Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Shindle

Don Shindle

General Manager, Westin Verasa Napa

With more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, ranging from rooms division, food and beverage, to sales, marketing and finance, Don Shindle brings a wealth of knowledge, strong leadership, and a passion for luxury hotel operations to his role as general manager of The Westin Verasa Napa. Before moving with his family to Napa, Shindle pursued his career in hotels throughout his native Canada, including The Algonquin in St. Andrews NB, The Delta Chelsea Inn in Toronto Ont., The St. Eugene Mission Golf Resort in Canbrook BC, and The Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler, BC. Before his current role at The Westin Verasa Napa, Shindle served dual roles as general manager of The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain in Ontario and Regional Vice President of Intrawest Hospitality Management (IHM), dividing his time among the company's North American destination resorts. While in that position, Shindle was responsible for implementing the design, development, opening and ongoing operations of several of Intrawest's North American properties, including The Westin Monache Resort in Mammoth, Calif., The Westin Imagine in Orlando, Fla., Honua Kai Resort on the Island of Maui, Hawaii and The Westin Verasa Napa. Under his watch, The Westin Verasa Napa was named the 2011 Gold Magellan Award Winner for Hotels and Resorts in the Lobby & Common Space Design category, the 2013 Silver Magellan Award Winner for Hotels and Resorts in the Pool Design category; won the Great Wine Capitals' Napa Valley 2011 Best of Wine Tourism award in Accommodations; and was honored with the AAA Four Diamond Award in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 which recognizes upscale facilities, attentive service, and a high standard of hospitality. Shindle is the recipient of the 2012 Napa Valley Community

Mr. Shindle can be contacted at 707-257-1800 or info@westinnapa.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.