On April 12 in Manhattan, Danielle Adams, CMP, and Katherine Manfredi, CMM, won the North American round of VisitDenmark’s MINDchallenge Contest. Both Adams and Manfredi are founding members of the Florida/Caribbean chapter of Green Meetings Industry Council. Adams and Manfredi will compete in the grand final in London during the Olympic Games this fall, going up against regional winners from across Europe, for a grand prize of a meeting for up to 50 people in Copenhagen.
The five contestants in New York, culled from a 2-month long nationwide search for entries, presented their ideas about how to create the ultimate meeting in Copenhagen based on VisitDenmark’s Meetovation concept. Meetovation stresses the five pillars of next generation meetings and incentives:
- Involvement of delegates
- Creative use of the physical facilities
- Green and responsible operation
- Integration of authentic and local flavour
- Measuring the Return on Meeting Investment
As the editor of Prevue, I was on hand as one of three judges, sharing duties with Saira Banu Kianes, CMP, with Banu Events Solutions & Training (B.E.S.T), and Susan Hennig, meetings/incentive sales manager, for United Airlines.
While all five presentations were illuminating, Adams and Manfredi won by unanimous decision. Their proposal covered all of the Meetovation elements incorporated within a wealth of green venues and healthy experiences located in and around Copenhagen.
For this event, they created the name “SpokesPeople” for their planning company, playing off of Copenhagen’s world-leading bike lane infrastructure.
Exact specifics about the proposal are being withheld while the contest is still underway. Just a small sampling of their proposal included: biking as a group through the city, kayaking the canals together, Danish smørrebrød cuisine, and both large and small, highly innovative hotels such as Bella Sky Comwell and Hotel Guldesmeden.
Showcasing the destination, and how to use the destination to facilitate a program’s agenda, were given primary weight in the judging process.
I spoke with Manfredi and Adams afterward to find out what they learned about Copenhagen while preparing for the contest.
“I didn’t realize just how sustainable Copenhagen was,” she says. “I was ecstatic, it’s like the Portland of Europe. Sustainability is embraced by everyone: the government, the businesses, and the people in general. It’s part of their lifestyle.”
Manfredi said, “I was amazed to discover all of the fabulous hotels and fun places to visit, like the Tivoli Gardens, and how accessible the airport is to the city’s downtown…. I also had no idea that the city is over 1,000 years old, and I was impressed to learn the canals are so clean they’re swimmable.”
The event was held at the Danish furniture design store, BoConcept, located at 105 Madison Avenue. The contest participants and many of the other planners and industry members in attendance applauded both the venue and overall concept.
“MINDchallenge is a great way to promote a destination because it’s coming from us as planners versus a CVB,” says Adams. “Our overall goal at the end of the day is that we’re not creating a green meeting, we’re creating a meeting…. That really ties in with VisitDenmark’s overall vision too.”