Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Villalon

Joel Villalon

President, Brayton Hughes

As a child, Joel Villalon discovered beauty during each of the many summer vacations he took with his parents and siblings. Whether he was hiking in the painted Grand Canyon or driving through the magnificent Centro Historico of Mexico City, his fascination with travel and the differences he noticed in space, light and architecture in different parts of the world began to take form. He still retains this sense of wonder and observation and brings that focused eye and attention to detail in each of his projects. After receiving his degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, Mr. Villalon honed his skills with Larry Speck in Austin, Rafael Vinoly Architects in New York City, and SOMA in San Francisco before he ultimately joined BraytonHughes in 1992. Since joining the firm, Mr. Villalon's hand is evident in his team's designs for the Alpine Club in Stowe, Vermont, the Fairmont in Nanjing, China, and the Overlake Golf and Country Clubhouse in Medina, Washington. He also designed several of Discovery Land's golf clubhouses: Kukio Golf Club on Hawaii's Big Island, Mirabel Golf Clubhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona, El Dorado Golf and Beach Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and the Madison Club in La Quinta, California. He is currently working on various projects for the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, the renovation of Ventana Inn in Big Sur, California, the Grand Hyatt SFO in San Francisco, California, the Montage SilverRock in La Quinta, California, and the Montage Spanish Peaks Lodge in Big Sky, Montana. Mr. Villalon's projects have been recognized for design excellence by the AIA receiving local, regional, and national AIA Honor Awards for his work.

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

Mr. Villalon can be contacted at 415-291-8100 or jvillalon@bhdstudios.com

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.