Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Chastan, CMP

John Chastan, CMP

General Manager, Kalahari Resorts

John Chastan grew up surrounded by the hospitality business in a family that owned an independent restaurant. He followed this profession into college studying Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Wisconsin Stout. For six years in the 1990's Mr. Chastan held both operational and sales positions with Residence Inn by Marriott in several locations around the country. For several years he gained experience at convention properties with Hilton Hotels. Following this Mr. Chastan represented Monona Terrace Convention Center and Alliant Energy Center for the Greater Madison Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau. He joined the Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells in 2003 and has held the positions of Director of Sales and General Manager. Mr. Chastan is a past board member and Vice President of Finance for Meeting Professional International - Wisconsin chapter. Currently he is the Chairman-Elect of the Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association. He has also participated in the original creation of a two-year associate's degree program in meeting and event planning at Madison Area Technical College.

Mr. Chastan, CMP can be contacted at 608-254-3314 or wigroups@kalahariresorts.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.