Editorial Board   

Mr. Spelts

Larry Spelts

Director of Asset Management, Charlestowne Hotels

Larry Spelts, Director of Asset Management for Charlestowne Hotels, has spent his 25 year career focused in the independent boutique hotel and inn segment of the hospitality industry. He is a past president of the Charleston, SC Hotel & Motel Association and a former Charleston Travel Council Governor. Mr. Spelts began his career in the hospitality industry while attending the College of Charleston (SC) in the 1980's working in various positions from bellman to concierge. He took his first management position in 1990 at the 43 room Kings Courtyard Inn of Charming Inns of Charleston, with whom he went on to open new properties in 1992 and 1994 - all boutique, Four Diamond rated properties. In November 1994, Mr. Spelts accepted the general manager position at the 64 room Planters Inn of Charleston, SC. Mr. Spelts led redevelopment of the property and repositioned it as Charleston's first Relais & Châteaux. Ten years later he took a position with the world-renowned Carlyle Hotel in New York City, where he oversaw various renovation projects and served as the hotel manager. While in New York, Mr. Spelts earned an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business while working as an independent consultant that included engagements with a variety of boutique and lifestyle businesses from the Hotel Roger Williams to the Core Club and David Barton Gyms. Mr. Spelts joined Charlestowne Hotels in September of 2009.

Mr. Spelts can be contacted at 843-972-1428 or lspelts@charlestownehotels.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.