Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Brashear

Katie Brashear

Complex Director of Public Relations, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel

As complex director of public relations for Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, the premier convention hotel in Arizona, and The Westin Phoenix Downtown, Katie Brashear is responsible for overseeing the public relations initiatives, media and community outreach efforts, social media strategies, advertising plans, content creation, and marketing initiatives for the hotels. She is also the sustainability champion for Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel where she manages and guides the property's “green” initiatives. With more than 10 years of professional experience in public relations, marketing, advertising and branding, Ms. Brashear's strong vision and professional leadership helped shape the two downtown Phoenix hotels into unparalleled and flourishing, urban destinations. Ms. Brashear joined Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel as director of public relations. Shortly, she assumed the public relations efforts for Sheraton Crescent and the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, later in 2012, she assumed The Westin Phoenix Downtown. Prior to Ms. Brashear's experience with the Sheraton and Westin brands, she held the marketing manager position and the sustainability champion at W Scottsdale. Ms. Brashear began her hospitality career with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in 2007 with W Scottsdale - the hotel opened on September 30, 2008. Before the hospitality industry, Ms. Brashear worked in public relations for luxury retailer, Neiman Marcus Scottsdale. Ms. Brashear graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Barrett Honors College and the Walker Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications with a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in business.

Ms. Brashear can be contacted at 602-817-5323 or katie.brashear@sheraton.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.