Editorial Board   

Mr. Courtnell

Paul Courtnell

Director, Leisure & Resorts Group, Gunster LLP

Paul Courtnell Jr. is a senior partner at Gunster, Attorneys at Law with eight offices in Florida. He developed The Leisure and Resorts Group and serves as Director. The Group provides specialized legal and consulting services to the hospitality, recreational and resort development industries. Mr. Courtnell earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University in 1965 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida School of Law in 1973, both with honors. Mr. Courtnell joined Gunster in 1976 and concentrates in the areas of: lodging and resorts; real estate finance (representing both borrowers and lenders); commercial real estate and hospitality transactions; hotel management and franchise agreements; public finance; public/private partnerships; club structures; and timeshare. Mr. Courtnell was nationally recognized in 2010 by the leading legal directory Chambers and Partners in the area of Leisure & Hospitality. He is member of the Florida Bar, Urban Land Institute (Recreational Development Council), International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and American Resort Development Association (ARDA). His experience with resort real estate, real estate finance and hospitality properties spans four decades. Mr. Courtnell is a featured speaker for the National Golf Foundation, the Urban Land Institute, ARDA, the Lodging Conference, and other organizations.

Mr. Courtnell can be contacted at 561-650-0517 or pcourtnell@gunster.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.