Richard Branson Thinks Hospitality and Tourism Industry Can Tackle Global Water Crisis

The Hospitality and Tourism Industry is significant to our interests here at JNR. It is the field where we join other companies to deliver our incentive travel programs, meetings and events. Branson believes in this industry, driving change in environmental, health and economic issues is also good for business.

The issue the Hospitality and Tourism Industry is being called to address: providing the world access to safe and clean water. Through this transformation, the industry stands to benefit across its triple bottom-line: people, planet, and profits.

A recent article published by Richard Branson describes the severity of the global water crisis.

“Every year, more people die from water-related diseases than killed from all forms of violence, including war.”

One billion people lack access to safe water. Last year, one billion people traveled. Why not leverage the power of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry to solve the world water crisis?

Branson, no stranger to humanitarian projects himself, has formed a partnership with his company Virgin and WHOLE WORLD Water, an organization that is attempting to unite with the Hospitality and Tourism Industry to create solutions that drive change on water issues.

The company has been helping hotels, resorts restaurants and hospitality groups filter and bottle their own water and then use a percentage of the proceeds to support local water projects. Approximately 200,000 plastic bottles will be saved annually by implementing this program on Necker Island (Branson maintains a home there) alone.

Branson feels the hospitality industry plays a major role in fixing this problem and that it could set an example for other industries to follow:

“It is estimated that with scale, the hospitality and tourism industry can contribute $1 billion per year or more to help eradicate this problem. United, the industry has the opportunity to set a precedence for other sectors to follow.”

JNR is dedicated to helping our clients implement CSR programs in conjunction with our travel programs and events to preserve and improve our planet and the lives of those who inhabit it. Please send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com today to discuss how you can create a change within your programs.

Suggested Reading:

“From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: The Power of Corporate Social Responsibility in Incentive Programs”

JNR Program Participants Revamp a Mexican School

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Sir Richard Branson” by Jarle Naustvik is licensed under CC By 2.0

The Power of Community

My international travel experience has mainly been service oriented: one three-week project in Rome, Italy, one in Belize, Central America, and a four month return to Belize to teach.  My fondest memories you ask, besides seeing firsthand strikingly beautiful landscapes and larger-than-life historic monuments?  Working with my team and giving back to the local community…making balloon animals for the refugee children in Rome…painting a rebuilt hurricane-destroyed building in San Pedro Columbia, Belize…handing out clothing and shoes to the village children in Punta Gorda, Belize…building the foundation of a school in Belmopan, Belize…and later teaching high school English in that same school.

You can never fully understand and appreciate the power of a giving heart until you have reached rock bottom and someone extends a helping hand to you.  Believe me, I know, all too well.  I’ve been on the giving side, empathizing with people who are hurting, and I’ve been on the receiving side, allowing people to bring comfort to my heart.  What each circumstance has taught me is that we all face pain, loneliness, and loss at one time or another.

I have to be honest with you.  I am daily encouraged to see corporations write social responsibility clauses on their websites and include a community outreach element into their domestic and international meetings and incentives.  While an incentive program to Hawaii sounds wonderful, think what it would do for the community if you spent the afternoon building bikes or filling backpacks with school essentials for local under-privileged students?  What about a meeting to Scottsdale?  Spend the afternoon painting murals for the walls of the oncology wing at a local hospital. It takes so little time out of your scheduled plan to assist those in need, and like my co-worker Laurel wrote earlier this year in her blog, Practice Random Acts of Kindness, the action does not have to be big to have a transcending effect on both you and the people you help.

As the mom of two under four, I’m daily exposed to all things Disney, and as I was preparing to write this blog, a song from Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998) came to mind.  It’s called “We Are One” (written by Marty Panzer and Mark Feldman).  Although the song focuses on the relationship between lion Simba and his daughter Kiara, I think the lyrics can apply more broadly to the human race:

And the one thing we know

Is things don’t always go

The way we planned

But you’ll see every day

That we’ll never turn away

When it seems all your dreams are undone

We will stand by your side

Filled with hope and filled with pride

We are more than we are

We are one

If we are one, we should be able to walk life together with everyone we meet, even if we are with them for just a short time.  But, the power of community is inspiring.  We hold in our hands the ability to lift up those in need and to create a lifetime impact that will certainly affect future generations.

For your next meeting or incentive, consider adding in an outreach element to your itinerary.  Not only will you be creating change within the community you are visiting, you will be inspiring change and creating pride in your participants as they give their time to help those in need.

JNR has successfully facilitated a variety of community outreach programs over the years, from painting schools and building bikes, to painting children’s shoes and donating supplies to local shelters.  We like to think that we are ambassadors for our community—the world.  If you’re looking for a creative way to inspire your participants during your next meeting or incentive, please contact us at 949.476.2788 or email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.  We’d love to work alongside you.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Katharine Heinz

Katharine Heinz has been with JNR for nine years, first as a Desktop Publisher and now as the Planning Business Administrator. When she is not researching the next hot destination or hotel, she can be found at home enjoying her family.

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Annual Community Service Project at DMNA” by New York National Guard is licensed under CC By 2.0

Meetings Spotlight: State of the Meetings Industry Summer 2014

Every quarter, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) publishes a comprehensive report that takes the pulse of the meetings industry and summarizes their findings for all interested parties to see. The summer edition of this report has arrived and represents an extremely valuable resource for meeting planners, like ourselves, and many others who rely on corporate meetings and events to achieve various business goals such as increasing sales and encouraging collaboration among teams.

Finding creative ways to do more with fewer resources and lower budgets remain the primary struggle for meeting planners. One meeting planner claimed that her client was looking to spend 50% less on their meeting, yet expected the same outcomes! Does this sound familiar?

One immediate solution is to utilize the more affordable end of the favored hotel brand for your big meeting.  This provides a sense of security to attendees that have become familiar with the trusted brand from previous events without causing a sense of alarm from perceived budget cuts.  Forgoing event entertainment is another common way to meet stringent budget constraints. Many businesses are attempting to focus more on content and less on frills, optimizing meeting success and decrease expenditures.

Overall Industry Statistics of Note

  • 13% are holding more regional meetings in an effort to reduce travel costs
  • 22% are compressing more meetings into less time
  • 9% are focusing more on meeting design
  • 13% are using more technology
  • 10% are using lower-cost suppliers
  • 11% are seeking innovative suppliers
  • 9% are outsourcing
  • 52% predict that their meeting budget will increase

Meetings overall are predicted to increase but unfortunately, budgets are not growing at a proportionate rate. Virtual meetings are climbing twice as fast (3.9%) as face-to-face meetings (2%), which is creating new challenges.

As costs rise on practically everything needed to plan a successful event – transportation, audio visual equipment, room nights, meeting rooms, food and beverage – meeting planners must harness their creativity more than ever to fall within budget restrictions while delivering a meeting that meets client standards.

Another interesting challenge for meeting and event planners is the existence of a “seller’s market” when it comes to hotel space reservations. A growing lack of venue availability has lead to a small supply of open space. This small supply coupled with a strong demand is leading to dramatic price increases.

Being a meeting planner in 2014 is tough, there is no way to sugar coat it. It is now more important than ever to employ the services of an experienced meeting planner who is not fazed by the challenges present.

Despite the tricky conditions existing in the meetings industry today, JNR is thriving as a boutique agency that delivers some of the most raved about events. Our experts are able to negotiate lower rates and secure venue availability even in peak meeting seasons due to our long-standing relationships with hotels, venues and other trusted partners. We have the know-how to book spaces for meetings or incentive travel programs even when everything appears to be full.

Give us a call at 800.343.4546, visit our website or send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com today to begin discussing how we can plan your next meeting or event. No matter how big or how small your budget or attendance list is, we can enable you to succeed in achieving your goals. Our 34 years of experience in the industry have helped us develop the relationships and strategy that will ensure the success of your next meeting or event.

Suggested Reading:

“Green Meetings: Why, How and Where to Hold Them”http://blog.jnrcorp.com/green-meetings/

“Cvent’s Top 50 Meeting Destinations in the United States 2014 List”http://www.cvent.com/RFP/DestinationGuide/DGCustomPage.aspx?dgcpstub=06945d34-a4bb-441c-8540-8f55453e46e5&cid=70100000000TRLtAAO

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Green Meetings: Why, How and Where to Hold Them

Business meetings can vary greatly in size, setting and tone, but the purpose of any successful meeting is to improve the company in some way. A meeting can be arranged to achieve objectives such as increasing sales, optimizing productivity, awarding top achievers, inspiring new ideas or producing a safer work environment.

A green meeting in particular is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “one that is organized and implemented in such a way as to minimize negative impacts on the environment and promote a positive social legacy for the host community.” The EPA recently deemed the meetings and events industry as the second most-wasteful sector in the U.S. due to the far-reaching environmental footprint left behind by air travel, audiovisual equipment, food waste and other elements.

As a result of this alarming news, many key players in the industry have addressed the problem directly and joined the movement to promote environmental sustainability. Some venues have received LEED and other green-building certifications while recycling, composting, green roofs and other eco-measures are becoming much more common. Several organizations including the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) released the ASTM/APEX standards for sustainable meetings further raising the bar on preserving environmental integrity.

At JNR Incorporated we have joined the movement to be socially responsible in our meetings in an effort to protect our planet for future generations. Ways in which we are achieving this include: utilizing local suppliers for gifts, hosting meetings at green-building certified locations, prioritizing email communication over paper collateral and using mobile ticketing, among other things. On-site, we are known to hire local services to repackage left-over food for donation, provide logo’d water bottles with fill stations to participants instead of wasteful plastic disposable water bottles and other sustainable approaches to our meeting coordination efforts. Our home building, Newport Gateway, is even LEED certified and boasts energy efficient HVAC and lighting along with practicing green cleaning and indoor air quality management. Efforts to continuously decrease our environmental footprint are ongoing.

One rather fascinating piece by GreenBiz Group editor Nikki Gloudeman listed the “Top 10 U.S. Cities for Green Meetings in 2014” and the results included a few surprises.

10. Cleveland – Two new neighboring meetings venues, The Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation, were built around the principle of sustainability.

9. Washington D.C. – The Washington Marriott Marquis will open next month as the largest hotel in the city and is expected to be one of the largest properties in the nation with LEED Silver Certification.

8. Philadelphia – The Pennsylvania Convention Center earned a LEED Gold certification for its 2011 expansion and uses a host of products made from 100 percent decompostable [sic] and biodegradable products.

7. New York City – The Javits Center which is Manhattan’s main convention complex has added a seven-acre green roof to change the heat-island effect, reduce ambient temperature of the air and improve insulation while controlling storm water runoff.

6. Nashville – The brand new Music City Center convention center has 845 solar panels, four-acre green roof with a waterproofing membrane and 14 types of vegetation and roughly half of the material used in the building was sourced within 500 miles of the site.

5. Portland – The Oregon Convention Center was the first to earn LEED certification way back in 2004 and will be renovating in an attempt to upgrade its LEED status from Silver to Gold.

4. Orlando- The Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest venue with ASTM/APEX certification thanks to LED lighting and HVAC systems, Green Seal-certified cleaning products, irrigation systems that use reclaimed water and a solar PV system.

3. Chicago – McCormick Place is the largest convention center to earn ASTM certification and has reduced energy consumption by 1.6 million kWh and increased annual waste diversion rate by 10 percent recently to maintain this status.

2. Las Vegas – A city mainly known for excess has changed as far as meetings are concerned by becoming the first and only city in the world to garner next-tier Level Two ASTM/APEX certification for the LEED Gold Sands and Venetian and LEED Silver Palazzo.

1. Denver – Probably the least surprising city on the list due to its status as a pioneer in this area, Denver became the first city to earn APEX/ASTM certification in four separate sectors: destination, meeting venue, audiovisual and food and beverage (F&B).

For more information on how to hold sustainable events, please send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com or click here for ten easy tips from the GMIC. You can also read our blog from November of 2013 pinpointing sustainability as one of the five biggest megatrends in meetings and events.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Spanish Spotlight: The Top Ten Cities to Visit

Our March expedition through Spain began with a fabulous Catalan Stuffed Peppers recipe to give you a taste of the traditional cuisine. Then we offered a peek into the Las Fallas Festival to give you some perspective on their customs. Now we want to give you an overview of the top ten cities to visit in Spain according to TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice. While the cities that top the list may seem obvious, we hope that you will come across a few lesser-known locales that may have never crossed your mind before!

10. Benidorm, Spain

Location: Western Mediterranean seaside city located in the Province of Alicante on the Costa Blanca.

Claims to Fame: Benidorm boasts four miles of golden beaches, access to Mediterranean Sea recreation including scuba diving and waterskiing and a historic city center with blue-domed 18th-century churches and alleyways.

Top Attractions: Levante Beach, Balcon del Mediterraneo, Placa del Castell

9. Salamanca, Spain

Location: Northwestern capital city of the Province of Salamanca located alongside the border with Portugal.

Claims to Fame: Salamanca is referred to as Spain’s “golden city” and is rich in architectural, religious and gastronomic culture. Renaissance and Gothic style architecture are prominent in both the old and new cathedrals.

Top Attractions: Salmanca’s Plaza Mayor, St. Stephen’s Convent (St. Convento de San Esteban), Casa Lis (Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco)

8. Marbella, Spain

Location: Southern coastal city in the Province of Malaga on the Mediterranean Sea.

Claims to Fame: Marbella is a sunny beach town with plenty of modern-day resort amenities. The city is famous for La Fontanilla Beach, theme parks, wildlife parks and a historic quarter filled with whitewashed buildings and remnants of a ninth-century Arab fortress.

Top Attractions: Marbella Old Quarter, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion, Puerto Banus Marina

7. Malaga, Spain

Location: The capital of the Province of Malaga lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean Sea.

Claims to Fame: Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the entire world, founded in the 8th Century by the Phoenicians. The city is rich in art of all kinds including glass, crystal, contemporary installations and the works of Picasso, who was born in Malaga.

Top Attractions: Museum of Glass and Crystal, Alcazaba, Kelipe Centro de Arte Flamenco

6. Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Location: The capital city of the Province of Balearic Islands is situated on the south coast of the island on the Bay of Palma.

Claims to Fame: Palma de Mallorca is often considered the economic and cultural hub of Majorca and a great place to experience the island’s many gold and white beaches. This city was once a Moorish casbah, or walled city, and has a maze of narrow streets that can be quite fun to explore on foot.

Top Attractions: Soller Railway, Cathedral (Le Seu), Bellver Castle (Castell de Bellver)

5. Valencia, Spain

Location: The capital city of the Province of Valencia is located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula facing the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea.

Claims to Fame: Valencia is home to many monuments, City of Arts and Sciences, a highly modern complex of museums, cinemas and theaters. The local food, namely the paella, is also something that every visitor should experience!

Top Attractions: Bioparc Valencia, Oceanografic, Palacia del Marques de Dos Aguas

4. Granada, Spain

Location: Capital of the Province of Granada located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and at the confluence of four major rivers. The Southern Spanish city is just one hour from the Mediterranean Coast by car.

Claims to Fame: The Alhambra citadel, a Moorish fortress with epic archways and ornamental mosaics, one of the most famous buildings in the nation is located in Granada. The nightlife is also quite vibrant with the bars of Calle Elvira being the most notable hotspot.

Top Attractions: The Alhambra, Carrerra del Darro, Generalife

3. Seville, Spain

Location: The capital and largest city in Province of Seville, located on the plain of the River Guadalquivir.

Claims to Fame: Seville was founded as a Roman City and is the home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Alcazar palace complex, Cathedral where Christopher Columbus was buried and Metropol Parasol are just a few of the amazing sites that ooze with antique charm.

Top Attractions: Alcazar, Plaza de Espana, Giralda Tower

2. Madrid, Spain

Location: Spain’s capital and largest city is located on the Manzanares river in the center of both the country and Community of Madrid.

Claims to Fame: Many of Madrid’s buildings are so grand that they appear to be castles straight out of classic fairytales. The architecture here is quite impressive and the splendid sites like Retiro Park and numerous museums make it one of the most interesting places to visit in Spain.

Top Attractions: Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza), Royal Palace of Madrid

1. Barcelona, Spain

Location: This capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia within the Province of Barcelona is located on the eastern coast at the mouths of the Llobregat and Besos rivers to the west near the Serra de Collserola mountain range.

Claims to Fame: Famous residents included Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali and Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, who designed several of the city’s architectural amazing buildings. Park Guell, street performers and numerous tapas bars make Barcelona a great place to spend a leisurely day.

Top Attractions: Guell Palace, St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral (Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mar), Camp Nou

Are you overwhelmed with all that Spain has to offer yet? I know that my “bucket list” grew quite a bit after composing this blog.

If you’re looking to book an incentive travel trip or meeting in Spain, or simply need some advice about what to see and do while in Spain, please send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin