Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Hall

Mike Hall

General Manager, The Westin South Coast Plaza

An accomplished hotel industry veteran, Mike Hall is The Westin South Coast Plaza's general manager. Since 2002, he has been at the helm of the luxurious 293-room property in Costa Mesa, California, considered to be Orange County's landmark hotel. Mr. Hall has also overseen major renovations at the hotel, where a multi-million dollar upgrade is slated for next year. During Mr. Hall's distinguished career he has held senior management posts with international hotel chains and resort properties, and leadership roles in hospitality industry organizations. Mr. Hall's previous experience with Westin includes serving as general manager of the Westin Horton Plaza Hotel, a 450-room upscale property in San Diego. There he oversaw major renovations of guestrooms, meeting rooms and public spaces. Mr. Hall was previously managing director of the luxurious Westin Diplomat Resort County Club & Spa in Hollywood, Florida, handling the pre- and post-opening of the $750 million oceanfront resort. He has also overseen regional operations for Starwood/HEI Hotels on the West Coast, including the 460-room Westin Long Beach. Mr. Hall's other senior management posts include serving as vice president of Operations, North America for Olympus Hospitality, and as regional vice president of Operations for Renaissance International Hotels & Resorts for the Western U.S., including Hawaii. Additionally, Mr. Hall has been the general manager of the Anaheim and Marina del Rey Doubletree Hotels, the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, the Lincoln Hotel in Dallas, the Hilton Hotel in Waco and at several Clarion Hotels chain properties in Colorado, Texas and Phoenix. Mr. Hall chairs the Costa Mesa Conference & Visitor Bureau and previously was chairman of the Long Beach Visitor and Convention Council. Under Mr. Hall's leadership, The Westin South Coast Plaza achieved the coveted “Best in Class” distinction in the annual Meeting Planner Satisfaction Index (MPSI), won a “Sales Leader of the Year” award from Starwood Hotels, and “Most Profitable Hotel” honors from HOST Hotels, and was rated first by the hotel's associates in “Best Place to Work” competition among all Starwood properties.

Mr. Hall can be contacted at 714-540-2500 or mike.hall@westin.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.