Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Co-Founder, Net Conversion

Ryan Fitzgerald dreams in pie charts and bar graphs, and is committed to helping his clients understand the importance of these numbers. He leads analytics, reporting and product development for Net Conversion; spending hours poring over Excel spreadsheets and calculating the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Mr. Fitzgerald's expertise includes product development, planning and analysis, pricing strategy, corporate finance, online media and advertising and the overall management of a variety of clients, partner and vendor relationships. While he is neurotic about numbers and infatuated with spreadsheets, he is remarkably articulate and fun to be around. Prior to launching Net Conversion, Mr. Fitzgerald invested his analytical efforts in the travel industry, including the world's biggest theme parks, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Florida and a Master of Business in Finance from Rollins College. The team at Net Conversion is focused on driving revenue for clients in the travel industry through paid digital marketing along with comprehensive analytics. They won a 2012 Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Gold Digital Marketing Adrian Award for an online video campaign created for the Nassau Paradise Island Promotional Board in partnership with Verb Interactive. The campaign increased website visitation by 30 percent from top-origin markets and delivered 50 percent more leads to partner resorts.

Mr. Fitzgerald can be contacted at 407-241-2044 or ryan@net-conversion.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.