On boarding a recent flight I noticed that many of my fellow travellers seemed to know each other. After take off people quickly formed into groups chatting in the aisles and galleys. It was all business but relaxed and informal. Old acquaintances renewed, connections made, knowledge shared. The reason? Everyone was off to a conference.
Meetings, incentives, conferences and events (or MICE) is big business. Getting it right takes a team of travel experts from airlines, specialist travel agents, hotels and venues all working together. A big conference is a huge investment and can be years in the planning. The aim is to send everyone home feeling motivated and inspired with some epic memories.
We regularly take the business travel agents and MICE specialists away on trips to showcase our product, our destinations and some of the cool things that we can do to bring value to these events. That falls squarely into the ‘tough job, but someone’s got to do it’ category. Stepping up to the plate is Rebecca Duncan from our Sales and Marketing team.
Every couple of months, Rebecca works with Hotels and Destination management companies and puts together a ‘wow’ factor trip to entice our clients to bring their customers to these destinations.
We want them to choose one of the 200 plus Virgin or Delta destinations for their next global event and fly with Virgin Atlantic or Delta Air Lines as their preferred airline.
Rebecca is one of those people whose brains you definitely want to pick about destinations. Earlier this year she took 9 clients to Boston. She showed off Delta One to the UK agents on the flight out and then our Premium Economy on the way back. Here she shares some of here top tips about Boston.
Why go to Boston when you can go to NYC, right? Wrong!
As soon as we stepped off the plane we were shown exactly what the intimacy and accessibility of Boston allows you to do. And how that makes it a rival city to NYC for culture lovers, foodies, shoppers and historians. From the famous Fenway park, home to the Red Sox (Boston’s champion baseball team), to the unique transport options, Boston brings to life something truly American for your groups.
The location of Logan international airport means that you can be at your city hotel within 15 minutes – but why rush? We took a water taxi – its both convenient and enjoyable. We were treated to a champagne cruise as we soaked up Boston’s clean air and took in the sights of the harbour and skyline.
Boston hotels cater for all budgets but if you want something special then I would recommend where we called home for two days, The Fairmont Copley Plaza – This luxury downtown Boston landmark hotel has been a symbol of the city’s rich history and elegance since its gala opening in 1912. Its home to without doubt my favorite Boston Bar, OAK Long Bar + Kitchen and its seems the locals love it too as the vibe was buzzing day and night. If you get the chance, stop by for an espresso martini made by Boston’s best barman Phil.
Boston is 5 hours behind BST but you don’t want to waste your time by hitting the sack early on your first night, although the hotel beds are pretty amazing! You need something relaxed but an environment that is stimulating – so where better to go but to an all American Baseball game. Fenway Park stadium has been home to the Red Sox since 1912 and its clear to see they have an army of fans. American Baseball is just like a giant game of rounder’s, right? Well, there is a lot more to it that you realise but its easy to grasp and before you know if you are chanting with the fans .. and of course you can’t leave the stadium without a Red Sox baseball cap souvenir.
If you’re a night owl, the city is filled with top restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The city has an incredibly safe feeling and although closing up time is 2am, the city streets and taxis are wide awake with you as you make your way back to your hotel.
On our first morning in Boston we were treated to another of Boston’s unique transport hi-lights……a coach ! Sorry? What? A coach isn’t unique. Well it is when you are escorted through the city by 5 of Boston’s Police officers on their motorbikes. Yes you can arrange a police escort for your journey through the city if you want to add something incredibly special and unique to Boston. As we drove through red lights and past cars that had been pulled over, I watched as the pedestrians stared at our coach curiose as to who was on board. Well its was 10 of the UKs best event planners of course! I have to say it was by far the most thrilling mode of transport I have ever experienced. This unique experience was put together by our amazing ground partner who for this trip was NXT events.
Boston has some great landmarks for the historians and educationalists among us. Boston is home to the JFK presidential library and museum, which stands as a vibrant tribute to the life and times of John F. Kennedy and of course Boston is the location of Harvard University. Both venues cater for private events and offer unique event space. Harvard has schooled some of Americas greatest, including US president Barack Obama actor Matt Damon and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. It’s a tourist hotspot and tours are available – you never know who you may brush shoulders with, a future President or movie star may be about campus!
No trip to Boston would be complete without a stop by the famous ‘Cheers’ bar. The original Cheers bar is located in Beacon Hill and the exterior is that used in the 1980s American sitcom. It’s always busy and a good selfie opportunity. Inside, the bar serves great bar snacks and beers on tap and has a very relaxed atmosphere and perfect pit stop. However, I’m not sure what the future holds for the Cheers bar as several of my travel companions who were born in the 90’s had no recollection of the TV show and it makes me wonder just how long Cheers can be a Boston Landmark. Maybe a Cheers remake would be a good call for international visitors.
We were all sad to leave Boston and that’s a sign of a great trip. Most clients had never been to Boston before and now they were all in love with the New England city that has something for everyone. With both Virgin and Delta flying daily into Boston there is no reason not to make Boston your next US stop.
Keep an eye out for Rebecca’s next trip to San Francisco and Las Vegas later in October.