Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Festinger

Robert Festinger

General Manager, YVE Hotel Miami

Robert Festinger is General Manager at YVE Hotel Miami, a property managed by Destination Hotels, the largest operator of independent hotels and resorts in North America, and owned by Host Hotels & Resorts, the nation's largest lodging real estate investment trust. The 245-room property is ideally situated in the heart of downtown Miami at 146 Biscayne Blvd. Mr. Festinger was formerly the Vice President and Managing Director of the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, also referred to as Florida's Riviera. He oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Newport Group; Kitchen 305, Seven Seas Aveda Spa & Salon, Newport Marketing, Newport Hospitality and Newport Vacation Club. He was also responsible for sales, marketing and operations for the oceanfront resort's 360 rooms and more than 600 employees. Prior to the Newport, he was with Starwood Hotels & Resorts as Director of Sales and Catering/Convention Services for the Westin and Sheraton brands. During that tenure, he was awarded the Starwood Platinum Award in 2006 before joining the Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club of Chicago to oversee event and catering operations. Mr. Festinger officially started his career as a social and corporate catering sales manager at Terrace on the Park, New York's most recognizable event venue for more than 40th years where he boosted fundraising, corporate and social sales. Mr. Festinger's father, Wilhelm Festinger, was a European trained chef and successful restaurateur so he was raised in the hospitality business from an early age. His family owned Pappagallo Restaurant of Glen Head in New York. He officially began his career in the hospitality business in 1997 after graduating from Hofstra University with a degree in political science and economics. Today Mr. Festinger resides in Aventura, Florida with his wife and three-year-old son.

Mr. Festinger can be contacted at 305-358-4555 or rfestinger@destinationhotels.com

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.