Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Mearns

Kate Mearns

Spa Director, The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg

Kate Mearns has spent the past 16 years sharing her beliefs that the spa experience should be primarily about one's wellness. Ms. Mearns' conviction fits perfectly within the philosophy upon which The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg was created - a continuum of wellness. With spa experiences based on historical wellness practices from the past five centuries and into today, the Spa relates the ongoing process of individual health through time, blending inspiration from colonial, African and American Indian wellness practices, and influencing subsequent generations. Ms. Mearns began her career in the industry more than a decade ago, when it was in its relative infancy, at the Coolfont Resort & Spa in West Virginia and later moved to Williamsburg, Virginia to open The Spa at the Kingsmill Resort. In her early days, she worked closely with one of the founding members of the International Spa Association (ISPA) and became involved with the distinguished organization. Ms. Mearns would ultimately serve on the Board of Directors, from 2001 - 2006, spending the last two years as Chairman. From her involvement with ISPA, Ms. Mearns has had various opportunities to represent the spa industry. She's been featured on the Travel Channel, spoken on spa trends and research in international locales such as Bangkok and Singapore, and has written numerous articles for spa and fitness industry publications. Working with and learning from others, especially on an international level, has been what inspires her to grow in her profession. Ms. Mearns believes that indigenous treatments will continue to grow in popularity in the future; something The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg has already incorporated into its menu.

Ms. Mearns can be contacted at 757-220-7720 or kmearns@cwf.org

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.