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Can You Afford NOT To Have An International Meeting or Incentive!

Euro usdI want to warn you this is a mathematical blog post for international incentives and meetings, please don’t turn off because it will give you and your clients some real saving opportunities for your next international program.

Exchange rates in Europe and the United Kingdom have been dropping and now is the time to buy your international incentive/meeting!!!

As of 20th January 2015 vs 20th January 2014 The Euro vs USD and CAD enables clients in USA and Canada to receive about 15% and 8% more for their program respectively in exchange rates alone.  In the UK, the exchange rate has been a little more stable vs the USD and CAD enabling clients in USA and Canada to get about 6% and 1% more respectively in exchange rates alone!

So what does this mean in reality?

Clients Paying in US Dollars:

  • A EUR£100,000 program in 2014 cost about USD$135,600 and in 2015 the same program would cost USD$115,800 in exchange rates – a saving of US$19,800
  • A GBP£100,000 program in 2014 cost about USD$164,200 and in 2015 the same program would cost USD$151,600 in exchange rates – a saving of US$12,600

Clients Paying in Canadian Dollars:

  • A EUR£100,000 program in 2014 cost about CAD$148,700 and in 2015 the same program would cost CAD$139,000 in exchange rates – a saving of CAD$9,700
  • A GBP£100,000 program in 2014 cost about CAD$182,100 and in 2015 the same program would cost CAD$180,000 in exchange rates – a saving of CAD$2,100

MICEport’s DMCs in Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Germany, Austria, Italy, UAE, Oman can ensure that that your program not only works within your budget and exchange rates but more importantly fits in with your goals and objectives of your program. Our DMCs throughout Europe and the Middle East have an average of 26 years in business.  Learn more about our DMCs at www.miceport.com.

Can you afford not to bring your incentive meeting to Europe and Scotland?

UP Next: Next Wednesday we will be covering some of the Tax benefits you can receive for meetings and incentives in international destinations.

All of the opinions in this blog are used as examples and are based on exchange rates based on 20th January, 2015 information. Rates and pricing is subject to change and is only used to exemplify potential savings.

 

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New Year – New Look – New Concepts – New Business – Old Values

New Year 

Happy New Year and I hope that it will be a successful, happy and healthy New Year!

2015 has started with a bang here in MICEport and we are really excited about the changes that are coming down the line for international meetings and incentives from North America.

New Look

We have redesigned our website (www.miceport.com) to reflect the changing nature of our international meetings and incentives Scotland websitebusiness from North America. Our new website reflects our business divisions and services as well as hopefully making it clearer and easier to navigate.  We are hoping that it will allow you to get the information that you need quicker and easier and if not, let us know.

Our largest division is MICEport DMC which is a collection of international boutique destination management companies (DMCs) from Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Italy, UAE, Oman, Germany and Austria.  MICEport’s DMCs are in business an average of 26 years, so they have seen and created some of the most amazing incentive and meeting programs in their respective countries.

New Concepts 

anymeetingWebinars – We worked with our business partner, Anymeeting.com last year to test out some webinars and the response from North American buyers was fantastic! So we have invested in the technology to bring 30 minute webinars to the North American market including “Meet the DMC” series as well as city and country specific information plus unique program ideas in their respective destinations.

We do not expect this to replace face-to-face meetings and we will continue to be active throughout North America visiting meeting and incentive professional but it allows MICEport and our international DMCs and clients to get to know each other. This will give clients and partners better understanding of objectives as well as showing the great quality and experience MICEport and our partners have to offer.  It also enables us to create a relationship with each other – which is obviously the starting block for any successful business.  There are many more new concepts for 2015 and we will share them with you in future postings. Click here for up and coming webinars.

New Business – Old Values 

Matthew McElroyDespite all the changes that are happening within MICEport such as webinars, tradeshows, new offices etc, we are still sticking to our core old business values of quality, respect and service to  customers and partners alike.  We want to be PARTNERS with select buyers and suppliers to ensure that goals are achieved and exceeded in all aspects of any program

Have a wonderful 2015!!

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in DMC, Incentives, MICEport DMC, Technology, Webinar

 

“Meet the DMC” MICEport’s DMC in Ireland

WTGMICEport’s DMC in Ireland is Wallace Travel Group.

Wallace Travel Group was founded in 1972 by Derek’s father in Westmoreland Street, Dublin, Ireland. They moved to their current location in 1982 from where they started to build a substantial business travel company.

In 1989 Derek and his wife, Colette, bought the business and began the long process of achieving the goal of a small specialist travel company dedicated to providing excellence in travel management services. There followed many years of exciting growth especially in corporate travel with a professional focus on travel management, creative incentive and motivational travel and meeting management.

DerekWallace Travel Group goal is to become the best, most creative and committed DMC to the MICE sector. Their dedicated specialist young team bring energy, dynamic creativity and great personal commitment to the design and delivery of exceptional Ireland Experiences. Our success is based on understanding client’s challenges, listening carefully to clients needs, and then drawing on our wealth of their experiences to bring you imaginative and cost effective solutions throughout the isle of Ireland. MICEport is proud to be Wallace Travel Group’s representative in North America.

To learn more about Wallace Travel Group and MICEport DMCs other partners click here

 

Tuesday Tech Day: “Would you like to pay to watch the movie on this flight? – No thanks!”

I know that I may sound like a complaining traveler but I promise I am not…However, it does bother me to pay for headphones or to watch movies on a flight.

Well, we think that we have found a solution, “Griffin SkyView Travel Seat-Back Mount”! We all travel with tablets or iphones etc and sometimes we don’t always get upgraded or our boss won’t fly us in business (he, he).

The Griffin SkyView Travel Seat-Back Mount may be the answer – Amazon has this for sale for $23.99 and we think that it’s well worth it!

This is how it works:

  1. The basic clip snaps onto your mobile device;.
  2. Attach your device to the latch on most airplane/train seat-back tray tables;
  3. Then read your book and look at your movies.

Enjoy!

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These are MICEport’s opinions. We are not endorsed by this company or by any other company for this product. This is for information purposes only. We take no responsibility for consumer experiences.
 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in MICEport LLC, Tuesday Tech Day

 

Tuesday Tech Day: Bitrix24

MICEport started using the FREE version of Bitrix24 about 2 months ago and it has enabled us to work with remote staff much more effectively on multiple international and domestic projects, so we wanted to share our insights into this great piece of software.

What is it and how much does it cost?

Bitrix24 is a united work space which handles many aspects of daily operations and tasks for staff. It is a mixture of a social platform combined with project management which makes true collaboration a breeze! The costs of Bitrix24 are below:

Bitrix24 1

 Social Intranet

This feature has been especially useful from a collaboration and team building perspective.  It allows teams to be social with each other about work projects that they are involved in.  Whether members of the team are in New York, London, LA, Chicago or Houston. There is also an activity thread which enables all team member to be updated on activities within the company. The calendar feature is really useful because you can break it down to work group access (for deadlines) and as a general announcement tool.

Bitrix24 2

Announcements

We love this feature! It allows everyone to be aware of each team members announcements if required and it appears on their activity feed. Announcements are shown in the light yellow block in the top right corner of the main page. Announcements remain visible to users until they mark them as read.

Bitrix24 3

Project Management

Bitrix24 has extensive organizational features which enhance efficiency at the personal and group levels. Project management features of the product are embedded in the ‘groups’. Any project can have a dedicated group where all of the files, discussions, and tasks pertaining to that project are stored and accessed only by those users who are relevant to the project. 

Work Group

Any combination of team member can be collected into a workgroup which contains all the social networking and organizational tools needed to optimize operations and utilize the highly efficient communications methods available in Bitrix24. Each group is like a miniature intranet, that not only stores important files and data, but which serves as a platform for discussions, tasks, tracking, and planning.

Instant Messenger

LOVE THIS FEATURE! This is great for our remote members. The internal messenger delivers system notifications and instant messages. All messages are saved in a history and are indexed by the search function, and the most recent messages appear at the top of the list. 

Desktop App

We have found this to be an essential and easy part of our everyday business. Install the Desktop App to communicate with colleagues outside your browser. The Desktop App contains the Instant Messenger with a contact list, online indication, group chat, and file sync with your personal files in Bitrix24.

Bitrix24 4

 

CRM

This is also a great feature, where the interaction and the history of contacts are managed and stored. All new events (phone calls, messages, meetings) connected with a contact or company are easily logged and further interaction can be planned, including by using integrated tasks.

A quick look at the sales funnel gives an immediate account of transactions in progress and their respective stages. Stages can be added easily and each one appears in a separate line and different color. We don’t use the invoice function within the CRM function.

Conclusion

At the end of the day we have just started using Bitrix24 and so far we love it!  Initially it was a little cumbersome to set up but we soon got the hang of it.  The most important part for us was to ensure that the teams could see what they needed to see but also to eliminate things that were irrelevant. This software has been especially useful for international projects and team members in different time zones.  We hope you found this useful.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Technology, Tuesday Tech Day

 

Ireland: Ashford Castle Glorious Restoration

Ashford

MICEport’s DMC in Ireland – Wallace Travel Group – suggested that we look at Ashford Castle and we are so glad that they did… Wallace Travel Group has worked with Ashford Castle for many years for incentives and meetings from North America.

Ashford 1An extensive restoration and enhancement program is underway at Ashford Castle in County Mayo to return this stunning, historic building to its former glory. Having acquired the castle in June 2013, Red Carnation Hotels a family-owned collection of 16 luxury award-winning hotels is meticulously working to preserve Ashford’s history and charm while enhancing its guest facilities and levels of luxury and comfort.  The program takes a three-phased approach and the first magnificent, all-new eight guestrooms have been completed and can now be revealed.

The eight rooms, in the Victorian and East Wings, include the grandest suites in the castle. The rooms have been lovingly furnished by a dynamic design team headed by Mrs. Beatrice Tollman, Founder and President of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and her daughter Toni Tollman. Each room is individually decorated and designed, featuring a luxurious mix of furnishings and original artwork, fit for any King or Queen. With carefully sourced antique furniture, exquisite fabrics, bespoke carpets and marble bathrooms, the luxurious rooms have been sensitively conceived to complement the ambiance and tradition of this iconic property.

Ashford 2The second stage of the refurbishment is now completed. This stage focused on the hotel’s existing public areas and 30 further guestrooms. In true Red Carnation style, no detail will be missed and meticulous attention is being brought to this important project.  Behind the scenes, the castle’s kitchens will be moved and completely rebuilt on a different level closer to the dining room, facilitating a more efficient and timely service for future diners.  The already stunning 350-acre sprawling estate will also receive tender love and care as required, from the walled and herb gardens, to the tennis courts, falconry center and stunning nine-hole golf course, the drainage of which will be completely overhauled to ensure that guests can enjoy it all year round.

The third and final phase of the renovation will take place from October 2014 – March 2015, during which the remaining guestrooms will be completed. Subject to planning permission approvals which are still pending, the subsequent renovation plans for phase three also include the installation of a 32-seat indoor cinema, a billiard room and a cigar terrace, as well as a children’s game room, further increasing the hotel’s appeal for all ages and seasons. These new facilities will help to ensure that the castle, with its array of enhanced outdoor activities including falconry, horse-riding, water sports, clay pigeon shooting, catch-and-release fishing, hiking, golf and tennis, is also a haven of indoor enjoyment and decadence for all ages.  The hope is, also subject to appropriate planning permission, that a magnificent, full service spa and large indoor heated pool will be part of the ambitious enhancement of the castle and will reinforce Ashford Castle as the most luxurious destination hotel in all of Ireland.

Ashford 3

To support the enhanced offerings at the hotel, the staff levels will be significantly increased, boosting employment within the local area. Remaining a constant throughout the entire refurbishment program will be Ashford’s award-winning General Manager Niall Rochford and his fantastic team. Mr. Rochford has presided at Ashford Castle for nearly 12 years and was recently awarded the prestigious “Hotel Manager of the Year 2013” by the Irish Hospitality Institute Founders.

Ashford Castle celebrates its 75th anniversary as a hotel in 2014, so it is timely that a significant part of the comprehensive restoration program will be complete for this auspicious landmark. The renovation will protect and enhance this iconic property for the next 75 years, and beyond.

For more information on Wallace Travel Group and all the opportunities that exist for groups, meetings and incentives in Ireland, contact MICEport in North America on (215) 253-8924 or inspireus@miceport.com www.miceportdmc.com

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in DMC, Ireland, Wallace Travel Group

 

Tuesday Tech Day – Brookstone’s Mobile Pocket Projector

I love technology and one of the things that I have recently started to use is this Brookstone Projector.  The projector is great for presentations and even showing some movies or promotional materials at events.

  • Projects bright, sharp images up to 80″ diagonal,Accepts 1080p and 1080i video input,
  • Rechargeable and portable,
  • Connects via HDMI cable to most smartphones, tablets, computers, video players, cameras,
  • 2 hours on a single charge,
  • Dual built-in speakers and focus control,
  • Rechargeable battery doubles as a USB backup battery for your smartphone devices,
  • Includes HDMI cable, Micro HDMI adapter, Mini HDMI adapter and AC adapter.

BrookstoneI would really suggest to get the tripod and the adapter so that you can put it straight on the desk and connect to your ipad, iphone, PC etc. It is definitely worth the money. Here are some more details. The cost of the projector is $299 but I am sure that they have some specials from time to time. For more information click this link HDMI Pocket Projector

If you are using any great technology that makes your life easier while working with meetings and incentives, please let us know at inspireus@miceport.com

If you need any information on international Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events and MICEport’s International DMCs please contact us in the USA on inspireus@miceport.com or take a look at our website www.miceportdmc.com

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in MICEport LLC, Technology

 

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IRELAND: Authentic Incentive Experiences – Ballyknocken Cookery School

Ballyknocken House and Cookery School

Catherine Fulvio is a TV chef, food writer and owner of the Ballyknocken CatherineHouse and Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ireland. I had the pleasure to first meet Catherine in Ireland in 2005, while I was working for Tourism Ireland in New York. Catherine introduced me to her cookery school and beautifully restored the Ballyknocken Guest House, which dates back to the 1700s. That tour of the property and culinary experience still resonates with me, as I have recommended it as a unique travel destination. Catherine’s expertise and hands-on insight on Irish cuisine, melded with the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside, is an impressive experience for any visitor to Ireland. Almost a decade since my introduction, Ballyknocken House and Cookery School remains a wonderful destination and overall experience for the North American MICE market.

Incentives and Meetings Ballyknocken House

teamMICEport’s DMC in Ireland, Wallace Travel Group, has worked to create wonderful fun-filled team building days at Ballyknocken for North American clients. Travel groups can experience the beautiful countryside of County Wicklow, ‘The Garden of Ireland’, (about 45 minutes from Dublin City Center) and participate in cooking classes in the converted Milking Parlour on the farm (pictured here). Ballyknocken offers a spacious setting for team building activities, such as bodhran (traditional Irish drums) workshops, tin whistle classes and Irish Dance demonstrations. These activities, coupled with the culinary world’s “Taste of Ireland”, illustrate a very real and authentic experience for groups.

Two Programs in One

Many incentive clients operating programs in the Dublin area sometimes seek a ‘town and country experience’, while remaining close to Dublin airport. Wicklow offers that freedom for the group. Some clients schedule three days in Dublin city, followed by two or three days in the countryside. There are some great properties in the Wicklow area for medium and large groups, such as the new Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection and Druids Glen Resort, just to mention two.

Ballyknocken’s St. Patrick’s Day Gift ~ Luck of the Irish!

Brown Bread imageWith St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken House was so gracious to send a little bit of Ireland to North America with her Great Grandmother’s Brown Irish Soda Bread recipe – Download Ballyknocken Soda Bread Recipe. How lucky are we to have such an authentic Irish culinary experience right in our own kitchens? Please send us a photo of your bakery delight to our Facebook page. Thank you Catherine!

More Information

For more information regarding incentives and meetings in Ireland, please contact MICEport at inspireus@miceport.comwww.miceportdmc.com or our USA office at Tel: (215) 253 8924.

 

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Ireland – Some Personal History

Well I hope you will indulge me today as it is my Dad’s 67th birthday today and I would like to share a few stories to kick off MICEport’s “Greening” for St. Patrick’s Day.

Both my parents are from Dublin and they were both brought up during an interesting time in Dublin. It may be seen as  a ‘new phenomenon’ that Ireland has been successful with some major brands but as my family history shows, Ireland was a very vibrant country in the past and still is to this day. 

Finlaters

Dublin and her people are full of great stories and characters. My Grandfather, shown above (Matthew ‘Mattie’ McElroy) was a ‘Senior Traveler’ for a wine Merchant called Finlaters and ultimately to the Board of Finlaters. Some of Finlaters most important wine customers at that time were the four leading hotels—the Russell, Hibernian, Shelbourne and Gresham, Jammets restaurant, the Dún Laoghaire yacht clubs, the Common Room in Trinity College Dublin and the city’s gentlemen’s clubs. Most notable for Finlaters was the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Some of these hotels and venues are now great destinations for incentive programs for North American groups.

My Dad Graduated from the Dental Hospital in University College Dublin, now based in Trinity College Dublinlibrary (founded in 1592).  Trinity now offers such a great destination for a final evening gala in Dublin as well as the famous Book of Kells and The Long Room.  Some of the notable graduates of Trinity College are Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde to mention just a few.

On my Mother’s side of the family, my Great grandfather worked for a gentleman in Rathmines, Dublin called Sir Howard Grubb (pictured below from my Grandfather’s collection).  The Grubb Telescope Company gained a great reputation for quality optical instruments. Grubb was also known for building accurate electrically driven clock drives for equatorial mounted telescopes. Some of the telescopes produced by Howard Grubb include the 27-inch refractor for the Vienna Observatory (1878), the 28-inch refractor at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich – the UK’s largest refractor (1893).

ESBDuring the First World War the Grubb factory was in demand for the production of telescopic gun-sights and during this time he was credited with perfecting a periscope design for Royal Navy submarines. During the Easter Uprising in Ireland Sir Howard Grubb left Ireland and moved to England.  My Great Grandfather then moved to work in Guinness and as was tradition in most Dublin families – if you got into Guinness then your Children moved into it also, as my Grandfather and brother did before he moved to the ESB (Electrical Supply Board).

Shelbourne

It is wonderful that history is brought to life now for international incentives and meetings The Guinness Storehouse has a fantastic exhibition, meeting space and The Gravity Bar (giving a 360 degree view of Dublin).  Following my mention of the Easter Uprising in 1916, The Shelbourne Hotel has a draft copy of the Irish Constitution in 1922 which was drawn up in the Shelbourne Hotel in room number 112, now known as the Constitution Room (pictured above).

For more information on Groups, Meetings or Incentives in Ireland, contact MICEport on inspireus@miceport.comlook at our website at www.miceportdmc.com and like us on  Facebook

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!

 

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IRELAND: Getting Ready for St. Patrick’s Day

Patrick's Day CardWith St Patrick’s day approaching, Tourism Ireland is once again undertaking the Global Greening initiative where monuments and tourist sites from Petra to Niagara Falls to Italy, Germany, Dubai and many more (Shameless plug… MICEport represent DMCs in Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Dubai and Oman).

Ireland has been such a great destination for so many years for Meetings and Incentives.  As we all know Ireland is famous for its Guinness and the Craic (fun) but even more than that, Ireland has so many different sides to her from her people to her landscape.

The Irish are always welcoming and eager to show off their land and to that end I want to show off too!  Some people may think that Ireland may just be the ‘old quaint’ Ireland and yes it is that – but it is lot more than that two dimensional view – Ireland is a welcoming, unique, modern, progressive nation with a hunger for success.  Not only are we proud of where we come from but where we are going.  Here are some things that I feel that Ireland is proud to have given to the world, obviously the list is endless but I just wanted to give you a reminder:

  • Business: Over 380 USA & Canadian companies are based in Ireland;
  • Musicians: U2, The Chieftains, The Dubliners, The Coors, Christy Moore, Enya, Sinead O’Connor, Van Morrison;
  • Poets & Playwrights: WB Yeats, Oscar Wile, Thomas Moore, James Joyce, Austin Clarke, Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Swift;
  • Actors: Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Brendan Gleeson, Gabriel Byrne, Peter O’Toole, Stephen Ray, Colm Meaney, Maureen O’Hara.
  • Iconic Drinks: Guinness, Jameson, Bushmills,
  • Films:  Michael Collins, The Van, The Tailor of Panama, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, The Commitments, The Italian job to mention a few
  • World heritage sites Brú na Bóinne –(An archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne dating from 3800-2200 BC)  http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/659  Giants Causeway Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean on one side and a landscape of dramatic cliffs on the other, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it.

Irish breadOkay – I think that’s enough bragging so with St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, why not have an authentic experience and give this Irish soda bread recipe a go you can purchase it here in the USA from King Arthur Flour

Go on MICEport’s Pinterest page to see where some of the mentioned places are for your next meeting or incentive with MICEport’s great DMC in Ireland, Wallace Travel Group, which has been in business since 1972.

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This is Ireland

 

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