The Top 5 Reasons Why Choosing A&M Is Good For Your Business

What makes A&M Meetings and Incentives unique? Why should you entrust us with planning and organizing your next company event? Why is the “Go Green” initiative important? We’ve compiled five main reasons why you need to book an event through A&M today. Read on!

  1. Everyone deserves a reward. And what better way to say “thank you” to your employees (and yourself) for a year’s worth of hard work than on the lush green field of an ocean side golf resort? It’s the best of both worlds!
  2. There’s something for everyone. Not interested in the beach scene? No problem—Escape the fast-paced lifestyle of the city by booking an event in the tranquil countryside of Tennessee.  Looking for something more adventurous? Embark into the breathtaking mountains of North Carolina and indulge in one of the many spa services offered at the Grove Park Inn; because no one ever said roughing it had to be taken literally. Whether you’re looking for scenic views of the water or the sights and sounds of Center City, Philadelphia, we’ve got you covered.
  3. You’re helping the environment. There’s only one Mother Earth, and it’s up to all of us to do our part to ensure the beauty we experience each day is around for future generations. Our “Green” meetings benefit your business and the environment simultaneously. Save money, be innovative, and make a difference.
  4. We know what we’re doing. With over fifty years of experience, we are determined to make sure your event is exactly how you want it to be—even down to the smallest detail. As event planners, we don’t simply create events. We create experiences. It is our job and passion to ensure that your flights are booked, your schedule is planned, your finances are secured, and your vision comes alive.
  5. The possibilities are limited only to your imagination. Think of it this way: you’re the artist, we’re the paints and paintbrush, and the finished event is the canvas. We are your catalysts for putting the wheels in motion. Golf trip, co-worker spa weekend, company incentive, product launch, training course…we do it all. Come to you with your ideas in mind and we will work as a team to produce the results you desire.

Please visit http://www.aandmtravel.com/events.php for more details!

Just Ask For It

We live in a nation that has shied away from placing an importance on the quest for change and the fight for a societal revolution. The feminist and civil rights movements are now a working memory—their waves of change still lapping against the shores of our country’s political system, but their cultural bearing lost on the newer generations. Sure, in recent times there have been smaller-scale movements supporting important causes such as LGBT equality and Suicide Prevention, but nothing that unifies our country in quite the same way as prior revolutions did.

We are becoming lazy. A cause that seems to be “too far gone” or unable to be drastically altered within the immediate future is considered a cause not worth pursuing. One of these causes is the initiative to save our environment. We have yet to join together as a community and vow to make actual change no matter how challenging or discouraging the cause may be.

Who holds the power of influencing change? The government? The youth? The educational system? These outlets may each play a small part in motivating citizens to adopt the cause of promoting sustainability, but their reach is limited. You see, the influence lies within our economy—in businesses, organizations, major corporations, “Mom & Pop” shops, fortune 500 companies, family-owned stores, etc. We need to put pressure on our country’s economic tributaries immediately. No matter how big or small the company, implementing environmental-conscious practices within the workplace can produce results that are tenfold.

So, how do we do it? This is where the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) comes into play. GMIC places a focus on helping businesses organize meetings and incentives that were environmentally friendly and beneficial to both the Earth and the company’s budget. They are unique, economically feasible, and impactive meetings that are easy to plan and organize.

GMIC’s latest campaign is promoting the “Just Ask For It!” movement. This campaign centers on encouraging meeting planners to ask suppliers to provide “Go Green” services for their event. GMIC theorizes that if all companies join together to demand sustainable resources and meetings from their suppliers, the suppliers’ desire to satisfy the planners will drive them to comply. By making “green” a workplace necessity, it will in turn spark global change.

A&M recognizes the importance of this cause and has recently joined forces with GMIC by revitalizing the A&M Meetings & Incentives program to better suit the needs of the environment and customer. A&M now only works with hotels and resorts that promote sustainability and “Going Green.”  Affordable, unique, and easy to plan, the customer is able to choose from five different “green” resorts from five different locations—ranging from an urban to a country setting. Helping the environment and planning an enjoyable business getaway has never been so easy and beneficial to the Earth.

For more information about A&M’s “Go Green” initiative, go to: http://www.aandmtravel.com/events.php

To learn more about GMIC’s “Just Ask For It!” campaign, visit the following link: http://www.gmicglobal.org/?page=APEXRegistry

Two Cents from Taiga Company: Julie Urlaub

We are thrilled about a guest post that we have to share on the blog today! Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company, offered us her two cents on some of the green meeting goals that we promote here at A&M:

Greener Meetings Means Responsible Resource Management

Bringing people together for meetings, often for multiple days at a time, can create a “host” of environmental impacts—from the smog and greenhouse gas emissions associated with air and ground travel to the paper, plastic, and food waste associated with feeding attendees.  Since meeting face to face is oftentimes a requirement, today’s environmentally minded executives and staff are looking for smarter meeting options.  As such, many are discovering how environmentally responsible meetings are not only good for the earth, they’re great for business.

An aspect of business sustainability is making informed choices regarding green meeting planning.  This includes everything from site selection to meeting materials to catering.   Every mindful action can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the event and oftentimes, reduce meeting costs.

Research indicates more than two-thirds of meeting professionals take environmental considerations into account when planning their conferences.  How are they doing this? By keeping responsible resource management at the forefront of their decision making.  Areas worth considering are:

  • Waste management and recycling
  • Water conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Carbon Offsets and Event Calculators
  • Green Travel and Lodging
  • Sustainable Tourism Organizations and Initiatives

By including sustainability concepts in event planning, it demonstrates company values to employees and meeting guest as well as gives business a competitive edge, a great reputation, and can save time and money in the process.

carbon-footprint

A huge thank you goes out to Julie for sharing her insights!

What are your thoughts?

Julie Urlaub is the Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company, a social media and sustainability consulting company specializing in social media communications, strategy, training, managed services and stakeholder engagement for sustainable/ green business.

Leveraging 36,000+ twitter followers and a blog with global reach, Julie works with clients to powerfully engage in sustainability related issues and stakeholder communications in the social media space to help businesses maximize sustainability strategies and to communicate how their sustainability strategies are making a difference in their business and our world. Not only does Julie walk the talk, she rides it too as an endurance mountain bike racer.

Website: http://www.TaigaCompany.com
Twitter: @TaigaCompany
Facebook/TaigaCompany
Pinterest.com/TaigaCompany
LinkedIn/in/julieurlaub

Innovative Iceland

Andrew Evans of National Geographic Traveler recently tweeted a very interesting fact about an Icelandic city as follows: “All houses in #Reykjavík are heated w/ geothermal energy (hot water flowing thru pipes). Means this is one of the cleanest cities on Earth.” As a sustainable travel enthusiast, it immediately caught my interest. I thought, what’s a better place to plan for a green incentive trip? Talk about off the beaten path…

A large portion of Iceland is sourced by renewable energy, making it one of the greenest locations worldwide to visit. In fact, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability notes how “Reykjavík is home to the largest geothermal heating system in the world.” Impressive, huh? On top of this accomplishment, the energy that isn’t geothermal is hydropower. This city ultimately screams sustainable living, which is why it’s the perfect destination for your next eco-minded incentive adventure.

A quiet island with a breathtaking environment that boasts an entirely efficient way of living; what are you waiting for? Iceland isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind, but it certainly is worth considering.

On Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): What, how, & why we love it

CSR is the talk of the town of recent, and slowly but surely businesses are jumping on board to this new trend. With that said, the term is thrown around a whole lot, and while you may contribute to it’s reach, are you entirely aware of the meaning and what it involves?

Allow us to briefly elaborate. CSR incorporates social consciousness that extends from personal aspects like corporate citizenship to environmental means such as “going green”. In an effort to achieve this recognition, businesses may encourage team volunteer projects, green meetings, and sustainable incentive trips. Now, this is where we come in, and why we love CSR so much.

Successful companies promote employee involvement. By that we mean team bonding, efficient meetings, and friendly events beyond the professional field. And, we are here for just that. The planning. The nitty-gritty details that make many cringe. We do that. And guess what. We enjoy it. But, there’s more. What’s so special about your next corporate meeting or incentive trip if it’s not eco-conscious? In this day and age, with the extent of knowledge that people have acquired over the years, we owe loads of respect to our natural environment. It sustains us, so why shouldn’t we sustain it?

Not sure where to start? Well, the first step would be to come to us. From there you can let us know what you’re looking for – the destination you’re dreaming of, the type of team engagement your seeking. Below are a few examples of what we mean here at A&M.

Remember that culinary incentive trip to Italy featured on the blog several months back? Well, that option certainly still exists. Or how about taking a volunteer trip in South America? Talk about rewarding. If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation in the sun, head to the Virgin Islands; St. John has some serious green thinking on their minds that we are thrilled to work with.

Rooftop solar panels in St. JohnThe options are endless, and that’s what makes incorporating CSR into planning so exciting! For more information on what we mean and how we promote our own social consciousness, visit our website!

Where to: Retirement destinations

Aside

Retirement.

This may be a daunting term for some, so allow me to rephrase: Retirement abroad.

Talk about moving on to bigger (or smaller, perhaps) and better things. Recently, TopsRetirement.com posted an article sharing their thoughts on the 10 best international places to retire. Whereas the typical creation of such a list is built upon affordability and beauty, TopsRetirement.com focused on, “stable governments; low crime rates; the ability to mix with ordinary people; great food, wine, and culture; and 1st world dependability and bureaucracies.” What I find the most appealing about each of the following places in that there is an appreciation for a sustainable and environmentally friendly way of life.

1. Ireland. Land of (understood) language, culture, and countryside activity.

2. France. It would be nice to start off the day with a platter of renowned cheeses and fresh baguette, wouldn’t it?

3. Spain (coastal). Warm and sunny winters, anyone?

4. Italy. The great outdoors, food, and some more food.

5. Costa Rica. The picturesque hub of eco-tourism.

6. Croatia. Affordable and (in my opinion) underrated.

7. New Zealand. A perfect mix of ultimate adventure and quaintness. Oh, and The Lord of the Rings.

8. Panama. Lunch break on the beach in the middle of January, sure thing.

9. Mexico. Perhaps a surprise for some to see on the list, but you must remember: this beautiful country is not all bad!

10. Ecuador (Ceunca): Why not take to a lower-cost and friendly environment?

I mentioned how each of these locations may appeal to our ecofriendly senses. How so? Skip the car and hop on a bike to cruise Ireland’s quiet towns, Tuscany’s lush countryside, or for some sustainable exercise before delving into France’s fresh market delicacies. Off to the sunniest of destinations? Inquire about solar panels on your Spanish villa or Latin American beach house. Or, how about opting for open windows to allow for a natural cross ventilation in lou of constant air conditioning? An added bonus: a calming (and free) beach aroma.

The options are endless for outdoor activity in these 10 countries. Seeking to truly live your life to its fullest? This list includes places that encourage individuals to get onto their feet for a happier, healthier, and environmentally-conscious lifestyle.

For more on each location, check out the article on Topsretirement.com or Marketwatch.com (photo source).

The Change Creation Builds Brands and Sustainable Business [Corporate Conscious Wednesday]

Jerry Stifelman creator of the company  The Change Creation, began his career working with companies like Banana Republic, MTV, and Puma as a brand strategist. He left to create The Change Creation focuses on all aspects of brand strategies from writing to consulting, while doing so in a green and sustainable manor.  This company commits itself to honesty and is devoted to helping other companies market themselves towards consumers. They really strive to encourage consumers to support businesses that are beneficial for the planet.

The Change Creation works exclusively with companies like Burt’s Bees, Sustainable Building Solutions, Self Help and other companies who share their goals of making the planet better in social, environmental, and political ways. Running on renewable energy, this company stands to accomplish far more than was ever previously expected.  The company’s desire to foster change in the world is both refreshing and innovative.

Please visit  http://www.thechangecreation.com/ to learn more about The Change Creation!

South Mountain Company Creates Strength through Sustainability [Corporate Conscious Wednesday]

As concerns of climate change and the economy become more important, consumers are looking towards companies like our Corporate Conscious Wednesday Winner, South Mountain Company, for innovative ideas that lower production costs and benefit the environment. South Mountain Company, which is based in Martha’s Vineyard, works to develop commercial and residential buildings that promote a stronger, healthier and more efficient community.

This employee-owned company has created a work environment that supports their employees and their local community. Using green building strategies the company helps their customers feel good about the work that they are paying for and allows them to benefit from their decision. South Mountain Company incorporates both solar and wind energy systems to cut production costs. Additionally, the company designs residences that use less square footage, local suppliers, and both recycled and sustainable materials.

These low-impact strategies and community mindset differentiate South Mountain Company. To find out more about the work being done at the South Mountain Company visit their website at www.southmountain.com.

“Pura Vida”: Costa Rica and Our Sustainable Incentive Trip

A few weeks ago, we ran an incentive trip program in Costa Rica and it was absolutely fabulous.  The Costa Rican saying “pura vida” which means “pure life” truly reflects the atmosphere and environment of the country.  Clear blue skies and teal pristine waters surround you in a place where trees are abundant and animals are at your every turn.

In order to really immerse themselves in this new place, our clients chose to go on the El Viejo Wetlands tour. This tour takes place in Palo Verde National Park which is a wildlife refuge that has provided protection for thousands of animals. In the past, people used to come to these wetlands to kill crocodiles for their skin. Now, it is forbidden and against the law to commit such a crime. The Costa Ricans really want to preserve their natural life which is evident by the numerous crocodiles, monkeys and birds we saw along our boat tour.

Not only is the environment in mint condition, but the Four Reasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is a model for sustainability in the hospitality industry. All of the food they buy is from local farmers that are committed to environmentally sensitive growing techniques. The organic food waste is then donated to a local Tico farmer free of charge who uses it to feed his animals. Land use is limited to 30% of the peninsula leaving 70% untouched and protected for conservation.  In every guest room, there is a bin that is divided into three sections: paper, plastic and waste. This makes it easier for everyone to recycle!

Another interesting fact about this Four Season’s sustainability efforts is that all of their trees are GPS located. If a tree were to fall on the golf course for example, all golf would stop until a photo has been taken and sent to the environmental commission of Costa Rica to ensure that the tree is replaced by another tree.

Since A&M Meetings & Incentives plans meetings and incentive trips with CSR elements, we were especially impressed by their CSR initiatives. For instance, they support “Los Ninos Pinta para Los Ninos”  an organization that helps abandoned and at risk children through the power of art! During the holidays, the resort donates toys to local schools in Guanancaste. Also, in all of the guest rooms they had water bottles that one could purchase to not only be eco-friendly, but to help support underprivileged children in the area as well.

 

Needless to say we would highly recommend that you have your next incentive trip in Costa Rica and stay at the Four Seasons Resort! Contact us today and we can help you start planning.

For more information about the Four Season’s sustainability and CSR efforts please visit thier website.

Re:Vision Architecture Designs A Better Future [Corporate Conscious Wednesday]

Companies searching for new and innovative ways to become more environmentally responsible need only to look at businesses like our Corporate Conscious Wednesday Winner, Re:Vision Architecture. This company focuses on implementing eco-friendly practices to the structure and design of buildings.

Buildings, which consume about forty percent of the land, water, energy and raw materials used globally, possess a large potential for mitigating current environmental problems. Companies like Re:Vision Architecture (RVA) directly tap into this market by exposing clients to a wide variety of professionals from different fields who work together to develop sustainable designs for projects.

This planning and consulting firm seeks to find a balance between natural and man-made environments. When working on a project, RVA professionals incorporate a chosen sites natural and cultural features with the specific necessities of the client. Additionally, Re:Vision Architecture implements sustainable construction and design ideas to conserve natural resources and to lower operating costs.  To find out more about the goals and methods of Re:Vision Architecture visit their website at www.revisionarch.com.

   Above: Energy innovation hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Clean Energy Campus which was a Re:Vision Architecture Project!