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Dear <<First Name>>,

...and we're off!

With the holidays in our rearview mirror, it is time for 'January Time'. What is January Time, you ask? It is the time to implement 'the plan'. Starting in November on my birthday, I begin to write down the goals and objectives I wish to accomplish in the new year. Over the holidays (the pre con), the list is distilled and by the time the new year rolls around, the plan is ready for implementation: the main event.   

This year seems to come with a whole lot of pop culture twirl. While researching for this newsletter, I came across a website that outlines all the 'doomsday' predictions since 2800 BC,  It seems there is no end to the 'end of the world' predictions. What I find most interesting is how these predictions garner so much of our time. 

Over the holidays, we had dinner with my friend and her husband who live in China. They brought us some wonderful authentic green tea and my resolution is to drink more green tea and look to the Chinese diet for inspiration. My friend has lived there now for three years and through osmosis she's shares her cultural experiences with us. On January 23rd, the Chinese will celebrate the new year and welcome the 'Year of the Dragon' and more specifically the 'Year of the Water Dragon'. With twelve signs and five elements, this occurance only happens once every sixty years. It is said to be an auspicious year of growth and prosperity. Internationally acclaimed keynote speaker Mike Lipkin ( has a video on the duality of the optimism and caution for 2012. 

For most of us, the meetings we have booked for 2012 were done two, three and even four years ago. It brings me such delight to know that the 'Year of the Dragon' is poised to bring us all a successful year free of attrition fees or cancellations! That is lovely to hear for both meeting planner and hoteliers alike. 

Wishing all of us a tremendously successful year and I look forward to reading this piece again in January 2013 and celebrating in the success that the year has brought to us.


Timely Yours,

Brenda Howes


The Howes Group



101 Tips:  Delegate Deposits

Over the last five years, North America has cycled through the highs and lows of the economy and we have found ourselves having to manage our delegates' performance more and more in order to protect our organizations from the economic impact of the hotel contracts.  

For one client, the trend was such that the delegates each year would book every room in the block more than 30 days out and then 48 hours out, they would cancel the rooms they did not require to only leave a resulting 20% reduction in the room block. The timing was such that some folks would be directed to other hotels because the block had filled and although there was no financial consequence to the delegate, it left the organization in a nail-biting situation each and every year.

To remedy this, we implemented a deposit schedule that has been widely adopted in many other North American organizations that takes a 50% 'non refundable' deposit thirty days out from the event.  The deposit ensures an insurance for the client in the event they need to pay attrition. 

Initially, there was some trepidation on the acceptance of this policy and it is with much delight that now, after three years of implementation, the organization has not had to address this even once. 


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What's New?

We are delighted to introduce to you the newest member of The Howes Group team, Leslie Boomer. She brings to THG unparalleled administrative skills and will be looking after lots of details, like making sure our contest winners receive their prizes! Leslie has been working with us since the fall and we figured it was time to put a face to the name.  Contact Leslie here:


Who Knew?

Q. What determines the start of the Chinese New Year?

A. The new moon on the first day of the new year. The Chinese have adopted the Western solar calendar but still use the old lunar calendar for festivals and celebrations.

Who Won?

Congratulations to the winners of our December "Where Am I?" contest – Wendy, Denise, Debra, Allison, Victor, Joanne, Sophie, Janet, Kim, Jay, Lisa, and Nancy –who correctly identified where I was - the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. For those who noticed, the dates of this "Bed In" were actually May 26 - June 2, 1969.  Good Eye!

Copyright © 2012 The Howes Group, All rights reserved.
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