Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Johnson

Russell A. Johnson

President and CEO, Merchants Information Solutions

Russell A. Johnson, President & Chief Executive Officer of Merchants Information Solutions since 2004, a founding and accredited member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), is a respected thought-leader with over 9 years of experience within the employment screening industry. Mr. Johnson regularly advises organizations and industry groups nationwide on background screening best practices, and the direct positive impact of hiring the best candidates. Mr. Johnson holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and is an alumnus of the Graduate School of Bank Management from the University of Virginia. He has numerous business, educational, and professional affiliations and is a respected leader in the financial services industry. Currently Mr. Johnson serves as a board member and Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation and Board Member and Secretary and Treasurer for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. He is also a former member and chairman of the Board of Directors for Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

Mr. Johnson can be contacted at 602-744-3700 or rjohnson@merchantsinfo.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.