...from the meeting and incentive industry's main event, the Motivation Show, held in October in Chicago

Now, Meet in Monaco Monaco - always a major player as an incentive destination - now has its own convention facility. The Grimaldi Forum hosted its first major conference this fall. The Forum offers 87,900 square feet of exhibit halls, meeting space for up to 800 guests, and banquet facilities for up to 2,500 diners. A highlight of the building is the 1,900-seat auditorium. Because of the new space, "cultural activity is increasing tremendously," reported Dario dell'Antonia, president of the Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority.

Log On Salesdriver.com - If you want a quick sales boost, log on to Sales driver.com's Web site to create an instant incentive contest. There's no upfront cost - and you pay only when salespeople meet their goals and earn their rewards. Here's how it works: You set the targets and the rewards, your salespeople get e-mail announcements, they log on to the site to get all the details, and they're off and running. Reaching their goals earns them "DriverDollars," which they can spend on more than 1,500 items, from a Palm-Pilot to a Caribbean island rental. Shipping, handling, and taxes are included in each item's price.

venuedirectory.com - If you're looking for a meeting site in the U.K. or Ireland, venuedirectory.com has a user-friendly interface for searches, and the ability to e-mail or fax RFPs to up to 50 hotels. The site plans to expand its directory to include properties in North America.

motivationonline.com - Motivation Online describes itself as being in the "behavior business." That's because this online performance improvement and rewards system was built from a foundation of behavioral principles. Here's how it works: Managers work closely with Motivation Online to determine specific milestones or behaviors that need to be achieved. Employees earn points for each "behavior," rather than for overall division or corporate goals, all of which are listed on the company's customized site. Individual employees' progress can also be downloaded into reports that managers can use for performance analysis. For points earned, users can claim prizes ranging from DVD players to cinema tickets, through Motivation Online's 40 redemption partners.

afficient.com - This new online event registration application service charges a fee per credit card transaction (for event registration) and small setup fees, if an organization needs a Web site for the event. "Our service is seamless and in the background," says Laura Fischer, marketing manager. "We offer confidentiality, security, and customer support, including quick response time." For client Ernst & Young, for example, Afficient developed an event portal, assisted in Web design, and developed an online registration system for a seminar just 30 days away.

event411.com - This online event registration service has acquired MeetUP.com, a Vancouver, B.C.-based online housing reservation and hotel block management service. This will allow meeting attendees to log on and compare room prices, amenities, and real-time availability of blocked hotel rooms, and to book, modify, or cancel room reservations at the hotel of their choice 24/7. Steven Koltai, chairman and CEO of Event411, also rolled out PremierPlanner 2.5, an updated version of the company's invitation software.

New from AEIS: Eat, Shop, and Fill `Er Up A new idea from American Express Incentive Services: Plan a reception at a mall, transport qualifiers there in limos, and then set them loose with pre-set AEIS reward cards. Another option for a trip add-on is the Be My Guest card, which you can program to be accepted at specific restaurants or anywhere that takes American Express cards. Send winners off on a dine-around and let them choose their own restaurants and companions. Finally, the new Fill It Up card gives attendees who rent cars during an incentive program one less expense to worry about: The cards work at any gas station that takes American Express.

Hot in the Caribbean Our Lucaya - Picture this: A resort with "experience managers," whose only goal is to find out what will make your stay so special that you'll leave refreshed and energized, whether it's cooking dinner with a five-star chef or being one of the few lucky couples to earn a sunset dinner at the top of a lighthouse. This is what you get at Our Lucaya, which opens this month on Grand Bahama Island. Formerly The Lucayan Resort at Grand Bahama Island, the 1,350 guest rooms and suites have been transformed into a $400 million development with 90,000 square feet of meeting space. Guests can golf on two courses or take a lesson at the renowned Butch Harmon School of Golf, swim in the ocean or in three themed pools, visit the Senses Spa, or work out at the fitness center.

Marriott Offshore Resorts - Cancun: A JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, the first in the Caribbean, is scheduled to open in February 2001. The resort will be adjacent to the Marriott CasaMagna Cancun Resort and linked via a skywalk. Together the two properties will offer more than 900 rooms and suites and more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

Aruba: A 13,500-square-foot Mandara Spa is opening next month at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. This will be the first Mandara Spa, known for its Balinese and Southeast Asian approach, in the Caribbean.

Puerto Vallarta: The Marriott Casa-Magna Puerto Vallarta Resort offers meeting groups a new after-dinner treat, with demonstrations held nightly by a professional "Mater Torcedor" (cigar roller). Guests learn the qualities and components of a good stogie, and are offered techniques on how to properly enjoy one. Also new: the resort's express check-in at the airport, available to VIPs and groups.

A win-win partnership: At the show, Corporate Meetings & Incentives magazine announced its membership in the Incentive Federation (www.incentivecentral.org), the major alliance organization for the incentive industry. The Federation manages the Incentive Industry Promotion Campaign, acts as the voice of the incentive field to state and federal governments, and is an important source of industry research.

Sure, we're all inundated with giveaways from trade shows, but nothing like this little singing and dancing cactus. Arriving in the mail along with an invitation to Palace Resorts' "Mexican Madness" party on Oct. 10 (also sponsored by this magazine), he played "Tequila," boogied to the music, and wrapped up his performance with a hearty "Oh yeah!" Hats off to planner Barbara Raskin from New York City - based The Expert OutSource for making us want to come and party with Palace Resorts!

- For the first time in its 53-year history, African safari operator United Touring Co. (www.unitedtouring.com) has an incentive sales and marketing presence in the U.S. and Canada. Kevin Forde, formerly national incentive sales manager, USA, for Swissair/Sabena, assumed his new position as director, incentive sales, for UTC just a few days before traveling to the Motivation Show to represent the company. Forde will also represent Dubai, where UTC's owners are based.

- The Cloister at Sea Island, Ga., has a new associate director of sales dedicated to the corporate and incentive market, Kevin Rosa, and a new luxury property, The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, under development. The historic 286-room resort accommodates meetings in its 20,000 square feet of meeting space, including The Plantation Center, a dedicated meeting facility with a divisible 11,000-square-foot ballroom. The Lodge will open next February with 40 rooms and 24-hour butler service.