You’re a meeting and event planner. The boss says… “I want to entertain our 25 best customers at the next big game. Want one of those VIP suites. Set that up.”Read More
Here’s a cool online resource when your high-living Executive type says he/she wants something really cool and different for their next high-level retreat.
Chateauform’ has been operating venues dedicated to corporate meetings and events in Europe since 1996. Today these 45 “houses” are located in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and … China (which as far as I remember is not in Europe…yet). They are situated in countryside settings close to major European cities with easy access to and from international airports and with breathing space for working, reflection and relaxation.
All-inclusive, unique and generous residential packages (which include all meeting and break-out rooms with high-tech A.V. equipment, WiFi, all meals and breaks, refreshments, wine with lunch and dinner, open self-serve bar, guestrooms, plus many leisure and sport activities). No hidden costs since the total price is provided upfront. And huge bottom line savings because no European VAT is charged on U.S master billing (except in Germany – read the fine print and the verb comes at the end). The Chateau’s also provide scrumptious homemade food cooked by The Chef (presumably) and inspired by local recipes, using fresh local produce in seasonal dishes. http://www.chateauform.com/en/
www.gigsalad.com… Their web site says… “Over 80,000 bands, entertainers and event services for hire”. I did not count. They also say they are “the largest and most diverse marketplace for entertainment and event services”. I do not know if that is true, not that it matters. It’s a cool resource and they have some very impressive testimonials to back it up.
Think of it as a specialized search engine targeting the kind of stuff meeting planners need. First type in the type of service you are looking for (team builders, party bands, face painters, comedians, whatever (and I mean whatever), and then you type in your location. Somehow electrons, bits, bytes, zeros, ones… they do their thing… and voila… recommendations appear. I have no idea how that works and despite what you say, you don’t really know either.
For those who are organizing events—anything from a small weekend gathering to a grand gala—you get connected with your local talented performers and vendors. And then you can connect with and book through their system.
At least check it out. You will like it (and they seem nice).
Breather.com I asked my contact to describe the service. Is it, I asked, like other meeting space search engines that style themselves as “the Air BnB” of meeting spaces? He said, nope. Think of it as the “ZipCar” of meeting spaces. For the most part, Breather either owns or leases the spaces. They are not the middleman.
They say… Breather spaces are available on-demand, and can be rented by the hour, by the day or by the week. With close to 200 locations in 10 cities (at the moment) you'll find a Breather when and where you need one. The only thing you'll need to access Breather is your smartphone– reserve a space and unlock the door with a unique PIN code when you arrive.
Note… currently their inventory contains rooms comfortable to fit as few as 2 people and as many as 75, Whether your team needs white glove service and catering for 50, or just need some space to talk, Breather's has options. All rooms include free high-speed wifi, a work and lounge area, as well as AV equipment.
Each of these has its own way of doing it, and unfortunately some are a lot better and easier than others, but at least it’s another list of cool online resources for you to have. And of course, I will update the list on a continual basis.
So here goes. Not in any particular order… bookmark my site…and keep checking back because I will keep adding them as I find them (and if you know of any good ones, let me know and I will share it)…
Preferred Hotels: http://phgmeetings.com/hot-dates/
Marriott Hotels: http://www.marriott.com/meetings/group-hotel-discounts.mi
Four Seasons Hotels:http://www.fourseasons.com/meetings_and_events/great_group_values/
Kimpton Hotels: https://www.kimptonhotels.com/special-offers
Destination Hotels: https://www.destinationhotels.com/offers/meetings
And finally (for today)… SFPDV.com
I get asked all the time… hey, can you recommend a restaurant in San Francisco with a private room that can seat x number of people on such and such a date? Easy question. Dilemma: It takes a lot of time to figure out what matches the client’s demographic and budget, and then find out what’s available. (Unlike many places in the world), SF restaurants usually don’t pay finders fees or commissions… (don’t get me started). What is the solution to the “lots of time for no money” dilemma? If I can’t convince my clients the benefits of having an exclusive event in a really cool private venue so they can theme it, choose the perfect menu… and all of the other things I say to them, then I recommend my clients go directly… and here’s why…
San Francisco Private Dining Venues is free search engine and RFP platform for event planners to locate the best possible venue for their private dining needs. Venues range from fun and casual to fine dining with lots of choices in between. You can submit an RFP on the web site and choose which restaurants should receive it. It’s actually pretty cool. Click Here
National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World www.nationalgeographiclodges.com
They describe their collection as “a network of world-class accommodations where sustainability is the touchstone…. These are not simply hotels, they are the concepts of dreamers come to fruition: unique lodges that defy the imagination in their design and detail, founded on a deep desire to protect the cultures and precious ecosystems that surround them.” A marketing mouthful. I am tempted to de-construct the “concepts of dreamers come to fruition” or the “defy the imagination” lines, but the places are all so cool that I will give them a pass.
You can search or browse their 43 properties by destination or activity. Warning… once you start browsing you will not get any work done.
Relais & Chateaux www.relaischateaux.com/us/
I am sure everyone has heard of R&C. For 60 years they set the standard for the best of the best small, boutique luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants. If you have not heard of them, or at least never considered them out for one of your executive or Board retreats, check them out. The site is easily searchable too.
Their marketing is filled with an amazing array (or is it cavalcade) of big words that speak of a tradition of service and hospitality… and although I have a hard time with big words, whatever they say about any of their 530 member properties around the world is true (or at least very close to being true). From snow-covered high mountain chalets, country houses surrounded by vineyards, villas overlooking the sea, to sophisticated hotels and/or gourmet restaurants in the heart of major cities, they have it all.Important Note… I repeat… not every one of these properties will take a group, or if they do, you follow their rules, not yours. But that’s OK. These are not just places, they are experiences. Go with it (but check your stock value first before committing).
Design Hotels of the World www.designhotels.com
I am going to cut through their marketing stuff because… marketing stuff kind of drives me crazy. Cut to the heart of it… 282 independently owned boutique hotels in 50 countries. The common thread? Thought-provoking design and architecture, plus a bit of “cultural authenticity” (whatever that is)… plus gourmet cuisine and a high level of service.
When I think of DH, I think of clients that want something hip (whatever that means) and different (whatever that means). Want a local example? Hotel Healdsburg in the Sonoma Wine Country. If you are familiar with it (and you should be), you will get a feel for Design Hotels in general. Just understand that every property is completely and absolutely different. I know that makes no sense, but it makes sense to me.
Same warning about some that takes groups and some that don’t. They are all different and so some are more conducive to meetings than others. Regardless… use them as a resource.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World www.slh.com
Yes, their name kind of says it all which means I don’t have to describe it. This is an association of 520 (you guessed it) small, luxury hotels in 80 countries, and their web site is searchable by destination.
The PDC folks vet their restaurant members for quality in food and service (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your home work by getting independent reviews). You can then search by neighborhood, cuisine, size, and features. To make the process more efficient (I like efficient because I am lazy, I mean… busy), users can send one Request for Proposal to multiple private dining managers at the same time. Restaurants respond directly to the request via email.
OK kids… that’s it for today. But remember… we keep adding stuff to our blogs and web site… stuff you can (hopefully) use again and again. So… keep reading our blogs, checking the web site, sharing with your friends and colleagues, like it, or whatever else you would need to do to help me go viral so I can just sit in a café and drink lattes while occasionally typing in my laptop and in general appear to be working. It will make my wife happy too.
Micebook.com. Yes, that is its name, and for those of you snickering about it, MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events. At least that is what I think it stands for since everyone seems to have a different answer for the C and E… but close enough for jazz.
The site is positioned as a “Supplier Relationship Management” tool (SRM). Now when someone says SRM you can nod like you know what they are talking about in the same way I nod when someone says CRM and I have no idea what they are talking about. The good news is this is a tool to manage the supply base, except Micebook keeps the contact details up to date for everyone. And the site is FREE to Meeting Planners.
Event planners can use MICEBOOK to search for CVBs, hotels, venues, DMCs, airlines, representation companies and an ever-growing database of other Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exposition suppliers. At the moment there are about 4000 global suppliers. It keeps growing.
Ah ha. You just learned something. Want to have an event in some iconic venue (I consider San Francisco’s The Fillmore my equivalent to the Vatican) or at any House of Blues or the Hollywood Palladium or Irving Plaza in NYC, or SF’s Masonic Auditorium or all of the other really cool places they manage? Fill out the rfp on-line for any one venue OR… use it to search multiple venues like… all at once.
They also have “people” you can work with for Entertainment and Production, Food and Beverage, Themed Events, Private Concerts and a bunch of other stuff for which meeting and event planners like to have “people”.
PeerSpace.com think of it as “AirBnB” for private event spaces but with lots of added value stuff thrown in. It’s a simple concept (now that someone thought of it). Want to have a private event in a cool venue in (for now) San Francisco, Los Angeles and soon to be New York City (and then the world)?
Go to their web site and create a free account (and say I sent you), and you can browse through their entire inventory of cool places, or use one of their many filters… and once you find something you can connect directly with the venue OR… you can chat with one of the PeerSpace people and they’ll help you find what you need. And they are nice too. I use these guys a lot.
And I should mention… it’s not just for “events” in the “let’s have a party” mode. Their staff works closely with their users to help them book space and plan for all kinds of activities, from client meetings and team off-sites to product launch events, photo shoots, executive retreats and all of those other “events that need space things” that I decided not to mention.
An important note… the way they make their money. The venue pays PS most of the finder’s fee…so that’s good… but you pay PeerSpace a fee equivalent to 5% of the venue rental. For example…if the venue charges you $1000, you pay the venue $1k and PeerSpace $50. If the venue charges $300 an hour, you pay that to the venue plus $15 an hour to PeerSpace. And like that.
Yes…it’s money. But you just saved yourself time and found some places you never would have found on your own. Click Here
Here’s the thing about CVBs. I love some and I don’t love others. So much depends on the individual sales person you end up speaking with, plus the particular politics of the Bureau at that moment… so if the salesperson “gets it”, you get your RFP sent to exactly the right list of vendorsRead More
Dominique DeBay Hotels & Resorts www.ddhrm.com
DDHRM is what we call a “Rep Firm”, although everyone who does that shudders at the phrase. Think of it this way… all of these amazingly cool boutique hotels have to get their message out to a huge world-wide market. But most of them are smaller, maybe even family-owned operations. Their solution, ban together with someone like New York based Dominique to get the message out to the travel and meeting community. Right now she speaks for 23 really cool properties and although her web site is slightly confusing to me (probably my fault), it is an excellent resource to find stuff you may not have found. One good thing about them being a small operation… you can call their office and someone answers the phone.