by Padraic Gilligan, Vice President, Ovation Global DMC
Fairmont Copley Plaza
Amidst a full on, intense day of education and networking at FICP yesterday I managed to revisit the recently renovated Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. A legacy property dating from 1912 with the perfect downtown location, the Fairmont offers a rare combination of understated, refined luxury and amazing infrastructural assets with 383 guest rooms and extensive conference and banqueting space. The renovation has been carried out sensitively and creatively with contemporary flair while maintaining the period feel. The Fairmont Gold level, or concierge floor, is an upscale Back Bay townhouse with interconnecting living rooms and a kitchen complete with extensive honour bar. Ellen Ryan, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing at the facility, was a gracious host and guide.
I’ve known Adrian for quite some time as a passionate, pioneering advocate of meeting architecture and the author of Conferences that work: Creating events that people love, the definitive text on new formats and structures for meetings. Until yesterday our relationship was purely on-line so it was a great privilege to participate at a “live” session and experience what he does in real time. Adrian is not a strident commanding presenter who fills the room with his brilliance and then leaves. His gentle, almost tentative approach, however, is genuinely empowering leaving you at the end of the session with lots of take aways but, more importantly, with the belief that this stuff works and that you too can make it happen. Check out his website here
Canada Lunch – on brand, on message and lots of fun
I greatly enjoyed yesterday’s lunch, courtesy of Business Events Canada. It was totally on brand and right on message – the food, served family-style, included traditional Poutine and Montreal Smoked Brisket, and the fun giveaway, an 80s head band, will certainly make an appearance at tonight’s theme event. The Business Events Canada team created an hilarious video, in which they all appeared, to a re-purposed version of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business”. The entire presentation was a great example of how to cut across the clutter and cause a pretty jaded audience to sit up, take notice and remember your brand.
Mike Dominguez on hotel rates
Mike Dominguez of MGM Resorts International packs a punch a bit like Las Vegas itself. He’s brash, confident and engaging and a brilliant apologist for the hospitality sector as it emerges from its recent travails. He explained the business case around hotel keeping with reasonableness and clarity and expertly dispelled any residual myths around profiteering in the hotel sector – right down to defending the $6 orange juice. My abiding thought was that the DMC sector urgently requires a similar strident spokesperson. There was one thing, however, that I did cavil at. I disagree with Mike on charging separately for WiFi. His argument that “someone must pay for it” is not the issue. The issue today is whether it’s reasonable to charge separately for something that has become almost as necessary as electricity in your guest room. I look forward to addressing this issue again.
The Network Live
The Hospitality Partners Advisory Council has been lobbying for many years for changes in how planners and HPers formally connect. We have tried many different approaches but this year I believe we’ve finally hit the sweet spot with The Network Live, an appointment based business exchange. Feedback from yesterday’s session, thus far, is uniformly positive and I’m certain we can iron out the glitches for Hawai’i. Huge respect and kudos to all for this radical new approach.
And one more highlight …
FICP 13 clashes this year (and again next year!) with EIBTM, Barcelona. For this reason I was unable to attend the event which recognised my best friend and business partner Patrick Delaney with a Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s a fitting recognition to someone who has lit up the meetings and events industry like a forest fire with energy, passion, humanity and irreverence. Picture and story here