Editorial Board   

Ms. Anya Nara

Rita Anya Nara

Author, The Anxious Traveler

Rita Anya Nara is the author of The Anxious Traveler: How to Overcome Your Fear to Travel the World (2013). She has been recognized by The Chicago Tribune, ABC Online, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business News, The Good Day Sacramento Show, The AAA Show, The Kathryn Zox Show, World Travelers of America, Bankrate, Inc., RadioMD, and Travel Industry Today as an expert in recognizing the psychological challenges facing travelers, and how to successfully manage them. Ms. Nara personally overcame the limitations of panic disorder and social anxiety to travel to over 40 countries around the world, for both business and leisure, and specializes in empowering prospective tourists and business travelers to trade their armchairs for suitcases. Through her outreach to her readers and blog followers, she is increasingly aware of the number of people around the country -- and the world -- who have the money and time to travel, but lack the confidence to begin their journey. She provides valuable insight to industry specialists on what specific fears are holding pack potential customers -- fears that go far beyond concerns about terrorism or flying. With her help, this previously untapped market is making the ultimate journey: from daydreamer to traveler. Ms. Nara received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis in 2000, and resides outside the Bay Area when not traveling.

Ms. Anya Nara can be contacted at 916-721-6457 or ritaanyanara@gmail.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.