Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Nelson

Brad Nelson

Vice President Global F&B Portfolio, Culinary Discipline, Marriott

Brad Nelson has spent the last 40 years in hospitality, crossing through the hotel business and restaurant since his first real job as a night line cook at a Hilton in his hometown of suburban Seattle. His role in the industry spans from corporate to independent, having led above-property teams in a Southern Cal ten-unit restaurant chain and the 7,000 property strong global hotel giant.

Chef Nelson joined Marriott in 1998 after having spent time with luxury operator Fairmont Hotels, the California desert's La Quinta Resort and Club, and ITT Sheraton's pacific division on the Big Island of Hawaii, among others. He likes to say that all of those experiences merely prepared him for his current role, leading the food and beverage culinary strategy for Marriott's 30 brands worldwide.

In 2003 Chef Nelson was named VP Culinary. Over the last 16 years, Chef Nelson has led key priorities with his efforts on sustainable seafood, transfats elimination, animal welfare, food safety, and now plastics and food waste.

Overseeing 30 brands across luxury, premium, and select service segments, Chef Nelson leads a robust team, whose mandate is to constantly challenge food and beverage norms. Chef Nelson also uses his platform to give back, having raised over $ 5 million for the People with Disabilities charity foundation, Service Source Foundation, where Chef Nelson is a board trustee member.

Industry accolades include being named 2014 Silver Plate Foodservice Operator of the Year by the International Food Manufacturers Association; recipient of Food Arts Magazine November 2012 Silver Spoon; judging the NRA'S FABI innovation award. Chef Nelson is a regular at many industry events, having spoken at Cornell's annual Ezra event, CIA Flavors conferences, and man.

A 1984 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and recipient of the Richard T. Keating Award, he is a member of the Seafood Watch Foodservice Roundtable, International Corporate Chefs Association, James Beard Foundation, and CIA Alumni.

Please visit http://www.marriott.com for more information.

Mr. Nelson can be contacted at +1 301-380-4646 or brad.nelson@marriott.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.