Editorial Board   

Mr. Hefler

Lawrence Hefler

Principal, Hefler International

Lawrence Hefler, principal of Hefler International and founder of BrandShares, is an accomplished marketer, whose vision and expertise in consumer marketing have driven results in the travel, leisure, and hospitality sectors. His depth of experience and understanding of shared and fractional ownership, residence clubs, and the evolving leisure real estate industry are the driving force behind BrandShares. The Hefler expertise in branding and marketing helps companies find, understand, keep, and grow customers - thereby building the value of their brand share. His mantra is that more than marketing, branding and sales training are critical in to compete in the marketplace. Mr. Hefler is the former Vice President, Brand Marketing at Hilton Grand Vacations Company. At Hilton, he led global advertising, branding, marketing, e Business and strategic alliances. Before his five years at Hilton, he was senior manager at Walt Disney where he led the transformation of Disney Vacation Development and other Parks and Resorts niche business units into e-business organizations. Prior to entering the hospitality industry, he held senior marketing management roles with Fortune 500 brands including American Express, BellSouth, and Boise Cascade.

Mr. Hefler can be contacted at 407-644-7840 or hefler@cfl.rr.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.