Editorial Board   

Mr. Paton

Mike Paton

Senior Vice President, Signature Worldwide

As senior vice president of sales for Signature Worldwide, Mike Paton develops, manages and directs all company sales within the hospitality industry. Paton is responsible for coordinating sales efforts for 5,000 customers worldwide, including licensees in Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Cypress, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Prior to joining Signature in 2003, Paton managed sales and marketing for Corporate One, a financial institution providing investment solutions and correspondent services to credit unions. As a member of the company's senior management team, Paton doubled its customer relationships, increased assets under management by more than 100 percent and expanded the company presence from six to 23 states. He also served as senior vice president of sales and marketing for PurchasingFirst.com, Inc., a professional and technical e-commerce consulting company. While there, Paton was responsible for designing and implementing sales strategies for the company's customized purchasing tools and national e-commerce marketplaces. Paton also has served in executive roles at the Huntington National Bank and Star Bank, where he built and maintained relationships with hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs. Paton is a national champion public speaker and holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from The Ohio State University. Signature Worldwide is the leading solutions provider to service-based organizations, creating tailored programs that directly impact the bottom line. Established in 1986 and headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Signature operates throughout North America and has licensees in South America and Europe. Signature is a private company, with revenues $12 million in 2004.

Mr. Paton can be contacted at 800-398-0518 or mikepaton@signatureworldwide.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.