Editorial Board   

Mr. Guaracino

Jeff Guaracino

Vice President, Communications, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp

Jeff Guaracino is vice president of communications for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), a position he assumed in 2006. In his role, Guaracino manages national and regional communications, the visiting journalist program, content development and corporate communications. He specializes in communications programs to African-American, Hispanic, Canadian and gay and lesbian travelers. The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside(R) a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region's vitality. Guaracino joined GPTMC in 2001 as director of communications. He is part of the team at GPTMC that created the internationally recognized gay tourism campaign, Philadelphia - Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay(R). This ground-breaking campaign has won GPTMC top awards in the travel, public relations and advertising industries. Elseiver, an international book publisher, invited Guaracino to write the first book on gay tourism marketing called Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketers, which was released in 2007. Active in the community, Guaracino was appointed by Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street to serve on the Mayor's Commission on Children. He also serves as vice president of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus, an organization he co-founded in 2002. His public service has been recognized by the American Heart Association with the "Rookie of the Year Award" and by the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey with the "President's Award." In 2003, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association recognized his work with the "PPRA Fast Track Award," and Philadelphia Magazine named Guaracino one of 22 people to watch. A Philadelphia region native, Guaracino was raised in New Jersey and currently resides in the Old City section of Philadelphia. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.

Mr. Guaracino can be contacted at 215-599-2290 or jeff@gptmc.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.