Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Holmerud

Justin Holmerud

Global Social Media Manager - Platforms & Tools, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Justin Holmerud is Global Social Media Manager for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, responsible for driving platform and tool development to meet the needs of the company's more than 1,110 hotels around the world. Mr. Holmerud joined Starwood in 2007, out of their regional Field Marketing office in San Diego. In his five years with Starwood, Mr. Holmerud has led regional hotel online marketing as well as search engine optimization and social media for all of the North American hotels. In April 2012, he was promoted to his current global role within Starwood's digital team, focusing on platforms, tools and analytics. Prior to joining Starwood, Mr. Holmerud was the online marketing manager for the Dyson News Network. Working with Yahoo! Finance, Mr. Holmerud helped syndicate the Real Estate news videos that DNN produced on a daily basis. He also led the paid search and SEO efforts for the company with a focus on reporting and analytics. Mr. Holmerud is a graduate of San Jose State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism. During his time there, he interned with the marketing team for Fox Sports Bay Area.

Mr. Holmerud can be contacted at 206-494-0132 or justin.holmerud@starwoodhotels.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.