Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Walsh

Richard Walsh

Vice President of Business Development, Lodging Interactive

Richard Walsh graduated from Western Michigan University with his BA in English. He has completed some Masters studies at the University of Miami and Yale University. Mr. Walsh has spent a long and productive career working in sales and/or marketing for travel companies such as Trans World Airlines, Air France, Reed International and The Official Airline Guide. Previously, Mr. Walsh was President of Amadeus USA (a global distribution system), Wizcom (technology division of Avis Auto Rental) and founder and president of Innovata (travel content aggregator). Richard was the founder of CASMA, the Computerized Airline Sales & Marketing Association a global association of airlines and related marketing services. Mr. Walsh is currently the Vice President of Business Development for Lodging Interactive, a leading hospitality Internet and social media marketing agency. He lives in the Atlanta GA area and enjoys local sports teams, tennis, skiing and researching local historical sites.

Mr. Walsh can be contacted at 770-533-9787 or rjwalsh@lodginginteractive.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.