Editorial Board   

Mr. Leopold

Gary Leopold

President & CEO, ISM

Gary Leopold is President and Chief Executive Officer of ISM, a Boston-based advertising and marketing firm that specializes in the travel and leisure industries. Among their clients are Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, American Express, Emirates, Harley-Davidson, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and Harley-Davidson. Prior to joining ISM, Gary was the corporate director of public relations for Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, overseeing 13 hotels worldwide. Gary is a past president of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and currently serves on their Board of Directors as well as on the Board of the HSMAI Foundation. He is the founder of the HSMAI Golden Bell Public Relations Awards and Golden Click Web Awards, and a co-founder of the Annual Travel Awards Night dinner. A noted expert in travel marketing, he has taught and lectured on the subject at Cornell, Boston University, University of New Hampshire and many other colleges and organizations. He's also written articles for Business Travel News, HSMAI Marketing Review, Successful Meetings and other industry publications. Mr. Leopold is also the recipient of the Albert E. Koehl Lifetime Achievement Award in travel advertising from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), an honor he shares with Michael Eisner and Sir Richard Branson, among others. He is also the current president of the MAGNET global agency network.

Mr. Leopold can be contacted at 617-353-1822 or gleopold@ismboston.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.