Category Archives: Creativity

Travel is the Greatest Teacher

MICEport’s philosophy on travel is that it is the greatest teacher! Not only to learn new cultures but also to learn from each other. Isn’t that why meetings and incentives are so important for companies? You can’t do everything from a computer, from a telephone or through webinars – we have to meet, learn and experience.

This is exemplified in Dubai at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). The SMCCU opened in 1998 to help visitors gain a better understanding of the culture and customs of the UAE. SMCCU invites guests to take part in their activities, including a range of Arabic classes, heritage tours, and guided mosque visits.

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is located in a beautifully restored wind tower house in the historic Al Fahidi District in Bur Dubai, the centre offers a range of activities, from traditional cuisine to conversations with local Emiratis. It’s motto is ‘Open Doors, Open Minds,’ and isn’t that the thing we strive for in all of our meetings and incentive!

SMCCU is where groups can ask questions such as why the native women of the UAE wear black while the men wear white? What happens inside a mosque? Do you want to try a traditional Emirati meal? MICEport feels that SMCCU is definitely a great and an essential part of a program to UAE. It breaks down barriers, preconceptions and misunderstandings. Understanding the local traditions adds depth and meaning to any group visiting from UAE.

UAEGroup attendees can ask any question – no matter how sensitive and they will be answered – it is a great experience!

For our groups we can have a traditional Emirati breakfast, lunch, or dinner and you’ll start with a guided walking tour of the historic Al Fahidi District. Then take a seat on Bedouin-style carpets and pillows and enjoy a selection of traditional dishes while your local host answers the groups questions.

Contact MICEport for more information on groups, meetings or incentives to UAE. MICEport’s DMC in UAE is Incentive Connections. Perfection and innovative programs would be two words to describe Incentive Connections programs in UAE. Contact us and see our website at


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ITALY: A Unique Restaurant Experience for Groups

Italy is all about history, exquisite, unique and authentic experiences, love and food! Well experience all this and more with MICEport DMC partner in Italy, Studio ITER. As an example of this, North American groups can visit a very special and unique Roman restaurant in the stunning 1 star Michelin restaurant, AROMA.

AROMA is located within the premises of the enchanting Manfredi Palace (Palazzo Manfredi) where Chef Giuseppe Di Iorio brings his modern cuisine, choosing the freshest ingredients while keeping an eye on tradition.

AROMA has a contemporary dining room overlooking the Colosseum and Emperor Nero’s Gardens and is quite simply a magical rooftop garden restaurant.  Before dinner, guests can enjoy a cocktail on the lounge bar terrace overlooking the Colle Oppio (Emperor Nero’s gardens).  The stylish decor is welcoming and relaxing, whilst the glass observatory offers an all-year round dining experience, perfect for North American incentives and meetings.

Contact MICEport DMC for your next incentive or meeting to Italy with our DMC partner, Studio ITER at or go to our website at

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About MICEport

MICEport is a strategic sales and marketing firm partnering with Destination Management Companies in Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Germany, Austria, Italy, UAE, Oman and Morocco. Our DMC Partners can ensure that that your program not only works within your budget but more importantly fits in with your goals and objectives of your program while offering a truly unique and authentic experience. Our DMCs throughout Europe and the Middle East have an average of 27 years in business and are all owner managed companies  Learn more about our DMCs at


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Small Things Count …

I think that it was Vincent Van Gogh who said  “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”. This was definitely exemplified when I was recently in the United Arab Emirates with MICEport’s newest DMC based in Dubai, Incentive Connections.

Dubai airportThe team at Incentive Connections really do think of everything.  When I came off my transatlantic flight at 11.00pm local time, they were there to meet me – not a driver – but 3 team members! Incentive Connections always have a minimum of two people to meet and greet their groups.

Once outside the terminal, our car was parked very close by with a cold towel and ice cold water. I am not saying this to be a highly demanding person, rather it was so appreciated because there was nothing else that I wanted other than an ice cold drink and to feel refreshed. I really did feel like a VIP but I was quickly told by the team that “this is the way we meet all our groups” – wow…this is a partner who really knows clients and superior customer service.

hyatt-regency-lobbyWe made the short transfer to Hyatt Regency Dubai where the Incentive Connections team gave me a welcome gift of a silver scroll and the loan of a cell phone while in the UAE. Once again this is standard practice for the team who present these two items to a group leader.

A cell phone may appear to be a small thing but it was an invaluable item because it enabled us to be in contact with each other when we were not together or needing to co-ordinate. This was a great experience by Incentive Connections who really do believe in the small details to create a unique and exceptional experience in the UAE for incentive and meeting groups from North America.

MICEport is proud to be a partner of Incentive Connections in North America.  For more information or to submit an RFP please email us at

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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Creativity, DMC, Dubai, Incentive Connections


Hello Scotland’s Driving Forward

SUVs at Duntreath

MICEport’s DMC in Scotland, Hello Scotland, has launched a new activity for North American incentive planners to consider when choosing Scotland for their next group, Driving Forward.

Hello Scotland have created an activity that gives any incentive guests the opportunity to see parts of Scotland that the average group does not get to see; and best of all is that the choice is theirs.  Scotland packs a punch for incentives, partly due to wildly dramatic scenery along with huge amounts of history and endless things to do and see. Hello Scotland’s Driving Forward gives the chance for the individual to take things into their own hands by driving themselves to experience aspects of Scotland that are of interest specifically to them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe beauty of Driving Forward is that every group and individual gets a bespoke experience. Perhaps the intrepid incentive group could head north from Glasgow in a fleet of self-driven SUVs or classic cars taking them into the real Highlands and the stunning Glencoe, Scotland’s most spectacular glen (or mountain). Here a stop could be arranged to enjoy a sumptuous posh picnic complete with butler, or for those who like the wild side of life, a dip in the crystal clear river in Glen Etive. Hello Scotland would recommend following a swim with a dram of Island Malt (non drivers only) or hot chocolate and some home-made Highland oatcakes to warm them up again….then it’s back on the road looking for the next adventure! Before long the guests could be looking out at the islands off the West Coast of Scotland, but that’s up to them…

MICEport's DMC in Scotland Hello ScotlandBill Thomson who set up Hello Scotland nearly 18 years ago said ‘It is perhaps typical of most destinations to focus on the same areas and same properties or venues for incentive groups, and whilst the programme content may vary slightly, the ingredients used tend to be quite similar. By no means is this a criticism as Hello Scotland also subscribes to this habit, but in order for our ingredients to change, we need to “Drive Forward” into different areas of what is after all a small country. By doing this we change everything!’

Sláinte to ‘Scotch’ at The Balmoral Hotel!

The landmark Edinburgh 5 star hotel The Balmoral has yet another reason for
incentive guests to stay, a brand bar. However, this is no ordinary bar, this is a whisky bar with the largest collection of purely Scottish whiskies in Edinburgh, Sláinte to Scotch! (Sláinte is a word translated as “health” in Gaelic and is commonly used as a drinking toast in Scotland).

Seating at ScotchWhen a member of the Balmoral’s team was asked for help in finding a good whisky bar, it occurred to them that what they believe is the most iconic building in Edinburgh, should be able to offer Scotland’s iconic product in house. Thus, Scotch was born. With over 400 whiskies available from across the regions of Speyside, Islay, Campbeltown, the Highlands and the Lowlands, there are a variety of blends, malts and vintages dating back to 1940 available. With this amazing bar Scotch now open within its historic walls, The Balmoral Hotel can now offer incentive guests an authentic space for whisky tastings. Or perhaps just a gorgeous place to enjoy Scotland’s national drink..….it would be rude not to!

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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Creativity, DMC, Hello Scotland, Scotland


Ben Franklin – Think Differently?


MICEport’s offices are just 30 minutes from Philadelphia and I thought it was a great time to reflect on some of Ben Franklin’s quotes.  They are still meaningful to our industry and many other industries today.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.” – Ben Franklin

One of the things that we try to instill within MICEport is to think differently about international Meetings and Incentives from North America.  We are constantly looking at new ways to be able to show how international incentives and meetings are an essential part of business.  The greatest thing that we can do is to travel and learn from different cultures.

Although MICEport has only been in business two years, we have been so fortunate to have some fantastic DMCs that we represent in North America from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy.  These DMCs have on average been in business over 15 years and I have been struck by how creative and how they push themselves to find new and innovative programs for meetings and incentives in their respective regions. If they stayed the same and pushed out the same programs year after year, why would anyone be a return customer?

“When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” 

I think that this is a great quote – after the banking collapse here in the USA we had to rethink how we undertook incentive programs, how are they perceived etc – we had to change and I believe we have come out with more creative ideas and programs – whether they are mixture programs such as “concentives” (conference and incentive) or a new way to run a great sales incentive. I have always said to myself “I always want to be out of my comfort zone, if I am not, I am not learning”.

I sometimes wonder though, whether we become complacent with comments such as “well we have a preferred agreement and we have for years”, to me that is not good enough for a client.  I think it is up to a supplier or buyer to find the best supplier for our clients and sometimes that isn’t necessarily the supplier that has been with you the longest or who isn’t pushing new ideas all the time.  My point is that we should have our preferred agreements but new ‘preferred agreements’ may surprise and excite us and our clients…remember when you are finished changing you’re finished.

In conclusion having solid partners and relationships are the cornerstone of our business, but the way that we partner and work together are just as important. Whether our processes, our practices or our relationships I think that its important that we are always open to thinking differently and looking for new and innovative programs for our clients.

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