Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Blanc

Eric Blanc

President, ACOM

Eric Blanc is President of ACOM - the Association for Convention Operations Management. A tenured professional with over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Mr. Blanc is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Marketing. He is a Certified Meeting Professional and graduated from the International Association of Assembly Managers Public Assembly Facility Management School. Mr. Blanc was recently named the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida after serving as a National Sales Manager with the Freeman Companies, based in Orlando, Florida. Prior to his time at the Freeman Companies, Mr. Blanc served as Senior Convention Services Manager at the Tampa Convention Center and Tropicana Field (formerly known as the Florida Suncoast Dome) in St. Petersburg, Florida. Mr. Blanc has been actively involved in the hospitality industry and is a member of ACOM (Association for Convention Operations Management), NCBMP (National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners) and PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). He has also served on the PCMA Annual Meeting Planning Committee.

Mr. Blanc can be contacted at 813-274-7773 or Eric.Blanc@ci.tampa.fl.us

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.