Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gray

Mike Gray

Director of National Accounts, Cardola

Mike Gray has served as Cardola's director of national accounts for North America since the UK-based company was first established in the region at the start of 2012. His main responsibilities are sales and support for Cardola's North America division, and with the opening of Cardola's new US office and the deployment of VirtualHotel in further properties, Mr. Gray's responsibilities are expanding. Mr. Gray has also been involved in Cardola's latest deployment, the Delano hotel in Marrakech, which is owned by US based Morgan's hotel group. With a total of 29 years experience in the hospitality technology market, and previous sales roles in seven other hospitality organizations, Mr. Gray is a key asset for Cardola. His expertise in the North American hotel market will help Cardola further its geographical expansion and deploy the VirtualHotel solution in more North American properties. Mr. Gray is also actively working on potential projects in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to joining Cardola, Mr. Gray worked for various technology companies, specializing in hospitality, and worked with high profile hotel chains, including Hilton, Marriott and Mandarin Oriental. His success in guiding hotels and hotel chains toward reducing costs and enhancing guest experiences, with the help of technology, makes his expertise invaluable for the Cardola team.

Mr. Gray can be contacted at mike.gray@cardola.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.