Once again, the annual Krisam Insurance Advisory Board brought together a group of senior-level industry planners with a select group of hoteliers who specialize in insurance sales for some straight talk on business trends.

The meeting took place at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego from May 29 to June 1. The legendary Del's Victorian facade hasn't changed, but interiors have been updated with a two-year, $150 million renovation that includes 78 guest rooms and suites at a new complex of cottages and villas called Beach Village; a new spa with 21 treatment rooms; and the ENO Wine Room.

Tell It Like It Is

Organized by Krisam Group Vice President Doris Dallow and moderated by Krisam Group President Jim Schultenover, the meeting covered such topics as destination trends, flat budgets, green meetings, perception issues of shareholders, and a possible softening of the seller's market. “There was an exceptionally high level of sharing between planners and hospitality partners,” said first-time KRIAB attendee Dan Young CMP, CLU, ChFC, LLIF, director of event planning, Thrivent Financial.

Travel Trends

The hassles of travel are influencing site selection, said planner attendees. They see potential for charter air service for high-level incentives, but generally are looking for direct, nonstop flights to meeting destinations. (The Krisam Group Web site has a link to a hotel-member library with airlift information to the various hotel destinations). And while Europe remains in the rotation for incentive programs — and South America is coming up on planners' radar screens — there's caution about nonincentive meetings appearing too lavish.

“While cost pressures have caused insurance planners to make modifications to their programs, they are still booking,” said Schultenover. “Plan on seeing more regional and local meetings.”

In addition to Young, planner attendees were Evelyn Benton, Great American Insurance; Linda Bourbonnie, Old Mutual Financial; Brad Bradford, Regions Financial Corp.; Michael Burke, Hanover Insurance; Anita Glasmeier, Premier Lease and Loan; Jan Hennessey, Fireman's Fund; Karen Knox, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC; Cameo Kuklinski, Bankers Life; Koleen Roach, Securian Financial; Kim Sky, CNA; and Mary Jo Wiseman, Travelers.

Tech talk

A discussion of hotel Web sites was a hot topic at KRIAB, with planners asking properties for easy-to-use online tools. On planners' wish lists for hotel Web sites:

  • Photos of every type of guest room

  • Downloadable photo album of high- and low-resolution property images to be used for presentations and marketing

  • Downloadable e-postcards about the property that planners can customize and send to attendees

  • Easy-to-find and easy-to-navigate group section that includes meeting room capacities and diagrams

  • Green meetings information and policies that can be downloaded and printed

  • Sales team contact information and photos

  • Downloadable and printable property map