Page 12 - I&MI Media The Magazine 3/2012

12
micePLACES.com The Magazine
SEP/OCT 2012
COVER
STORY
continued from cover
European Capitals Retain Their Magic and Magnetism
reasons are many, but three in particular stand out:
Simplicity, Spending and Selection – and they all
directly benefit attendees in ways you may not have
considered.
Simplicity
Granted, some might argue that getting from
Heathrow or Orly to central London or Paris is
anything but simple, but there are many other ways
that simplicity factors into the equation here.
First, direct flights into these major cities are far
more likely and frequent, which is particularly valuable
when you have people coming in from overseas or
long distances. They get where they’re going faster
and easier, arriving fresher and less hassled by
multiple connecting flights and airports.
Convenience is also valuable in terms of
moving your attendees, particularly when it comes to
transfers and transport. Big cities like Berlin, London,
Paris and Vienna are a lot easier to navigate because
their transportation infrastructure is more well-
developed. They’re used to dealing with large groups
of people, so glitches, delays and capacity issues are
minimized or eliminated – something all planners can
appreciate.
And let’s not forget incentive groups. When you
have individuals or small groups and a largely open-
ended itinerary, simplicity can turn out to be a huge
plus. The easier things are, the smoother the trip, the
better the overall experience.
In London, the famed Savoy Hotel, located on
The Strand just down-river from Big Ben near Covent
Garden and Trafalgar Square, recently underwent a
£220 million/$350 million renovation to restore the
property to its historic glory. Location-wise, guests
are within an easy stroll of virtually every major
London landmark, making simplicity and access an
integral part of the Savoy experience.
Spending
It’s counterintuitive, but holding events in big cities
can often be cheaper than a smaller destination.
Why? Because all the major components – flights,
ground transportation, lodging, venues, meals, etc.
are more subject to competitive market forces than
they might be in a smaller location where there are
only one or two suppliers.
Let’s take airfares. If your meeting or event is in a
smaller, out-of-the-way city that requires a connecting
flight within Europe, it’s likely your attendees will be
going through Madrid or Paris or London to get there.
And while the extra cost to transport them to that
picturesque locale may be within your budget, these
days every dollar you spend is heavily scrutinized.
When you calculate how much you’d save by
eliminating that additional connecting flight entirely,
the deal you’re getting on room nights may pale in
comparison.
continued on page 14
The TALC Model
Why are we so often
attracted to unique and far-
flung destinations? As is the
case in many a mystery…the
Butler did it.
Like most products,
destinations have a
lifecycle. In a now-famous
1980
article, Professor
Richard Butler proposed
a theory of the lifecycle
of a tourist destination,
which many know as the
TALC (Tourism Area Life
Cycle) model. In a nutshell,
a destination begins as
relatively unknown and
visitors initially come in
small numbers, restricted
by lack of access, facilities
and local knowledge –
a phase Butler labels
Exploration
.
As more people
discover the destination,
word spreads about its
attractions, and amenities
are increased and improved
(
Development).
Tourism
then begins to grow rapidly
toward a “saturation” point
that usually involves social
and environmental limits
(
Stagnation
).
This is followed
by one of two possible
outcomes:
Rejuvenation
or
Decline
,
depending
on whether further
improvements are made or
not.
Intended or not, it’s the
TALC model that frequently
drives planners to select
certain “hot” destinations,
and in terms of development
there’s certainly nothing
wrong with that. An influx
of capital into such places
helps the local economy
and hopefully creates more
employment opportunities
for residents. All good. But
keep in mind that this kind
of thinking can sometimes
cloud our judgment,
sacrificing the best interests
of our attendees in favor of
the “destination du jour.”