Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Bowden

Barb Bowden

Director, Corporate Revenue Management, Peabody Hotels

Barbara Bowden serves as general manager of The Peabody Orlando and the director of corporate revenue management for Peabody Hotels. A native of St. Louis, MO., Ms. Bowden began her hotel career in 1984 at the front desk of the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando, Fla. Two years later when The Peabody Orlando opened its doors for business on November 1, 1986, she joined the hotel as front desk supervisor. As general manager, Ms. Bowden is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 1,641-room hotel. Since being appointed to this role in February 2010, Ms. Bowden helped lead The Peabody Orlando's $450-million expansion which was completed in September 2010. Most recently under her leadership, The Peabody Orlando was once again awarded with the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star rating for the 23rd consecutive year, making it the largest non-gaming hotel in the United States with this distinction. In addition to her role as general manager, Ms. Bowden is responsible for the creation and implementation of the corporate revenue management and distribution infrastructure for Peabody Hotels, including organizational structure, strategy, supporting processes and operations, internal education and training. Currently, Ms. Bowden serves as Chair for the Board of Directors of the Americas Region of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and is past-chairperson of the HSMAI Revenue Management Special Interest Group. In addition, she holds a position on Visit Orlando's Board of Directors. Her years with The Peabody Orlando have been star-studded. She won the Department Head of the Quarter, 1989; Department Head of the Year, 1995; General Manager's Special Achievement Award for Excellence, 1998; Peabody Hotel Group Rooms Division Leadership Award, 1999, and Peabody Hotel Group's President's Award for Excellence, 2006.

Ms. Bowden can be contacted at 407-352-4000 or barb.bowden@peabodyhotels.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.