Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. McKay

Marigrace McKay

OpEx Professional, Self

Marigrace McKay is an experienced Strategic Management and Operations Excellence (OpEx), professional - and she loves her job! She has worked across many industries including but not limited to: hospitality, energy, telecommunications, DOD/engineering, consumer and durable goods. Her first post-college job was with Canadian Pacific Hotels in Washington, DC group sales in the association and diplomatic markets. She also sold for Holiday Inns International Canada (CHIC) - so she truly understands the inside workings of getting and growing satisfied hotel clientele and the hospitality industry in general. Ms. McKay is a F500 Project Manager of Change Management and Performance Improvement (PI). She has served key executive partner roles in accelerating business growth and strategic goal achievement. She is a certified Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt, and holds several professional HR Management certifications (SHRM-SCP, SPHR) including Change Management and as a Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). Ms. McKay earned a Master of Science, Management degree from The Johns Hopkins University. A 10-year career with leading consultancies formed her systems thinking. Recently with Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods) she led the leadership development program for 400 managers in the largest North America business unit. In that role Ms. McKay and her team designed and implemented an e-learning academy. This later proved to deliver a calculated 3-sigma learner effectiveness. For classroom learning, she managed 23,000 hours. She has managed HR Departments in union and non-union environments, 2,200 employees. Her favorite city is Barcelona - pinchos and tapas on the Med! 2nd fav? US State Parks.

Ms. McKay can be contacted at 423-653-7696 or mg62529@att.net

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.