Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Powell

Stephen Powell

Senior Vice President, IHG Worldwide Sales

Stephen Powell serves as Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). IHG has nine hotel brands, over 161 million guest annually, 688,517 rooms in over 4700 hotels located in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. Mr. Powell's key responsibilities include the creation of a unified sales platform for IHG as a worldwide company with global customers and development of a common way of delivering the IHG brand proposition through a consistent sales experience. Mr. Powell joined InterContinental Hotels Group in December 2003 as Vice President of Sales, UK & Ireland and was soon promoted to Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for EMEA where he was instrumental in linking brands and sales together to drive tangible business results. Since 2007, Mr. Powell has served in his current role as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales. He leads a team of professionals that has implemented solutions and programs, such as sales force automation, that serve customer needs and drive results for IHG. Mr. Powell has over 35 years of experience in the hotel industry, receiving recognition with a number of awards for industry leadership. He graduated from the University of Texas and has worked in various senior positions for a number of companies in the US. He was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts - North America and Sales Director for Loews Hotels in America. He has also established global sales teams for hospitality industry software companies, namely PlanSoft Corporation and Certain Software. In April 2013 The Convention Industry Council (CIC) announced that Mr. Powell was amongst five meeting leaders to receive the highest honor in the meetings industry. The inductees into the Hall represent influential leaders who have shaped the industry over a lifetime of accomplishments and whose contributions have left an indelible impression on the industry. Mr. Powell was officially inducted into CIC's Hall of Leaders in October 2013. Mr. Powell is a former President of the Site International Foundation and a former International President of Meeting Professionals International. He has also held the title of MPI's Supplier of the Year. Mr. Powell has served on committees and boards including the American Society of Association Executives, Hospitality Sales Management Association International, Convention Industry Council, Meeting Professionals International, Site International and the Institute of Directors. He participates in public speaking at industry events and has published several articles on industry trends on sales and marketing issues.

Mr. Powell can be contacted at 770-604-2000 or stephen.powell@ihg.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.