@MPIGNY - Spring 2014 - (Page 15)

#feature GREENING TRENDS: MEETING PLANNERS 'GO LOCAL' TO DRIVE DOWN COSTS BY WALTER J. RECHER A s we head into the spring season, we are fully engaged in working to execute our 2014 plans. And as we look ahead, an all too common refrain is heard loud and clear from senior management: "Show me how we can find new ways to save time and money!" To do this, an increasingly popular strategy for savvy event planners has been to control costs by "going green" following recent investments in properties that have incorporated environmentally friendly features. A recent study by J.D. Power and Associates entitled The North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study found that awareness of hotel green programs has increased steadily over the past several years, with a "solid majority of guests now aware of their hotels' conservation efforts." The study goes on to say that, "it's essentially impossible to find a hotel these days that does not have a sustainability program in place." In line with the hotel industry, many meeting and event planners are integrating event strategies outlined by the Green Meetings Industry Council. These approaches will save time and money, and include: Go Paperless: From high-tech conference websites to electronic event registration and email communications, a growing number of firms are realizing significant benefits from going paperless. Additionally, event planners can reduce their carbon footprint by asking presenters to reduce the amount of paper handouts. Presenters are now opting to include handouts online, on a disk, on jump drives or in PowerPoint presentations. Plan to Meet "Close": Choosing a host city in close proximity to as many delegates as possible has helped many meeting planners to reduce their overall costs significantly. If a close host city is not possible, venues that are near each other, or within a short distance of a train station or airport, are ideal. "Lighten Your Stay": A number of hotels and conference centers are offering discounts and reduced costs that include linen reuse programs and options for limited room services and turndown. Event planners recommend these options for their employees to reduce costs. Free Time Activities: Choosing a meeting venue that are near consumerfriendly venues (i.e. dining, shopping, recreation), preferably within distance. Create Permanent Name Tags: Investing in permanent name tags (printing aluminum vs. traditional paper name tags) lead to a future return on investment. The payback could take about one year, but are well worth the wait. Meal Planning: Asking your attendees to sign up for meals can help you be more cost-conscious. Evaluating meal responses will help you predict your number of attendees, limiting food waste and saving money. Looking ahead, "going green" will continue to offer attractive options for event planners, as it helps to reduce transportation expenses, shipping and travel costs. And as business travelers and conference host venues continue to uncover economic opportunities, they are also helping reduce our carbon footprint, and protect our planet. "Going green" is a classic win-win! @ Walter J. Recher is director and partner of marketing and program development of Hospitality Resource Group, Inc. FROM HIGH-TECH CONFERENCE WEBSITES TO ELECTRONIC EVENT REGISTRATION AND E-MAIL COMMUNICATIONS, A GROWING NUMBER OF FIRMS ARE REALIZING SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS FROM GOING PAPERLESS. info@mpigny.org 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY - Spring 2014

Ask the Board
President’s Message
Speaking the Language of Sustainability
11 Delivering the ‘green’ at AIBTM 2014
IMEX America’s Sustainability Efforts: Greenhouses, Gardens and Growing Commitments
A CSR Preview of MPI’S WEC 2014
Greening Trends: Meeting Planners ‘go Local’ to Drive Down Costs
Sustainability at Caneel Bay Resort
Let’s Get Physical: Team Building for the Active Attendee
Delta Force
Mpigny’s Engaging Evening
Legal Review
Member Spotlight
Fitness Focus
Notes From the Field
Asheville CVB Injects Unique Destination Flare Into Meetings
History Comes Alive in Boston
New Members
Advertiser’s Index

@MPIGNY - Spring 2014