Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Suckow

Shawna Suckow

Founder & President, Senior Planners Industry Network

Shawna Suckow, CMP, was a meeting and incentive planner for over 20 years. In 2008 she founded SPIN (www.spinplanners.com), an association for planners with 10+ years of experience. The network now has over 2,600 planner members across North America, and recently opened for supplier membership.

Ms. Suckow began studying buyer behavior in earnest in 2009, and speaking to audiences of hospitality salespeople who were frustrated with the shifting marketplace and the influences of technology. Her goal was—and is—to bridge the communication gap between buyers and sellers, to make the whole process less frustrating and more productive for both sides. She has since written two best-sellers, including her newest book: Don't Become Extinct - Join the Sales Evolution. She predicts that the next 10 years will see a massive restructuring of the sales role across all industries, as buyers become more able to circumvent salespeople in favor of technology to make their purchases.

Ms. Suckow has spoken on 5 continents in 15 countries to nearly 100,000 people. She shares her extensive background as a corporate meeting and incentive planner to help salespeople from hotels and other destinations understand—and capitalize on—the ever-evolving buyer landscape.

Honors include being named to the Global Top 100 Women Business & Tech Speakers, Planners' Favorite Speakers lists of 2014 and 2015, and Top 8 Speakers of 2013 (along with James Earl Jones!).

Ms. Suckow can be contacted at 651-470-0066 or shawna@spinplanners.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.