Hosts Global Forum Boston August 2015

When approached last October by Ally O’Connor, President of NXTevent Boston, to represent them in the UK, I had little idea that I was opening the door to a US-wide collection of DMCs under the Hosts Global Alliance umbrella. I had experience of Ally and her team, and I knew that she had deservedly gathered many UK client fans for NXTevent through her long history of working in the UK market, both in their home Boston and their new satellite office in Seattle. It was this experience of knowing what UK clients look for that attracted me to the NXTevent team and I loved the idea of working with a region that I had heard so many positive things about. That Boston connection soon grew to include Las Vegas through Hosts Las Vegas DMC: their team run by the highly experienced Josh Jones counts more than 15 team members and they are a recognised market leader in the city. Las Vegas is a place where nothing stands still and a great DMC ensures client visitors experience the best of this fab city.

So it was that Simon and I, together with 4 of our top clients, travelled to Boston for the Hosts Global Forum at the beginning of August. New England, comprising 6 states of which Massachusetts is one, is known for its history and Boston personifies that. It is rich in culture, a seat of learning (home to Harvard, various venues on the campus can be used for events), the people are friendly and liberal in attitude. Two other huge appeals to the conference and incentive market are food and sport, the region is known for its abundance of regional produce from vineyards to superb seafood, its sporting teams include the Red Sox (baseball), Boston Celtics (basketball), Boston Bruins (ice hockey): it really is a region that deserves attention! Its excellent hotel stock includes a stunning Mandarin Oriental where we stayed for a night (thank you Therese Holmstrup Jakeman!) as well as Four Seasons, Fairmont, Westin and many more besides.

The purpose of the Forum was to bring together Hosts Global collection of independent DMCs from across the US and beyond. We were all impressed by creative, enthusiastic, owner-run DMCs and it was a perfect opportunity to make new contacts and learn about regional cities and destinations in themselves. It gave us great confidence that these American DMCs will go the extra mile to service our UK clients and our guests were equally inspired. Who wouldn’t be by a police escort laid on for us to travel from our Cambridge hotel to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum for our gala dinner, or award-winning acts flown in from Vegas solely for Hosts clients’ entertainment (America’s Got Talent winner ventriloquist Terry Fator captivated the conference-subdued audience, you have to check him out on Youtube!)

Outside the Forum Ally and her team took us whale-watching, their Starwood friends hosted us at Fenway for the Red Sox vs Chicago’s White Sox (I like to think our presence helped reverse their long losing streak) and we experienced plenty of the city, naturally including the Cheers Bar or Hampshire House as it is properly called. A highlight was a trip up to Newport Rhode Island for sailing on an America’s Cup winning yacht, it’s a super little town for the active, vineyards in close proximity and excellent hotel stock from the small, luxurious to perfect conference venues.

I look forward to next year’s Forum in Miami as our close association with this excellent collection of US DMCs grows.