Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Casale

Virginia Casale

Director, Global Education, Hospitality Excellence, Inc.

Virginia Casale is an expert in ultimate guest service and an inspiring leader, teacher and guest lecturer of hospitality excellence. Her work and expertise in the hospitality and tourism industries for more than 30 years has placed her at the top of her profession. Most recently she served as President of UICH “Les Clefs d'Or ”, the prestigious international association of the world's best concierges. Madame Casale rose to this coveted leadership role as only the second woman to do so in 62 years and the first Canadian. Over 25 years, she promoted the management of guest service to levels beyond expectations and successfully orchestrated international congresses featuring global hospitality leaders and the top 3% of the concierge profession in Quebec City, Banff, Niagara Falls, Toronto, London and Queenstown, New Zealand. Les Clefs d'Or Canada, Austria and New Zealand awarded her with honorary membership for her leadership and service. Virginia's hotel experience comes from many of Montreal's premier hotels including Chef Concierge at the first boutique hotel in the city, the Loews Hotel Vogue. At the Delta Centre-Ville she overlooked the lobby and executive floor desk and most recently led guest service at the Sofitel Montreal, a five star property. She made her concierge debut at the Hyatt Regency after serving four years at Regie des Installations Olympiques, the 1976 Olympic games. Madame Casale was a guest lecturer at the International Concierge Institute in Montreal and Quebec City and gave courses in Conflict Resolution as well as Ethics. She has been a featured speaker at the HORECAVA Event in Amsterdam on the She -Economy, in Mumbai, India at the second national Les Clefs d'Or Congress and at programs in Japan, Los Angeles, Miami and Qatar in the Middle East. She represented Montreal Tourism at the EIBTM Conference in Frankfurt and Barcelona. Madame Casale is a graduate of McGill University in Languages and Literature, with honours in Italian and is fluent in four languages.

Ms. Casale can be contacted at 877-436-3307 or Virginia@hospitalityexcellence.com

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.