Successful Meetings - March 2008 - (Page 72)

Best Practices > MiGurus experts’ blogs from Words from the Wise PERCEPTION IS NOT REALITY One of the hardest obstacles to overcome when it comes to getting organizations and meeting attendees to venture out into the world beyond our nation’s borders is to get them to overcome the negative perceptions they may have about a certain place. Unfortunately, people rely far too much on what they see on the television news to be the be-all and end-all of a destination. I stopped watching nightly newscasts a long time ago By Eli Gorin, CMP because I started noticing a gMeetings recurring theme that goes Aventura, FL something like this: The newscast always starts off with something ominous but local: “Tonight we bring you the latest breaking news . . . a man was found [insert “dead,” “injured,” or “unconscious]” in his home this evening. Police are investigating the motive and looking for suspects.” Following that would be something along the lines of, “And in world news, an explosion in [insert country] rocked [insert city]”. Hearing something like that day in and day out would make anyone afraid of venturing outside of their home, let alone the country. My area of expertise is Latin America, and the biggest concerns people in the meetings industry bring up when I talk about that region are safety and danger issues. They are afraid of being kidnapped, robbed, or whatever else that would discourage people from going to an exotic destination. I sometimes wonder where these industry professionals are getting these perceptions from. Is it the same newscast that said a man was shot outside his home in a neighborhood a few blocks away? Does that deter them from driving through that street later on in the day? Probably not. And why not? Because people perceive these to be “random acts of violence.” I am not an expert on security, and I certainly am not naive, but I think that people in the meetings industry need to take proactive action to avoid the negative. What do I mean by this? Focus on the positive benefits of bringing a meeting outside the United States and be open to comparing them with the downsides to see if they outweigh the drawbacks. And if you have concerns over the negative aspects, realize that proper planning can neutralize those concerns. If you’re not too sure about the security issue in a certain city, do some research. Ask the local tourism board for statistics on crime and any issues with foreign groups coming into their location. Speak with other planners who may have held a meeting in the location you are considering. If you are still hesitant, consider the options for hiring additional security to protect your group. The same proactive actions you would take to protect your group in any part of the United States should be taken when traveling anywhere else in the world. As I always tell people, show me one major metropolitan city in the United States that doesn’t have an area known for being dangerous. I think if people work to overcome their fears and misperceptions, they will be one step closer to realizing there is a very big world out there with so much to offer . . . and in my particular case a wonderful region which is home to so many cultural wonders . . . including three of the seven new wonders of the world (Chichen Itza, Mexico; Christ Redeemer, Brazil; and Machu Picchu, Peru). 72 MARCH 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - March 2008

Successful Meetings - March 2008
Editor's Note
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Management Matters
Mouth for Sale
Meetings Law
Tools of the Trade
On Site
Quick Tip
Critical Conditions
A Family Affair
Conference Centers We Love
CSM of the Year
Places & Spaces
Luxury Las Vegas
New York CIty
New Orleans
Oahu & Big Island
Florida Keys

Successful Meetings - March 2008