Editorial Board   

Mr. Bernstein

Laurence Bernstein

Managing Partner, Protean Strategies

During a highly successful 20 year career, Laurence Bernstein launched and nurtured numerous global hospitality, foodservice and financial service brands, on behalf of global advertising and brand marketing firms.

Prior to working in advertising, Mr. Bernstein cut his teeth in sales and marketing with Westin Hotels. In 1998, in response to the rapidly changing marketing environment, he founded the boutique strategy and research agency that he now runs, Protean Strategies.

From its inception, the firm has led the way in experiential branding -- converting attributes, features and benefits into relevant and differentiating experiences that form the underpinning of real brand-centric growth. This led to the seminal idea of "modern luxury", first posited in a 1999 white paper published in the Cornell Quarterly, which now underpins the entire boutique category.

In 2012 Mr. Bernstein started Protean Hospitality Partnerships, a marketing advisory consultancy focusing on the hotel and resort business. Recently, the firm published a widely quoted study of how consumers engage on an emotional level with hotel brands.

In the consumer research field, Mr. Bernstein developed the first psychoanalytic approach to market research, Inner Directives Archetype Studies, that has been used by more than 20 automotive brands to understand the underlying relationships between people and their vehicles. Inner directives has also been used by hotel companies and travel organizations to better understand and cater to their guests and visitors.

The Protean Guest Experience Audit system is an inexpensive methodology to help hotels understand what guests actually experience at the property level, using an interactive, real time methodology. In addition, Protean is recognized by Forrester Research as a leader in the exciting new field of Predictive Market based consumer research.

Mr. Bernstein attended the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He has published numerous articles on hospitality brand and guest experience design and has been invited to lecture at Cornell University, University of Toronto, and many associations including the inaugural Leadership Seminar presented by the Boutique and Lifestyle Hotel Association.

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

Mr. Bernstein can be contacted at +1 4169673337101 or bernstein@proteanstrategies.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.