Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Vitale

Richard Vitale

General Manager Food & Beverage, Hotel Monteleone

Richard Vitale serves as general manager of the Carousel Bar and the Criollo Restaurant and Lounge inside the historic Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. Mr. Vitale received an International Business Management/Finance degree from Western Illinois University and continued his education with James Cook University in Australia and Penn State University's F&B management training program. He is pursuing an F&B master certificate program with Cornell University. Mr. Vitale was most recently director of beverage at Wild Horse Pass Resort and Casino in Phoenix, Arizona. His responsibilities included 8 bars and lounges, a Las Vegas style nightclub, a 1400 seat concert venue and the beverage relationship with two franchise operations, Shula's Steakhouse and Ling and Louie's. He was part of the opening team for Intercontinental Montelucia Resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where he served as assistant general manager. While there, Mr. Vitale was responsible for the day to day operations of the resort's featured outlet, specializing in authentic cuisine from southern Spain. Previous to that, Mr. Vitale was restaurant manager at T. Cook's, the upscale dining facility at Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix. Mr. Vitale also worked as restaurant director at Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Birmingham, Alabama, and as assistant restaurant manager at The Breakers in Palm Beach Florida, as well as in several capacities at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in Chicago. Like most dedicated F&B professionals, Mr. Vitale's career began when he worked as a server at Oystercatchers and Armani's, the two high-end specialty restaurants at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida.

Mr. Vitale can be contacted at 504-523-3341 or rvitale@hotelmontelone.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.