Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Katz

Ellis Katz

Principal and Hospitality Studio Director, John Portman & Associates

Ellis A. Katz is a Principal and the Hospitality Studio Director for John Portman & Associates (Portman). Dedicated and energetic, he is one of Portman's primary experts in the complexity of hospitality and mixed-use projects. Mr. Katz also heads the business development for the firm, currently concentrating on projects in the USA, India and Brazil. Client service is his number one priority. As a result, he often serves as the client's primary point of contact, providing clients with responsiveness and accountability. His leadership of project teams is aided by his clear understanding of the technical requirements of the project as well as sensitivity to the design issues. Excellent communication skills, combined with a positive personal demeanor, organizational expertise and conscientious follow-through, all work together to help keep the team focused. Mr. Katz not only personifies Portman's sensory/experiential approach to design, he also understands the business objectives of a hotel project as he works with the design team to ensure that firm projects deliver both a memorable guest experience as well as exceptional operational efficiency. He has been with the firm for 17 years and has worked in the industry for 31. Prior to joining Portman, Mr. Katz worked for ten years as an Associate Principal with Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, Inc. in Chicago. His work there included design, master planning, and project management, with responsibility for complete project coordination through tenant move-in. Mr. Katz earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to being a registered architect, Mr. Katz is a member of the Urban Land Institute. He works out of John Portman & Associates' Atlanta office.

Mr. Katz can be contacted at 404-614-5040 or ekatz@portmanusa.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.