Archive for June, 2010

Using Google docs for event planning

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

As many event organizers know planning an event is an event in itself.  One such event took place In Iceland between 18th and 20th of June at the small coastal town of Akranes where 1400 hundred kids age 7-12 played football in the local Century Aluminum football tournament.

The coastal town of Akranes

Having 1400 kids running around for a weekend demands a large support staff for things to run smoothly not to mention all the parents following and watching over their kids, all in all it was estimated that more than 4000 people attended the tournament in one form or another.  The support staff was therefore a combination of mainly parents and organization staff handling logistics, security, accommodation and general well being.

Planning starts months before the start date with steady meetings, writing mails, phone calls and other form of communication like running into someone at the local store asking him for help.  The main challenge is often to get people to do what they are suppose to do and try to keep track of how far along the work is.

Traditionally the main work falls on few hands, who are at the end of the day inundated with assignments, to-do lists and organization charts.  This was the organizers experience from previous Century foot ball tournaments in Akranes.  Rakel Johannsdottir on of the organizers noted that last year she did not see here family two weeks before kick-off last year.  This year the organizers realized that they needed new planning methods to reduce individual workload and attract volunteers who were at this point reluctant because of the workload.

Getting things done, getting people to do it and monitoring the progress was   the main challenge according to Rakel; she commented that if they could find a common platform where for example all logistic assignments, to-do lists and people involved could be posted would create a much needed overview and let all people involved have this overview.  This could create a more sense of involvement for everyone; from the person handling the hot-dog sales to the person financially responsible – openness and transparency would create a more sense on community involvement and responsibility.

The solution was simple – to harvest the communication ability of the web 2.0 services by using Google Docs.  The organizers decided to assign key people involved a Google account with a gmail address and therefore access to all Google services.  By using Google Docs organizers were able to post relevant event documents and follow each other’s progress.

The organizers could hand out assignments by posting them on Google docs; the person responsible for a specific assignment was notified via gmail that the assignment had been posted and could then start the work according to plan.  The organizers could then see if the person responsible had started the work and how far along the work had gone.  This method provided the much needed overview the organizers were after and allowed everyone involved to follow the progress and come up with suggestions and new solutions.

When the tournament was over the organizers sat down for a post-op briefing and agreed that using Google docs for this event had not only saved time and therefore money but also made the organizational team more effective.  Beside this the sense of common achievement was strong for everyone involved and made the work much more fun and enjoyable.  Another benefit from using Google docs and posting all documents in the same place was that most of the material could be transferred and made available for those organizing the event next year.

The organizers Google docs interface

Hvidbjerg Strand Holiday Park – Design and Architecture

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Architecture makes a different. The market for wellness has been on the rise throughout the years. It has been immensely popular to relax in the sauna or the body heat pool with mineral-bearing water. The services keep developing with e.g. different kinds of massages or therapies. It is effortless to spend an afternoon in a laid-back position or to spend an evening with friends in a new way.

But wellness is also an area, where you can expect constantly increasing competition from now on.  Hotels are expanding their services, and a lot of public swimming pools now offer wellness areas. As well as the increasing competition, reports from the international wellness industry show, that wellness is one of the first areas people cut down on during economical depressions. This may not bode well for the wellness industry in the current economical climate.

Hvidbjerg Strand Holiday Park initiated the creation of a great wellness centre in 2009. The management seeks to be one step ahead of potential competitors in the area. They have an auspicious foundation, as the holiday park has around 300.000 overnight stays a year. However, architecture and design are important elements if you want to stand out from the crowd, so the visitors will be impressed by the atmosphere and tell others about it.

Hvidbjerg Strand Holiday Park focuses on the following:

  • Views: From the wellness area there is an ocean view. The open spaces, the horizon and the daylight inspire relaxation which is an important element for well-being.
  • Rustic implementation: The design style is consistent with the surrounding nature, and great care was taken when choosing the marble and granite to be used in the center. This results in the centre’s interiors matching the ruggedness of the local landscape. There is no doubt that the centre is inspired by the Nordic environment.
  • Socially inviting: The centre is equiped with cosy and inviting areas where socialising is relaxed and enjoyable, for example around the fireplace, in the pool or in the sauna. There are also areas where you can be alone.
  • Sustainability: The Holiday Park has been rewarded by Realdania for doing something extra to reduce the emission of CO2 in relation to the physical and functional settings of the buildings. The wellness centre is CO2 neutral due to a geothermal system and a great solar collector.

The architectural firm Arkitektfirmaet Vest in Nørre Nebel is behind the wellness centre. They worked closely with the management and employees at Hvidbjerg Strand Holiday Park in designing the centre.






Social media as travel organising devices

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Social media is about creating relations around the world. offers a new travel model for exploring and experiencing China at very low to no cost. It is different from other couch surfing websites. Accommodation is offered if the tourist accepts to spend time teaching English to the host family. The organisation recognised that Chinese are very eager to learn languages, and swopping services is a new way of volunteering. Thus, VIP members of can receive free room and board all over China and a variety of free services such as Chinese language instruction, tour guiding, and cultural immersion activities such as Chinese cooking, painting, calligraphy and music in exchange for speaking fluent English or other in-demand languages for two hours a day to local host families.

Tourboarding’s website is organised with a range of social media functions such as referrals, testemonials etc. The business  model is depending on VIP membership, which requires socalled “donations”. VIP membership provides the travelers with special advantages and privileges.

Comfortable sleeping on long haul flights

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Long haul flight are very tiring for passengers, particularly those flying economy class. New Zealand Airlines will offer a solution to the problem by selling unsold seats to passengers. The airline has taken one step further by creating a technical device turning these empty seats into a lie-flat bed by sliding the seats forward and raising the foot rest.  Thus, two people will share a row of three seats. The new seat design is the brainchild of Altitude Aerospace Interiors, an Air New Zealand subsidiary.

Empty seats will be offered  for $150. The design has the potential of earning the airline an additional $60 million each year, according to airline specialists. Will this canibalize business class? Claimed not to, as seats cannot be purchased until last minute before departure. See a pic on Vielflieger Blog