September FOCUS: Hotel Group Meetings

September, 2021

Hotel Group Meetings: Spirit of Innovation

Naturally, the Hotel Group Meeting business has been rocked during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the effects may be felt for years to come. But according to planners, there is pent-up demand for hotels to resume this area of their business and savvy hoteliers are being exceptionally creative in making that possible. The key is successfully implementing all recommended safety guidelines. For example, in addition to social and physical distancing, some planners are utilizing assigned seating as a way to keep people from using multiple seats and tables throughout an event. Some planners have also initiated a color-coded bracelet system that indicates the wearer's confidence level about being physically approached. Hybrid meetings are also increasingly popular, where some attendees join in person and others are looped in virtually. Other hotels have instituted a "bubble" approach, dedicating an entire wing to smaller groups, essentially walling them off from any health risks outside their area. The September Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to address these concerns so that the group meeting business can safely resume. 

This month's feature articles...

Mark Cooper

The transformation from an analogue conference to a digital business event can only take place when meeting organizers come together with the technology and venue partners capable of delivering this content richer, audience growing and environmentally friendly multi-location conference format. Read how IACC MultiPOD changed IACC's recent annual conference for the better. READ MORE

Diane Centeno

Now in its 28th year as a resort destination, Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate New York has used the turbulent year of the COVID-19 pandemic to plan and launch its "Best Never Rest" campaign – an ambitious, multi-faceted transformation project unveiling all-new offerings for guests returning to the resort. In this article, Turning Stone shares details of the campaign and the new additions it has made specifically to enhance group meetings. READ MORE

Dan Surette

As meetings and events evolve, it's imperative for hotels and venues to remain responsive and proactive, while also providing the comfort factor that meets attendees' expectations. Without question, any new outdoor offerings should not only address the customer's present needs, but also incorporate existing surroundings to provide a long-lasting property enhancement that will endure well beyond the current concerns. READ MORE

Allison Handy

Creativity is the name of the game for hoteliers looking to attract group business as the industry recovers. From changes to service offerings, properly utilizing and transforming existing space, to remaining compliant with health and safety measures, there are many considerations for owners and operators. What has proven to be successful and where do hoteliers begin? READ MORE

Stephen Friddle

Everything has changed. To be successful, hotel executives must re-examine what is important to hotel guests, event attendees, and employees while finding unique ways to exceed expectations in an ever-changing environment. The uncertainty in the travel and events industry has sharpened the focus of innovators in hospitality to go back to the basics with a fresh set of eyes. READ MORE

Kelley  Maddox

With the return of in-person events on the rise, people are excited to immerse themselves back into their pre-pandemic routines. However, events as we know it have changed and will continue to evolve. Amongst change comes the need for flexibility to adapt to today's new normals. How can events accommodate guests as in-person gatherings begin to resume with the COVID-19 in mind? READ MORE

Kaaren Hamilton

Meetings and events best practices applied with flexibility and empathy will help planners and suppliers ensure the best win win outcome through these continuing challenging economic conditions. Staying focused on stakeholder objectives while working closely across the functional areas of the operation, hotel salespeople will test their skills and creativity. It is important to remember the foundation while being mindful of all possible outcomes. READ MORE

Karyl Leigh Barnes

As the travel industry rebuilds, group and business travel will be slow to return, but destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are invaluable partners for hotels looking to attract meeting and conference planners again. Understanding how DMOs are working for hotel partners is key to ensure both entities cooperate efficiently in achieving a shared goal: keeping business travelers interested in their destination. READ MORE

Amanda Holland

As we return to in-person group meetings while still navigating the challenges of an ongoing global pandemic, "Six Keys to Group Meeting Success," highlights important areas of focus for event venues and group meeting planners to consider. The article stresses the importance of technology, safety, clarity, flexibility, creativity, and hospitality as valuable tools to ensure a continued safe and successful return to live events. READ MORE

Conor Kenny

Intuitively, it is in the nature of mankind to seek certainty, but this will always be a philosophical vice. Uncertainty fuels debate and becomes the perfect playground for self-appointed visionaries. In this article, Conor Kenny looks forward at what might or might not be for the future for meetings as we once knew them. To have a sense and belief in certainty, first we have to doubt it. Only then can we develop a rationale. This article will look at why the meetings business, whichever way, will change. That is for certain. READ MORE

Ewald Biemans

Plant-based dining is a global movement growing at warp speed. In 2020, plant-based food sales grew twice as fast as overall food sales. Vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian, discover the key to plant-based menu creation that is just as creative and approachable for strict vegans as well as flexitarians, alike. Learn how a hotel's dining experience can be both satisfying and sustainable. READ MORE

Robert  Hood

How did you hospitality environment fair during COVID and more importantly coming out the other side, many were battered, bruised and none were left unscathed. As many did we tried to look toward a similar situation from the past in desperate ability to assimilate with some event which could have come close to the COVID era, but there was none. For the foodservice industry it was all new territory where participants were to adapt and move on or be left behind, this is how our organization adapted. READ MORE

Andrea Stokes

Over the past year, brand franchisors modified F&B standards to help hotel owners and operators lower expenses. Some owners hope leniency with regard to standards will continue. Yet guests were generally unhappy with the changes, especially the reduction (or elimination of) complimentary breakfast at limited-service hotels. As we move into a new normal, franchisors and hoteliers must take guest expectations-and the competition-into account before making pandemic-related changes to F&B permanent READ MORE

Cornelius Gallagher

How do food and beverage operations at Celebrity differ from operations in a typical high-end hotel or restaurant you might ask? The answer is, there are more similarities than there are differences and at the end of the day we are not in the cruise business….we are in the hospitality business. The people business. The business of creating long lasting memories and world class pleasurable experiences. READ MORE

Roy Breiman

The effect of the pandemic that kept people indoors and out of restaurants had an impact that was significant for those in hospitality. Yet with all the hardship came an opportunity for new ventures, creative risks, and increased efficiencies to match the changing regulations. As we head into a new "normal," it is time to look at what changes during COVID-19 will shape how we operate in the future. READ MORE

Coming up in October 2021...

Revenue Management: Monetizing All Offerings

Of all the departments within hotel operations, Revenue Management may have been the hardest hit, due to the pandemic. The logic goes - no revenue, no need for revenue managers - so many industry professionals were furloughed. If business rebounds in 2021, as expected, then hotel management will have to determine when prevailing occupancy levels justify bringing back their revenue management team. Also, the pandemic seems to have exposed some weaknesses in the traditional RevPAR models. There is a growing understanding that it is no longer sufficient to use a "revenue per available room" model; instead, hotels are adopting a TRevPAR model (total revenue per available room). This model recognizes that revenue streams from other departments are just as important as the revenue gained from rooms. As a result, hotels are looking at ways to monetize any and all hotel offerings - from dining outlets and spas to outdoor function spaces and local partnerships. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine these developments and report on how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.