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60% of attendees at MICE event in London expect digital disruption to industry

A poll of a mixed group of buyers and suppliers of solutions and services for business Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events, has indicated an expectation of digital disruption in the industry. The event – the sixth hosted in 2 years by M.I.C.E.-in-the-bag was held in London at The Marriott, Regent’s Park, The Hilton Paddington and…

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60% of attendees at MICE event in London expect digital disruption to industry

A poll of a mixed group of buyers and suppliers of solutions and services for business Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events, has indicated an expectation of digital disruption in the industry.
The event – the sixth hosted in 2 years by M.I.C.E.-in-the-bag was held in London at The Marriott, Regent’s Park, The Hilton Paddington and Millenium Gloucester hotels. It included businesses from a broad range of European countries including Greece, Malta, Slovenia, UK, Germany, Spain and Holland. The events are invitation-only gatherings between MICE suppliers and budget-approved buyers.
In a discussion between representatives of the whole supply chain hosted by Shift Actions’ Justin Roux, 60% of the audience believed that a significant digital disruption could be expected inside the next 5 years.
This followed a unanimous show of no hands when asked if there was sufficient clarity of needs and mutual understanding up and down the supply chain. Only 2% of the audience felt there was too much complexity in the industry and none felt that a MICE-specific digital solution currently existed.
Other concerns included the effects of Brexit, emerging destinations and a need for qualified B2B meetings of the MICE-in-the-bag format.
Commenting on the results, Justin Roux of Shift Actions consultancy said: “There is clearly tension in the supply chain that MICE-in-the-bag aims to ease with its clever event formula. But, on a global scale, existing market-place platforms such as Expedia are simply not suitable for business-scale events because the risk and funding models are totally different to leisure travel. There are doubts as to whether a market-place solution is a workable solution but the attendees have certainly voiced a need for change.”

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Austin Adventures adds lineup of top Western guest ranch vacations

BILLINGS, MT – Challenging times call for creative solutions. Looking to expand its award-winning portfolio of naturally self-distancing, nature-based, small group vacations for adults and families, Austin Adventures only needed to look to its own backyard for the perfect solution – the Western guest ranch vacation.In partnership with Best Ranches in the West, Austin Adventures…

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Austin Adventures adds lineup of top Western guest ranch vacations

BILLINGS, MT – Challenging times call for creative solutions. Looking to expand its award-winning portfolio of naturally self-distancing, nature-based, small group vacations for adults and families, Austin Adventures only needed to look to its own backyard for the perfect solution – the Western guest ranch vacation.In partnership with Best Ranches in the West, Austin Adventures has added 14 first- class guest ranches to their lineup of offerings. Founder and President Dan Austin and his Montana-based team drew from their personal knowledge and regional experience having hosted and operated adventures throughout the West for the past 40 years. With careful vetting and personal experience, they have bestowed their highest mark of approval on each property in this exclusive group of all-inclusive guest ranches situated in some of the most spectacular settings in the West.In 2020, many North American guest ranches saw a surge of bookings from families needing to come up with safe alternatives to their cancelled cruise and international vacation plans. Austin recognized this trend early and in January began the steps to include ranch vacations in its 2021 line-up. It was, “a long overdue addition” in Austin’s words.Knowing safety will be top priority to today’s traveler, Austin emphasizes the natural and healthy style of this type of vacation alternative that also embraces carefully planned and recently enacted COVID-19 mitigation protocols:All are in wilderness-adjacent locations that are isolated and remoteChef-prepared, fresh and locally sourced foods and wines of the regionOpportunities to indulge in a variety of outdoor recreational activitiesThe natural social-distancing that horseback riding providesAdhering to the highest standards of housekeeping, service and maintenanceA rare feeling of exclusivity with VIP pampering, service and experiencesThe ability to combine a ranch stay with a road-trip to avoid flying Austin Adventures’ Guest Ranch Collection for 2021 will include these highly coveted ranch properties across the West: Tanque Verde Ranch – Tucson, AZWhite Stallion Ranch – Tucson, AZTombstone Monument Ranch – Tombstone, AZ Rancho de la Osa – Sasabe, AZKay El Bar Ranch – Wickenburg, AZLatigo Guest Ranch – Kremmling, COSylvan Dale Guest Ranch – Loveland COWestern Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, IDRunning Y Ranch Resort – Klamath Falls, ORZion Mountain Ranch – Zion National Park, UTSpring Creek Ranch – Jackson, WYBrush Creek Luxury Ranch Collection – Saratoga, WYThe Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch – Shell, WYParadise Guest Ranch – Buffalo, WY “We look forward in the months ahead to welcoming to our portfolio other outstanding properties that meet our criteria,” Austin adds. The Guest Ranch Collection is expected to grow with the addition of one or two new offerings a year.

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IEG, the Palacongressi di Rimini successfully carries off the first fully in-person event

RIMINI – As is customary, participants arrived from all over Italy, as well as some from abroad. They were all certainly very happy to finally be able to meet up in person. The Grand Lodge 2020 meeting of the Grand Orient of Italy, held from 11-13 September at IEG’s Palacongressi di Rimini was proof that…

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IEG, the Palacongressi di Rimini successfully carries off the first fully in-person event

RIMINI – As is customary, participants arrived from all over Italy, as well as some from abroad. They were all certainly very happy to finally be able to meet up in person. The Grand Lodge 2020 meeting of the Grand Orient of Italy, held from 11-13 September at IEG’s Palacongressi di Rimini was proof that it could be done: getting back to “normal” for in-person conferences and events, respecting the Covid19 safety measures and precautions, which have by now become daily practice in our lives.The event that took place, for the 20th consecutive year at the Palacongressi in Rimini, was in complete attendance without having to resort to hybrid formulas, and recorded numbers not very far off past years – about 1,500 participants – and was organised without significant changes to the usual format. The Sala della Piazza was set up as per usual to host the Temple of the Grand Lodge, with a rich programme of conferences, and cultural events such as exhibitions and book presentations. The traditional socialising lunches and dinners were also confirmed.Italian Exhibition Group, with the fundamental collaboration of its catering partner Summertrade, confirmed its signature professionalism and experience when faced with even the most complex challenges, responding to customer needs and requests. The location of the Palacongressi, with its flexibility, large open spaces and advanced technological equipment, guaranteed immediate answers, which would not have been possible elsewhere.”The synergy between our structure and the GOI – explains Director of the IEG Event & Conference division, Fabio De Santis – in applying all the association rules and institutional protocols on Covid19, was fundamental and guaranteed an event in total safety, demonstrating with facts and figures that conferences and events can be held in the presence of more than a thousand people, without mass gatherings”.

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Intrepid launches new retreats for parents and children as family travel booms

NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a…

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Intrepid launches new retreats for parents and children as family travel booms

NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a quarter of the top 25 itineraries booked by its customers globally over the past three months have been family-themed tours, compared to just 12% during the same period last year, indicating a desire for families to go abroad in 2021 after months spent distancing.Currently, the top family trips booked globally are all based in Africa and Asia, including the South Africa Family Safari with Teenagers and a family tour of Vietnam, while North American families are also interested in adventures in the Middle East, particularly Jordan and Egypt.“After months spent indoors away from friends and classmates, we’ve seen families are eager to get out and explore the world once it is safe to do so, and have a desire to reconnect with both nature and like-minded people,” said Dyan Mckie, Intrepid’s family product manager.The four new Family Retreats, based in Morocco, Turkey and England, will have groups immerse themselves in one location in handpicked accommodation with nearby experiences. This new tour style celebrates ‘slow travel’ and allows adventurers to engage with the surrounding communities away from the crowds and in a more controlled setting. Each itinerary has been designed to benefit local communities affected by the pandemic, while also providing enriching activities for children and parents who have spent the majority of 2020 indoors due to the pandemic. For example, in Turkey, families will visit a sea turtle rescue center – supported in part by donations from Intrepid travelers – to learn about conservation efforts and rehabilitation. In Morocco, they’ll break bread with a local Imazighen family in their village, getting an insight into daily life in the High Atlas region.The new Family Retreats include:Turkey Family Retreat: FethiyeThis tour has families reconnecting with the natural beauty of the world with a retreat that celebrates nature, wildlife and local cuisine. In addition to visiting a  a turtle rehabilitation center, they’ll also enjoy the clear, blue waters of the Mediterranean and enjoy an easy hike through the stunning mountainous terrain between Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach. Travelers will also learn some new family favorites in a traditional meze cooking class with locally foraged produce. Morocco Family Retreat: Ouirgane The calm and comforts of Amazigh (Berber) hospitality await on this retreat to Ouirgage, on the edges of Mt. Toubkal National Park. Travelers will leave the modern world of Marrakech behind and journey to a home away from home to enjoy time to reconnect with their family. Families will hike the hills through small villages and farms, hang out with the locals, try their hand at making some iconic local dishes and enjoy a pool overlooking the mountains.England Family Retreat: CornwallTravelers will explore England’s southwest coast, soaking up the views of sun, sand and sea from their family-run accommodation and during walks through the history and nature of this proper ‘ansom section of Cornish countryside. Also included is a private yoga and wellness session and a visit to a small, family-run bakery that makes Cornish pasties the traditional way.England Family Retreat: Peak DistrictFamilies will enjoy Britain’s first national park and explore its forested valleys and small stone villages threaded by walking trails during this new retreat. Based out of the quintessential country town of Castleton, travelers will walk their way to the scenic villages of Bamford and Bakewell, along the banks of the River Derwent, passing farms, woods, cottages and more, while stopping along the way to grab a tea in a shop that supports, and is run by, the local community.Due to the continued demand, Intrepid also has plans to launch several family-focused tours within the U.S. and Canada later this year for those who can’t or won’t feel comfortable going abroad yet.Each tour will operate under Intrepid’s new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travelers will complete a health screening at the start of the trip and be required to wear masks in certain settings, in line with local laws and regulations. Groups are accompanied by a local leader who has received specific COVID-19 training, which covers hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, PPE as well as supplier monitoring. In preparation for travel to resume, Intrepid recently introduced a new Flexible Bookings policy to make travelers feel at ease when booking their holidays, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip with no change fees.

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