Editorial Board   

Ms. Healey

Marilyn Healey

President , Association for Convention Operations Management

Marilyn Healey was formerly President of the Association for Convention Operations Management (ACOM), an association dedicated to advancing the practice of convention services management in the meetings industry, and is also Senior Convention Services Manager at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach. Marilyn has 25 years of experience in the meeting planning and hospitality industry. A native of San Francisco, Marilyn began her career in 1980 as a Public Relations Manager for a non-profit organization in downtown Los Angeles, where she was responsible for coordinating annual meetings, special event fundraisers, and media events. In 1989, Marilyn moved over to the hospitality side of meeting planning and worked for Hyatt Hotels until 1995. From 1995 to 2000, Marilyn gained additional experience in the meetings industry, working for the Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she served as Convention Services and Registration Manager for 5 years. From 2000 to 2005, Marilyn served as Director of Meetings & Convention Services at the Hilton Long Beach Hotel and Conference Center, and then the Hyatt Orange County. An ACOM member since 1996, she received the ACOM Member of the Year Award in 2001, was past Chair of the ACOM Marketing and Communications Committee and Past President of ACOM's Southern California Chapter from 1998-1999.

Ms. Healey can be contacted at 562-491-1234 or Marilyn.Healey@Hyatt.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.