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04/14/08
Group Business, Education, and Networking Headline the Spring 2008 Elite Meetings Alliance
Top hoteliers and meetings planners succeed in booking group business at the Elite Meetings Alliance hosted by Elite Meetings International
(SANTA BARBARA, Calif., April 8, 2008)—The Spring 2008 Elite Meetings Alliance held March 30-April 1, 2008, in Ojai, California, earned rave reviews from participants for its balance of one-on-one business meetings, educational seminars, high-profile speakers, and social gatherings that fostered new relationships.

The invitation-only three-day affair, held at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, brought together 140 of the industry’s top planning professionals and representatives from Elite Certified hotels in the western U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Highly respected speakers added highlights throughout the event, including Dave Austin, speaker and mental performance coach, who opened the event with advice on adopting a can-do mindset in today’s changing world. Day Two of the event opened with speaker Sam Glenn’s lighthearted look at the importance and benefits of humor in daily life. PGA Tour instructor, author, and speaker, Dr. Joe Parent, concluded the event with strategies to master the mental game of life and business.

Educational breakout sessions conducted throughout the Alliance included a seminar by Jack Phillips, Chairman of the ROI Institute and author or editor of some 50 books. Phillips laid out the importance and methodology of measuring return on investment (ROI), a highly anticipated topic among many of the planners in attendance. A seminar, given by Roxanne Langer, owner of WineFUNdamentals, addressed wine selection, etiquette, pairing, and ordering. Theme dinners, a lively after party, and contests held throughout the event provided fun-filled networking opportunities.

This fifth Elite Meetings Alliance for the company also featured a first. The Alliance built in a daylong, closed-door Planner Forum before the event. The 20 pre-qualified planners in attendance were selected on a first-come, first-served basis and discussed topics ranging from innovations to best practices.

Elite Meetings International CEO, Kelly Foy, said, “This Alliance ranked as our biggest and best event so far. Judging from the feedback we’ve received to date, we succeeded in our goal of creating a productive working environment backed by fun networking opportunities. That’s important to us, because we believe the foundation for good business is good relationships.”

Along with speakers and educational sessions, the agenda included one-on-one appointments in which planners met with hoteliers to discuss and book business. Michelle Marsee of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino said that the event “exceeded all of my expectations, from the great quality of meeting planners to wonderful sessions and networking events. I brought home 4,600 total room nights in viable leads, and I do believe that more are yet to come.” Paul Krause of Ivy Hotel also generated business at the event saying, “I will probably end up with five or six signed groups by the time all is said and done.”

Planners, too, found the event both productive and enjoyable. Although the final tally is not yet in, a full 94.44 percent of attending planners say they have booked or expect to book business with participants they met at the event. Cristina Sufrim of Ingram Micro Canada said, “The experience was extremely rewarding. Congratulations on a highly informative and impeccably organized event where event planners benefit a lot.” Susan Brandvold of AmeriCold called it a “great experience— much better than trade shows where you never get one-on-one time with the properties”

The next semiannual Elite Meetings Alliance will take place September 7-9, 2008, at The Sagamore in Bolton Landing, New York. It will feature top properties from the eastern regions of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and select properties from the Caribbean and Atlantic islands—plus corporate, association, and incentive planners ready to book business in these regions.

Elite Meetings International is based in Santa Barbara, CA, and connects top meeting and incentive planners with the best hotels and resorts in North America through their annual publication, Elite Meetings magazine and semiannual event, the Elite Meetings Alliance. Additionally, the company’s Web site serves as a vehicle for luxury properties targeting this highly qualified audience, and is provided online as a complimentary and comprehensive resource. For additional information, please visit www.EliteMeetings.com or call 805.730.1002.