Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Perks

Barrie Perks

Vice President Sales & Services, Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau

Barrie M. Perks, an experienced sales and marketing professional who has held management positions with some of the nation's most recognized hotels in major cities around the world, joined the Cincinnati USA CVB as Vice President of Sales and Services in October 2006. Mr. Perkslived and worked in Cincinnati for 10 years while serving as Director of Marketing for the Westin Hotel in downtown Cincinnati from 1992 to 1997. Mr. Perks has led the strategic realignment of the CVB sales team to focus on specific vertical industry market segments rather than geographic regions, as had been done in the past. In 2007, Perks' first full year heading the CVB sales efforts, the team exceeded its room night goal by nearly ten percent. Throughout his tenure with the CVB, the Sales Team's room night production has consistently grown year over year, with nearly 220,000 rooms booked in 2013. Mr. Perks implements an aggressive strategic sales and marketing plan to promote the city as a vibrant convention and meetings destination. He works closely with area hotels and convention facilities, and serves as a liaison between the CVB's clients and these facilities. He also develops cooperative programs, familiarization visits and sales missions with the local hospitality industry to effectively market the region, as well as oversees the sales managers and sales budget. A primary focus area for Mr. Perks is creating a cohesive community and stronger relationship between the local hotels and the CVB, where the entities work collectively toward the goal of increased hotel room nights and attracting high volume, high value meetings and conventions to Cincinnati USA. He also has held sales, marketing and management positions with hotels including the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles; the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach; the Portofino Resort and Marina in Redondo Beach; the Biltmore in Los Angeles; Hyatt Hotels in Indianapolis and Chicago; Princess Hotels in Bermuda; and Loews Hotels International in London, England.

Mr. Perks can be contacted at 513-632-5394 or bperks@cincyusa.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.