest cities they served, point-
Practice of The Learning Organization                                 ed out that they had 33 phone numbers in the phone book.
                                                                      "We don't know whom you should talk to. Here, you figure it
     he CEO of a national retailer was very frustrated. His face      out," is what the company was essentially saying to its cus-
T    grew noticeably redder as he told me how he had set up
each store as a profit center and was attempting to hold store
                                                                      tomers. "Maybe you should give us an organization chart so
                                                                      we have a fighting chance of getting to the right department,"
managers and their regional managers accountable for prof-            the customer suggested.
itability. But when a store under-performed, the store manag-            When improvement teams tried to map out some of the serv-
er would show that head office buyers were forcing them into          ice processes in these departments, they had to follow the bounc-
stocking the wrong merchandise for their particular mix of            ing customers as callers were sung a few verses of "No, that's not
customers. Or they would claim that the marketers hadn't put          my department." Service providers were just as frustrated by all the
together the right campaign for their local market.                   interruptions from "all those idiotic customers who keep calling us
    When the CEO tried to hold the buyers accountable for the         when we're obviously not the right people for them to talk to."
slow moving merchandise, they would blame the stores for not             Both of these examples illustrate the behavior-shaping role
displaying it well enough. Or the buyers would point their fingers    of structure and systems. It's like the strange pumpkin I once
at the marketers for not moving the merchandise. When the mar-        saw at a county fair.
keters were confronted, they blamed the stores or the buyers.            It had been grown in a four-cornered Mason jar. The jar
                                                                      had since been broken and removed. The remaining pumpkin
                                                                      was shaped exactly like a small Mason jar. Beside it was a
                                                                      pumpkin from the same batch of seeds that was allowed to
                                                                      grow without constraints. It was about five times bigger.
                                                                      Organization structures and systems have the same affect on
                                                                      the people in them. They either limit or liberate their perform-
                                                                      ance potential.

                                                                      WE'RE GETTING THE BEHAVIOR WE DESIGNED

                                                                           "A jillion smart, energetic people submitting to the 'right'
                                                                       incentives won't get you a micrometer closer to the customer
                                                                          unless the dead weight of a vertical hierarchy is lifted —
                                                                      almost entirely — off their backs. There's no liberation when
                                                                      much more than a semblance of the superstructure remains."
                                                                                              — Tom Peters, Liberation Management

                                                                         If we are unhappy with the behavior of people on our team
                                                                      or in our organization, we need to take a closer look at the
                                                                      system and structure they're working in. If they behave like
                                                                      bureaucrats, they're likely working in a bureaucracy. If they're
                                                                      not customer focused, they're probably using systems and
                                                                      working in a structure that wasn't designed to serve the


                                                                                                                                     
                                                                      servers and/or customers.


32                                                           THE
                                                                   PLANNER                                               September ’08
Many organizations induce                                    Glossary of terms (cont’d)
learned helplessness
                                                                                     CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31
   If they are not innovative, they are likely work-
ing in a controlled and inflexible organization.             H.320: Standard for videoconferencing adopted by the worldwide inter-
   If they resist change, they're probably not               national Telecommunications Union.
working in a learning organization that values
growth and development. If they're not good team             H.323: Serves as the "umbrella" for a set of standards defining real-time
players, they're likely working in an organization           multimedia communications for packet-based networks (IP telephony).
designed for individual performance. Good per-               Components built in compliance with H.323 can set up calls, exchange com-
formers, in a poorly designed structure, will take           pressed audio and/or video, participate in conferences, and interoperate
on the shape of the structure.                               with non-H.323 endpoints.
   Many organizations induce learned helpless-
ness. People in them become victims of "the sys-             HTML: HyperText Markup Language. An authoring software used on the
tem." This often comes from a sense of having lit-           Internet's World Wide Web. HTML is basically ASCII text surrounded by
tle or no control over their work processes, poli-           HTML commands in angle brackets.
cies and procedures, technology, support systems,
and the like. "You can't fight the system," they'll          IP (Internet Protocol): A common packet protocol focused around
say with a shrug as they give the clock another              H.323 and T.120 for voice, video, and presented material that operates
stare hoping to intimidate it into jumping ahead to          over LANs.
quitting time.
   These feelings are often amplified by a per-              IP Network: A connection using the IP that allows endpoints to connect
formance management system that arbitrarily                  to the Internet or any network that is IP-based.
punishes people for behaving like the system,
structure, or process they've been forced into.              Kilobits per Second (kbps): Unit of data transmission, equal to 1,000
"Empowering" helpless people without changing                bits per second.
the processes, structure, or systems they work in,
is worse than useless. It increases helplessness             LAN: Local Area Network – A privately owned and administered data
and cynicism. It's like "empowering" that seed in            communications network limited to a small geographical area.
the Mason jar to become a full grown, well-round-
ed pumpkin — but leaving it in the jar.                      MCU (Multipoint Control Unit): Bridging equipment that facilitates a
   Improvement planning, process management,                 single conference between multiple locations.
teams, skill development, and the like are either
constrained or boosted by our organization's                 Multipoint Conferences: A videoconference involving three or more
structure and support systems. If they are poorly            locations. Multipoint conferences are usually voice activated, meaning
aligned with our context and focus (vision, values,          that the "speaking site" is the one that is seen by the rest of the confer-
and purpose), strategies, and goals, performance             ence participants.
will never come close to its full potential.
                                                             PIP (Picture-in Picture): A small window on the monitor that displays
    Jim Clemmer’s practical leadership books, keynote        the image from a video source superimposed on the image being dis-
presentations, workshops, and team retreats have helped      played on the full screen.
hundreds of thousands of people worldwide improve per-
sonal, team, and organizational leadership. Visit his web    WAN (Wide Area Network): A network that spans a large geographic
site, http://jimclemmer.com/, for a huge selection of free   area.
practical resources including nearly 300 articles, dozens
of video clips, team assessments, leadership newsletter,
Improvement Points service, and popular leadership blog.
Jim's five international bestselling books include The VIP
Strategy, Firing on All Cylinders, Pathways to
                                                               IT IS BETTER TO BE CONTENT
Performance, Growing the Distance, and The Leader's                 THAN BE IN A HIGH POSITION.
Digest. His latest book is Moose on the Table: A Novel
Approach to Communications @ Work.                                                OLD SCOTTISH SAYING

September ’08                                                   THE
                                                                      PLANNER                                                        33
                 Tea and the secrets of staff retention
                     taff retention a concern? Consider this       aspects of the job: how to do the paperwork, run the cash
                 S   scenario. Imagine you’re a front-line
              employee working at a mundane job. It’s so
                                                                   register, make the deliveries, etc. Oh, yeah, and be nice to
                                                                   people (which often, by the way, means that employees
boring you simply go through the motions. You’re on autopi-        address customers as Sir or Ma’am, a practice that’s guaran-
lot, counting the hours and minutes until your shift is over       teed to offend rather than flatter some customers). That’s not
and you can go home and do something you enjoy. Or you             the kind of training that motivates employees. I’m talking
stick with the job only until something that's more interesting    instead about providing training with spice – equipping them
or pays more comes along. Then you’re gone. In that dismal         with communication skills that lead to stronger customer
scenario, managers resign themselves to the belief that there’s    loyalty and increased spending per customer. It makes the job
always going to be high front-line turnover. They don’t both-      of interacting with customers a craft, requiring focus, quality,
er training employees because they're just going to quit any-      and attention to detail. In other words, the right kind of train-
way. Continuing with that line of thinking, these managers         ing makes even the most mundane work interesting.
and supervisors assume that the only thing that's going to
motivate employees to stick around is to pay them more.            THE CONSISTENCY OF TEA TIME
Unfortunately, customers dealing with bored employees feel            One workout in a lifetime is going to do more harm then
absolutely no loyalty to the company. Consequently, revenues       good because there is a high risk of injury and the overall
are down and wages keep costs high. Not exactly a formula          improvement in performance will be negligible. Similarly,
for success.                                                       a one-time training session for employees is likely to just raise
                                                                   their expectations and eventually annoy them-especially when,
THE CUP THAT SATISFIES                                             without reinforcement and support, everything reverts back to
   Today’s employees do indeed want something more - and           the way it was before the one-time training. We need to
it isn’t just money. According to the landmark studies in          convert training from being an event into an ongoing process.
employee motivation spearheaded by Dr. Kenneth Kovach at              That’s why I recommend that managers look at customer
George Mason University, the number one motivator for              service training as a two-phased approach. Phase one is pro-
employees is interesting work. The question is how to turn a       fessional training that equips employees with the subtleties of
potentially boring job into something interesting. I think the     service that make work more interesting. Once that new foun-
answer lies in the tea ceremony. Serving tea becomes an art        dation of knowledge is established, then in phase two man-
when served with an attitude of quality, mindfulness, and          agers conduct their own monthly 90 Minute CAST™
service. Practitioners of the tea ceremony don’t just read a       (Customer Service Team) Meetings. The learning, therefore,
manual and then get certified; they train for years under the      shifts from being a one-time event to an ongoing process. The
guidance of a master. They immerse themselves in the art, so       fascinating and sometimes frustrating art of enhancing cus-
much so that it becomes a form of moving meditation or             tomer perception is that there's always room for improve-
Do-Zen. Like a good martial artist, they have the attitude of      ment. That makes even the most seemingly mundane jobs
humility. They know that no matter how advanced they may           much more interesting. From the moment our clients conduct
become, they can always improve. What it all boils down to         their first CAST™ Meeting, they notice the emergence of a
(bad pun) is that the most effective way to motivate employ-       much more motivated and engaged workforce. So do their
ees is through on-going training.                                  customers!
                                                                      The irony when it comes to training employees is that a lot
   Interesting tidbit: Fortune magazine did a survey of the        of managers believe they can’t afford to train employees
“100 Best Companies to Work For.” The number-one factor            because they have high turnover. The truth is they have high
that people considered when choosing a company?                    turnover because they aren’t providing ongoing education or
Professional training.                                             growth for their employees. Employees don't quit jobs when
                                                                   they’re overworked. They quit jobs when they’re bored-or
CHANGE IT TO SPICE TEA                                             worse; when they are being paid enough to physically show
   The kind of front-line training I’m referring to is not the     up but have mentally moved on. Everyone loses.
standard approach where managers dictate policies: list the
things employees can't do, and then teach them the technical                                               CONTINUED ON PAGE 38

34                                                        THE
                                                                PLANNER                                            September ’08
Why I love Toronto
   Our contest question: Tell us why you like to hold your                Toronto offers something for everyone!
events in Toronto or why you would like to hold your events                Melissa Popadynec, The Canadian Payroll Association
in Toronto, and you could win two nights accommodation at
the beautiful Westin Harbour Castle located downtown                      I like Toronto for my meetings. So much to see and do for
Toronto on the waterfront. The winner will also enjoy dinner           delegates – theatre, museums, Science Centre, arts, ROM,
for two and a round of billiards at the historical Academy of          the Zoo – I took delegates to the Zoo but they would not let
Spherical Arts and enjoy a $100.00 shopping trip to Tilley,            me leave them (ha!).
located at the Queens Quay Terminal, steps from your hotel.               There are so many great hotels, unusual venues and easy
This prize is valid until December 31, 2009.                           transportation.
                                                                                    Marion G. Fuller CMP, Practice Solutions Ltd.
   Below is a sampling of the responses we received...
                                                                          I would like to hold a conference in Toronto because of the
   Aside from great dining and attractions, Toronto always has a       variety of activities and culture in the big city. The options for
great musical or production on which spices up any conference.         off-site events would undeniably meet everyone’s tastes!
      Nancy Dufour Zitzmann, Event Coordinator/Planner                         Trinity Wittman, Canadian Orthopaedic Association

   We love to hold our events in Toronto because we are                   We are using Toronto because it is central and easy to
proud of Canada and Toronto meets all of Canada’s expecta-             reach from any part of the country and the majority of my
tions when hosting our national and international confer-              sales force is from Ontario. It is a cosmopolitan city and there
ences. Toronto’s spectacular landscape from Lake Ontario is            are a lot of new and interesting venues. I use Toronto for
just the beginning and it gets better from there. The art              sales meetings, incentive meetings, regional and launch area.
galleries and museums, the culture and plays and the multi-                              Sylvie Kanho, Abbott Laboratories Limited
culturalism play a huge part in our decision to choose
Toronto as a destination. The hotels accommodate all sizes of             I like to hold meetings in Toronto whenever possible
groups, a wide range of budgets and restaurants offer quality,         because it is a great city and a great location. It is central
cleanliness and scrumptious menus. The flowers this year in            enough that members from anywhere it Canada can get there
Toronto have been magnificent and the city has gone all out            easily. There’s a great choice of hotels, restaurants, theatre,
to make Toronto a destination of choice. The city’s leadership         and last but not least, shopping.
and hospitality services are obviously working hard to show-                           June Piry, CAE, BC Real Estate Association
case Toronto. Oh, and Toronto is romantic for those of us
who are totally in love with nostalgia.
                       Elizabeth A. Sharpe, BPI Consulting                 I like to hold events in Toronto because a lot of our candi-
                                                                       dates are from the area. It is also easy to access through the
   We have booked Toronto for our international meeting in             island using Porter Airline.
2009 for its accessibility to international flights. Delegates will                          Doris Lavoie, National Dental Hygiene
be coming from all over the world.                                                                                Certification Board
   Its cosmopolitan flavour attracts international delegates
which will make our conference a success. Many first class                Because we have attendees coming from all over Canada to
hotels are in the downtown area again add accessibility to the         our events, Toronto is an excellent location. Firstly there are
many bedrooms needed to host such an event.                            direct flights into Toronto from most cities in Canada. The
   Toronto is therefore attractive to many international travel-       Island airport is very convenient for our staff to fly into from
ers and ensures that our conference will be well attended.             Ottawa. Second, Toronto knows how to cater to business
Toronto is on the radar…                                               clients by providing full facility meeting locations, and if I
               Richard McCoy, CAE , AMMI Canada / CFID                 need bulk copying Kinkos or Staples are always just minutes
                                                                       away! Thirdly Toronto allows our meeting participants a
   I like planning events in Toronto as you never run out of           choice from various leisure activities to enjoy after our
ideas for your events, from the Casa Loma, to the CN Tower,
an event on the Islands or going out to the theatre.                                                           CONTINUED ON PAGE 36


September ’08                                                 THE
                                                                    PLANNER                                                           35
Why I love Toronto!
                  CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35                             and the list could go on and on.
                                                                        We have old and historical and new and innovative and
meetings, and if it’s a nice dinner that’s on the evening agen-
                                                                     everything in between. Toronto offers EVERYTHING!
da, there is always a great place recommended by the
                                                                         The ONLY reason why the whole world doesn't live here,
concierge at the hotels. We find our meetings quite productive
                                                                     is because we don't have the space.
when our participants can get out and enjoy themselves while
                                                                                            Linda Mountford, McKesson Canada
in the city.
             Lorraine Cheechoo, Assembly of First Nations
                                                                         Toronto is great place to hold events due to the large num-
                                                                     ber of things to do for the event attendees when they are not
    I like to hold my meetings in Toronto because visitors/par-
                                                                     participating in the events. It is also in close proximity to a
ticipants have a huge choice of venues that accommodate an
                                                                     variety of transportation modes, via air, land and sea! There is
almost unlimited number of opportunities, food choices,
                                                                     also a large variety of venues to choose from, no matter
entertainment, etc.
                                                                     whether a small private meeting or a huge corporate affair!
    When organizing events, I have never heard anyone say
                                                                         Terry Adamo , Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME)
“Oh I don't like (or) hate Toronto,” “I don’t want to go to
                                                                        I love holding events in Toronto because of the wide vari-
Toronto,” or “There’s nothing to do in Toronto.”
                                                                     ety of options for a venue. You have access to so many enter-
     We are relatively close to casinos, the cottage area, ski
                                                                     tainment options and attractions. Especially when planning
slopes, Canada's Wonderland, Oktoberfest, US cross border
                                                                     an event for a provincial or national audience, Toronto is a
shopping and Niagara Falls. We have Greektown, Chinatown,
                                                                     wonderful showcase of what Canada has to offer. There are
the Italian district, the Lakeshore, Little India, Yorkville, the
                                                                     so many traditional and innovative options for venue, food,
Beaches. We have Centre Island, world class sports teams
                                                                     entertainment – the sky is the limit!
and facilities (just ask any Blue Jays or Toronto Maple Leafs
                                                                                                           Andrea Worrell, WMHC
fan), museums, and events that draw attention year round,
like Caribbana, Gay Pride Parade, St. Patrick's Day Parade,
                                                                        Here’s why I like to hold events in Toronto: Because the
Santa Claus Parade, the CNE, Summerlicious, Winterlicious,
                                                                     city has so much to offer. It’s booming with activities, events,
Science Centre, Casa Loma, Ontario Place, Pioneer Village,
                                                                     festivals, plays, shows and has wicked off-site venues, bars
                                                                     and restaurants, not to mention a ton of hotels to suit every-
                                                                     one’s budget and fancy. As a planner, having these kinds of
                                                                     choices is a huge advantage because you can always surprise
                                                                     your group one way or the other. Whether you organize a
                                                                     meeting every year or not, you can always find something
                                                                     new, unusual and fun to do and/or experience. Furthermore,
                                                                     Tourism Toronto is a fantastic ambassador for the city and a
                                                                     great partner in planning events – you can always count on
                                                                     their help and support.
                                                                                             Carole Brault, CMP, CPMA /ACDFL


                                                                        The winner of the Grand
                                                                               Prize is...
                                                                                    Elizabeth A. Sharpe
                                                                                       BPI Consulting
                                                                       Congratulations and a special thank you to
                                                                        our sponsors the Westin Harbour Castle,
                                                                              the Spherical Arts and Tilley.

                                                                            And thanks to YOU for participating!

36                                                          THE
                                                                  PLANNER                                            September ’08
Male and female leaders:
Getting the best of both worlds
BY BARBARA ANNIS                                                             Women also tend to voice their ideas as gentle suggestions, such
                                                                          as “Have we thought about spending more time on the pilot?”
INTRODUCTION                                                              A man thinking the same thing would say, “Look, we’ve got
   If you were preparing for a meeting with Koreans and                   to spend more time on the pilot!” The leader needs to listen
Brazilians, you would be keenly aware of how those two                    for the gentle suggestions from the women and give them due
different cultures might react to your facilitation. Yet when             credit, not wait for a man to hammer the same idea across five
you are preparing for a meeting with men and women, do                    minutes later.
you think about how those two different genders will react?                  It should be clear that we have only scratched the surface
Perhaps not.                                                              here. But most likely if you reflect, you’ll realize that you’ve
   Talking about the differences between men and women is                 seen these gender differences play out in the workplace. It’s
politically sensitive, but it is an area rich with nuance and             up to the male leader to tune in to these differences and
possibility. In recent times, we have intentionally tried to blind        respond appropriately.
ourselves to gender differences, but this trend has proven to be
detrimental. Neuroscientists have discovered some amazing                 WHAT FEMALE LEADERS NEED TO KNOW
things about gender. While cultural differences are just skin                On hearing what male leaders need to learn about gender
deep, gender differences are embedded deep within our brain               differences, female leaders typically clap loudly in agreement.
structures. Yes, socialization has an impact on gender roles, but         But the first thing female leaders need to know is that the
we now know that there are more than 100 structural differ-               problem isn’t all on the male side. Women think they under-
ences between the male and female brain. Men and women                    stand men, but the situation is not that simple. Women fre-
resolve conflict, solve problems and communicate differently.             quently misunderstand men, and female leaders need to be
                                                                          aware of the common types of misunderstanding.
WHAT MALE LEADERS NEED TO KNOW                                               If a woman leader is giving a detailed, wordy presentation,
   When a meeting gets intense, the brain chemistry in men                they may notice men breaking eye contact, fidgeting or zon-
acts very differently than the brain chemistry in women. Under            ing out. Women often see this as a sign of disrespect. This
stress, the male brain floods with testosterone, increasing               isn’t the case. Men can’t process as much auditory informa-
aggressive tendencies. Men get louder, more assertive, and                tion as women. Submerse a man in too many words and the
fight for dominance. Under stress, the female brain produces              male brain is flooded; he needs to take a break. Simply tak-
oxytocin, a hormone which encourages bonding. Women gen-                  ing a pause and asking the men to summarize what they’ve
erally step back, quiet down, and seek to find agreement.                 heard as the key points so far allows them to process the
   The chairperson might interpret a woman’s stepping back as             information in a way they can make sense of.
a sign that she doesn’t have anything to add, and may concen-                Men also are more action-oriented than women. They
trate on the men who are fighting for the floor. But the gender           want to know: “What’s the next step? What’s the top priority?
intelligent leader will recognize that women simply don’t want            What do I do now?” Female leaders should recognize this
to fight, not that they don’t have essential insights. In fact, if the    tendency and adapt to that style of thinking.
chairperson recognizes that the woman’s instinct is to bring har-
mony back to the group, he can use that to his advantage.                 CONCLUSION
   Another gender difference that shows up in meetings                        If we go into a meeting recognizing that men and women
relates to asking questions. Women tend to ask a lot more                 are as different—or even more different—than Koreans and
questions than men. They dig for more detail. A male leader               Brazilians, then we are in a position to correctly read them.
may find this tedious and try to rush past the questions—this             We will be better at getting our message across to them, bet-
is a mistake. The female brain has more neural connections                ter at understanding what they are saying, and better at facil-
than the male’s, and this is probably the reason they are more            itating the group as a whole. These new insights into gender
concerned with and better able to handle a wealth of details              differences, drawn from brain research, mean that we can
around a situation. Encouraging the women to ask detailed                 stop pretending to be the same, and instead can draw
questions enables them to build up their own mental picture               strength from our differences.
of the issue. This can lead to novel perspectives of a sort you           Barbara Annis is the Chief Operating Officer of Barbara Annis &
are less likely to get from the men in the room.                          Associates. She can be reached at: www.baainc.com.

September ’08                                                    THE
                                                                       PLANNER                                                            37
An economic impact study in
Canada that tells the story
BY RITA PLASKETT, CMP, CMM                                           education and communication across industries. This study
                                                                     also underscores the opportunity and the ethical obligation
     his is a long awaited moment in Canadian history as we          for the Canadian meetings industry to practice corporate
T    launch the results of the first ever Canadian Economic
Impact Study in the meetings industry. We have all either
                                                                     social responsibility, through environmentally sustainable
                                                                     practices as the need for face-to-face meetings remains.
worked in or been associated with this industry for most of             Beyond the industry’s economic impact, this definition
our working careers. When asked in the past to define or             recognizes that the meetings we organize and supply do not
quantify the value of this industry or the professionalism of        happen by accident. They generally have a purpose, and that
our chosen careers, it was difficult to articulate.                  makes them an important part of the glue that holds our econ-
   Leadership on the part of Meeting Professionals                   omy and society together.
International (MPI) and the trailblazing of MPI Foundation              To view the complete report or download the results, visit
Canada resulted in the commissioning of a study to accomplish        www.mpiweb.org.
this milestone. In 2006, MPIFC (Meeting Professionals                   Rita Plaskett is President of ASSET (a meeting management
International Foundation Canada) engaged the services of             company), Chair of the Economic Impact Study, MPI Foundation
Maritz Research Canada and the Conference Board of Canada            Canada and Chairwoman of MPI Foundation Canada.
to conduct the data gathering and analysis. This is the first           She can be reached at: rplaskett@rogers.com.
study to utilize the United Nations World Tourism
Organization’s (UNWTO) measurement model, which permits
quick and accurate comparisons of meetings industry perform-
ance against other industries and the economy as a whole.
                                                                             Work can be like
   The results were astounding!
                                                                             well-brewed tea
STUDY REVEALS MEETINGS ARE A VERY                                                        CONTINUED FROM PAGE 34
IMPORTANT ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
   In the study base year 2006, the meetings sector generated            As a business leader, you have the opportunity to elevate
$32.2 billion in direct spending, with 70.2 million total partic-     your enterprise from merely being a place where employees
ipants, and 235,000 full-year jobs. While 57% of meeting              go to earn a living, to a place where employees satisfy their
participants were local residents, 39% were Canadians from            innate need to learn and grow. That’s a learning organization
outside the local area, and nearly 4% – over 2.4 million – came       where the flavour of work is like well brewed tea... richer
from the United States or other countries. Of all participants,       and more satisfying for everyone.
45% attended meetings in purpose-built venues like conven-               This article is based on the critically acclaimed book Becoming a
tion centres, 46% in hotels and resorts and 7% in special ven-        Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month, by customer service strategist
ues. There were 671,000 meetings in Canada in 2006, of                and professional speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his
which 126,000, or 18.8%, were conferences.                            book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit www.jeff-
   This clearly demonstrates that the meetings industry is a          mowatt.com or call 1.800.JMowatt (566.9288).
very important economic activity; it is larger than sectors like
motor vehicle manufacturing or forestry and logging and just
                                                                          ANSWER EASY                         ANSWER MEDIUM
under half the value of tourism.                                       SUDOKU FROM PAGE 15                  SUDOKU FROM PAGE 15
   This study provides the first unified methodology data
measurement of dollars spent, jobs created, and tax revenues
generated by meetings and events in Canada. The results
demonstrated the seriousness and the value of meetings in
the economy as a whole and the credibility of a “meeting
professional” as a chosen career.
   By measuring the size of the Canadian meeting industry,
MPIFC has demonstrated the potential for meeting profession-
als to make a difference and create a common language for


38                                                          THE
                                                                  PLANNER                                                 September ’08