Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Noel

John Noel

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Noel Group

John M. Noel is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Noel Group - a diversified organization that invests in promising companies and has a history of building successful businesses in the areas of insurance, concierge, emergency travel assistance, customer service, financial services, emerging technology and real estate. Noel Group operates on a value-based philosophy of serving its clients and employees with honesty, integrity and respect. The company is based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and operates under the philosophy "Our direction is led by our values." Mr. Noel has overseen many successful companies including MultiNational Underwriters and Travel Guard International. He started Travel Guard in his basement in 1985 and grew it to become one of the most respected travel insurance and emergency assistance providers in the world. Travel Guard was sold in 2006 and is now part of Chartis. In 2008 MultiNational was sold to HCC Insurance Holdings and renamed HCC Medical Insurance Services. Noel Group also owns the MyAssist service, live personal assistance for the mobile lifestyle. Other Noel Group companies include CallForce, a customer service contact center; Compass Properties, a real estate investment company; and Insure America, a specialty insurance company. In 1993, Mr. Noel and his wife Patty established the Make A Mark Foundation a non-profit, humanitarian program focused on making a positive difference on both a local and global level. Through a network of partners donating time, abilities and finances, Make A Mark has built clinics, schools and orphanages in developing countries throughout the world. Over the past two decades, Make A Mark has focused its attention on the looming orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, which was caused by the devastating AIDS pandemic. In 1996, the Noel's established The Noel Compass Scholarship Program to provide access to higher education for low-income, high-achieving students from Wisconsin's urban communities. The program includes room, board and tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as well as a paid internship at Noel Group. Today, the Noel's "extended family" includes over 20 Compass Scholar college graduates. In recognition of their many philanthropic endeavors, the Noels were presented with the Franklin Covey Humanitarian Service Award, given to "outstanding individuals who reach out to improve the quality of life for individuals, groups or humankind." Noel Group has also been recognized by Working Mother Magazine as one of the top 100 companies in the nation for working mothers. Mr. Noel is a graduate and facilitator of the Covey Leadership Center, which is based on the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" created by renowned author Dr. Steven Covey. A subsequent book by Dr. Covey entitled "Living the 7 Habits" includes a chapter written by Mr. Noel, where he shares the positive impact that the program has had on his personal and professional life. Mr. Noel earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was recognized as the University's "Alumni of the Year" in 1999. The University's performing arts center was also dedicated in 2006 as the Noel Fine Arts Center.

Mr. Noel can be contacted at 877-692-7747 or jnoel@noelgroup.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.