Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Aquino

George Aquino

Vice President/Managing Director, AHC+ Hospitality

George Aquino, vice president/managing director for AHC+ Hospitality, is a veteran hotelier with a long-standing passion for travel and hospitality. Through his tenure at AHC+, he has overseen the development and growth of the brand as well as domestic and international property operations.

Mr. Aquino has been a member of the AHC+ Hospitality team for 27 years, when he first served as director of operations at the historic Amway Grand Plaza. He then progressed to the role of general manager of the JW Marriott Grand Rapids; under his management, the luxury property received the "Opening of the Year" Award from Marriott International. In 2013, Aquino was promoted to vice president/managing director for AHC+ Hospitality.

Mr. Aquino's career took-off quickly, from his beginnings as a busboy at the elegant Le Ciel Bleu atop the Mayfair Regent Chicago and progressing to the role of director of food & beverage. Within five years, he was appointed general manager at Peter Island Resort and Spa in the British Virgin Islands.

Engrained in the Grand Rapids community, Mr. Aquino is the opening board chair for the Grand Rapids Downtown Market and has served on the Board of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. He was the 2010 and 2011 campaign chair for the Heart of West Michigan United Way. In 2012, he was recipient of the Father of the Year Award by the American Diabetes Association.

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

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-aquino-815001b5/

Mr. Aquino can be contacted at +1 616-776-6459 or gaquino@ahchospitality.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.