Planners Talk about the logistical challenges of planning meetings in third-tier cities, but what about third-world countries?
In June, Washington, D.C.-based Courtesy Associates planned a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, for the U.S. State Department's HIV/AIDS relief program. The meeting — for researchers and medical practitioners engaged in the implementation of HIV/AIDS programs in Africa — was attended by 1,700 people. It was the largest meeting ever held there, and the most challenging for Courtesy.
“In terms of hospitality infrastructure, Rwanda is underdeveloped, and the strain on resources challenged our expertise as well as our resources,” says Sheila Stampfli, president of Courtesy. With only three hotels in Kigali, Courtesy used 100 housing venues, including apartments, dorm rooms, and private residences, some on dirt roads. Because of the lack of hotel function space, general sessions were held under a tent, where the generators kept shutting off. But in the end, it was a rewarding experience for attendees and locals.
By the first quarter of 2008, StarCite expects to have a new travel-booking feature: a dire ct link to Orbitz for Business and Travelport for Business from its attendee-management application.
McCormick Place West in Chicago opened in August. The facility has 740,000 square feet of space and is connected by enclosed walkway to McCormick Place.