New Orleans Host Industry Elite for 2012 Global Events Partners Executive Summit

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From high tech apps for iPads to low tech magic markers for inspirational messages, attendees at the Global Events Partners Summit in New Orleans left with a host of memories.

“We wanted to come back and see the rebuilding of the city,” said Chris White, chairman and CEO of GEP and Krisam Group

Global Events Partners ( GEP), the leading partnership of Destination Management Companies (DMCs) worldwide, held its annual Executive Summit in New Orleans from June 28 to July 1. GEP co-hosted the event with BBC Destination Management, a Global Events Partner and welcomed more than 200 meeting professionals from more than 70 destinations worldwide.

The participants came from across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia to discuss industry concerns, learn about new destinations, network, meet with prospective DMC partners, and enjoy the social and cultural offerings of New Orleans – including an 8 block private parade down Canal and Bourbon street for the final evening. This was the second summit to be held in New Orleans, the first was in 2005, just five weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit.

“We wanted to come back and see the rebuilding of the city,” said Chris White, chairman and CEO of GEP and Krisam Group, during the opening evening at the host property InterContinental New Orleans, A Krisam Group Member. In welcoming remarks to Summit attendees, Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, described Hurricane Katrina as a wake-up call for the city and an opportunity not to put the city back the way it was but “to rebuild it to be the city we always wanted to become.”

Topics among the business sessions were:

GEP Tech Talk
Presented by Kevin Brewer, Destination King and Dahlia El Gazzar, Dahlia+
This popular interactive session covered the latest in technologies useful to planners and shared survey results on what apps, social media tools, audio response systems and other new technologies are being used in meetings, and the pros and cons of each. Among apps discussed were tools for travel and hotel arrangements, screen-sharing, event planning calculators, digital filing cabinets, and community builders.

Hip Hot Spots - Long Haul, but Worth the Flight!
Updates on new venues, hotel openings, expansions and service offerings from 20 of GEP’s DMCs worldwide.

By Michael Cerbelli, Partner & President, Go West Cerbelli
A fast moving session of brand new trends for the 2012 – 2013 season from the latest in entertainment, to amenity options, theme and décor ideas and branding suggestions

Innovative Communication – How to Harness Your Creativity!
Presented by David Fischette, Chief Executive Officer, Go West Creative.
In this energetic session, Fischette demonstrated some simple ways to unleash creativity to better communicate ideas in more exciting, effective and powerful ways.

DearWorld – an Evening to Remember

“As a seasoned Event Planner with 70 countries under my belt, I have seen a lot of ‘wows’ throughout my career. However, this past week I was reminded that sometimes the simplest moments captured in your own backyard can be some of the most powerful,” wrote Kim Hester, Senior Account Executive, JNR Incorporated, in a blog describing one experience from the Summit.

She was referring to DearWorld, the brainchild of Robert X. Fogarty, a New Orleans photographer. It started as a love note to New Orleans and has expanded throughout the world. As guests entered the room for dinner, they were given washable black ink markers and asked to write a short inspirational message on their skin, something they wanted to tell the world.

They were then photographed displaying their messages. Most wrote on their hands and arms, some on their backs, and some on their faces. Messages ranged from the touching to the cryptic to the humorous including “ I will watch your back,” on a back, of course; “Live each day;” “Be kind to animals;” and one telling where to return the guest if he was found under the weather.

At the reception the next night, to the surprise of the participants, all 200 plus photo portraits were shown on a wall at five-second intervals. Kim Hester again, “A truly extraordinary moment that I will never forget, and a reminder that incentive travel is not merely about going to fun places. It is about those shared experiences that touch our hearts collectively and bring our spirits together.”

The Summit was also the stage for GEP’s announcement of the 2012 Partners of the Year, an annual award presented to an International and a US-based DMC that embody the standards of GEP, demonstrate exceptional customer service, and use creativity in the pursuit of excellence. For the first year, two winners were awarded in each area. The 2012 winners were:

Catherine Chaulet, senior vice president, Best of Boston
Marty MacKay, president, GEP Destination Management Washington
Denis Kalinic, managing director, Adria Events Ltd., Croatia
Stefan Herzl, president, Panorama Tours & Travel, Austria

Social highlights of the conference included:

  •     Airboat Adventures
  •     Life in the Old South
  •     National WW II Museum with 4D Movie Experience
  •     Cookin New Orleans Style
  •     Reception & Dinner at The Mansion at Mardi Gras World

The next GEP Executive Summit will be held in Greece July 11-14, 2013, hosted by Horizon Travel, A Global Events Partner.

About Global Events Partners (GEP)
Global Events Partners provides national sales support for 65 of the top destination management companies (DMCs) in 92 locations worldwide. Since 1999, GEP has built its reputation on choosing DMC partners with extensive local knowledge and proven expertise in the design and execution of successful meetings and events.

GEP offers a unique "one-stop" solution for meeting planners through its sister companies Krisam Group ( and PRG. Krisam Group’s dedicated professionals are authorized to provide national sales support for more than 250 distinctive hotels and resorts worldwide. PRG is a full-service production company.

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Kathleen McDermott
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