Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Fortney

Eli Fortney

Executive Chef, Topnotch Resort

Eli Fortney grew up in Montpelier, Vermont. A high school community-based learning program led him an internship at A Single Pebble, a fine-dining classic Chinese restaurant. During his time there, the restaurant was recognized as the best restaurant in Vermont by several publications. His experience incited a passion to continue his education at The Culinary Institute of America, where he interned and became sous chef for a fine dining restaurant group in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Fortney's culinary curiosity led him to the prestigious Broadmoor Resort in Colorado, the country's oldest five-star/five-diamond property, and then to Las Vegas. A variety of positions on the strip gave him experience in high-volume, fast casual, and fine dining. He was chosen to collaborate with celebrity chef Kerry Simon in opening a gourmet burger restaurant. He continued his career in hotel dining for Maine-based Olympia Hotel Management Group, which led him to Portland, Maine, and Durham, North Carolina. During his time with Olympia Hotel Management Group, Mr. Fortney worked with a team that together earned the distinction of being named the number one hotel out of over 660 properties worldwide for a Hilton brand. Mr. Fortney is accredited as a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator by the American Culinary Federation. Mr. Fortney's desire to return to his roots led him to explore opportunities in his home state of Vermont. He is currently the Executive Chef for Topnotch Resort and Spa, where he oversees all aspects of the culinary team for two restaurants and a high-volume banquet and catering department.

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

Mr. Fortney can be contacted at 802-253-6479 or efortney@topnotchresort.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.