by Vincent Alonzo | July 17, 2017
A Streetcar Named Development
The free KC Streetcar connecting the convention district, Crown Center and the Missouri River in downtown Kansas City, MO, is delivering more than passengers from one spot to another. It's helping to power infrastructure development throughout the downtown area. That's what Derek Klaus, director of communications for Visit KC told me recently at a reception in New York hosted by the CVB. 

"The free street car is one of the hottest tickets in town," said Klaus. "It's so popular that plans are in place to expand it to the Plaza. It's generating so much traffic that new hotels are beginning to open up along the line."

One of those new hotels of interest to meetings groups is going to be an 800-room Hyatt attached to the convention center.   

What Happens in St. Gallen Stays in St. Gallen
Earlier in July, I was in Switzerland participating in the Switzerland Meeting Trophy, an annual event that brings over 80 meeting planners from around the world for three days of site inspection activities disguised as a competition of games and challenges held in several cities around the country. Broken up into teams based on nationality or region, my North American teammates and I did our best to not be distracted by the beautiful scenery and focus on winning the trophy. At one point we stopped in St. Gallen a UNESCO World Heritage City that is like a museum come to life.

As we dined al fresco on delicious cakes, cheeses, and bratwurst, we learned that in Switzerland, the sausage is served sans mustard. Now, this was sacrilege for one of our teammates, Nicole Raudabaugh, account lead and senior buyer at the Appleton, WI-based Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. If there's one thing Wisconsin is known for other than cheese, it's bratwurst -- with mustard. 

"If this were back home, I wouldn't dare eat this in public without mustard," said Raudabaugh. "But it is delicious, and as the saying goes: When in St. Gallen..."

A Cast of Minions
I recently attended the DigitalNow conference at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, part of the meeting complex at Universal Orlando Resorts. The biggest hit at the show was the dozen or so Minions running around taking photos with the attendees. They're all part of Universal Orlando Resort's meeting enhancements program which enables planners to incorporate live entertainment elements to create experiences that connect attendees to their organization's message in ways that engage and inspire. 

There is a wide variety of characters from the Universal cannon from which to choose including custom character options. At DigitalNow there was also one or two 12-foot Transformers stomping around that were available for photo ops, but they weren't as approachable as the cute, yellow, overall-clad Minions.