Editorial Board   

Mr. Aurand

Douglas Aurand

President, Douglas Aurand & Associates

Douglas Aurand has had his own multimedia business for 10 years. He produces virtual tours in the two largest markets for Full 360x360 Interactive Images; real estate and hospitality. As digital and virtual tour photographer, Mr. Aurand has photographed thousands of homes for sale and created almost as many real estate virtual tours, posting them to websites such as Realtor.com and ColdwellBanker.com, among others. Drawing on his own experience as a Realtor, he provides added-value tools to his real estate customers that sell the homes they're marketing faster and help them generate more customers, both home buyers and home sellers. A running theme is "Not to keep their Virtual Tour a Secret." In the last five years Mr. Aurand has begun tapping his experience in property level hotel management to expand into the hospitality & tourism market. He shows his hotel customers how to get more value out of their web sites with multimedia like virtual tours and streaming video. His website, VirtualAlbuquerque.com, is not just a multimedia tour of his home town, but also a demonstration tool showing different ways to use Virtual Tours and its a showcase for unique products like his virtual golf course tours and virtual ski area tours. Mr. Aurand has produced virtual tours for Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott, Radisson, Wyndham, Residence Inn and several independent hotels along with various B&Bs.

Mr. Aurand can be contacted at 505-857-2265 or DAurandAssoc@aol.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.