Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Halfmann

Keith Halfmann

Vice President of Operations, Marcus Hotels

Keith Halfmann is vice president of operations for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Halfmann oversees the day-to-day operational responsibilities for several hotels in the Marcus Hotels & Resorts portfolio including the Hilton Madison, Wis.; Sheraton Madison, Wis.; Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, Mo.; Hilton Garden Inn, Houston, Texas; Bloomington Hilton, Bloomington, Minn.; Crowne Plaza - Northstar, Minneapolis, Minn. and the Westin Columbus, Columbus, Ohio.

Mr. Halfmann is responsible for managing revenues, sales, financial performance, guest satisfaction and operational excellence for each hotel, as well as managing product and service quality standards for a variety of hotel brands. He also remains involved with the operation of the Mason Street Grill restaurant located in the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wis., which he successfully opened in 2006.

Mr. Halfmann has been with Marcus Hotels & Resorts for 12 years and has previously had a key role in developing the company's food and beverage operations. He served as director of food and beverage at the Pfister Hotel where he concepted and opened Celia, a four-star restaurant, and Blu, a nationally-recognized cocktail lounge.

Mr. Halfmann served as assistant general manager of the Hilton Milwaukee, where he concepted and opened the Milwaukee ChopHouse - one of the city's top rated steakhouses. He also served as director of operations at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis., where he implemented strategic revenue and profit contingencies and successfully re-concepted the restaurants, spa, ski chalet, retail areas and public space.

More recently, he served as general manager of the Pfister Hotel, where he led a $20 million renovation of the hotel, including guest rooms, lobby areas, the WELL Spa and the Mason Street Grill. Prior to joining Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Mr. Halfmann worked at the Copper Mountain Resort, an Intrawest Resort in Copper Mountain, Colo. where he served on the repositioning and branding team after Intrawest purchased the resort from its previous owner. He also worked at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in several food and beverage roles.

In addition to his work at Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Mr. Halfmann serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Feed My Sheep and sits on the Waukesha County Technical College Student Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA) and is involved with the United Performing Arts Fund Emerging Leaders organization. In his free time, he enjoys endurance training, triathlons and in 2010 successfully completed the Ford Ironman Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

Mr. Halfmann can be contacted at 414-905-1200 or keithhalfmann@marcushotels.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.