Group Meetings
Andy Dolce
  • Group Meetings
  • Venue Choice: First and Most Important Factor in Coordinating a Meeting
  • In the early years in this industry, corporate meetings and conferences were stodgy affairs with limited options in terms of location and capability. Although sites offered room accommodations for large groups, guests had only two choices on the dinner menu. Meeting equipment consisted of an easel and a slide projector, and too frequently, there was a coffee hour that offered more varieties of sweeteners than beverages. Clearly we have come light years when it comes to the depth and variety we offer meeting planners in our meetings, but it is the choice of venues - the meeting site or destination - that has truly made a big impact on the industry. In fact, the excitement, anticipation and expectations that surround a conference are completely contingent on the venue choice. Meeting planners live by this truth. Read on...

Lynn McCullough
  • Group Meetings
  • Selling Your Venue's Uniqueness
  • No matter what your guests are in town for -- whether it is a convention, an educational workshop or an awards event - professionals in the hospitality industry have a chance to make a lasting impression on a large group of people all at once. Regardless of the program or career-related benefits of these events, planners know that attendance is at its highest when professionals have the opportunity to travel to an interesting destination offering a truly unique experience. And, while actual location plays a role, planners value even the little things like one-of-a-kind hotel giveaways or room amenities that will make their attendees' visit memorable. Guests and meeting planners respond well when the venue's staff pays extra attention to detail and goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure repeat business. Read on...

Lynn McCullough
  • Group Meetings
  • Ten Tips for Avoiding Operations Snafus
  • No matter how organized you are, or how much advance preparation you put into a show or how much attention to detail you apply, sometimes it is impossible to avoid the proverbial operations snafu. Or is it? As a fellow show organizer, I follow virtually the same routine as you do when planning a meeting and it's a safe bet that we use a similar checklist. However, whether you have five years of experience or 25, when it comes to show operations, everyone can use some help avoiding simple and possibly costly mistakes. In this article, members of the Association for Convention Operations Management (ACOM) share a few seemingly obvious but often overlooked tips which you can use when planning your next event. Read on...

Bruce Fears
  • Group Meetings
  • Seven Secrets to a Successful Meeting
  • Are your company's training sessions designed to inspire maximum creativity, innovation and productivity? In a successful session, participants are actively engaged, groups are collaborating successfully and energy levels are high. A successful meeting or training can help improve overall quality and produce results that ultimately contribute to the bottom line of your organization. Don't expect this article to give you the usual dry academic concepts. My goal is to share with you ideas that have sprung from real-life situations where goals have been met in new and exciting-and sometimes unconventional-ways. Read on...

Lynn McCullough
  • Group Meetings
  • Successful Upselling
  • More often than not, your meeting planner clients will come to you with a set budget for their event-with set parameters for what they want in terms of food and beverage, decor and logistics. While it is good when clients know what they want, it is also good to suggest ways to enhance their event so that they look even better-and equally as important, these enhancements can improve a facility's bottom line. That is where upselling comes in. Read on...

Greg Pesik
  • Group Meetings
  • Maximizing Group Revenues and Profits
  • We know why hoteliers look to bring groups to their venue. That answer is simple: Revenue. As I have said in past articles, group events represent a $30 billion+ market opportunity for hotels, and over 30% of a hotel's total revenue on average. Many hotels rely on group events for over 50% of their revenues. In order to tap into this opportunity hotels are scrambling to line up their calendar of events for the year ahead. One question I get from many customers, colleagues and friends in the business is the following: "Once we have booked a healthy amount of group events, are there any additional ways to identify and generate more revenue from each event so we can take our group revenue up to the next level?" These folks are always glad when I answer that question with a firm "Yes." The question is how, and read on to find out more! Read on...

Greg Pesik
  • Group Meetings
  • The Secret to Attracting Meeting Business to Your Hotel
  • The group events business is booming. In fact for hotels such as Fairmont, IHG and Hyatt, group events-everything from corporate events and trade shows to family weddings and reunions-are huge business. To be exact, they represent a $30 billion market that comprises up to 60% of their revenue. As I have stated in previous articles, technology today plays a big role in attracting meeting planners, securing their business and retaining them as long-term customers. In these articles I have looked at the specific types of technologies that hotels should be looking at-everything from collaborative online group management technologies, to Blackberry mobile phones and automated room list solutions. Now it's time to take a step back. What promise and possibilities do these technologies really allow the hotel to offer meeting planner looking to find a home for their next event? Read on...

Lynn McCullough
  • Group Meetings
  • Cost Saving Strategies for Meeting Planners
  • It is important for meeting planners to be aware of the many ways they can plan for and conduct highly effective, memorable meetings, while simultaneously taking their organization's budgetary parameters into consideration. Now is the ideal time-especially as we embark on a new year-to start a clean slate comprised of cost-savings strategies and planning decisions that ensure both financial benefits for your client's organization while also generating a successful meeting for their audience. So, if you or your client need to plan big with a budget that's small, let the following tips from ACOM-the Association for Convention Operations Management-serve as a helpful guide to achieve both objectives. Read on...

SEPTEMBER: Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead

Jay Spurr

Meeting planners have more than enough to think about when it comes to searching for the perfect venue – and eco-consciousness is increasingly making its way top of mind for many. It is currently estimated that the average hotel guest generates 2.2 pounds of waste each night of their stay. And, with the meetings and event industry recently being deemed as the second most wasteful sector in the United States by the EPA, we at JW Marriott Austin knew we had to go above and beyond to deliver more efficient meetings and events with the lowest possible carbon footprint. Read on...

Del Robinette

Engagement and commitment are at the core of our professional lives in a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week operation. No matter the size or complexity of the box, engagement and our commitments should be a core fundamental that not only surfaces in our every interaction, but guides and directs our proactive decision making and our strategies and executions. Hospitality 101 teaches us as hospitality professionals, to engage with our guests, to make eye contact at 10 feet, to speak within 5, to escort when possible and to use our guests name in conversation. Read on...

Katie  Davis

I had a bit of an “out of body” experience recently. I was attending a corporate meeting, which was held in a hotel meeting room. As usual, I was multi-tasking for most of the meeting. Doing my best to remain engaged with the meeting content, while simultaneously managing an ever-growing email inbox and “To Do” list. During a break, I was pacing outside the meeting room, on the phone with my office, when I noticed some snacks and beverages set-up adjacent to the meeting room entrance. Read on...

Deirdre Martin Yack

Meeting planning in today’s world is more complex than ever. Whether you’re a planner or a supplier, our jobs are now 24/7. We are dealing with shorter lead times than ever, tighter budgets (on both sides), and expectations based on the perfection projected by social media and reality TV. Our job is no longer simply about dates, space, rate – we now need to compete at a world-class level on a daily basis. As a supplier, it takes extreme creativity at the venue level. Starting with the initial design, event space must be as flexible, innovative and as Instagram-worthy as possible. Read on...

Coming Up In The October Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Revenue Management: Technology and Big Data
Like most businesses, hotels are relying on technology and data to drive almost every area of their operations, but perhaps this is especially true for hotel Revenue Managers. There has been an explosion of technology tools which generate a mountain of data – all in an effort to generate profitable pricing strategies. It falls to Revenue Managers to determine which tools best support their operations and then to integrate them efficiently into their existing systems. Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Online Reputation Management software are basic tools; others include channel managers, benchmark reports, rate shopping tools and review systems, to name a few. The benefits of technology tools which automate large segments of a Revenue Manager’s business are enormous. Freed from the time-consuming process of manual data entry, and having more accurate data available, allows Revenue Managers to focus on analysis, strategies and longer-term decision-making. Still, for most hotels, the amount of data that these tools generate can be overwhelming and so another challenge is to figure out how to effectively utilize it. Not surprisingly, there are some new tech tools that can help to do exactly that. There are cloud-based analytics tools that provide a comprehensive overview of hotel data on powerful, intuitive dashboards. The goal is to generate a clear picture, at any moment in time, of where your hotel is at in terms of the essentials – from benchmarking to pricing to performance – bringing all the disparate streams of data into one collated dashboard. Another goal is to eliminate any data discrepancies between finance systems, PMS, CRM and forecasting systems. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address all these important developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.