Meeting at Pinehurst, N.C., May 20 to June 2, the Krisam Insurance Advisory Board agreed that while times are challenging, financial services meetings are going full-steam ahead. Hosted by Krisam Group Vice President Doris Dallow, The Pinehurst Company Regional Vice President Martin Couch, and American Airlines National Sales Manager Dennis Tucker, the group of 10 financial services planners and nine hoteliers from properties represented by Krisam enjoyed three evenings of networking and special activities, two mornings of dialogue on industry issues, and two afternoons of leisure activities that ran the gamut from golfing on one of Pinehurst's eight courses to getting pampered in the resort's elegant new spa.

Discussion topics ranged from post-9/11 updates on the insurance, hotel, and airline industries to the always-thorny issue of attrition clauses. The word on 2003 incentive programs: Planners are putting into place destinations considered to be safe but still exotic, such as the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii — destinations that are also strong sellers in American Airlines group sales these days. Attendees' concern about safety, said planners, is not a fear of flying but of getting stuck far from home or out of the country should another terrorist incident take place. Some planners singled out Hawaii as an emerging incentive destination of choice for top-tier programs that formerly took producers to Europe.

Krisam Update

With offices in Washington, New York, Chicago, Dallas and now Boston, Krisam Group represents more than 200 hotels — but doesn't send leads to properties until the planner is ready to talk dates and rates, said Dallow. Krisam also connects the planner with destination management companies worldwide through its sister company, Global Events Partners. For more information, go to www.krisam.com.

American Airlines News

It has been a rough year, but Tucker said that by the end of 2002, American routes will be back to 90 percent capacity. Look for the ability to book group sales on the Web by mid-2003.

The Pinehurst Experience

The name Pinehurst has long been synonymous with championship golf, and it also came to exemplify the meaning of Southern hospitality for those who attended the Krisam weekend. Pinehurst Regional Vice President Marty Couch (who gained a keen appreciation for the fine points of meeting planning while helping to orchestrate the Krisam program) was the consummate host, arranging everything from golf lessons and group croquet to an amazing performance by “mind-reader” Robert Channing.

The resort's eight courses are all nationally ranked and designed by such luminaries as Rees Jones, Tom Fazio, and Ellis Maples. Course No. 2, designed by Donald Ross, was home to the 1999 U.S. Open, which is returning in 2005.

Right now the buzz at Pinehurst is all about the new $12 million spa. Housed in a 31,000-square-foot building that mirrors the gracious historic architecture found throughout the resort, the spa includes a three-lane lap pool; a fitness center; a beauty salon; cushy locker rooms with sauna, steam, and whirlpool areas; and comfortable treatment rooms, including a couples-only massage suite. Skilled therapists, recruited from all over the U.S., offer a range of massage and body treatments.

There are five different hotel buildings and more than 500 rooms on the property, all located near the historic Village of Pinehurst. Most appropriate for large incentive groups is the Carolina, with 210 rooms, 12 suites, five freestanding villas, and 55,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Carolina's graceful presence evokes Southern charm. Also charming, and perfect for small top-tier groups, is the Holly Inn, with 73 rooms and eight suites decorated in period furnishings.