Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Fears

Bruce Fears

President, ARAMARK Harrison Lodging

As President, ARAMARK Harrison Lodging, Bruce Fears is responsible for ARAMARK's operations at over 50 conference centers, corporate training centers and specialty hotels in educational environments, as well as 14 state parks and other resort operations across the United States. He returned to ARAMARK in May 2005 as Executive Vice President, ARAMARK Parks and Resorts. He assumed his current position in October 2005, following the integration of ARAMARK's conference center and corporate training business with its parks and resorts business. Mr. Fears has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He first joined ARAMARK in 1974 as food and beverage manager of the Skyland Lodge of Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Virginia. During his first tenure with ARAMARK, Bruce rose to the level of vice president, western region. In addition to his parks and resorts responsibilities, he was an integral part of ARAMARK's management team at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Prior to rejoining ARAMARK, he was president of Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts. In this role, he grew the business to 17 locations across the United States and Canada. Mr. Fears received his bachelor's of arts degree from Bridgewater College in Virginia and continued through programs at University of London's School of Economics and University of Florida's School of Management. He currently sits on the National Board of the Travel Industry of America and is a founder of the Grand Circle Association. He previously served on the California State Park concessioners board, has testified before Congress on National Park Concession Policy and was the sole U.S. presenter at the World Congress of Parks in Durban, South Africa in 2004.

Mr. Fears can be contacted at 425-957-9708 or fears-bruce@aramark.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.