Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Markham

Katherine M. Markham

Principal & Co-Founder, ConventionPlanit.com

Katherine Markham, CHME is the Principal & Co-Founder of ConventionPlanit.com, a multimedia search channel and RFP portal. She is responsible for marketing strategies and new business development.

An innovator for her time, Ms. Markham created ConventionPlanit.com in 2003, when online bookings for the meetings industry were not yet widespread. Her vast knowledge of the hospitality industry combined with a desire to solve a problem sparked the creation of ConventionPlanit.com.

The concept was simple: provide meeting planners an easy way to access information while helping suppliers reach more buyers. An Advisory Council of meeting planners assisted in outlining the search functionalities of the website, truly making the website a tool designed by and for meeting planners. With a vision to position buyers with sellers through technology at the forefront, the website is an industry favorite for original meeting planners who prefer a commission-free environment and easy sourcing tools.

Today, ConventionPlanit.com boasts a strong industry endorsement by Senior Planner Industry Network (SPIN), and partnerships that include the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI), IMEX and IBTM.

Additional digital offerings for suppliers have grown over the year to access hard to reach buyers. Ms. Markham began her career in group sales with Marriott Hotels and has held leadership positions in sales and marketing for Renaissance Hotels, Radisson Hotels, Homestead Resort, Associated Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Inc., Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Expovision. She is also a Certified Hotel Marketing Executive (CHME).

Prior to launching ConventionPlanit.com in 2003, Ms. Markham was Co-Founder of the Alliance Service Network, a lead generation firm for service providers. Ms. Markham was a weekly host of Your Meeting Matters, a segment of the Washington, DC radio program Association Nation, in which she engaged key players in the meetings industry in lively discussions.

Ms. Markham served on the marketing advisory councils for APEX and Event Technology Exposition.

Please visit http://www.conventionplanit.com for more information.

Ms. Markham can be contacted at +1 301-975-9462 or katherinem@conventionplanit.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.