Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Wilhelm

Sam Wilhelm

Chef Concierge, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Chef Concierge Sam Wilhelm has been immersed in the hospitality industry since he can remember. Born and raised in the quaint town of Hana, the namesake of Maui's most notorious road trip, Wilhelm's father was a Director of Food & Beverage at the Hotel Hana and his mother was a Front Office Manager. "Growing up, I was always at the hotel. My sisters even danced hula there," recalls Mr. Wilhelm. "And when we weren't there, we were having guests over to our home for dinner." Mr. Wilhelm still exudes the aloha spirit instilled in his childhood, and much of his focus at Four Seasons Resort Maui relates to showing his guests the beauty of the island and its native people. The young chef concierge swiftly navigated up through the hotel ranks. At age 15, he became a concierge agent at Hotel Hana. After graduating high school, he moved into the Food & Beverage department. Three years later, he moved from Hana to the luxury resort area of Wailea, Maui, taking a position as a front desk agent at the Fairmont Kea Lani, where he stayed for five years, advancing to chef concierge. In 2011, Mr. Wilhelm joined Four Seasons "I wanted be part of the best," he says. A year later, he was promoted to chef concierge, heading the largest team of concierge in the company. Mr. Wilhelm also holds the coveted golden keys of the Les Clef d'Or, which he earned in 2009. He regularly attends the association's annual congress meetings, developing initiatives to bring back to his island home and growing his network of his peers-the best of the best in the business. "My goal at the resort is twofold: first, to provide guests with a level of service that exceeds their expectations; second, to show them the real Maui, the one that I grew up with and that they can take home with them in the form of lifelong memories." When Mr. Wilhelm is not behind the desk, he enjoys experiencing all his island home has to offer. He can often be found with family and friends, relaxing at the beach or dining at the island's most revered eateries-from chef's tables to holes-in-the-wall.

Mr. Wilhelm can be contacted at 808- 874-8000 or sam.wilhelm@fourseasons.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.