Learning Lab

Sustainability is the new Luxury

Speaker Name: Maura Zhang, Managing Partner, SYNERGY-CONNECT | LATIN+ DMC GROUP
Session Date / Time: Sunday 26-Jan / 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

The concept of Luxury has been evolving for years and some of the notions we’ve had about what makes a brand “lux” are about to be challenged. Luxury brands and events are taking sustainable routes to economic prosperity. This session will show how the perception of luxury has shifted to a transformative experience which includes more socially and environmentally conscious and mindful actions. We will review the impact of single use items, plastics, animal foods, food waste (among other concerns) and discovering some solutions that can be put into action. We will showcase examples of brands (in fashion, events and other industries) that are are leading the way in plant based offerings, composting, food rescue, upcycling, renewable energy, wellness and more. Destinations, as well as event planners and suppliers, can benefit from adopting these sustainable practices and collaborating for a more sustainable events industry.

From Travel Hell to Travel Well: Inside Secrets to Stay Energized, Healthy and Balanced

Speaker Name: John Ayo, Chief Balancing Officer, Travel Balance
Session Date / Time: Sunday 26-Jan / 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

What if you could maintain your poise, your good mood, your energy and your health no matter what crazy stuff happens on your trip?

Are you doing your best to provide a wellness-focused experience for attendees, helping them maximize the value of participating in your meetings or events?

Anyone who is tired, cranky or sick can’t perform at their best, and that undermines the very purpose of travel and business meetings. John Ayo, a traditional naturopath (natural health doctor) who spent more than 30 years traveling around the world for IBM, offers advice for optimal health and effectiveness on the go.

Get More Done without Working More Hours

Speaker Names: Leila Ansart, Professional Speaker, Executive Coach
Session Date / Time: Sunday 26-Jan / 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Learn the 3 shifts you can make to be more productive — within the restraints of your unique priorities + schedule, while reclaiming that elusive feeling of ‘balance’. Sneak peek: it doesn’t involve what you think! This training is highly actionable and includes handouts attendees can use to make immediate changes to their productivity results.

Extraordinary Service Advice (from fictitious interview) with CEO’s of Ritz-Carlton & Four Seasons

Speaker Names: Mike May, CITP, CMP, IP, President, Brightspot Incentives & Events
Session Date / Time: Sunday 26-Jan / 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Mike interviewed CEO’s Horst Schulze and Isadore Sharp in Dallas, TX, home to a city where both the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons have 5-star hotels, to discover how their customer service principles would apply to the incentive travel industry; one of many now apart of the ‘service economy’ we find ourselves in.

Actually, the scheduling was too difficult to visit in person, so this fictional interview is based on a little imagination and the very best wisdom from their books.

Meeting planners and DMC’s can learn how to execute extraordinary service using their legendary advice.

Budgeting Clue

We are way over budget, and something must go! But what?
In this session we will explore budgets, in the form of an interactive “Event Clue” game.

Is it the Chef at the Carving Station with the Butcher Knife, the Technical Director by the LED Wall with the Wrench or maybe it’s the DMC in the Limo with the Clip Board?

Teams will work to cut cost by working with event partners, finding “extras”, and negotiation. Together we will find out which vendor “done it” and work on a strategy to save the budget.

Learner Objectives:

  1. Budgeting/Negotiation
  2. The Value of Strong Partnerships
  3. The Art of Prioritization

This session is for both Meeting Planners as well as industry Suppliers. This session encourages creative problem solving and innovative thinking for industry newcomers and well-seasoned veterans. There is something here for everyone.

When Exceeding Expectations within a stagnant budget STRANGE THINGS can happen..

When we deliver too much without increasing the budget, we could find ourselves in the “Upside Down” on the next program.

As a planner, delivering more within the same budget, does this help showcase your skills to do more with less or set unrealistic expectations for future programs?

As a supplier, if you give more to enhance the client experience, is this a way to secure a longtime client or driving future expectations of more for less?

We will work together to stay out of the “Upside Down”, by identifying the line of giving/accepting too many program enhancements that set an unsustainable expectation of future programs!

Learner Objectives:

  1. Strategic Planning/Thinking
  2. The importance of partnerships
  3. Balancing Budgets with Expectations
Valuing Creativity in a Commoditized World

Face-to-face experiences are widely recognized as a key driver of innovation through dialogue. But when it comes time to buy an event, we quickly fall out of a creative mindset, seeking opportunities and collaborations, into a checklist of commodities – airfares, hotels, av, f&b,DMC services and yes even our unique experiences are given a price tag. How do we remain competitive in the face of commoditization when we are selling not just a space but a memory? Let’s open the floor in this moderated discussion featuring several viewpoints and together as an industry tackle this tough topic.

Steps to Planning an Incentive that Truly Excites and Delivers ROI

Speaker Names: Cindy Lo, Event Strategist | President & Owner, Red Velvet Events, Inc.
Session Date / Time: Monday 27- Jan / 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

In our day and age of experiences over tangible gifts, how are you planning and designing your incentive trips so that you NOT only show the best of your firm but also create FOMO so more want to qualify for future trips? And with shorter turn around planning times of when the qualifiers are announced, what steps are crucial to planning a truly personalized event? Come join Cindy in a learning lab that will be an active learning session. Cindy is known for talking fast and wants to inspire you to plan differently. Come ready with an incentive in mind and get ready to take away at least 3 new ideas and some new processes that will help you think differently when planning that next incentive. In the meantime, Cindy invites you to follow them on Instagram at @RedVelvetEvents so you can see some behind the scenes of how the team produces award-winning events, no matter what the size.

Read Hidden Emotions

Speaker Names: Dan Seidman, Managing Director, Read Emotions
Session Date / Time: Monday 27- Jan / 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

It is important to know what someone is thinking and feeling when your goal is to build constructive relationships through leading, coaching, selling or hiring. People often attempt to suppress their emotions. But there is “leakage,” known as micro expressions, which occur in 1/5th of a second. In this unique communication program, you will experience a special video tool and hands-on coaching to help you increase EQ as you learn to spot these emotions.

These potent skills are based on 40+ years of research by Dr. Paul Ekman. In the past, training has been kept to law enforcement and security firms. Organizations who use these detection skills across the globe include the CIA, FBI, Interpol, Department of Homeland Security, Scotland Yard, Emirates Airlines and more.

Now business professionals can adopt these potent techniques and leave this training experience and better manage the feelings of others. Regardless of job roles, learners can see an increase in their influence and communication skills.

7 Deadly Sins of a Proposal

Speaker Names: Jason Thomson, Instigator, Strategist, Jigsaw
Session Date / Time: Monday 27- Jan / 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Join industry pitch master Jason Thomson to discover the strategies and secrets to building a better sale. The veteran of more than 500 sales and pitches for incentive, events and experiential, Jason jostles the entire industry with the disruptive approaches to consultative selling, including Design Thinking, relationship building and strategic creativity. Today, Jason helps global leaders like MCI to understand, approach and win business with an original, powerful and replicable process.

Design Thinking: Solutions vs Outcomes

Speaker Names: Marla Everett, Account Manager, Travel and Transport
Session Date / Time: Monday 27- Jan / 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Everyone is talking about Experience Design in our industry, but how do we put it into action? Utilizing the engineering process of Design Thinking (Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test, Implement), this session applies design thinking to incentive design to ensure that the goals of multiple levels of stakeholders are met with a real solution and a memorable experience. Without the discipline of design thinking, you may have an outcome, but was it what you had anticipated?

Big Ideas That Will Knock Your Socks Off!

Speaker Names: Marilyn Barefoot, Founder, Barefoot Brainstorming
Session Date / Time: Sunday 26- Jan / 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Innovative ideas are like oxygen.They energize. They stimulate.They nourish. But where do great ideas come from – and how do you get them? Through training and research, Barefoot Brainstorming has developed a process guaranteed to produce big ideas – BigStorming®. During this high energy, hands-on session, guests will learn and apply a number of unique brainstorming techniques that are guaranteed to generate big ideas that will knock your socks off!

Pause. Think. Create.

Speaker Name: Dennis Hodges, Creative Catalyst, Creatalyst LLC
Session Date / Time: Monday 27-Jan / 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Designed for anyone seeking inspiration, this workshop will teach you how to easily spark your creativity in just a few minutes a day.

The session begins with an inspirational talk that explains why it’s difficult for us to leave our connected devices alone. I share – through anecdotes and stories – ideas for how and when to take a pause away from devices. The talk includes examples of breakthroughs in science and design that came as a result of others taking time away from devices just to think.
Then, referencing primary research from a global study I conducted, the positive impact on one’s motivation, satisfaction with life, and creativity as a result of taking time to pause and think becomes clear to the audience. The audience can easily adopt these ideas, which helps them de-stress and enjoy the moment.

The second part is a workshop that applies the concepts from the talk. I teach an easy-to-learn and proven non-linear thinking technique designed to draw inspiration from within and help the participant capture ideas quickly.
Pause, think, create sounds so simple – and it is – and yet it seems to be increasingly difficult for most of us to achieve in our personal as well as professional lives.