Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Edwards

Jeff Edwards

Head of Global Hotel Business, Amadeus

Jeff Edwards is a hotel industry veteran whose experience spans the hotelier, hotel distribution and hotel IT sectors. His role at Amadeus focuses on expanding the fast-growing hotel IT and distribution division, and his background is ideally suited for the job: Mr. Edwards's experiences give him a unique insight into both the hotel world and the customer world, having worked for a major global hotel chain and as an industry consultant. Before joining Amadeus as Head of Global Hotel Business, in February 2012, Mr. Edwards was CIO and Executive Vice President of the Wyndham Hotel Group for more than 5 years. Mr. Edwards was responsible for the Information Technology organization (Central Systems, Property Based Systems and Corporate Systems) as well as all reservation distribution channels; including reservation platforms, property based systems, enterprise-wide data warehouse, brand websites, global distribution systems and third party reservation providers. Before joining Wyndham, Mr. Edwards was CEO of Open Table, the online restaurant reservation website. Over 20,000 restaurants use the management software designed by Open Table to manage reservations, tables, guests and marketing activities. Mr. Edwards previously spent more than five years as president and CEO of Micros Systems, the global provider of enterprise applications for the hospitality and retail industries. Micros provides property management systems, central reservation and customer information solutions to more than 26,000 hotels. Mr. Edwards began his career as a hotel industry consultant, running his own hotel and hospitality consulting business - Edwards Consulting. The firm provided consultancy services to CEOs of travel services and hotel companies, where his clients included Travelport, TravelCLICK and SoftHotel. With a strong background in corporate business strategy, CRS, PMS and corporate systems, and sales and distribution networks, Mr. Edwards is an expert on hotel IT and distribution systems, with a strong understanding of what travel buyers need and look for.

Mr. Edwards can be contacted at 34-91582-1227 or jeff.edwards@amadeus.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.