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Walking in Killarney

For 10 years now the Gilligans have spent Easter at the Killarney Park Hotel. This year was no exception but for two things: one, no Gilligan child had an excuse to absent herself from the dreaded mandated family activities due to pending exams and two, Master Shea Gilligan, aged 8 months, became the first 3rd generation Gilligan to participate.

As always the Treacy family and their exemplary team headed by the never-ageing Niamh O Shea looked after us with that characteristic “warmth beyond the smile”. This year Padraig Treacy went the extra mile. Or, rather, the extra 10 miles by leading us on a wilderness walk that took us across the side of Tomies Mountain and back to the lakeshore at Dinis Cottage. It was a challenging walk with that vague edge of soft danger to it leaving you with a real sense of achievement at the end. The scenery was breathtaking, sufficient to render a predominantly female group speechless from time and time and evoking in us all what Wordsworth called that “serene and blessed mood”.

If any of you are planning meetings or events in Killarney be sure to build in time for immersion in its bountiful, God gifted beauty – it’ll restore your soul and do wonders for your event budget as it’s all free!

Destinations and Songs

I posted previously on songs and destinations and there has been some great engagement / discussion on Linkedin, particularly on the ADMEI Group. I’ll keep this theme open a while longer before compiling the definitive list of “songs that sell destinations”. Some of the current suggestions are well known, iconic songs with very obvious destination connections – Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” (thanks Stephanie!) or John Denver’s “Colorado Rocky Mountain High” (thanks Nicole and Deana!) but some are less well known with subtle, tenuous links – Mark Knofler’s “Romeo and Juliet” (Indigo Girls version), suggested by Stratford-upon-Avon’s DMC Emma Wellstead and Vicky Samson’s “My African Dream” – which is magnificent – proposed by Paul Stephen.

All in all it’s a worthwhile exercise that proves beyond all doubt that songs are powerfully evocative and can truly preserve and present the heart and soul of a destination

Hybrid Meetings and Events

My blog post on Hybrid Events attracted a lot of attention. As a meetings professional I’ve been following this trend for some time now and was really impressed by the joint presentation of Sam Smith and Stephanie Pfeilsticker at last year’s FICP Annual Conference in San Antonio. Stephanie is on Dan Young’s team at Thrivent Financial and was inspired by her attendance at MPI events to suggest the hybrid approach for the Thrivent National Sales Meeting. Interestingly Stephanie’s objective was to use the hybrid approach NOT as an alternative to attendance at the live event but as a tool to boost and promote future attendance. Assisted by hybrid guru Sam Smith of Interactive Meeting Technology, Thrivent successfully used the new meeting architecture to extend the meeting reach way beyond the usual demographic and communicate with a significantly larger community.

I’ve also been hugely inspired by Tahira Endean’s White Paper on Event Camp Vancouver – Vancouver was the 8th edition of the Event Camp series which sets out to “transparently share information with industry peers and colleagues and to be a safe place to experiment with new technologies and ideas.” I’ll be re-visiting this whole area in a future blog post and using the learnings and outcomes of this great initiative in the design and creation of MCI’s MeetSmarter event which takes place in Killarney in June (for invitations please contact mark.egan@mci-group.com)

Delta Airlines

I’m still waiting for my phone to ring and to hear the dulcet tones of Delta Airlines CEO, Richard Anderson. My story is definitely doing the rounds judging by the marked increase in twitter followers with “customer service” backgrounds. We all accept that there must be terms and conditions in any business contract and  airlines are perfectly entitled to design these in such a way as to maintain the sustainability and profitability of their business. However, it’s incumbent on us all to rail against terms and conditions that are farcical and unfair and to stand up for humanised business processes, particularly with corporate behemoths. So, Richard, what about you? When can we talk?

Padraic Gilligan is VP Industry Relations at MCI and VP of MCI’s DMC division, Ovation Global DMC. He can be contacted on padraic.gilligan@mci-group.com and, if you’re Richard Anderson, +353 86 8113134.

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