Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our 15th-But who's counting

Isn't M&C Magazine suppose to notify you if you have won the coveted "Gold Service Award"?
For the 15th time?
Because planners vote on the winners.
And because Bond and Becca are REALLY good at service!

You know we were inducted into the M&C Mag Hall of Fame in 2007.

And we don't advertise with them anylonger . . .

What a nice early Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Social Networking isn't for kids

42% of people online now use social-networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

More than half of social networkers log on at least once a day and the majority log on several times a day.

The majority of users log on at home but I think they are lying to the surveyers. I think most log on at work, but that's just me.

About 19% or over the age of 55.

And the majority of all users are women between the ages of 35-54.

I really don't know what I think about all this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great Meetings Facts

According to the latest surveys;

What's most important when selecting a meetings destination?

1) Overall affordability
2) Drive access
3) Air access
4) Relationship with the CVB
5) Nearby amenities and attractions

WOW! That sounds just like Lexington

22% of the meeting planners polled have recently traded up to a property that was typically to pricey.

Meeting pros were asked: for which of the following items are hoteliers most willing to make concessions?

Guest Room Rate 63.9%
Room Rental Fees 48.5%
F&B Costs 44.3%
Attrition Fees 37.1%
Cancellation Fees 23.7%

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Great Travel Facts

If you rent a car, spend the night in a hotel and eat dinner, what would you pay in taxes?
NY, NY $34.90
Dallas $37.26
Orlando $25.12
Portland $21.49

Lexington, KY $16.89

"We'll never substitute for face to face interaction, but there are alternatives that can ease the strain for some travel.There will be growing demand for alternative, affordable solutions. Ignore this, or assume things will spring back to the way they were, at your peril."

Top Ten Subjets for International Meetings in 2008
1) Medical Sciences
2) Technology
3) Science
4) Industry
5) Social Sciences
6) Education
7) Law
8) Economics
9) Management
10) Transportation

are you suprised or do you even care . . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fun Facts

Top Five Must Have Amenities in Hotel Rooms
1. Wireless internet
2. Complimentary breakfast
3. Pillow-top mattress
4. Pillow choices
5. Free parking

Hotel fees and surcharges before state and local taxes will total an estimated $1.65 Billion in 2009-that's more than airlines have collected in baggage fees over the past four quartes.

Highest per diem lodging for Federal Employes-$209 in NY City

Highest average business expense per day in the US-$450 in Manhattan
Highest average business expense per day Internationally-$517 in Moscow
Average business expense per day in Lexington-$141

Friday, October 30, 2009

Top 10 Things To Do in Lexington

As you might expect in the Horse Capital of the World, we have horses! But in Lexington's Bluegrass Region, there are hundreds of exciting things to see and experience.
Here's our Top 10 list to get you started.

1.See over 50 breeds of horses at the Kentucky Horse Park.

2.Try your luck at Keeneland Race Course during a race meet, or tour the grounds year round.

3.Meet our four-footed celebrities in their own homes on a Horse Farm Tour.

4.Indulge in delightful Dining at one of our world-class, independently owned restaurants.

5.Visit four period Historic Homes of the area's most famous citizens.

6.Wander through the restored Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, the largest in the world.

7.Discover world-class Shopping in the heart of the Bluegrass.

8.Celebrate the living history of Kentucky Bourbon at four historic distilleries: The Woodford Reserve Distillery, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses and Wild Turkey. These aren't just "visitor experiences"! These are real working distilleries.

9.Explore the scenic beauty of horse farm country with the Bluegrass Country Driving Tour*. Call 1-800-845-3959 and I'll mail you our most popular map.

10.Enjoy shops, galleries, restaurants and historic sights in historic Downtown Lexington .

Friday, October 16, 2009

HIlton Grand Opening

When I arrived in Lexington the first week of April 2005, I made a startling discovery.

What a fantastic Convention Center! This city just needs the two hotels that are connected to the center to be equally as fantastic. The future is here.

We previously welcomed the Hyatt Regency Lexington into the fold and now the the Hilton Lexington Downtown has arrived. This is truly a tremendous package.

The renovation is nearly complete and at the center of it all is a three story water feature that will surely become the talk of the town. More than 10,000 mosaic pieces, 3800 gallons of water an hour and 3000 manhours later-viola-a stunning centerpiece. Congratulations to all!
No we just need to sell the heck out of it!!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009


It must be official. The Radisson is gone and the Hilton Lexington Downtown has arrived.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Nothing announces a new season like the Opening Day of Keeneland. The fall racing season will see a few changes-like post time at 2:15 on Friday(opening day only) followed by Swinging at Sunset!
The first weekend is also FallStars Weekend and features $3.25 Million in purses for Nine Stakes Races. WOW!
Of course I have 6 couples coming down next week for our usual-folding chairs on the apron, on the rail, at the finish line. Now that's hangin' at Keeneland. Now if I only had some folding money . . .
Our favorite day in the fall is Military Family Day. I have never felt so good losing so much money. See the troops on Sunday the 25th.

Good Luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Latest video for the Hilton Lexington

Click on the title and you'll see what all the commotion is about . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kelly Ripa: I love Lexington - Latest News -

Kelly Ripa: I love Lexington - Latest News - "Lexingtonians, Kelly Ripa thinks we're the smartest people on the planet.
On Monday morning's episode of the TV chat show Live With Regis and Kelly, Ripa talked briefly about her weekend in Lexington for the U.S. Equestrian Federation Pony Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park.
'I just have to say, to everybody in Lexington, Kentucky,' Ripa told the audience of the syndicated talk show, 'you are the smartest people on the planet because that is the prettiest place on Earth. My gosh, it's gorgeous.'

Kelly Ripa gave a shout-out to Lexington on Monday's Live With Regis and Kelly. Magazine spotlights fashion designers' home
Ripa's daughter Lola Consuelos competed in the small hunter pony division of the Pony Finals.
To see the video of Monday's episode of Regis and Kelly, click here. The shout-out to Lexington comes about 16 minutes, 23 seconds into the opening chat with guest co-host Ashton Kutcher."

WEG Test Events

July was crazy around here! The Kentucky Horse Park has completed their New Indoor Arena AND hosted two major test events-Vaulting and Reining.

Most of you have never heard of either. so let me fill you in.

Reining-Western type horses are showcased in several approved patterns. Patterns include small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs, 360 degree spins done in place and the exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse. See above photos.

Vaulting-Both gymnastics and dance elements are combined and performed to music on a cantering horse. It requires a harmonious relationship with the horse and the outstanding physical condition from the vaulter.
If this is any indication, the 2010 Games will be AMAZING!

Monday, June 8, 2009


What an amazing day we had last Friday! Several of us went to Denali Stud to visit the latest addition to the sales team. 419 She was born April 19, 2009 (hence the name) and is certain to be a real asset to the team.

419 will be the focus of our marketing campaign for the next 18 months, or so.

She certainly is cute! Her mother is Serena's Song and sired by Unbridled's Song.

Serena's Song won 18 of 36 stakes races in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Unbridled's Song won the Breeders Cup Juvenile in 1995 and the Wood Memorial and Florida Derby in 1996. With a pedigree like this, I am sure she will remain at Denali Stud for a long time.

Gary Walsh is the farm manager at Denali and is super to work with. He has been very generous with his time and actually acts like he is glad to see us. Gary-thanks.

I took a lot of photos while we were there and will publish them somewhere else on this page.

I'll post more after our next trip to Denali-I can't wait!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Future is Almost Here

I came back to Lexington a little more than four years ago after being gone for some 20 years. What I found surprised me. The little old convention center was brand new and certainly not little any longer. It looked more like very nice hotel convention space with all the latest technology. The layout is well thought out and is very workable yet very flexable. It has the second largest ballroom in the state of Kentucky (18,000 sqft). And the interior design is quite sophisticated.

I also found something else that surprised me. The Hyatt Regency Lexington and the Radisson Hotel had not changed in the last 20 some years. Unless you call decomposing a change. As I looked around at the convention package I had been charged to sell, I started to pray for two hotels that match the quality of the center. Somebody answered my prayers.

The Hyatt Regency is just wraping up a $32Million renovation and it looks FABULOUS. This is a view of the lobby and certainly conveys a warm sense of arrival.

The Radisson has made an even bolder move. In addition to a $16M renovation, the are changing flags. Later this summer they will officially become a Hilton Hotel! They are currently part of the Hilton organization (reservation system and HiltonHonors).

The interior work is underway and the public space will rival the Hyatt Regency and the Lexington Convention Center. The picture below is a 20 panal photo by Doug Prather and will change 4 times a year (seasonally). It is located on the convention floor landing, just above the lobby.

As more work gets completed at the "Soon To Be Hilton" I'll pass pics along. In the meantime, you better reserve your space at the Hyatt, Hilton and Center before dates are all GONE!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Off Message but on Task

I fully understand the premise of this blog, but I seemingly need to digress. In preperation to the games, I have felt the need to upgrade the way I (we) view competetive events from the luxury of my (our) home . . . what I am saying is, I (we) finally pulled the trigger on a big screen tv. . Now, I am not one to fool around and I didn't this time. I did an enormous amount of research and decided on a Panasonic 46" HD Plasma (TC-P46G10). The local retail outlets are not going to carry this model so I ordered from Critchfield ( Great price, no tax, free delivery by two guys who brought into house, set up and took packing away. Perfect.

Blu-Ray also needed to be part of the package and I (we) bought one, too.

Please pay attention now because this is the entire point of this article.

If you are to connect all the components correctly to ensure the very highest quality picture and sound, conventional advertising says you should pay up to $100 per cable (I needed 2 HDMI and 2 Fiber optic cables) in addition to the normal speaker wires.

But hold on there. The reviewers at said "we strongly recommends cheap HDMI cables widely available from online retailers instead of the expensive counterparts sold in your local electronics store". They went on to refer me to where I place an order for the 4 cables and they cost $5.77 each and were in my mailbox 2 days later.

So what's my point? I don't have one other than I love my new TV.

Monday, April 27, 2009

One Down!

The first test of the Kentucky Horse Park was a resounding success. The brand new Outdoor Arena was amazing. The participants were unanimous in their praise of the footing. Superior was the least of the adjectives.

Australian rider Lucinda Fredericks on Headley Britannia was the eventual victor after a flawless ride in the stadium jumping. A standing room crowd of over 16,000 watched as Bettina Hoy of Germany came in second and Buck Davidson, the only American in the top 5, on board My Boy Bobby, finished third.

The cross-country element on Saturday saw more than 40,000 spectators on a near perfect day.

19 International Federations were on hand to witness how the KHP fared for this first event in the new stadium. If you ask me, they passed with flying colors!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ready, Set, Go!

Keeneland's spring meet ends on Friday. That means the Rolex Three Day Event,the only 4 Star equestrian event in North America, starts Thursday and the new outdoor arena gets dedicated on Wednesday afternoon. Wow, what a week.
We were given a private tour of the new Outdoor Arena and the new Indoor Arena last week and The Bluegrass and the entire Commonwealth should be very proud. They are spectacular to say the least. I am sure the total investment in the park sounds excessive but we will be reaping the benefits for years. This isn't just about the world Equestrian Games, its about a legacy. But in the meantime-go to Rolex-you've got to be there!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spotlight Lexington Festival

The world is coming to Lexington in just 18 short months ( a long month?). Thousands and thousands of people will be here with freshly minted cash! Perfect! Nothing beats a recession or depression like thousands of visitors with money to spend. That's a stimulus package.

The festival will begin September 24 and end on October 10. Each day the festival will host activities at three vacations; Courthouse Plaza, Triangle Park and Cheapside Park. Medal ceremonies will be held each evening and all competitions can be seen on a jumbo screen located at Courthouse Plaza.

Of course, no real festival can exist without branded merchandise and all kinds of merchandise will be available soon. Stay tuned for more info on where to buy.

The most promising aspect of the festival is the willingness for it to become an annual event. Hear, Hear. More great festivals are a good thing! Legacy events are measured on what remains after the event is over. This should only increase the legacy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Post Holiday Blues(?)

Wow-they're over. 'nuf said.

I know this isn't about Lexington, but you have to love Roland Burris. The newly appointed Junior Senator from Illinois. He's going to Washington no matter what. He left yesterday and, bless his heart, flew Southwest on his own dime. Regularly elected officials should take note.

And what about the BCS. The Utes can't ever be #1 since they are not in the correct conference. They'll be lucky to be ranked #3. Come on Obama. Withhold some cash from BCS schools till they see the folly of a no playoff system.

Sunday starts the 43rd Annual Meeting of PCMA! It will be my 16th since 1992. I have missed only Nashville, San Francisco and Boston. This will be the fourth time NOLA has hosted the event. Side discussions should prove to be interesting. The economy and a new administration will definitely enhance the usually boring sessions. That's not a slam on the sessions. Everyone knows we attend PCMA for the other conversations we find ourselves in. One of the most productive moments for me was when I butted in on Bob Battel and Mickie Schaeffer and their discussion of the Certified Ambassador Program, which we later adopted. Thanks Mickie!

Congrats go out to my sales team. They exceeded their stretch goal for 2008 and set an all time booking record. Way to Go!!! I hope they are ready for their 2009 goals . . .