Successful Meetings - December 2008 - (Page 10)

12.08 & ANALYSIS > Corporate Events NEWS AIG Cancels 160 Meetings Reeling under a firestorm of bad publicity in the national media revolving around its meetings and incentive programs, the Charlotte, NC-headquartered American International Group Inc. (AIG) canceled 160 meetings in October. Shortly after the U.S. government announced a restructuring of a bailout plan for the insurer, boosting aid to the company to around $150 billion in late October, the company held two events that attracted media attention. The first was a weeklong incentive at the St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach, in California for topperforming insurance agents; the second was a sales training and education conference for about 150 independent financial advisers in its AIG Advisers Group held at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix. Though AIG defended the train> ON THE RECORD ing meeting, saying it was necessary Palm Beach CVB head Jorge to repay the U.S. taxpayer, the comPesquera’s vision for the pany canceled 160 meetings in its Florida county . . . . . . PAGE 12 wake. “We reviewed this one. This one > CALENDAR did not slip by,” AIG spokesman Nick Upcoming industry Ashooh said in an Associated Press events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 14 wire story. “Some of the things we’ve > RESEARCH done in the past certainly can be critNBTA forecasts cuts for icized, but this was a totally legiti2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 14 mate event that wasn’t even for AIG products and services, including those offered by AIG,” he said. Financial planners were responsible for generating almost $200 million in revenue this year for AIG, as of September 30, the company said. And the incentive program at the St. Regis for AIG’s most successful independent brokers was paid for out of the incremental revenue generated by the sales goals the attendees achieved to qualify for the event. But none of that mattered when AIG’s upper management were grilled by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, or when the company was lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” and excoriated on virtually every editorial page in the country for running the $443,000 program. “The fact that it wasn’t an executive junket but an incentive program for independent insurance agents who outsold all their competitors—and that it helped drive sales whose profits likely exceeded the cost substantially—doesn’t make a bit of difference,” says Bill Boyd, president and CEO of Sunbelt Motivation and Travel, a Dallas-based incentive travel company. “You’ll never get your day in court on the ROI,” says Boyd, a past president of the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE). “It’s not for the meeting planner to decide, but a CEO should say, ‘We are accepting government money, cancel everything.’ If attrition would cost more, pay it.” The AIG incident has many in the meetings and incentive industry bracing for the worst. “I am very concerned,” says Fay Beauchine, executive vice president of global engagement and events at Minneapolis-based Carlson Marketing. “The right to reward employees for a job well done is different than executive compensation packages for failed strategies. Keeping employees engaged and happy is a good investment for the company and for DECEMBER 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS Inside employees.” In a statement AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy also defended the meeting. “It is essential for AIG to conduct seminars of this kind to keep independent financial planners abreast of investment 10

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

Successful Meetings - December 2008
Editor's Note
Corporate Events
On the Record
Planner Spotlight
Personal Success
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Professional Development
Quick Tip
Tools of the Trade
On Site: Retire Those Tired Power-Point Slides
On Site: 12 Tips for Thriving on a South African Safari
Deep Impact
Recession-Friendly Speakers
Showing Off
Hawaii Insert
Places & Spaces
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Fort Worth
South Florida

Successful Meetings - December 2008

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