Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Hoover

Erin Hoover

Vice President of Design, Westin Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts

As Vice President of Design for Westin Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Erin Hoover leads the creative team to develop global design concepts for guestrooms, public spaces, brand partnerships, marketing events and other design elements for the Westin and Sheraton brands. Ms. Hoover came to Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT) by way of the fashion world, having previously worked for Armani for nine years; and brings a calm, smart, livable sensibility to the award-winning hotel brands. Prior to Armani, Hoover consulted for Calvin Klein, Edwin Schlossberg, and Polo Ralph Lauren. In addition to designing the next generation of Westin's and Sheraton's guestrooms, Hoover also spearheaded Westin's groundbreaking partnership with United Airlines, designing travel-size Heavenly blankets and pillows, and Westin-inspired Renewal Lounges at airports in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Each Renewal Lounge featured a signature LED candle wall and artwork typical of Westin's soothing aesthetic, along with two pieces of custom furniture: an upholstered ottoman table with a built-in table (for displaying custom botanicals or books) and a day bed for resting, all designed by Ms. Hoover. What's most interesting about Ms. Hoover's work is the diverse variety of properties that fall under the Westin and Sheraton umbrella. While a majority of the properties are new builds, the Westin and Sheraton portfolio also include resort hotels and landmarked buildings including the recently opened Westin Book Cadillac, inside one of Detroit's most storied buildings. To address these differences, Westin, under the creative guidance of Hoover, created three related but distinct design themes: Modern, which is streamlined and uses light woods; Classic, which is modern at its core but with an Art Deco influence; and Historic, for pre-existing buildings where it's most appropriate to respect original architectural details. Ms. Hoover's large scope of design experience ranges from designing textiles and exhibitions to visual merchandising and display, store design, nightclubs and hotels. Her eclectic and varied experience shapes her design perspective and continues to inspire her as a design professional at Westin and Sheraton. Ms. Hoover has an MFA in Industrial Design from Pratt.

Ms. Hoover can be contacted at 203-351-2542 or erin.hoover@starwoodhotels.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.