Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Punyapu

Anil Punyapu

Vice President, Cvent

With nearly a decade of experience in the meetings industry, Anil Punyapu drives strategy for and leads sales of enterprise meetings solutions at Cvent, the world's largest meetings management technology company. With more than 800 employees worldwide and over 90,000 users in 40 countries, Cvent offers web-based software for meeting site selection, online registration, meetings management and marketing, and web surveys. The company's online site selection and Request for Proposal (RFP) tool, the Cvent Supplier Network, is expected to carry more than $4 billion in group business to hotels and special event venues in 2011. In his current role, Mr. Punyapu combines technology expertise with deep knowledge of the meetings industry to shape development of Cvent's Strategic Meetings Management product, marketing initiatives and sales and training processes. Under his leadership, Cvent helps some of the largest pharmaceutical, financial, consumer product and healthcare organizations centrally manage enterprise-wide meetings spend and streamline meetings processes. Previously, Mr. Punyapu built Cvent's Chapter Sales Division, which focused on chapter-based associations. Prior to Cvent, Mr. Punyapu co-founded Entertainment Ventures, a hedge fund of funds based in the Washington, D.C. area, and also served as a Senior Associate at Friedman Billings Ramsey (FBR), a full-services investment firm.

Mr. Punyapu can be contacted at 517-830-2466 or apunyapu@cvent.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.