Great-Lakes Regional Meeting at the Grand Traverse Resort


The Great Lakes Chapter returned to the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis., with the largest number of attendees in its nine year history - 20 meeting planners and 30 hospitality partners. The enthusiastic group experienced another intensive educational agenda plus interactive social activities. The “Out of the Box” session kicked off the two-day meeting and gave participants a chance to bring up new ideas such as asking new insurance sales reps during the recruiting process where they might like to travel on an incentive program.

Other ideas: a Web site with listings of all future ICPA member company meeting sites; hotel Web sites with interactive menus to allow planners to do food selection online, along with standardized electronic BEOs; hotel companies assisting with creating a Web site for promoting an incentive and site links allowing attendees to review pre-and post-meeting destinations along with the host property.

The session also covered online registration that would interface with hotel reservation systems, corporate-wide travel and meeting tracking systems to assist in buying-power negotiations, planners hosting hotel employee parties to reward their support of incentive meetings, and an incentive uprate written into the contract that allows for the property to increase the room rate if a predetermined number of attendees rated hotel service at a certain level on a predetermined rating system. The important part of the session was that it created an atmosphere stimulating participation from planners and partners on diverse subjects - there was no vanilla in this box!

In another session, a panel of hotel company sales directors dedicated to the insurance industry shared why their companies have adopted the industry advisory board method of entertaining clients and prospects and gleaning information as to how better to serve the $2 billion plus annual meetings markets represented by insurance companies. Another panel covered offshore meetings. Detailed information on taxes, shipping, exchange rates, and other issues was presented by RCCL; the Canadian Tourism Commission; JPdL, a DMC based in Canada; and the Jamaican Tourism Board.

The final panel shared specific hotel company efforts in meeting services provided through the concierge concept. How these floor managers interact with planners and convention services managers enlightened planners and partners alike. The session also enlightened hotel companies who have not adopted this form of service. Attending ICPA Board members Brett Barrowman and Mauna Hatchett shared updates on the upcoming ICPA Annual Meeting at The Broadmoor and the Educational Forum, held in July at the Westin Providence. Team cooking Grand Geneva–style, golf on the Brute, and a Broadmoor-sponsored dinner aboard the SS Broadmoor (née) Grand Geneva Cruise Lines Louise, rounded out the Regional event.