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 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.