Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Profant

Marie Profant

Founder, Tours4Mobile

Always looking for ways technology can solve business issues, Ms. Profant has been a leader of several new system implementations. For the past decade she has been the Founder of Tours4Mobile, a platform for professional contributors, and curation, production, e-commerce, and distribution processes. They offer digital guided tours via their website, Amazon and Nook, and the App Stores. She has led seminar discussions for hotel and other travel industry executives at the Apple Store and at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

It all started in high school, before girls-who-code was a thing. Dad had said, "pay attention to computers, that's the future". So as a part-time geometry tutor, Ms. Profant became the only girl to join the Computer Club. Not wanting to appear a nerd, she stayed home the day of yearbook photos.

Fast forward to her first job; Engineering Planner for the Avionics department which develops advanced systems for fighter jets. Ms. Profant was given her toolset; a calculator, paper forms for a spreadsheet, and a pencil with a big eraser. HA! That led to the confrontation, "Why do only the engineers get PCs? Doesn't the business department qualify?" And a campaign was born. Within a few years she was leading a 30-member team implementation of Cost/Schedule Control systems, and defined the first division-wide business process flow documentation.

Having an opportunity to relocate to Santa Barbara, while at Nexxus Products Company Ms. Profant was responsible for B2B systems including the first nationwide eCommerce system in the hair care industry.

In 2007 Ms. Profant became an entrepreneur, with a goal of enhancing audio tours which leave visualization to anyone's imagination. Adding images to narrated tracks seemed a logical improvement, but it took an industry-wide evolution of video standards before it was possible to provide a cross-platform end-user experience-an obvious goal so that families can tour together. Pairing these guided tour products with travel industry services, has been the B2B focus. While their contract with the cruise industry is paused, the company is offering a multi-faceted marketing program to hotels seeking news strategies during the economic recovery.

Please visit http://www.tours4mobile.com for more information.

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marieprofant/

Ms. Profant can be contacted at +1 805-705-9179 or mprofant@tours4mobile.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.