Patrick Delaney is Managing Director of SoolNua, a boutique consultancy firm created in partnership with Padraic Gilligan, which works with enterprises and destinations in the Meetings and Events Industry. In 1992 he served as the first non-US president of the Site International Board of Directors and is a member of the Site Past Presidents’ Council.
During his career, Patrick has been honoured with numerous awards at the major meeting and events industry shows including the IMEX Personality of the Year and the 2013 EIBTM Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the only person from Ireland to be recognised by Conference & Incentive Travel Magazine (UK) on their Power 50 list – a directory of the most inspirational people in the UK and Ireland. Patrick has been a speaker for a number of industry events and continues to give regular seminars and lectures across all five continents of the world. He holds the Site CITE and MPI CMM credentials and has been recognized with a Site Crystal Award for a program with the Irish Tourist Board.
Site: When/how did you first become involved with Site?
Delaney: My first involvement with Site was in the early 80's when I was working with the Irish Tourist Board and based in New York. I worked for Brian Stack, who was a member of the Site International Board of Directors, and through him I met that a collection of really impressive and brilliant leaders like Richard Ross, Fay Beauchine, Jane Schuldt, Mike Hurwitz, Jim Dittman and Bob Guerriero to name but a few. These were really inspiring business people who understood the power of motivational programmes and were willing to share their knowledge and time with anyone who wanted to learn.
Site: How has the industry changed since you first became involved and what has been the greatest single impact on incentive travel?
Delaney: The way business is done has changed radically regarding channels of purchasing and communications, centrality of technology and emphasis on ROI, although from the beginning Site always spoke about programmes being paid for from incremental income and the importance of setting goals and measurement. The basics, however, remain the same: a well communicated and executed motivational programme with clear goals, rules and appropriate measurement will deliver superlative results.The advent of the internet and all the multifarious implications therefrom – growth in sophistication of yield management across hotel and airline businesses, rapid increase in disintermediation, radical altering of lead times, immediate access to information etc. - has had the greatest impact on the industry.
Site: How can Site members best leverage the knowledge and expertise of the global membership for professional development and business growth?
Delaney: Site has always been about creating a community of global professionals who want to do business and improve their knowledge and performance in delivering the real power of motivational programmes for their customers, staff and organisations. The free exchange of knowledge, best practise and identification of trends is the life blood of the organisation along with the power of “real time, real place and real people” relationships which is at the core of the Site community.
Site: What motivated you to form SoolNua?
Delaney: I have been privileged to work on all sides of this industry from destination marketing organisations, hotels, agencies, DMCs and as an end user. In that time I've made a lot of mistakes but gained a lot of knowledge. The ability to bring that experience to bear on the various challenges that businesses in the field of meetings and events face allows SoolNua to bring real value to its customers.
Of course SoolNua is a partnership between Pádraic Gilligan and myself and Pádraic brings a complementary depth of knowledge and experience to the table, particularly with his background in education. The combination of both our talent makes the SoolNua offering both compelling and worthwhile for our customers. And, we hope, a lot of fun!
Site: How does SoolNua help destinations and companies provide "another viewpoint" or "an alternative perspective" to the meetings and event industry?
Delaney: We chose the name SoolNua because it is the anglicised version of the Gaelic expression Súil Nua, which means, literally, New Eye, a different viewpoint. When our customers in the meetings and events world are trying to solve a problem or address an issue we allow them to look through our broad lens of first-hand knowledge of the industry and that knowledge is available to our customers directly from us. We are not a large organisation with battalions of immensely bright MBA graduates who know the word for coal in 15 languages but cannot light a fire. We are, by choice, a small boutique consultancy, comprised of people who have faced most business challenges and lived to tell the tale. In addition we are fortunate to have an extraordinary global network of business contacts across all sectors of the meetings and events industry and access to that rich human capital is priceless.
To read more about SoolNua go to www.soolnua.com