Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Paston

Melissa Paston

Catering Sales Manager, The Kitano New York

Melissa Paston is catering sales manager for The Kitano New York Hotel's food and beverage operations and the hotel's new full-service restaurant and performance venue, JAZZ at KITANO. Paston brings 15 years of hotel catering sales experience to New York's only Japanese-owned, boutique property with an array of event and meetings capabilities that effortlessly blend gracious Japanese hospitality with one of New York City's most vibrant locations. MS. Paston, who began her career at The Kitano, returned to oversee the selling and planning of corporate meetings, social events, weddings and celebrations in the property's diverse function spaces. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Paston took on her first role as catering sales manager at The Kitano in 1997 as a fitting combination for her interests in marketing, sales, culinary operations and customer service. She has also held positions at the W New York, W New York - The Court and Hilton Times Square.

Ms. Paston can be contacted at 212-885-7017 or mpaston@kitano.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.