KRISAM FOUNDER LAUNCHES DMC CONSORTIUM

More than two decades ago, Chris White founded the Krisam Group, a hotel rep firm, and now he's applying that concept to DMCs, as founder, chairman, and CEO of the recently launched Global Events Partners (www.global eventspartners.com) in Washington, D.C. White has formed a consortium of 24 (eventually 50) independently owned DMCs around the world and plans to promote the GEP brand as a place to find a consistent level of high-quality service.

The service is free to planners, White says. Member DMCs pay GEP a monthly marketing fee, plus an incentive based on the value of the business GEP refers to them. White would not reveal the exact figures.

He has also brought in vendors as allied partners. Caribiner (event production), Coach USA (bus transportation), Carey International (limousines), Keith Prowse Americas (a ticketing agency), and Advantage International (which books high-profile athletes), have all signed on. At press time, GEP was negotiating with GES Exposition Services.

PLANNERS, SUPPLIERS HIT BOSTON The New England Meeting Industry Conference & Exposition (NEMICE) returns to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston April 15.

The one-day event, sponsored by the New England Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and 11 other meeting industry organizations, is expected to draw more than 600 meeting managers and 300 exhibitors from around the country.

This year's educational offerings include a keynote address by Robert Tucker, president, The Innovation Resource, a research and executive development firm specializing in change management strategies.

The educational program also includes sessions on advanced negotiation skills, technology tools and trends for meeting managers, creative purchasing of food and beverage for your meetings and events, the psychology of meeting and event design, and the successful hosting of multicultural attendees at meetings and events.

Presenters include such well-known industry figures as independent planner Carol Krugman, CMP; Rod Marymor, CMP, managing partner, Cardinal Communications; and David Rich, event marketing manager, EMC Corp.

Attendance is free for meeting planners, and a complimentary lunch will be provided in the exhibit hall for all attendees. Exhibitors include regional, national, and international hotels, resorts, airlines, cruise lines, tourist boards and convention bureaus, plus transportation, audiovisual, catering, and special event companies.

THINKING HIGH-TECH? THINK TELECONFERENCE. You want your sales reps and agents to see your company as technologically savvy. You're not out there on the bleeding edge--nor do you want to be--but technology has made your company more efficient, more visible, more effective. Adding a satellite teleconference to your next sales meeting will reinforce that message--and add a level of excitement to the event, says Geri Liemer, vice president of Vista Satellite Communications in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"It's a way to generate enthusiasm--to make the event larger than life," she says. Bring in a celebrity or connect two meetings to each other, but be careful not to make it "a program of talking heads," Liemer warns. Include pre-recorded video clips, break up the program with questions, or hire an experienced emcee. "Today's audience is younger and has been brought up on TV," Liemer says. "You need to move things along rapidly."

Another cautionary note: Work with an experienced vendor. Find one by talking with other executives who have done teleconferences.

* At the Independent Insurance Agents of America's 23rd Annual Education Convocation, held in January in Miami, a panel concluded that collaboration in education among the different agent groups in the insurance industry is critical to continued agent and customer satisfaction. In keeping with those pronouncements, the Life Underwriter Training Council, with its life/health expertise, and IIAA, with its wide-ranging network of affiliates, announced a collaborative educational effort during the conference. IIAA will distribute 11 LUTC courses through IIAA state affiliates. LUTC will also develop a series of training seminars designed to help property and casualty agencies expand into the life, health, and financial services arenas.

* Also at IIAA's Education Convocation, Sheri A. Acconzo, CMP, of the Independent Insurance Agents of New Jersey, was honored with the National Education Award.

* IMSA update: The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association, an organization whose member insurance companies pledge to subscribe to six principles regarding the selling of life and annuity products, continues to grow. Membership as of February: 192 companies.

Web surf on us. If your company sponsors events at insurance agent association meetings or if you're looking for a hip new way to impress your incentive qualifiers, consider giving them some time online.

At a recent medical association trade show at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort, one vendor noticed the property's six public T1-speed Internet kiosks, all located on the convention level, and had a brainstorm. He contacted the company that maintains the kiosks--Orlando-based e-port Public Information Network--and negotiated a deal to give attendees Internet access on his tab during the five-day event. While the kiosks weren't in use, his company's screen saver was visible; when attendees logged on, his was the default home page; and while users were online, they could click on a direct link to the sponsor's Web site at any time.

The show drew more than 12,000 attendees, and about 2,500 users stepped up to a terminal to check e-mail or log on to the Internet. Users access the Internet at the kiosks by swiping e-port cards (shown above), which are customizable with your company name and logo. For more information, visit e-port's Web site at www.eport.net. --Susan Hatch