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This is a guest post by Idan Keren. He is Senior Director of OKT Meeting, a full-service corporate event planning company with more than 30 years of experience in planning effective and affordable meetings worldwide.
As meeting planners, we always try to bring something new to the table, whether it is unique team building ideas, innovative ways to be environmentally friendly or finding great venues in unfamiliar destinations.
To be successful, we must stay ahead of our clients and competitors while providing the ultimate event experience within budget. This article explores cities and regions that could offer great value for your next meeting destination.
Austin is quickly becoming one of America’s most popular meeting destinations. With great food, happening nightlife and state-of-the-art facilities, the city can accommodate any group at an affordable price. Home to the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conference, Austin also boasts a strong local music scene for fans of all stripes.
Those looking for value should steer away from weeks when Austin’s flagship conventions are in town. Instead, book your meeting when things are slow and hotels need customers. July, August and September are the best months for finding great deals.
Costa Rica (Northwestern Region)
Costa Rica has had issues with regard to air and ground transportation to the Northwestern Region. However, a new terminal at Liberia International Airport makes it easier to visit the country’s beautiful beaches. Relax in the hot springs of Arenal Volcano, zip line through 25 courses at Adventure Park or shower under one of 11 waterfalls.
Consider a guided tour to Villa Lapas, which includes transportation, food and a show about Costa Rica culture for about $100.
Rates are surprisingly affordable as tourism officials promote the region with great meeting deals and less expensive all-inclusive resorts in Papagayo and along the coast of Guanacaste. From August to October is the best time to find deals in Costa Rica.
Companies may hesitate to hold meetings in a controversial country like Israel. But many people don’t realize how safe a place Israel really is and how vital tourism is for Israel’s economy. For meeting planners, Israel’s most attractive attributes include great restaurants and amazing weather. People from many places have migrated to Israel and brought foods from their homelands with them. Because of Israel’s rich history, set alongside the hustle and bustle of world cities, the country is a great place for companies organizing incentive tours or corporate meetings. Most Israeli businesspeople speak English, and business services are sophisticated, accessible and very affordable for business travelers.
Those with free time on their hands should consider Jerusalem’s Classic Machane Yehuda Tour. The tour lets participants experience Israel’s lively atmosphere. Learn about important Jerusalem families that have lived in the famous neighborhood, and the development of Machane Yehuda market.
The tour offers participants opportunities to taste some of the Machane Yehuda community’s famed epicurean creations.
Africa’s complex and fascinating natural history would make a dozen visits worthwhile. Where else on Earth can you fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring, or watch a million flamingos take off from the waters of a remote soda lake. While traveling in Africa can be challenging, don’t believe everything you see on television. South Africa’s meeting industry is growing quickly.
South Africa makes a great destination for meetings: weather is pleasant, people are helpful and friendly and most importantly, you can negotiate great prices.