Table for Two . . . with Rembrandt The many high-end incentive possibilities in Amsterdam include holding a dinner at the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national art gallery, where your group of up to 300 guests can dine in the company of Rembrandt's most famous work, "The Night Watch." When we say "high-end" we're not kidding: At current exchange rates, renting this hall for one evening will cost $35,000. Security and catering are extra. And if you decide to go ahead with this once-in-a-lifetime event, don't plan on using ordinary tour buses if your guests are staying in the heart of the city. The picturesque streets of old Amsterdam were never meant to accommodate 40-foot vehicles, and in a city where streets run along canals, any bus that tries to pull up on the curb for a tight turn is likely to end up in the drink. You can use buses to get groups from Schipol Airport to the outskirts of the city, then finish the journey by canal aboard one of Amsterdam's many water taxis.
Nice Guys Can Finish First Say hey, Ed Nielsen, Francine Butler, and Don Jaeger--just three of the meeting industry's notables who have stepped up to the plate to take on some major-league challenges in 1998: Nielsen, a well-known state association exec (from the PA Academy of Family Physicians), will continue the globalization of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus as its new chief of staff. Butler, a well-known association management firm exec and CMP, has been tapped to move the "new" Convention Liaison Council into the new millennium. And Jaeger, director of marketing for many years at the Oklahoma City CVB, has broken the classic "number two" ceiling in CVB management to become head of the Des Moines CVB (recently of septuplet fame), and will lead that up-and-coming city into the 21st century. Great players, all!
Just a Second . . . I'm Downloading Your Name When's the last time you were at a meeting and saw someone you knew, but couldn't remember where or how you had met him or her? Soon you won't have to rely on your mere human brain. Software agents will act as your agents of remembrance, according to Patti Maes, PhD, founder of Firefly Network, Inc. and associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab. Maes said that instead of attendees shaking hands, their "e-badges" will communicate with each other, trading information about previous encounters and common interests. Want to network about meeting planning software over sushi? Your software agent will find you suitable lunch companions. Far from technology rendering meetings obsolete, Maes asserted during her keynote address at the recent American Society of Association Executives Management & Technology Conference in Baltimore, MD, its advances will help planners customize meetings to attendees' needs and strengthen networking.
Elegance Made Easier Need a different twist on a top-end incentive program? Like sending your achievers to relax in the elegant seawater thermal baths spa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea? You can now book that spa at the Societe Des Bains de Mer (SBM) deluxe and historic hotels in the Principality of Monaco by calling one number: (800) 753-9696. The Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Bureau, Monaco Consulate General, and SBM have joined forces in New York City to create one-stop-shopping. Planners can make reservations at hotels, restaurants, and the opera; or get advice on doing business, import/export regulations, and DMCs.
El Nino Strikes Again Despite an unexpected and prolonged visit by El Nino, Les Pedersen and Kevin Harry, sales managers for Walt Disney World Resorts, welcomed golfers to Disney's 11th Annual Incentive Travel Golf Spectacular in December. Players didn't get as much as time on the links as they hoped, but there was plenty of networking at the spectacular evening events--including an opening night barbecue at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, complete with a mechanical bull, gun-twirling cowgirl, and country band; and a party at the House of Blues, featuring great down-home cooking and entertainment, sponsored by Buena Vista Palace. The final night gourmet banquet, held at Disney-MGM Studios, was highlighted by giveaways of some incredible trips: Malaysia, China, and Ireland are but a few of the destinations lots of lucky winners will be visiting in the coming year. Look for more on the 11th Annual Incentive Travel Golf Spectacular in the April issue of Corporate Meetings & Incentives.