Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. McCleese

Gail McCleese

Co-Leader Global Hospitality Design, Gensler

Gail McCleese is the co-leader of the global Hospitality design practice area at Gensler, the world's largest architecture, design and planning firm. She also serves as Design Director, Design Experience Leader, Client Relationship Leader and Studio Director within the firm's Houston office.

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience — 25 of those at her own, award-winning design firm — Ms. McCleese has an in-depth knowledge of the global hospitality industry and a flair for crafting inviting and memorable experiences for guests. At her core, Ms. McCleese is a positive-thinking, sensory designer driven to create spaces that speak to all human senses. She has been recognized for her award-winning interiors of high-end restaurants, four- and five-star luxury hotels and resorts, casinos, and active aging environments. Her client roster includes Hyatt, Hilton, Omni, Landry's, InterContinental Hotels, Kimpton, and Wanda Hotels & Resorts.

Ms. McCleese is an active member of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the ACE Houston Mentor Program. She has served as Executive Vice President and Membership Chairperson of the Houston chapter of Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH). Ms. McCleese has spoken at a number of local and national industry events throughout her career, most recently discussing the future for meeting and conference venue spaces at the International Association of Conference Centers' (IACC) Meeting Room of the Future Showcase in Toronto. She was also a contributor to the firm's latest research into Hospitality Design as included in the Hospitality Experience IndexSM, the culmination of a multiyear, mixed-methods research effort leveraging ethnographic research and a 1,200-person survey to find patterns in how guests interact with hotel environments.


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

Ms. McCleese can be contacted at +1 713-209-7962 or gail_mccleese@gensler.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.