Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Criaris

Marissa Criaris

Executive Vice President of Business Development, EmpireCLS

Marissa Criaris in the Executive Vice President of Business Development for EmpireCLS, the leader in luxury ground transportation. With over 22 years of experience in the industry, Ms. Criaris is one of the most recognized women in the ground transportation sector. A part of EmpireCLS' Senior Management team, she reports directly to David Seelinger, Chairman and CEO.

She began her career at EmpireCLS as a reservationist in high school and gradually worked her way up for over two decades. During her career at EmpireCLS, Ms. Criaris was an integral part of two of EmpireCLS' mergers - one with Empire's largest competitor in 2005 and most recently with Wilshire imousine, a Los Angeles-based limousine company. During her tenure she had overall responsibility of the global call center and also designed the implementation of various dedicated industry and corporate teams (aviation private jet companies as well as an Ultra team to run global artist tours and CEO travel). She has been in charge of the global events team, sales, and during her tenure as the head of the customer care team, Ms. Criaris implemented an initiative to extend customer care hours 24/7 with a strict policy to call customers every time there was an issue in real time.

Ms. Criaris is currently responsible for the global sales and marketing team and works to streamline company-wide operations as they impact the overall customer experience and guest touch points. Additionally, she manages many of EmpireCLS' top corporate and entertainment accounts to ensure these VIP clients receive the discreet, professional,and premium-quality service for which the company is renowned. She is in charge of managing the second highest book of business with long-standing relationships with Fortune 500 companies, entertainment companies, and tour managers.

Ms. Criaris is a graduate of Pace University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, Management, and Marketing.

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

Ms. Criaris can be contacted at +1 800-451-5466 or executiveteam@empirecls.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.