Thursday, September 23, 2010

Its ONE to GO!

Well, its almost here. Before I start posting activities from the Kentucky Horse Park or downtown Lexington, you need to see this. Damon Farmer is a world renowned Sand Sculptor and is creating a 20ft, 100 ton sand sculpture at Lexington Green. He started build the structure this morning and I will keep you up to date on his progress. You can also follow his progress at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

They're Back: Horse Mania Deux

In 2000, LexArts brought Horse Mania to the streets of Lexington. Area businesses and organizations sponsored the 79 fiberglass horses that were decorated by local artists and served as public art throughout the summer.

Now the popular project has returned with 82 horses that are on display starting Thursday in Horse Mania 2010. Horse Play, a companion project gave school children an opportunity to create foals that are currently on display at Lexington public libraries.

Bringing back the Horse Mania project, which was one of the most successful in Lexington's history generating $1.6 million in revenue, was a no-brainer.

People have been asking for (Horse Mania) back since we took the horses off the streets. Bringing it back only seemed like the natural thing to do. Plus, with the addition of Horse Play, it all becomes a great way to promote public art awareness and raise funds for charities.

The public art display creates a "walking tour" that brings people to the city.

The horses and foals will be on display for the duration of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The horses will be auctioned off at Keeneland on Dec. 11. Proceeds will go to local charities and LexArt's developing public art program.

The foals will be sold at auction in 2011 with proceeds to be divided among each school's art program, Lexington's Youth Arts Council and related programs.

Here is the link for locations and this mornings gallery of photos.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

100 Reasons to Come to the Games

100. You get to walk on the bluegrass. It’s pretty famous in Kentucky.
99. You know that saying “When pigs fly?” Horses actually do fly here…over jumps.
98. Because trail riding is fun, but horses do much cooler things at the 2010 Games.
97. You get to meet someone from a different country, or actually, more than 60 different countries.
96. Single men, two words: International visitors.
95. Single ladies, we’ve got cowboys. With boots and hats. Some even have a southern drawl.
94. You can get horse training tips from world famous equine clinicians.
93. Because you can have a place to party…outside.
92. You can practice using a foreign language with native speakers.
91. Because tickets to the Games are better than anything Santa could ever bring.
90. You get to see horses of every color and size.
89. We’ll have beer. Kentucky Ale to be exact.
88. You can see horses in Kentucky doing something other than run in a circle.
87. Because you’re wondering exactly how one place can hold so many horses and people.
86. The Iron Chef will cook for you. It’s the only time you’ll think even rabbit liver tastes amazing.
85. To buy that cowboy hat you know you’ve always wanted.
84. Don’t care for horses? We’ll have penguins.
83. Don’t like penguins? We’ll have sharks too. Both in the Alltech Experience Pavilion.
82. For the right price, you can sit in the Champions Club without having to vault, drive, or jump your way there.
81. The best rooftop gardener in New York City will be there. And guess what? He’s a Kentuckian!
80. If you’ve never made it to the Kentucky Derby, you can watch approximately 90 Kentucky Derbies at about one-third the speed. It’s called Endurance.
79. It’s the perfect horsey fix in between Keeneland’s Fall Sales and Fall Meet.
78. The Kentucky Horse Park will be taken over by an army. Well, we have 7,000 volunteers. That’s basically an army.
77. You can take your girl for a ride on a big green tractor in the John Deere sponsor pavilion.
76. It’s the biggest party in Kentucky this year. Don’t be the only one with nothing to talk about the morning of October 11.
75. Ever wonder how horses do stunts for movies? Equine Village demonstrators will show you.
74. The day doesn’t stop after the competition is over, Lexington will continue the celebration downtown at Spotlight Lexington.
73. To visit the state that makes 95% of the world’s bourbon…and then drink some.
72. Because no matter how crazy your friends are, they are never going to jump on the back of a cantering horse and then do a back flip. But our vaulting athletes will.
71. Our Driving teams bring a whole new feeling to the phrase “horse and buggy.” It’s a carriage—not a cart—and they drive like NASCAR’s best.
70. Because you’re an Auburn fan and you drove all the way here for the UK Football game. Or because you’re a UK fan who sold your Auburn tickets.
69. UK’s basketball season hasn’t started yet—which means our Jumping athletes will have the biggest “air” in town.
68. When your daughter comes home wanting a dressage pony, you’ll at least know that “dressage” rhymes with “garage.”
67. To cross Kentucky off your list of states visited.
66. The Kentucky Horse Park has 1224 acres of rolling bluegrass countryside. The 2006 Games in Aachen, Germany had 40 acres. Come see what we’re doing with the extra 1184.
65. Because your kids get in free.
64. It might be the only time you can have a world-renowned chef cook for you using items you might find at a Kentucky Farmer’s Market. We call it Kentucky Proud, and we’re proud of it!
63. Because you’ve heard someone say they use “Natural Horsemanship” and you have no clue what it is.
62. Not a world champion equestrian athlete? More than a dozen clinicians will be on hand to show you the reins. Or in the case of Stacy Westfall, to entertain you without reins.
61. To pick up some new dance moves. Dressage horses are more graceful than lots of people. Most people, actually.
60. Because if you only know about our bourbon you are missing out on our incredible Kentucky wines. Taste them in the Kentucky Experience.
59. Spend a day with your family for the same cost as a night at the movies. Fun, laughter, and memories required with purchase of your Grounds Pass tickets.
58. Because you can have your own bottle of Maker’s Mark personally dipped for you in our Makers Mark Bourbon Village Hospitality Pavilion. Where else will you ever see that signature wax melted?
57. The number of activities for horse-obsessed children is endless.
56. You have never been to a horse show, and doesn’t the saying go: don’t knock it till you try it?
55. Because you’re sick of watching sports that revolve around some type of ball.
54. You can spend all day outside…or 16 days outside.
53. Because you’ve never seen a horse up close.
52. How many times have you heard Wynonna Judd sing “My Old Kentucky Home?”
51. Because you’re looking for an excuse to pull out those cowboy boots from the back of your closet.
50. And if you don’t have boots you have to come put your feet in a pair of Ariat’s.
49. Roads have been created and widened just so you don’t have to fight traffic.
48. It is the first time the Para-Dressage will be part of the World Equestrian Games. Don’t know what Para-Dressage is? Come find out.
47. You get to watch riders play musical horses in the Rolex Top Four jumping competition.
46. You get to learn from top veterinarians and animal health experts.
45. Because weeknights during the Games will be far from boring.
44. Because you don’t have to be a jockey or a zillionaire to get a great seat.
43. Because there are airports in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati that can assure you get to the event as safely as the horses.
42. Following our athlete bloggers? Now is your chance to see them in person.
41. The most talented riders in the world will all be in one location. It’s your chance to see the best of the best compete against each other.
40. Ever heard of the champion racehorse Cigar? He’ll be there. And you can meet him in the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions.
39. Because if you can’t buy a real horse you can buy a Breyer.
38. We have over 30,000 friends on Facebook and they are definitely coming…don’t be left out.
37. Because our trade show is the only place where you can buy a treadmill for your horse and a watch for your spouse in the same shopping experience.
36. You get to shop…period.
35. There will be a sneak peak of the 2014 Games in France.
34. Because it’ll have more horsepower than that car you’re driving.
33. Our Para-Dressage athletes conquer every challenge—come be amazed.
32. Lexington has created one of the top horse venues in the world.
31. Because your experience at the Games will be timeless, just like a Rolex watch, the official time piece of the Games.
30. You can see the entire state in one place. All nine tourism regions will be in the Kentucky Experience exhibit.
29. Because horses run faster, jump higher and turn quicker than any human ever will.
28. During the Games, Lexington is going to be the talk of the horse world…don’t you want to be a part of it?
27. Because it will definitely give you something to tweet about.
26. You will make your child’s day, month and probably year.
25. Because you don’t know what the word piaffe means and you definitely didn’t know it is something a horse can do.
24. You have never seen a horse slide on its hind legs and look cool doing it.
23. Because you haven’t been to the Kentucky Horse Park.
22. And if you have been to the Kentucky Horse Park, you haven’t seen the Park’s newest addition. Find out about the Park’s Gift from the Desert.
21. Because Kentucky and the city of Lexington have prepared to make this event one to remember.
20. You can find out how Dippin’ Dots made ice cream into tiny, tasty pellets—the creators will be there!
19. Because some of the most beautiful farms in the bluegrass will be transformed into a 100 mile endurance course.
18. You can see a bond between a horse and a rider that you can’t see anywhere else.
17. Because Lexington has had a count-down clock running since December 29, 2007 and it will finally say 0 days to go.
16. You aren’t from Kentucky-or maybe you are- and you are wondering what this state has to offer…the Kentucky Experience will fill you in.
15. If you like taking photos you can fill a bookshelf full of albums with exciting snapshots from this event.
14. Because the Kentucky Horse Park is the only park in the world dedicated to horses.
13. We can bet you have never been to a horse show that has the world championships of eight disciplines held at the same venue.
12. September is the perfect time to take a little vacation.
11. Doesn’t everyone want to take a vacation?

And the Top Ten Reasons:

10. Because Lexington has been under construction since 2006 and it’s time for everything to finally come together.
9. You won’t get to see a World Equestrian Games again until 2014.
8. Because other world championship sporting events don’t have tickets for as little as $25.
7. You will be a part of history in the making.
6. It’s Kentucky hospitality. It’s what we do best.
5. You can spend your day watching the biggest horse show to hit this country and your night attending the best party in Lexington.
4. Because the Games have never been here before—and who knows if they will ever be back?
3. Kentucky is within a day’s drive of 2/3 of the U.S. population. Don’t believe us? We’ll see you in 12 hours. Loser buys a ticket to the Games.
2. Because you’re running out of time, tickets won’t be on sale much longer.
1. 16 days. Eight World Championships. The Horse Capital of the World. Isn’t that enough?

Now only 88 days to go!!!

The 100 Days to Go Celebration for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games was a hit June 17, and the Fifth Third Pavilion in downtown Lexington drew in hundreds of fans, residents and passersby to help celebrate the occasion.
Walking through the pavilion, visitors were able to grab themselves some Kentucky Ale; see pottery being made; view a Corvette inside and out; taste food from France, the host of the 2014 Games; eat free Dippin Dots ice cream and even pet a penguin.
In addition to booths, the celebration featured a fashion show showcasing 2010 Games Ariat apparel, a book signing by Jon Carloftis, world-renowned gardener, for his book Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky, and Alltech’s announcement of the line-up for the Alltech Fortnight Festival, a 16-day concert series to take place in venues around the state during the Games.

WLEX-18 anchor Nancy Cox emceed the festivities and both she and First Lady Jane Beshear sported 2010 Games apparel on stage during the fashion show. Mrs. Beshear spoke to the crowd about how excited she is to have the Games come to Kentucky, and how Kentucky will benefit from the Games.

The celebration featured many of the Games partners and sponsors including Alltech’s Kentucky Ale, Alltech Angus, The Kentucky Experience, Newport Aquarium, the Kentucky Horse Park, Ariat, Dippin Dots, Corvette and more. In addition, posters listing 100 reasons to attend the Games, brochures and ticketing information were provided.
As the festivities came to a close, so did one more day in the countdown to the Games. And with the 100 Days to Go celebration serving as just a taste of what the actual Games will be like.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Downtown Chaos

Can't wait for this to be completed. It will be New Lexington!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Think Like Your Customers Think

There's a very important line at the beginning of the movie The Godfather II.

Just after Michael Corleone, The Godfather (played by Al Pacino) gets shot at, he sits down his brother Tom Hagan and talks about an important lesson from his father.

One thing I learned from my father is to try to think as the people around you think...and on that basis, anything is possible.

If marketers only lived by just this one lesson.

Do you truly understand the pain points of your customers?

Do you understand what kind of information they need to solve those pain points?

Are you hanging out where you customers are hanging out online, so that you are in a position to help?

These things are not easy, but when executed, all things are possible.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are you an Expert?

I've heard this many times. Some marketing and communication professionals think that since the publishing of content is rather easy, there is little or no chance to truly create a remarkable message and unique story.
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. If you believe this, stop right now and follow this plan.

1. Your Content Strategy - The stories you tell as a brand do not just compete with your actual competitors. They compete with the niche trade magazines in your industry, the bloggers in your industry, Google and every other piece of content that your customers engage in. That means your content MUST be the best. It MUST be innovative. It MUST tell a unique and compelling story for you to be the industry expert. If it doesn't, you have work to do.

2. The Water Cooler - If only great content were enough. Content plus community is what gives fuel to the fire. Where are your customers at on the web or in person? That's where you need to be. Identify those key places, target the top five, and become a part of that community by offering consistently helpful information. Outsider content will bounce off your customers like a shield. Insider content engages, is accepting and creates real value.

3. The Major Tactics (book and blog) - It may sound cliché, but industry experts write industry books. Look at the key thought leaders in your industry. They all have books, don't they? They also have pretty compelling blogs. While both of these are tactical, these are "money in the bank" tools that show your expertise as an individual and a brand. If you (the brand) say that you are the experts in mechanical engineering for roller coasters, let me see the book. No book? Sorry, come back next time.

As the great Chris Rock says, "don't hate the player, hate the game." Are you an industry expert or not?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Last (?) Word on Social Media

Five Reasons Social Media Marketing Comes Last

There’s been a lot of talk lately about companies that are abandoning a website in favor of social media marketing. To me, that’s an experiment I believe will fail, because if there’s one thing I’m certain about, it’s that social media marketing should come LAST. Why would someone say that?

Because it’s true. To start with, social media isn’t a marketing platform. It’s a consumer platform.

Marketing platforms like advertising, direct marketing, and telemarketing are one-way communication platforms. A company creates the message, and delivers it creatively in hopes that the consumer will respond. The company is in control of the message – and the only voice consumers have is to “vote with their wallets” by acting on the marketing message, or not.

Social media is a consumer platform, where teenagers in Melbourne, customers in Minneapolis, and prospective buyers in Midlothian all have the same opportunity to voice their opinions, ask questions, and share experiences. Consumers are in control of the message, and they revel in their control. Marketers can join in the conversation, and help to shape the dialogue, but it is definitely not a place where traditional marketing methods work, and it is definitely not a one-way communication platform.

So why bother with social media marketing at all? Because it’s where your customers are turning for information about the products and services they buy. Consider Facebook alone. If it was a country, it would be one of the 25 largest in the world – smaller than the U.S., China, and India, but bigger than Indonesia, Israel, Denmark, and Canada. Over half of all consumers say that they have already purchased something – or switched to another brand or retailer – because of a recommendation they got through a social media site.

It is no longer a question of whether or not corporate brands should be participating in social media – it’s just a question of how they can use the new online communities to help them get the word out. This is where the confusion comes in. Social media is where the customers are – and you have to be there. So why shouldn’t you just scrap the old methods and jump headlong into the new medium?

Because social media is a great place to share information, and introduce consumers to your company and your products, but there are five important reasons that it comes LAST in your marketing plan.

1. Customers look for recommendations and reviews on social media – and then head to your website to make a final purchase decision. Your website is the place where you can SELL your products and services. Social media is the place where you introduce a potential customer to your brand.
2. You own and control your website, but you don’t own or control any social media platform. I’ve known people who were banned from Facebook or another social media site for violating a rule or policy – and sometimes for no apparent reason at all. When you get banned, you lose it all. All of your content, all of your contacts, erased in an instant. That just doesn’t happen with a website you own – and you make your own rules for your website, so you’re sure not to inadvertently break them! Even if your host comes crashing down in an emergency, a back-up can have you back on line in minutes.
3. Social media is a great amplifier – and it does just that. For something to be amplified, it has to exist first. So your brand identity, your marketing message, your logo and your content all needs to exist separately from social media, and be based on solid planning and execution, so that social media can amplify it.
4. Marketing platforms – advertising, websites, email, e-newsletters, PR, webinars, special events, catalogs, etc. – reach the audience you define. Social media reaches an audience that defines itself. The Toyota Scion XB is a good example – Toyota marketed the boxy car to hip urban dwellers in their 20’s – but someone’s grandmother discovered that it’s design was perfect for her arthritic knees, and the 55+ crowd started raving about the XB on social media sites. Now 60% of Scion sales are to those over 50. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. But what if a club finds itself besieged by underage fans who want to see their favorite band because a viral campaign didn’t clarify that it wasn’t an “all ages show”? You need both the controlled message and the opportunity to benefit from a viral buzz.
5. Social media is a broad platform – but it isn’t deep. It’s impossible to go into much detail in a 140-character tweet. And it’s almost as hard to go into detail in most other social media platforms. The best social media campaigns refer people to great websites, downloadable content, memorable videos, or valuable information.

So, for now, I remain convinced that a great website (or blog for small businesses) is the hub of any great marketing campaign. Traditional marketing is far from over – but it has evolved, and social media is a huge part of that. When was the last time you got a piece of direct mail that didn’t have a website address for you to visit? Every morning I listen to NPR (National Public Radio), and every morning the broadcasters invite me to tweet them my questions or fan their Facebook page.

Marketing today is the art and science (dare I say the Zen?) of leveraging multiple platforms to get your message across so that you can motivate people to take action. The goal is the same now as it was in our parent’s day. Only the tools keep changing.

Many thanks to Shama Kabani, the author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, which hits store shelves this week.

Friday, April 2, 2010

More Sage Advice

Companies that think they can replace the meotional connections of a get together with a webinar or a newsletter will quickly see a decline in the effectiveness of their workforce.

People like destinations and they like trips. They'll work hard to go . . . and they'll be . . . inspired when they return.

We can talk all day online. We can Skype, tweet and email every second of the day. I can create meaningful relationships with individuals on the other side of the globe. I can network wiht multiple industries. But, I will never have a the same appreciation for an individual until I meet them face to face.

Face to Face matters.

I've never been invited to the American Mensa Annual Gathering. Have you?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Face Time. It Matters

No amount of virtual connectivity will ever suffice because face-to-face provides things that online conversations can never deliver: touch, the complex emotional valences of expression and smell, inflection or tone of voice. The difference between a smiley face and an actual smile is too large to calculate.

Face Time. It Matters.

The average corporate worker spends more than 40 percent of his or her day sending and receiving some 200 messages. We check it in the car, we check it before bed and when we get up. We check it even in mid-converstion, assuming no one will notice. It goes with us everywhere.

Face Time. It Matters.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tourism-The Economic Engine

The travel community celebrated a major victory today when President Obama signed into law the first-ever national travel promotion and communications program to attract more international travelers to the U.S. The historic moment, commemorated during a White House signing ceremony, is a major step in addressing America’s decline in attracting overseas visitors to the U.S. during the past decade.
The Act is in response to worrisome evidence that the U.S. is losing ground to other countries in the global travel market. The U.S. welcomed 2.4 million fewer overseas visitors in 2009 than in 2000, and the failure to simply keep pace with the growth in international long-haul travel since 2000 has cost the U.S. economy an estimated $509 billion in total spending and $32 billion in direct tax receipts, according to the U.S. Travel Association. The Travel Promotion Act will counteract this trend by creating a campaign to promote the United States as a premier destination and explain changing travel security policies to foreign visitors.

“By signing the Travel Promotion Act, President Obama has acted to support the power of travel to serve as an economic stimulant, job generator and diplomatic tool,” said Roger Dow, president & CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “This program will create tens of thousands of American jobs and help reverse negative perceptions about travel to the United States.”
Dow thanks President Obama and Congressional supporters of this legislation, in particular Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), John Ensign (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Representatives Bill Delahunt (D-10-MA), Roy Blunt (R-7-MO) and Sam Farr (D-17-CA) who championed the bipartisan legislation over the last several years. “The strong bipartisan support for this bill clearly demonstrates consensus on the value of this tax-free stimulus for job creation and economic growth,” Dow said.

“We have already seen the benefits of a public-private partnership in states like California and Florida,” said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO, California Travel & Tourism Commission.
“Destinations and local communities across the country will benefit from a comprehensive national effort to market the U.S. A. brand. The Travel Promotion Act will help keep the United States competitive in the international marketplace.”
Oxford Economics estimates that a successful national promotion will yield $4 billion in new spending annually, create 40,000 new jobs and generate $321 million in new tax revenue each year. The Congressional Budget Office reported that the Travel Promotion Act would reduce the federal deficit by $425 million over ten years.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who Am I

In an effort to get to know each other a little better, I have devised this little game. It has nothing to dow with the Games or wiht Lexington. But it could be fun.

1. Device I would never give up... does a corkscrew count as a device?
2. Three things I can't live without... my debit card, wine and evidentially my wife.
3. My first real job was... paper boy.
4. I love watching... re-runs of NCIS. Which begs the question-Kate or Ziva?
5. I wish I had more... wine in the cellar. Or I guess what I really need is a cellar.
6. When I get home, I like to wear... sweats and a long sleeve tee. No pocket.
7. The best thing about being a parent is... watching your little girls become very strong women.
8. The worst thing about being a parent is... watching your little girls become very strong women and the prospect they will move on to lives of their own.
9. TWO important things I learned from my mother were... how to cook and faith in God.
10. TWO important things I learned from my father were... NEVER make your mom mad and you can do anything you want as long as you don't make your mom mad.

11. When I have an extra hour at home, I like to... nap
12. The location where I do my best thinking is... usually in the shower while I am planning for the day.
13. In the mornings... I head straight for the expresso machine.
14. I love to take vacations... and only worry about when is happy hour gonna start.
15. Something that really annoys me... automatic updates that insist I stop everything I'm doing to restart my laptop in order to continue working.
16. I make the best... veal picatta.

Now it's your turn! Want to share a little about yourself? Let's keep this moving and get to know a bit about one another!

Friday, February 5, 2010

She's leaving!

I know this is not really about the World Equestrian Games. It's not even about Lexington. It is only a little about me, in fact. It's about Emily. My youngest daughter.
She is leaving in the morning.
She is leaving the country.
She has a new job.
In another country.
And did I mention she leaves in the morning.

And I am very proud.

She is going to work at the Winter Olympics in Whistler, BC.

And she is leaving in the morning.

And I wish I was going, too . . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

What do Meeting Planners want?

What do meeting planners want? What makes them choose one city over another? And what can DMOs/CVBs and tourism boards do to make their destination the obvious choice?

The easy answer is they want you to customize your sales pitch to address their needs and concerns, offer added value and help them find creative solutions to the specific planning challenges they are facing. But before you can get there, you need to ask the planner a lot of questions, listen hard and develop a compelling story about why your destination is a perfect match for their group.

Here are some questions to ask and things to think about that will get you headed in the right direction.

What are the goals and reason for meeting? What needs to be achieved? How would being in your destination help the planner achieve those objectives and reinforce the meeting themes in a unique and meaningful way?
What are the group's needs? What are things that the planner needs to provide for their group? Is it airlift or easy drive-in access? Who is their audience? Do they need a specific kind of property, amount of meeting space, combination of venues or amenities? How can your destination best fulfill those needs?
What's the group's history? Have they met in destinations similar to yours? Why/why not? What was their experience (pros and cons)? What is the planner looking to improve on with this next event? How can your organization help them do that?
What do they know (or think they know) about your destination? Perception is reality. So, do they have the right picture, or do you have information they might find surprising? Where do you need to fill in the blanks?
What do they like about your destination? What do they perceive as your destination's strengths? Why are you being considered as a potential destination?
Who is the competition, and are your strengths evenly matched with theirs?
What reservations do they have? What would keep them from choosing your destination? Find that out and address those concerns, don't just take "no" for an answer. Don't ignore negative press or sensitive issues, either. You are in control of the story and whether it gets blown out of proportion. Engage in an open dialogue with the planner so they understand the context of negative reports and can determine if it's really an issue that would affect their group.
What kind of added value can you offer? The relationships your organization has with local hotels, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, educators, businesses and facilities are incredibly valuable. They allow you to create packages and programs that can enhance attendee education, promote cross-cultural understanding and create transformative experiences. What kind of value-adds can you offer that will help planners wow their attendees, and/or save time and money? Is there something that another destination is offering that they find more attractive? If so, find out if the group would commit to you if you could match or top it.
What kind of planning assistance do they need? Do you offer help with RFPs, arranging site tours and transportation, registration, housing, finding staff and marketing support? Let them know. Do they need help finding cost-effective options or creative function ideas? What do they expect from you in return for guaranteeing you the business? Find out and see if it's something you can promise and deliver. Be sure you know any deadlines the planner may be on so you can get them all the information and assistance they need in a timely manner.
How flexible are they? If there is the chance the group can save money by altering the pattern or dates of the conference, let the planner know. If they are stuck on a certain idea or vendor that you think might not serve the meeting objectives as well as something else that's available in your destination, how open are they to considering something different? See how open they are to collaboration and new ideas, but put their group's needs and goals first.
Above all, be honest. Is your destination really a good fit for this group, or are you stretching to find reasons to stay in the game? You don't want to set up an expectation that you and your team can't fulfill. It's in your best interest to be candid about venues, properties and vendors that may not be able to give the planner the standard of quality their group demands and steer them towards more appropriate suppliers.

By treating each meeting professional as an individual and addressing what their group's needs are, you lay the foundation for a strong relationship. If planners feel taken care of, they will feel comfortable trusting you with their group. So invest a little time in listening to what they have to tell you and figuring out how you can help them achieve their meeting objectives. The rewards may be greater than you expect.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Have you ever wondered why Lexington, KY has been named the Horse Capital of the World? While Lexington has long claimed this title, other states, even countries might dispute this.

Kentucky as a whole has approximately 320,000 horses of various breeds. This figure puts us 5th in the nation for horse population. Texas is number one with 600,000 horses. According to the USDA the world equine population is close to 58 million animals with the United States having about 11 million. China led the world in horse population until 2004, when their count decreased to 7 million.

Kentucky is the leader in the United States in the dollar value of its horses. They have $1.75 billion worth of horses and other equines that are bought and sold each year. Thoroughbred horses generate the most sales figures. The horse industry in Kentucky has a $4 billion yearly economic impact and generates over $8 billion in tourism. There are around 100,000 jobs directly and indirectly generated by the horse industry in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Horse Park puts Lexington, KY on the world map because 34 national associations use the National Horse Center as their headquarters. Visitors from around the globe come to the Kentucky Horse Park and many international equine events are held there every year.

For these reasons, Lexington is the Horse Capital of the World

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Games update DVD

If anyone is interested in learning more about the games, Alltech has produce a wonderful DVD showcasing the 2009 European Chanpionship. This DVD really explains the various disciplins and to learn what to expect when coming the the games in September.

Please let me know if you are interested and I will send as many as you request.