Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Berman

Westley Berman

E-Commerce Manager, Kokua Hospitality

Westley Berman is the eCommerce Manager for Kokua Hospitality, a hotel management company based in Chicago, Illinois. Joining the company in 2010, Ms. Berman started as Kokua's social media and marketing coordinator and has been promoted various times to her current position. She leads Kokua Hospitality's eCommerce marketing efforts, currently overseeing a combination of six independent and branded hotels nationwide, including DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile, DoubleTree Suites Houston by Galleria, Inn of Chicago, Axiom Hotel, and Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. She also oversees all social media, reputation management, website development, and creative marketing efforts for each hotel in addition to Kokua Hospitality. Ms. Berman's career began in the advertising industry at a multicultural marketing and advertising agency called the San Jose Group based in Chicago. She was primarily responsible for trafficking Hispanic TV, Radio, and Print ads for Magnum Insurance, Harley Davidson, AstraZeneca, Illinois Bureau of Tourism and American Family Insurance. Later on, she became Project Manager at Chicago's Young & Rubicam responsible for close-captioning Sears Kenmore and Craftsmen TV ads, Sears Home Appliance TV spots, and Sears LL Cool J apparel line. Ms. Berman graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Spanish and Integrated Strategic Communications from University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. She is an active brand representative or "Skimbassador" to theSkimm, a media company that has the fastest growing email newsletter responsible for transforming the morning routines and news consumptions for female professionals.

Ms. Berman can be contacted at 312-644-4800 ext. 4801 or westley.berman@kokuahospitality.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.