Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Watkins

Jane Watkins

President, Watkins Public Relations

Jane Watkins, a native of the Caribbean island of St. Croix, was raised understanding the value of water. With only a cistern to provide water to the household, water conservation was critical because if the cistern was empty - you would be out of water until the next rainfall. Upon moving to the continental USA, Ms. Watkins was horrified to see people watering their grass. Having lived in Florida for the past ten years, where watering the lawn seems to be a daily ritual with most homeowners, Ms. Watkins still refuses. “I am working on eliminating as much grass as possible in my yard by planting drought resistant natives and pollinator attracting plants.” Having worked at resorts and boat charters since a teen, it is no surprise Watkins, a marketing communications specialist, focuses on the hospitality industry. A graduate of Florida State University, she has built a track record in integrated marketing communications including launches, events, promotions, sponsorships, media relations, collateral, and advertising. Her vertical marketing experience includes food and beverage, movies, retail, travel and tourism, art, and youth marketing. She has represented hotels and destinations worldwide. Ms. Watkins has managed marketing efforts for Atlanta Pride, Glory Foods as well as national accounts. She is a volunteer for the St. Croix Foundation, the Center for Great Apes and select non-profits. In 2011, she produced the cookbook for her client, the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, to benefit the St. Croix Foundation, a non-profit serving the US Virgin Islands.

Ms. Watkins can be contacted at 305-235-8575 or jane@watkinspr.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.