Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Van Deventer

Paul Van Deventer

President & Chief Executive Officer, Meeting Professionals International (MPI)

Paul Van Deventer joined MPI in April 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this role, he leads the strategic direction of the association and is responsible for managing its global staff, operating budget, and membership programs and services.

In addition, Mr. Van Deventer works closely with MPI's Board of Directors and serves as a liaison to the MPI Foundation. He has held a variety of leadership positions throughout his career and has a proven track record for driving business growth and creating brand value.

Mr. Van Deventer most recently served as divisional vice president of the Health & Wellness Division at Walgreens, the largest drug store chain in the United States. Prior to Walgreens, he was the senior vice president of Sales and Field Services at Mitchell International, Inc., a leading provider of information, software and business solutions for the automotive insurance and collision repair markets.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Van Deventer spent 22 years with American Express where he gained experience with the business travel and meeting and event industries. He held positions as director of Multinational Sales and Operations, managing a global business unit with responsibility for more than 50 business travel customer service centers, 500 employees and a meetings/events group focused on the automotive industry.

He also served as vice president and head of Corporate Services Sales - Australia and New Zealand, with responsibility for corporate card and business travel services, and later as vice president and general manager of Corporate Services, Western United States and vice president and general manager of the Multinational Client Group.

Mr. Van Deventer currently serves as a board member for the U.S. Travel Association and Convention Industry Council. He is also an advisory board member for Women In Travel (WINit). Mr. Van Deventer holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Villanova University and an MBA with a finance concentration from Columbia University.

Please visit http://www.mpiweb.org for more information.

Mr. Van Deventer can be contacted at +1 972-702-3098 or pvandeventer@mpiweb.org

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.