September FOCUS: Hotel Group Meetings

September, 2022

Hotel Group Meetings: The Great Outdoors

There is some welcome good news in the Hotel Group Meetings sector. There seems to be a resurgence in activity - across all sectors and all sizes - from small board meetings to large in-person groups. However, hotels must remain flexible and proactive, as they seek to provide venues and programs that are productive, comfortable, and safe to all parties. One major development is the expansion of outdoor meeting activities. This trend not only serves to meet regulatory health standards, but it also promotes an environment of well-being. According to a recent study from, spending just 29 minutes outdoors can result in a 45% increase in productivity; and 63% of employees reportedly felt invigorated after being in fresh air. Combined with guided physical activities and healthy food and beverage offerings, a sense of wellness and productivity are established. The September Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to accommodate the revitalization of group meeting business in their operations.

This month's feature articles...

Seliece Womble

Planners are back and looking for fresh ways to engage their groups outdoors. Pre-COVID, The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa created on-property group experiences to express how Texans like to eat, drink, and play. As demand for outdoor options increased, these experiences have expanded to include live-fire cooking, wellness activities, and programmed use of a 300-year-old Texas Live Oak tree. READ MORE

Vivek Neb

Americans are hitting the roads and taking to the skies this summer. But the pandemic-influenced world still holds challenges for the industry, from airport delays to record inflation. Hotels must be creative, flexible and responsive to the demands of today's travelers. Here are the standout trends inspiring tourists to take the plunge and book the trip. READ MORE

Miguel Diaz

With corporate travelers on the road again, they are now more than ever interested in weaving leisure activities into their company-sponsored travel plans. How can companies keep employees engaged by selecting host hotels with attractive offerings, and what are hotels doing to meet the demands of today's business traveler? READ MORE

Jen Chauvin

Outdoor events have been gaining in popularity and became a necessity in the wake of the pandemic. Unlike indoor-only programming, outdoor events open up a whole host of new opportunities for memorable and engaging special events. From maximizing all available space to trendy menus and creative themes, outdoor events offer new benefits and unexplored frontiers for future programming and planning. READ MORE

Diane Fox

Our environment has shifted. Our customer's world has changed. Yet we still are holding true to a sales methodology and a mindset that worked in the past. Love or hate it the sales approach that is in place today was born out of sales thinking from 1980 and before. To be effective, sales teams must leverage their full arsenal to be closer to the customer in today's changing meetings industry. READ MORE

Christine Kane

In a world that is rapidly becoming more and more conscious about saving Mother Earth, most people in today's society prefer to spend their dollars with destinations that are eco-friendly. That's why it's vital for hotels to not only implement "green" initiatives, but educate guests about them with the hope they bring those practices home and use them in their daily routine. READ MORE

Eddy Eisenberg

The pandemic has shown the possibilities of working with more flexibility, innovation, and creativity. This is a challenge for all of us in this industry. How do we accommodate this appetite for this flexibility? To foster the atmosphere of flexibility and creativity, I believe it is critical to remove some of the rules and bureaucracy that the event industry has adopted. READ MORE

Jon Chase

Following years of being fundamentally confined to our homes, people are eager to gather with friends, family and colleagues. However, social distancing remains a consideration, making outdoor areas critical for hospitality venues. Solutions such as glass windscreens, platform pool covers, and modular staging are playing an increasingly important role in helping facilities optimize their outdoor spaces for safety and enjoyment. READ MORE

Nickole Valdov

The hospitality industry is experiencing a resurgence of business travel and meetings, which have come with new expectations following the pandemic. In addition to health and safety measures, these groups are seeking outdoor event spaces and the amenities and services that hotels previously offered. Hotel operators must find the perfect balance between the old and new to continue exceeding expectations. READ MORE

Dan Surette

It's no longer enough to provide a space for meetings and events; meeting planners and attendees now expect gatherings to be elevated by design, both spatial and experiential. Planners continue to be looking for meeting spaces that are tailored to their unique needs and experiences that are designed to be dynamic and immersive. READ MORE

Peter Dunn

The Emory Conference Center Hotel, located just six miles from downtown Atlanta and nestled within a 26-acre forest preserve, recently underwent a $20 million reimagining. The updates to the 27-year-old facility leaned heavily into its idyllic natural setting to promote wellness for guests through biophilic design elements and emphasizing stress-reduction. These changes set the hotel apart from others in the Southeast U.S. READ MORE

Nikole  Halaka

As the world increasingly values wellness, companies must, too, especially when booking business meetings and retreats. While the top priority for these trips is employee learning and financial results, planners can take their trip to the next level by including outdoor meeting spaces, group activities and wellness initiatives. Margaritaville Hotel Nashville has implemented these additions to offer a transformative experience for business travelers. READ MORE

Mike Linker

As the desire for in-person collaboration and travel intensifies, hotels must consider how their group meeting spaces fit the needs of today's post-pandemic workforce. It is now more important than ever to revitalize these spaces through design strategies that emphasize connection to the outdoors, custom experiences and flexibility for this new generation of workers. READ MORE

Joseph Cozza

As live events and meetings return the expectations, needs, and wants of attendees have changed significantly. How do hotels adapt and gain success in a highly competitive and transformative environment? What are the key components of designing and executing events and meetings that meet and exceed these new expectations? READ MORE

Jed Arrogante

Entering this new era of public health, hotels and destinations are required to take precautionary steps to accommodate safe gathering spaces, with outdoor group meetings serving as the perfect solution. The destination of Carlsbad, California has recently put efforts in place to provide hosted groups with more opportunities for outdoor meetings that maintain health and safety precautions. Jed Arrogante, Business Development Manager at Visit Carlsbad, reflects on best practices as well as the benefits of outdoor group meetings. READ MORE

Ryan Hamilton

Group business is rebounding faster than anyone anticipated that means big revenue opportunities for hotels. According to the GBTA, in-person events are on the top of the list of where companies are allocating their travel spend this year. And recent meetings and events data shows an increase of 334% year over year. So what can hotels do to simplify, streamline and stand out from the competition to win more group business? READ MORE

Mark Holzberg

Group travel is back. But even with group travel surging to pre-pandemic levels, all is not as it was. A variety of emerging trends – including Bleisure travel, an uptick in the amount of devices guests are bringing, increasing bandwidth requirements for remote work technologies and higher-than-ever customer expectations around connectivity are contributing to new demands for which hotels must adjust. READ MORE

Francesca Vereb

After more than two years of uncertainty, the heavy fog brought about by the pandemic is finally giving way. Today, as restrictions ease and in-person events return at a steady rate, we're getting a clearer picture of what event planners and hospitality professionals are looking for in this new environment. READ MORE

Robert O'Halloran

Group meetings have been a pillar of full-service hotels and resorts for many years. Corporate meetings, Social, Military, Education, Religious, and Fraternal groups (SMERF), Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) etc. all came to halt at the height of the pandemic, but they are making a comeback. The meeting industry has changed and will retain some of the changes in operations and new innovations that were developed since COVID-19 affected our industry. Meetings for the hotel business are forever changed. This article will review some of those changes, innovations and the tactics and strategies needed for a hotel group meeting comeback. READ MORE

Danielle Frias

In this post pandemic world, the hospitality industry has had to find alternative ways to host group meetings. Companies are searching for hotels that not only offer outdoors spaces, but a place where their employees can bond, innovate, and be inspired. To accomplish this, hoteliers must offer mixture of wellness activities and outdoor experiences that blend with work balance. With these elements in mind, what are the initial ways that a hotel can stand out to an event planner? READ MORE

Coming up in March 1970...