The Gifts That Keep on Giving All Career Long

By Lynn McCullough Director of Meetings & Association Management, CMA Association Management | May 06, 2010

As the holidays approach and another year comes to a close, it's only natural to reflect on what we have, or maybe more appropriately, what we have received. In the business arena, careers are enriched and rewarded in a variety of ways. For those of us in the hospitality industry, a person's successful career path is not enhanced and bolstered in a vacuum. Rather, it is a product of knowledge mixed with many varied and diverse relationships. For the Convention Services Manager (CSM), a convention bureau, hotel, convention center, or arena/special facility employee, one's career growth can be stunted without the receipt of a few "gifts." For those who have found ACOM (Association for Convention Operations Management), these gifts just keep on giving. Since its "The Season, " consider the following gifts that organizations, like ACOM, provide 365 days a year:

Sharing Creative Ideas

There are many different kinds of meeting planners and hotel executives, but the cream of the crop are those who go above and beyond the call of duty to do their jobs with creativity. Getting together with your peers through organized events within the industry affords great opportunities to learn what your peers have done recently to really wow their clients. Beverley Totten, Vice President of Services & Membership at the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, says she and her colleagues try to show visitors a city exclusive; an up-close and personal look they might not have explored on their own. "We have arranged for private dinner parties underneath the Gateway Arch for a few different groups that allowed for a real one-of-a-kind experience, " says Totten. "Guests can even ride up to the top of the Arch during this event. Rather than the traditional sight-seeing tour, we have been able to arrange events with a creative twist to really enhance the guests' perception of the city."

ACOM members share ideas on how to make a lasting impression on a regular basis through conferences, educational Webinars and Lunch & Learn sessions. Some members recently shared details on pulling out all the stops by taking prospects on helicopter tours of their city. Being able to network with some of the best creative minds in the business, members benefit from being active in their professional community.

Training

Who knew learning could be so much fun? The gift of learning through training sessions and educational workshops helps drive the industry's incentive to achieve and keeps us motivated. Like many industry organizations, ACOM offers an array of different ways for professionals in the hospitality industry to continue their education. Other than the educational sessions and speeches at the Annual Conference, ACOM members participate in Lunch & Learns and Webinars from the comfort of their own offices. Through these training methods, members are able to gain perspective to better understand our clients.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.