Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sex & the Fair

The closer we get to the holidays, the more I tend to hand out presents. It already started at the ICCA Congress in Pattaya where I awarded three meeting people for their nice golden clothes during the Royal Golden Night. And now I suddenly stumble upon a few pictures I took at last year’s EIBTM fair in Barcelona. Some way or another four images with, in my humble opinion, a high content of sex appeal, appealed to me. I’ll list them all and explain what fascinates me in them.
1. The naked man of Norway. I’ve heard that this strong image is a personal invention of a woman who has spirit and humour. That would be Bente Bratland Holm, convention director at the Norway Convention Bureau. Bente, why on earth didn’t you participate in the ICCA Best Marketing Award? With such a healthy man you certainly would have won first prize. And I have to ask something else. A lot of ladies (and a few gentlemen) have asked me if you have the same picture from a different angle as well? After all, the blog has a sexy title! Present No 1 goes to you. I will personally drop off a gift at your stand!

2. Adam & Eve. So delicate, tender, fragile and seductive. The World’s Sexiest Hotel. I’d certainly want to spend the night in that hotel. Who else? That’s our second present.

3. The aquarium boy of [destination unknown]. A nice, fresh, youthful and exotic image. Almost a painting titled ‘Like a fish in water’. That’s our third winner. Would the winner step up during next week’s fair?

[Update:] It turned out that the Jamaica Tourist Board was the proud owner of this aquarium boy.

4. And there always has to be a public award. This one goes to all the visitors of the fair over 60 who still feel young and sexy. My blog readers can decide for themselves if I meet those requirements. Everyone can come to our stand (H156) and tell me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I would like to have a good chin-wag about Paticca, excuse me, about ICCA in Pattaya. First of all, I have to mention that HeadQuarters Magazine has become a member of ICCA. That has cost a lot of effort because basically I don’t want to be a member of anything, I always prefer the role of observer. But OK, sometimes a tree has to be moved before it starts growing better. The initiative of the organisers of the 46th large ICCA meeting in Pattaya to donate a Pho Tree to the Thai king for his 80th birthday on December 5 - with written messages by the delegates on the Pho leaves - created some nice, touching moments.
I asked the illustrator of HeadQuarters Magazine to design an ICCA tree. The first leaf that hangs from the tree has something written on it, but unfortunately it’s too small to read it. The writer wishes to remain anonymous because he fears that criticism is not allowed in the meetings industry. “Because meetings industry people are touchy,” he claims, “and they’re often ego trippers.” I will copy the text here so you’re able to read it.
He starts like this: “Last year I didn’t experience ICCA in Rhodos. Curious as I am, I asked a lot of delegates in Pattaya: how was it like over there? Almost everyone answered “not good” or even “bad”. Especially the venue left much to be desired and that ruined the atmosphere completely. Of course I was astonished to hear from the organisers during the ICCA Congress that Rhodos was the best congress ever. How is that possible? Who’s fooling who here? Why do congress and exhibition organisers blow everything up to American proportions?”
“In Pattaya I had to notice that people are still - almost all the time - teaching ex cathedra. Most speakers are still using the ‘old college professor’ style. A lot of subjects that were covered were squeezed completely dry, new programmes were announced à la “The ICCA Delphic Oracle” that turned out to be deadly boring and should be wearing a sign “Delphic Disaster”. “Out of the box” thinking is only done with a lot of hesitation. And newcomers who barely master the English language are afraid to open their mouth.”
Wouldn’t it be better to introduce training sessions like “Speaking in Public”? But for the rest, no complaints. Pattaya has made up for a lot of the bad things in Rhodos. Thai people are born to serve guests , are born to be friendly, are born to pamper delegates. When I read in a Dutch newspaper that a survey has shown that service in Holland is often minimal and rude, I think: do a teaching practice in Thailand. Whoever wants to hang another leaf on the ICCA tree, feel free, there’s plenty of room.

The ‘Dress to Impress’ Prizes

And the winners are? Let me start by telling this: I enjoyed the theme colour a lot at the ICCA Gala Dinner in Pattaya: a ‘touch of gold’. Spontaneously I asked a few people to keep their weather-eye open and look out for how people were dressed during the Royal Golden Night. By experience I know that people are anxious to try something different with their clothes. Since HeadQuarters Magazine stands for designer layout, use of new colours and especially sharp content, I felt the sudden urge during the Gala Dinner to award an annual HQ prize for the best dressed women, men or couples of the evening. Because people love to communicate about clothing and dressing up. Daring to wear something conspicuous is often the reason for spontaneously making contact. You know what I mean: ‘Oh miss, you look great tonight!’ - ‘Oh really? How kind of you. What a charming gentleman you are!’…
And again I have to use the word ‘spontaneous’. Together with a small group of insiders I’ve awarded the first HQ ‘Dress to Impress’ prizes to three people. I promise everyone that next year I will call an international fashion jury into being for the theme colour in Victoria, Canada. And for this I will dutifully ask permission to Martin Sirk. So these are the spontaneous winners of this year’s event:

First Prize: ‘The Have Flair Prize’ goes to Christian Mutschlechner. A golden swallow’s tail, well combined with a Vienna Ballroom flair and Thai hand gestures. Just look at the delicate motion of his left hand. Which Thai girl gave him private lessons to flex his fingers like that?

Second Prize: ‘The have Humour Prize‘ goes to a fresh Meetings Couple. Golden masculine horns combined with a tempting lady’s look behind a Venetian mask. Just look at the naughty twinkling eyes of Henrik and Ulrike von Arnold!

Third Prize: ‘The have creativity prize’ goes to Cécile Koch because she used the Pho leaf - which is meant for the king - in a bold fashion. Simple chic. And all Thai people that were there praised her for this nice gesture. Cécile has promised me that she will donate this necklace back to Thailand.
Has anyone else seen a lady, gentleman or couple that was dressed in a special way? I can always add another public award. Watch out for next year’s event in Victoria, Canada, to see who will be victorious then.