What Makes a Successful Congress Destination?

by Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua Congress Destinations In the late 80s when the iron curtain opened to reveal what used to be called Eastern Europe, Prague and Budapest were the first  actors to take to the stage and assume protagonist roles in the theatre of Congress Tourism. Initially they were unsteady and gauche, like the actor in Shakespeare’s… Read more »

Bratislava – 5 reasons to consider it for Meetings and Events

by Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua Reputation, Reputation, Reputation I haven’t seen the movie “Hostel” (2005) but it does for the reputation of Slovakia and its capital what “Midnight Express” (1978) does for Turkey. To add insult to injury not a single frame of the movie was actually shot in Slovakia but in the neighbouring… Read more »

Start and end strongly: a master class in meeting planning from FICP14

by Padraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua Back in Hawai’i This year’s conference of the Finance and Insurance Conference Planners (FICP) took place at the magnificent 62 acre Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island, Hawai’i. It was FICP’s first time back on the islands since ICPA did Maui in 2004. Selecting an off shore location… Read more »

On the Road Again – San Diego to San Francisco

by Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua The Marvels of Motivational Travel Many of us in the Meetings and Incentives Industry run successful businesses and make a good living because corporations know that extraordinary travel experiences motivate employees to achieve outstanding workplace results. Because this is our job and we’re not actual participants on these amazing… Read more »

3 days in Venice – still crazy after all these years

by Padraic Gilligan, Managing Partner at SoolNua In the field of destination marketing Venice is Coca Cola. It’s up there, profile-wise, with New York and London in the super-brand category, known and recognized all over the world for its utterly unique topology, its ubiquitous gondolas, Carnevale, cruise ships and crowds. Within MICE it’s the incentive… Read more »

Bob and Janine go to Vienna: a short story

by Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua *I recently co-produced the Gala Dinner Entertainment at the Hofburg Palace, Vienna with a dear friend and client in the Finance and Insurance sector. Here’s an account of the evening from the perspective of a fictitious programme qualifier, Bob Newman. A kind of homecoming It was 5:05pm and his… Read more »

Jordan: the Comeback*

By Padraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua * Fans of great songwriters will immediately recognize the reference to Paddy McAloon’s band, Prefab Sprout’s classic 80s album which was entitled “Jordan: the Comeback” [PART 2 on Jordan] The Wadi Rum desert valley where I meet Salem is enclosed by amorphous outcrops of sandstone that protect you from… Read more »

Hey MeetPie – don’t bite the hand that feeds!

by Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua I have had occasion already to engage in on-line debate with James Lancaster, a member of the team at CAT publications and editor of their magazine, Association Meetings International. He’s relatively new to our industry but brings us a fresh perspective and some great writing. Last week James posted a… Read more »