Eventinterface https://eventinterface.com/blog en-US Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:07:49 +0000 Mon, 02 Mar 2015 06:00:00 +0000 http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0 FeedWriter Event Invites And Spam http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Event-Invites-And-Spam If you plan on sending emailed invitations to you prospect event attendees be prepared for some of your emails to get lost in cyberspace. Regrettably there is no quick fix to this issue. There are however tips to help you get the best results possible.

WHAT IS SPAM?
Simply stated, spam is unsolicited email sent in bulk to a list of people.  Legitimate email marketers only send permission-based emails to people who requested receiving them.

SPAMMING IS ILLEGAL
Although the rules differ around the world, in the United States, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 makes it illegal to spam, and carries significant penalties for individuals and business who violate this law. You will be fined as much as $11,000 for each offense – meaning for EACH email address on your list!

SPAM CRITERIA
Spam filters review an extensive list of criteria when evaluating the spam level of your event invite email. Emails are assigned a spam score to determine if your invite will pass muster. In general, topics related to money, mortgage pitches; money back guarantee and phrases like “CLICK HERE” and “FREE” are red flags. The list is ever evolving and not published.

TOP TIPS TO INSURE SUCCESS
1. Avoid known issue phrases.
Avoid using phrases such as “Buy now”, “Click here”, “Once in a lifetime” and “Urgent”, especially in the subject line. The reality of emailed event invites is that you want people to sign up for your event, purchase tickets or registrations. You will need to find a balance across all rules and tips to insure your messages are delivered. Most services such as Mailchimp offer a tool to test the deliverability of your email.
2. Grammar and punctuation matters.
Do not scream in your emails. Avoid using ALL CAPS, and the excessive use of exclamation points will red flag your emails as well.
3. Deliver meaningful content.
Spam filters do screen content and it is key to insure that your event invite’s message includes relevant information and avoids words that are often found in spam messages. Spam filters look at the overall content of the message. A more detailed article on Content based filtering by Laura Atkins can be found hereDo not use the word “test” in your subject line, especially when sending an email to multiple recipients.
4. Avoid sloppy HTML.
When developing the content of our event invites we tend to start the process in a Microsoft Word doc, and when ready copy the content to our email system. Too often this results in sloppy HTML coding that will cause spam filters to flag the event invitation. Creating an HTML email with one image is not helpful either. Spam filters cannot read images.
5. Use the right list.
Bottom line! Send your event emails only to a list that required an opt-in. At the same time, insure that if you use an opt-in list, you engage with your list periodically from the domain name you are sending your email invite from. Spam filters will flag messages with low subscriber engagement, with a result that the domain name or IP address from which the emails are sent will be blocked. Keep your lists fresh. Opt-in permission generally goes stale about every 6 months. If you haven’t used your list for a while, you will need to reconfirm your list.

Sources for this article:
How to avoid spam filters by Mailchimp
Content based filtering by Laura Atkins
SpamAssassin

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Mon, 02 Mar 2015 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Event-Invites-And-Spam
Top Tips On How To Network Pre-, During And Post-Event http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Tips-On-How-To-Network-Pre-During-And-PostEvent We are joined today by Lisa Grotts, a recognized etiquette expert, on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette.  She writes a manners blog for The Huffington Post and she is also a guest contributor to the Nob Hill Gazette in San Francisco.  Lisa joins us to share her top tips on how to network before, during and after an event.

Listen to host Eric Dye and guest Lisa Grotts discuss the following questions:

  • Networking at events can be quite nerve-wracking. What do you recommend people do to prepare?
  • How do you make the best impression, and what are some of the techniques you can employ to insure networking success?
  • Networking doesn’t end when the event ends, what do you suggest people do post-event?
  • What are your top 3 tips for networking success?

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

ABOUT OUR GUEST

Lisa Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert,  on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette (2009).  She writes a manners blog for The Huffington Post and she is also a guest contributor to the Nob Hill Gazette in San Francisco. 

A former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco, Lisa founded The AML Group 15 years ago, a certified etiquette and protocol-consulting firm. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital, American Airlines, Campbell’s Soup, UC Berkeley, Cornell University, KPMG, Levi Strauss and Microsoft to name a few.

She has been quoted by over 90 publications including The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the LA Times, Newsweek, Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, Women’s Day, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal. SF Brides, Reader’s Digest, Travel Weekly and The San Jose Business Times.

In addition to running her own business, Lisa was an active member of the Junior League of San Francisco for 13 years.  She was also President of the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary for two years, and chair of their opening night gala and annual fashion show. Lisa is a trustee of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the California Pacific Medical Center.  She also volunteers at numerous Bay Area non-profits such as San Francisco Suicide Prevention, the Assyrian Aid Society and the San Francisco Symphony. 

Connect with Lisa at:
Lisagrotts.com
lisa@amlgroup.com
Via Telephone: 415-812-4888

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Tue, 24 Feb 2015 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Tips-On-How-To-Network-Pre-During-And-PostEvent
4 Ways To Increase Meeting Attendance http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/4-Ways-To-Increase-Meeting-Attendance A solid program is the essential starting point. Adding activities that will increase the value of your event will insure growth in attendance, and excitement for future events. These four easy to use tips will increase attendance at your events and meetings.

Ask attendees for program and activity feedback.

When planning an event, ask your attendees what they want to learn and experience. A survey conducted right after an event may provide you with valuable data, it is however completed by attendees in the euphoria of the event resulting in perhaps skewed favorable results. Asking your prospect attendees at the start of the planning process will provide you with more honest feedback.

Involving your prospect attendees in the creation of the program also produces a sense of ownership, which leads to increased participation. 

Engage before, during and after the event.

Planning events is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Technology such as Eventinterface now makes it easier than ever to extend the lifecycle of your events by engaging attendees pre-, during and post-event.

Make your attendees part of a community, brand or experience by amping up the engagement process. Engaging attendees post event, and opening up the online community to individuals who could not make your event, increases the likelihood of converting non-attendees to attendees for the following event. 

Provide ample and solid networking opportunities.

People attend events to learn, buy, sell and network. Allowing for ample and well-crafted networking opportunities increases the probability of boosted attendance. Rather than hosting a massive networking reception, try more intimate gatherings with attendees interested around a topic or product. Try to connect exhibitors with buyers of their product. Make the networking opportunities uber valuable and part of the program, rather than a break during which networking occurs. Ask your attendees during the registration process who they want to network with, what they want to sell or buy, and connect these people at your event.

Engage your attendees’ passions.

Learn what your attendees like to do in their free time and offer engaging and unique opportunities during your event. One of our clients has a large group of health conscious attendees who enjoy outdoor activities. The conference now features a 5K run that attracts hundreds. Perhaps you can offer a cooking class at the venue, a networking opportunity around a specific topic, a volunteer opportunity. Provide truly local, once in a lifetime, experiences unique to the destination.

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Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/4-Ways-To-Increase-Meeting-Attendance
Top Legal Tips For Meeting And Event Planners http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Legal-Tips-For-Meeting-And-Event-Planners On this episode of Event TALK we are joined by Brian Burt, Partner with Snell & Wilmer who discusses top legal issues meeting and event planners need to be aware of. Brian is a business lawyer advising entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies in all stages of development, from formation to liquidity. He also represents banks, financial services companies, private investors, and venture capital funds. 

Listen to host Eric Dye and guest Brian Burt discuss the following questions:

  • When should event and meeting planners reach out to an attorney when planning a particular event?  
  • What information will you typically need to gather to properly advise them?
  • Planners are required to deal with a variety of third parties when planning an event (e.g., venue owner, event sponsor, vendors, etc.) – are the legal issues the same for each of those relationships?
  • What are the top legal issues planners should focus on as they work with those parties in preparing to plan and host an event?

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

About our guest:

Brian Burt Top Legal Tips for Meeting and Event Planners at Eventinterface Event TALKBrian J. Burt is a Partner with Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., and serves as Chair of the firm’s Emerging Business Group. Founded in 1938, Snell & Wilmer is a full-service business law firm, with over 400 attorneys practicing in nine offices throughout the western United States and Mexico.

Brian is a business lawyer advising entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies in all stages of development, from formation to liquidity. He also represents banks, financial services companies, private investors, and venture capital funds.

He has extensive experience in corporate formation, reorganization and governance; private equity and debt financing; shareholder/owner relations, buyouts and disputes; employment and consulting agreements; employee incentive programs; general contract negotiation; supplier/manufacturing agreements; securities regulation; technology transfer and licensing; joint ventures and strategic alliances; fund formation; cloud computing; corporate asset protection and succession planning; and mergers and acquisitions. 

Brian represents clients in a wide variety of industries, including banking and financial services, biotechnology, capital investment, consumer products and services, education, entertainment/media, healthcare, high tech, Internet, manufacturing, marketing/public relations, medical device, nutraceuticals, outdoor, professional services, real estate  development, renewable energy, and software and information technology.

He is very active in Phoenix’s entrepreneurial and investment ecosystems.  He has served on the Executive Committee for Invest Southwest since 2009 and as its Selection Committee Chair (2013-2014) and Mentor Teams Chair (2009-2013).  He participates in Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) Arizona, Accelerator Arizona, and as a mentor and speaker for the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, ASU’s Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator, and the Thunderbird Global Entrepreneurship Incubator.  He helped form the Thunderbird Angel Network, and is a co-founder of the Westside Institution for Startup and Emerging Companies and the Arizona Collaboratory.

Brian is the creator and host of the popular Emerging Business Seminar Series held monthly in Phoenix, as well as the firm’s Emerging Business Blog located at http://www.swlaw.com/blog/

Having previously founded, raised capital for, and run his own company, Brian brings a “real world” perspective to his practice. 

Brian received his B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy, summa cum laude, from Allegheny College, where he was class valedictorian and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as Managing Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

Reach Brian at:
(602) 382-6317 or via email at bburt@swlaw.com.

 

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Tue, 17 Feb 2015 09:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Legal-Tips-For-Meeting-And-Event-Planners
Preventing Event Check-In Aggravation http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Preventing-Event-CheckIn-Aggravation We have all been there. You arrive at your conference and check-in lines seem to go on forever. There is limited signage and you can’t figure out what line to get into. Maybe you will make a few new connections while queuing, but in general you are frustrated with the experience. Not a good start to the day, however it doesn’t have to be this way.

PLANNERS, BE PREPARED AND READY EARLY
Check-in staff must be prepared. The registration desk is not the place to assemble nametags and conference packages in full view of the attendees. The only function should be the welcoming of attendees, checking them in, and the distribution of the conference bag and name badge. If you plan on having registration open at 7:30 a.m., be ready no less than 30 minutes early. People will show up early!

SIGNAGE
Do not skimp on signage. Clear and easy-to-read signs are a must for your event. Attendees should be directed to the correct location and line as soon as they enter the facility. Signs should be at eye level or suspended above check in to insure they are visible from a distance. 

AMPLE STAFF
It is key to understand your program and audience. For some events, audiences will trickle in, and other events will result in mass arrivals. Understanding your event and audience is the key to success. For example, if you expect 1,200 attendees, plan on opening your registration at 7:30 a.m. with the program starting at 8:30 a.m., you will have to check-in 1,200 attendees in 60 minutes or less. That is one every 3 seconds. In our experience as planners we would assign no less than 1 person per 100 attendees. For this event we would have no less than 12 people checking in attendees.  We also employ a handful of hosts to navigate through the lines and direct attendees, answer questions and make people feel welcome. Longer registration periods will require less staff.   

Event WiFi Event Registration Checkin EventinterfaceWI-FI
Are you checking in people electronically using a service such as Eventinterface, or a printed attendee list? If using electronic check-in, you must have dedicated Internet access for the registration desk. It is never a good idea to share bandwidth when attendees have access to the Wi-Fi at events. You cannot afford your speed to crawl to a standstill at the check-in desk. Read this post to learn about checking bandwidth at venues.

ONSITE SIGN-UP AND ISSUE REGISTRATIONS
It is key that you have a clearly marked area for walk-up attendees and issue event registrations to the side of the main registration area. This will allow check-in staff to focus on check-in and the issue desk staff to focus on processing onsite registrations and deal with all other registration issues. 

 

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Fri, 13 Feb 2015 08:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Preventing-Event-CheckIn-Aggravation
MPI Winter Outlook Highlights Improved Business Conditions http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/MPI-Winter-Outlook-Highlights-Improved-Business-Conditions MPI Winter Outlook at EventinterfaceMeeting Professionals International (MPI) released the Winter Edition of its quarterly Meetings Outlook special report. This edition reveals that business continues to improve, however budgets do not seem to keep up with the rising cost of the global seller’s market.

The report finds that 70 percent of planners expect business conditions to improve in the near future.  Positive news for live attendance numbers, which have been steadily climbing by approximately 5 percent per quarter since Q2 2014.Nearly 50 percent of respondents anticipate a decrease in the government meetings segment.

View the full report.

 

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Tue, 10 Feb 2015 21:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/MPI-Winter-Outlook-Highlights-Improved-Business-Conditions
New York City Breaking Meeting Attendance Records http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/New-York-City-Breaking-Meeting-Attendance-Records New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio at EventinterfaceMayor Bill de Blasio, NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon, and NYC & Company Board of Directors Chairman and President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Emily K. Rafferty today announced that New York City reached an all-time record 56.4 million visitors in 2014. These visitors generated a record $61.3 billion in overall economic impact, supporting 359,000 tourism related jobs and $21 billion in wages. The City’s hotel sector reached 102,000 hotel rooms last year, while selling a record 32.4 million total hotel room nights, an all-time high. The tourism industry also generated $3.7 billion in local tax revenues.

“From Soho to Soundview to Sunnyside, New York City offers visitors hundreds of unique neighborhoods and communities to explore—and last year a record 56.4 million visitors chose to experience all that New York City has to offer. Our five boroughs are brimming with new enclaves of diverse food, performances and art shows around every corner. Our excellent quality of life, low levels of crime, and constant dynamism continue to attract record tourism each year, and 2014 was no exception,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Of the 56.4 million visitors who came to New York City in 2014, 44.2 million came from U.S./domestic locations, while 12.2 million came from international locations. Average hotel occupancy for the year finished at 89 percent, while average daily room rates citywide finished the year at $295. Both occupancy rates and room rates in New York City are the highest in the country.  

“Thanks to the work of NYC & Company in 28 markets around the globe, the City’s travel and tourism sector continues to thrive and help support economic growth and 359,000 jobs. These record tourism numbers demonstrate what we have always known: that ours is the greatest city in the world,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Housing Alicia Glen. 

Fred Dixon, NYC & Company‚Äôs President and CEO at Eventinterface“I am deeply gratified to see our tourism industry perform on all cylinders—last year, we welcomed record international and domestic visitation to our City, while positively impacting our local economy. NYC & Company continues to showcase both the City’s iconic attractions as well as the diverse, hidden-gem opportunities throughout all five boroughs. With the visitor at the center of all we do, I am confident we will continue to be among the world’s most aspirational travel destinations,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company’s President and CEO.

“Last year, the City’s travel and tourism industry was the strongest on record.  Because of the vibrant and ever-evolving offerings in every corner of our City, we continue to be an iconic draw. Our 2,000 NYC & Company member businesses deserve to take a bow for the outstanding contributions they make to helping maintain the magnetic draw of New York City,” said Emily K. Rafferty, NYC & Company Board Chairman and President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 2013, 54.3 million visitors came to New York City—a record high at the time. Surpassing that record, this year’s tally of 56.4 million visitors represents a 23 percent increase since 2009, when the City was attracting nearly 46 million visitors. Year over year, the City saw a nearly 4 percent increase in tourism.

In 2014, the City reached 102,000 hotel rooms in its active inventory. Since 2006, hotel inventory in New York City has expanded by more than 40 percent from 72,600, while demand has continued to outpace even this strong growth in new capacity. New York City currently has the most active hotel development pipeline in the country, and is on track to reach more than 115,000 rooms by 2017.

New York City is the nation’s number one big city destination, the number one port-of-entry for foreign visitors, the number one city for tourism spending, and has the highest share of overseas visitation to the U.S.—approximately one-third. Top market performers continue to reflect the strong pull of New York City in the international arena, where visitors stay longer and spend more, with the leading international markets being the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, France, China, Australia and Germany.

NYC & Company

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Fri, 06 Feb 2015 20:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/New-York-City-Breaking-Meeting-Attendance-Records
From RFP to Venue Contract http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/From-RFP-to-Venue-Contract Today we are speaking with Kate Snapp, Sales Executive with Marriott International. We are speaking with Kate about the venue RFP process and understanding contracts, especially for meeting and event planners. Kate has over 30 years of hospitality industry experience, and has worked all over the west for some of the most well-known and respected hotel companies in the world. 

Listen to host Eric Dye and Kate Snapp discuss the following:

  • Why should a meeting planner use an RFP or Request for Proposal when working with a venue?
  • What should be included in an RFP sent to a venue?
  • What should a planner expect when receiving a response back from the venue?
  • What is traditionally negotiable when working with a venue and what is not?
  • What are the key provisions in a venue contract planners should carefully review before signing?
  • What are your top 3 tips for planners when working through the RFP process and reviewing venue contracts?

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

About our guest:

A hospitality veteran of over 30 years, Kate Snapp has worked all over the west for some of the most well-known and respected hotel companies in the world. 

In addition to being a leader in the companies she has worked for she has also been a leader in the industry, as well as the community.  She is a Member of the Marriott International Business Council, T2 Trainer for Marriott International, the Fundraising & Events Director for the Oro Valley Dolphins Football and Cheer Organization, Member of the EduCon Committee for Meeting Professionals International and just finished her reign as a Member of the Board of Casas Christian School.  She is a Past President of HSMAI, and remains equally involved as a member in both civic and professional organizations. 

Kate’s trained and presented to groups of 5-5000.  She is currently a Sales Executive with Marriott International.  In her current position Kate’s primary responsibilities are Total Account Management and Business Development.  The key to her success is based upon building and maintaining strong key relationships. 

Reach Kate Snapp at: Kate.Snapp@marriott.com.

About Event TALK

Eventinterface Event TALK podcast show for Meeting Planners


Event TALK is a podcast show by Eventinterface for event and meeting planners. We bring you interviews with experienced professionals who share top tips and advice. 

 

 

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Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/From-RFP-to-Venue-Contract
Unexpected Sophistication In Downtown Chandler http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Unexpected-Sophistication-In-Downtown-Chandler Built in 1916 as a hardware store, the building has undergone a handful of transformations and in 2013 opened as SoHo63. Purchased by Phoenix event veteran Kate Christensen, CMP, DMCP and managed by daughter Megan Schmidt, SoHo63 retains much of its original architectural features from the tin ceiling to the exposed brick walls.

SoHo63 Brix on Boston on Eventinterface
SoHo63 Brix On Boston event space

The 12,000 square feet venue is located in downtown Chandler, AZ and features three indoor spaces and one outdoor terrace modeled after a New York City rooftop. The Gramercy Ballroom can host up to 400 guests reception style. The well-appointed venue is a favorite for weddings and social events, and an excellent alternative for corporate meetings seeking a unique venue experience.

SoHo63 The Plaza at Eventinterface
SoHo63 The Plaza event space

“We work with a carefully selected group of vendors in serving our customers,” said Chief Event Curator Megan Schmidt, “however we allow our clients to bring in their own favorite vendors.” SoHo63 is fully equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, Wi-Fi and has access to the latest in event décor. Ample complimentary parking is available in a covered garage, feet from the venue. Clients in need of guest rooms can partner with the San Marcos Golf Resort located within walking distance of SoHo63. Fifteen restaurants are located within a short walk should planners want to forgo catering at the venue.

SoHo63 rental rates start at $750. For more information and to reserve the venue for your event visit SoHo63.com or phone 480 878.5663.

Photographs courtesy of the venue. 

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Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Unexpected-Sophistication-In-Downtown-Chandler
FCC Finally Lays Down The Law; Hotels Can't Block Wi-Fi http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/FCC-Finally-Lays-Down-The-Law-Hotels-Cant-Block-WiFi "In the 21st century, Wi-Fi represents an essential on-ramp to the Internet. Personal Wi-Fi networks, or "hot spots," are an important way that consumers connect to the Internet. Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi spots is illegal," the FCC said in a statement, especially calling out Marriott for its blocking practices, as reported by Gizmodo.

Read the full story.

 

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Sun, 01 Feb 2015 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/FCC-Finally-Lays-Down-The-Law-Hotels-Cant-Block-WiFi
Event Planners Still Stressed http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Event-Planners-Still-Stressed The list of most stressful jobs of 2015 includes Event Planners once again; however it’s not all bad news. Planners ranked number 5 in the 2014 list. This year it appears our lives are a little less stressful. Ranked number 8 behind firefighters, military personnel and police officers the job remains high on the list of stressful occupations as discovered by Careercast.com. The combination of needing to meet strict deadlines and pleasing a diverse group of stakeholders can cause stress to be high in this job.

View the Top 10 most stressful jobs.
View the Top 10 least stressful jobs.

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Sat, 31 Jan 2015 09:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Event-Planners-Still-Stressed
Snow, Hurricanes And Haboobs. Planning For Weather At Your Events. http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Snow-Hurricanes-And-Haboobs-Planning-For-Weather-At-Your-Events As professional event and meeting planners, we try to be in full control of our event to insure flawless execution, happy clients and delighted attendees. One thing we can’t control however, no matter how well we plan, is the weather. 

Inclement weather can cause havoc at events. The less predictable and severe weather patterns of the past few years can prove disastrous, even deadly. Event and meeting planners can no longer afford to not have a contingency plan in place to deal with weather as part of an overall emergency strategy of the planning process.

SAFETY IS KEY

Eventinterface is located in Scottsdale, AZ. We are blessed with incredible winter weather. Temperatures rarely go below 50F or over 75F during the winter months. It’s the ideal weather for outdoor events, sporting events and festivals as this week attests with the Phoenix Open, Super Bowl and countless related parties and festivals. When the rest of the country is freezing or snowed under, we are enjoying the outdoors. In the summer we hide indoors as the temperatures soar above 110F. Naturally, all of our outdoors events are hosted from late fall to early spring, the opposite from most of the country. This “ideal” weather does not mean we don’t have to consider rain, thunderstorms, flash floods and the occasional dust storm.

As you plan events, attendee safety must be a priority. Here are our tips to insure you have a solid plan in place.

1. Mentally walk through your event with the planning team and vendors, and envision everything that could go wrong. For example: Will the dust in the dirt parking area cause visibility or breathing issues? Should there be a thunderstorm; are there areas for attendees to find safe shelter? If you have staging, will the structure be able to withstand high winds? If it rains, can we have the event?

2. In cooperation with the venue, first responders and event leadership develop an emergency action plan based on the issues you have discovered. Insure that all staff and event volunteers are trained on the procedures and know what to do. This will also help with event set-up, securing evacuation routes and overall event safety for your attendees.

3. Monitor the weather continuously in the weeks leading up to the event, and closely right before and during the event. For outdoor events we monitor National Weather Service broadcasts for up-to-date information allowing for immediate action and evacuation in the event of an oncoming storm, monsoon or sand storm. Also know your audience. If your event is hosted in an environment that tends to be rainy, attendees may be less inclined to panic when it rains, and the event may go on as planned. In our area, people are not used to drive in rain and outdoor facilities are not equipped to manage rain well, so the response will be different.  

4. Define clear roles on the event management team. What is the chain of command? Who makes the call when emergency procedures need to be implemented? Under what circumstances can the chain of command be bypassed to make a call on the spot? Work closely with the venue and first responders on establishing a chain of command and insure that all event staff and volunteers are trained to understand its workings.

5. Have in place the tools to communicate quickly with event attendees in the event of an emergency. Event software such as Eventinterface allows planners to text registered attendees with updates, emergency information and other pertinent event information. 

ABOUT AL WYNANT

Al Wynant, CEO Eventinterface - Planning For Weather At Your Events

Al Wynant has 25 years of international event management experience. He has managed events from 50 to 125,000 attendees in seven countries. He intimately understands the many aspects of event and meeting management, and how technology can make the complicated process of planning and managing events, and engaging attendees easier, helpful in his role as CEO at Eventinterface.

Al studied in Europe and traveled with the international educational program Up with People. He has worked as a Marketing and Public Relations Representative working concert tours in the United States, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. He ran event management firm A6 where he was responsible for the management of a large variety of conferences and events in the Southwest and in Atlanta, High Point and New York City.

Leadin photograph: Spring sandstorm or Haboob rolling into Scottsdale 2014. Photo by Al Wynant.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Snow-Hurricanes-And-Haboobs-Planning-For-Weather-At-Your-Events
The Secret To Unforgettable Events http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/The-Secret-To-Unforgettable-Events Phoenix-based event planner Daniel Duran, the Events Coordinator with the Arizona Charter Schools Association and owner of Duran Events joins Event TALK again to talk about the secret weapon of event and meeting planners “Hospitality” and how to use it to create stellar experiences for your guests.

Listen to host Eric Dye and Daniel Duran discuss the following:

  • Define “hospitality” as it relates to events and meeting?
  • Why is “hospitality” such an important part of events and meetings?
  • How do you incorporate the principal of hospitality in the planning process?
  • Can you share a few examples of how you implement hospitality at your events?
  • What are your top three tips to insure that planners get hospitality right at their events?

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

About our guest:
Daniel Duran, Events Coordinator for the Arizona Charter Schools Association and owner of Duran Events has been in the event planning field for a decade. He has worked on events of all sizes for numerous nonprofits. He has worked in catering and conference services in the hotel industry, and owns an event planning company focused on weddings and social events. Daniel’s heart lies in serving people and working in the nonprofit sector, which has led him to the Arizona Charter Schools Association, a nonprofit based in Phoenix, Arizona, supporting, advocating and leading the way on the mission of student equity in Arizona.
R
each Daniel at: Daniel.Duran@azcharters.org

About Event TALK

Eventinterface Event TALK podcast show with Daniel Duran
Event TALK is a podcast show by Eventinterface for event and meeting planners. We bring you interviews with experienced professionals who share top tips and advice.

 

 

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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/The-Secret-To-Unforgettable-Events
2015 Top Dining Trends Announced By Benchmark Hospitality International http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/2015-Top-Dining-Trends-Announced-By-Benchmark-Hospitality-International Benchmark Hospitality International executive chefs and culinary experts at the company’s 40 luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants share trends in dining.

Dining Trend #1: Small Plates-Any Time!   
Expo-style cooking, including show kitchens, action stations, EVO grilling and mobile kitchens.  What’s hot?  Slow cooked brisket, braised pork shoulder and ceviche-style seafood.  Small plates, served any hour of the day or night, are satisfying demanding palates and may help save waistlines.

Dining Trend #2: Roll & Go
Bun-less creations that are rolled instead of presented as traditional sandwiches. Take a Reuben, Club, Monti Cristo and even the traditional hamburger filling and roll this in flour tortillas or those flavored with chili, spinach or blue corn. Roll and go …

Dining Trend #3: Lose the Fat-Infuse
Increased awareness over the past years of the downside of fat, as well as the emphasis on gluten free and vegan foods, has forever altered cooking styles.  Instead of fat, chefs are changing to beer braising, cider poaching and quick pickling. The idea is to infuse flavor while never exposing food to fat!

Dining Trend #4: Back To The Future
A questionable economy and world strife are causing customers to crave the comfort foods of their past.  Come-back items on the menu today include family favorites like meatloaf, liver & onions, shepherd’s pie and pan-fried chicken. These dishes are popping up in whiskey bars and upscale craft beerhouses. Classics like Shrimp Louie and Oysters Rockefellers are shoving Chicken Caesar and Spinach Dip off the menu.

Dining Trend #5: Grab-n-Go
Time is money and today it’s all about “now”.  Grab and go dining is increasingly  popular and spans from fresh exotic fruits to house-roasted Himalayan salted pumpkin seeds. Travelers are looking for healthy and convenient ways to satisfy their need to recharge, and stay on track.  Grab and go favorites include wilted spinach, maple seared salmon brioche and golden jewel grained edamame guacamole.

Dining Trend #6: Curacao Cocktails  
As travel and exploring the world becomes second nature to nearly everyone, when back home, travelers want to relive their experiences while away. What better way than with flights of miniature “foo foo drinks”, Irish Whiskey blends or infused martinis. A foo foo flight could include a Mai Tai, Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada to bring the islands of Hawaii and the Caribbean closer to home.  Entertaining guests with an Irish Whiskey Sampler brings Dublin home, while Ghirardelli chocolate martini brings San Francisco Bay to the back yard or terrace.

Dining Trend #7: Raging Ramen  
Ramen is storming the world right now.  Once thought to be a food for cash-starved college students, ramen is now breaking into a “low end = high end” street food scenario. Applications include stir fried sriracha chili chicken, Shanghai peanut salad or spicy deep fried.

Dining Trend #8: Tea Mixology
This is the creation of tantalizing flavors for simple teas by choosing from a variety of herbs and spices and then infusing. The use of rose hips, lavender and basil not only create an aromatic scent but also provide a soothing, calming beverage any time or day or night.   

Dining Trend #9: Slow Ride, Cook It Easy  
Many customers are now on the slow food band wagon at home. This has dramatically increased public interest in restaurants that practice slow food cooking methods. Consumers who appreciate and are willing to pay for slow foods are equally interested in the process used to create them. Many restaurants are showcasing these by putting the process right in the dining room, i.e. charcuterie drying, cheese caves, vinegar barrels, etc.       

Dining Trend #10: Branding The Chef  
Guests today want to take home a little more from their favorite eatery besides a full stomach (or … a satisfied palate).  Talented chefs are creating their own signature products that they bottle and package for home use.  Bottling items, like a signature Lemon curd ale BBQ or chipotle bourbon sauces straight off the chef’s house menu, are replacing traditional store-bought items in customers’ pantries.  Adding distinct flavors to home favorites bring out the “wow” factor when entertaining family and friends.

Benchmark Hospitality International.
Photograph courtesy of Benchmark Hospitality International.

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Thu, 22 Jan 2015 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/2015-Top-Dining-Trends-Announced-By-Benchmark-Hospitality-International
Visit Phoenix Boosts Efforts With Recent Promotions http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Visit-Phoenix-Boosts-Efforts-With-Recent-Promotions The Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau promoting staff from within.

Mr. Chris Robertson is now the Business Development Manager, Citywide Sales.  Chris joined Visit Phoenix almost two years ago and produced almost 112,000 room nights eclipsing previous production statistics from this market. When Chris is not connecting with meeting planners or hoteliers he can usually be found out on the greens swinging for that hole-in-one.

Ryan Pivonka Visit Phoenix at Eventinterface Mr. Ryan Pivonka is now a National Sales Manager.  Pivonka will handle the small meetings market; 10-125 rooms nationwide plus Amateur Sports groups. Hailing from Colorado, Pivonka began his career in hospitality with stints in Chicago working for Hilton before landing a sales position with Visit Phoenix. Sunshine and year round golf beckoned him to the desert.

Ms. Polly Phelan is now the Director of Member Relations and previously was the VP of Business Development for Visit Spokane. Phelan began her career in sales for Dale Carnegie Training. Her love for the outdoors brought her to Phoenix.

Visit Phoenix

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Wed, 21 Jan 2015 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Visit-Phoenix-Boosts-Efforts-With-Recent-Promotions
10 Life Hacks For Meeting Planners http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/10-Life-Hacks-For-Meeting-Planners Follow these life hacks to make your event day go smoothly.

1. Pack an extra battery and charger for your mobile phone.
2. 
A protein bar and a bottle of water will keep you energized and hydrated.
3. 
Bring your well-stocked event kit.
4. 
Wear comfortable shoes. Avoid new shoes at all cost!
5. 
Bring your tablet and charger.
6. 
Apply for TSA Pre to insure quick passage through security.
7. 
If walking a lot, consider taking two 200mg ibuprofen every 4 hours to prevent foot pain.
8. 
No desire to iron? Steam your clothes in your hotel bathroom by turning the shower to steaming hot water. 
9. 
Roll your clothes vs. fold them when packing your suitcase to prevent wrinkling.
10. 
Have handy Shout Wipes or like product to wipe away small.

 

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Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/10-Life-Hacks-For-Meeting-Planners
Hotel Cotton House Barcelona Joins Marriott International Autograph Collection http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Hotel-Cotton-House-Barcelona-Joins-Marriott-International-Autograph-Collection Autograph Collection - Marriott International’s exclusive portfolio of hotels recognized for celebrating individuality - is set to welcome a new historical, boutique property to its Collection. Hotel Cotton House Barcelona, located in a prime position on Barcelona's Gran Vía, is housed in an iconic 19th century building - formerly the headquarters of the Association of Cotton Manufacturers.

Since its construction in the late 1800s, the 'House of Cotton' has been a significant Barcelona landmark; after an extensive restoration and refurbishment, the building has become a sophisticated hotel embodying the essence of this historic building. Guests will love the experience of staying in an authentic residence in the heart of the Ensanche district, an icon of 19th-century Catalan bourgeoisie and the perfect starting point for exploring the fascinating city of Barcelona. 

Hotel Cotton House Barcelona at Eventinterface

Staying true to the hotel’s historical essence, world-renowned designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán was commissioned to design the hotel in a contemporary and sophisticated manner. With 83 luxurious bedrooms including seven spacious suites, the boutique hotel welcomes guests through a beautiful covered hall of mirrors, leading them into the magnificent octagonal hall with two sweeping staircases. The former public areas of the building, open to all guests, now house an elegant library, a restaurant and cocktail bar, a light-filled conservatory and a 3250 square feet terrace with lush vegetation. A striking rooftop pool occupies the sixth floor.

Guests to Hotel Cotton House Barcelona will benefit from an experienced concierge team who will offer the most exquisite service in the city, combining the personal touch and authenticity of an independent hotel with the confidence of an Autograph Collection experience. The concierge will be based in one of the hotel’s many unique areas, the Gossypium (‘cotton’ in Latin).

Hotel Cotton House Barcelona at Eventinterface

John Licence, brand leader for Autograph Collection in Europe, commented: “Barcelona is a hugely popular destination for both leisure and business travellers, and we are really excited to debut such a unique hotel in the heart of Catalonia. The rich heritage of the building is complemented by the exquisite new design, and we have no doubt that travellers will have an incredible experience that Autograph Collection has become known for delivering.”

The vision behind the Autograph Collection is to offer an evolving group of passionately independent hotel experiences ranging from a 15-room boutique hunting lodge in the mountains of Colorado to a 19th century neoclassical palace in the majestic city of Prague.  Exactly like nothing else, each hotel is thoughtfully chosen for its quality, originality, bold character and capacity to offer today’s modern traveler a range of unique experiences suited to their individual sense of style and adventure. While still relatively new, the distinct portfolio has proven to be a highly successful venture due to its discerning selection process and unique ability to create memories through enriching travel experiences.

Room rates start from €200 per night. Information and reservations here.

Photographs courtesy of Marriott International. 

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Tue, 13 Jan 2015 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Hotel-Cotton-House-Barcelona-Joins-Marriott-International-Autograph-Collection
Eventinterface Selected To Participate In 2nd Annual Venture Madness Competition http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Eventinterface-Selected-To-Participate-In-2nd-Annual-Venture-Madness-Competition Eventinterface joins 63 startups representing 23 industries from Arizona, Colorado and Texas in the head-to-head annual bracket-style competition Venture Madness presented by Invest Southwest and Arizona Commerce Authority. 

One Venture Madness winner will take home the top $30,000 prize. First runner-up winner will receive $10,000 and two second-place runners-up will each get $5,000.

Venture Madness 2015 Al Wynant Eventinterface CEO“We are thrilled to have been selected by the competition and are honored to be in the company of great businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Al Wynant, Eventinterface CEO. “The competition provides a fantastic opportunity to share our story and software with a larger audience in the Southwest and beyond.”

The first of two online elimination rounds is now underway at VentureMadness.com. The 32 companies who make it through will be announced on January 23, with the 16 invited to pitch announced on February 4. The top 16 companies will pitch live at the Venture Madness Event, March 4-6 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, AZ.

The public can get in on the competition also by filling out their own bracket, predicting the winner at VentureMadness.com. The first-place winner in the bracketology challenge will win a 13-inch MacBook Air, and the runner-up will win an iPad Air 2.

See the 64 companies.
Article by Hayley Ringle of Phoenix Business Journal.

Lead in photo courtesy of VentureMadness.

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Sat, 10 Jan 2015 08:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Eventinterface-Selected-To-Participate-In-2nd-Annual-Venture-Madness-Competition
Boston Breaking Records http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Boston-Breaking-Records The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) is celebrating another successful year and rolling into 2015 with a full slate of major meetings and conventions booked for Boston.

James E. Rooney, executive director of the MCCA at Eventinterface

2015’s meetings and conventions are projected to bring more than 900,000 attendees to Boston who will generate 615,000 hotel room nights and $610 million in economic impact. This will be the MCCA’s third best year for room nights overall, but the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) is expected to break a 2010 record of 403,000 hotel room nights by generating more than 431,000 in 2015.

“The BCEC and Hynes continue to produce incredible results for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said James E. Rooney, executive director of the MCCA. “In 2015 we will welcome some of the world’s most important events to Boston – many of them repeat customers. Their desire to come to our convention centers and our city is a testament to our world class facilities, our top notch sales and customer service teams, and Boston’s standing as a premier convention destination.”

Events generating the largest hotel room nights next year include:

  • 49,115 American Diabetes Association (June, BCEC)
  • 29,900 Experimental Biology (March, BCEC)
  • 26,520 Heart Rhythm Society (May, BCEC)
  • 27,960 Leading Age (November, BCEC)
  • 25,080 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (April, BCEC)
  • 25,050 American Chemical Society (August, BCEC)
  • 23,265 NAFSA Association of Internal Educators (May, BCEC)
  • 19,280 Allied Social Science (January, Hynes)
  • 19,235 American College of Physicians Internal Medicine (April, BCEC)

The MCCA will kick off 2015 with Allied Social Science Association’s Annual Meeting at the Hynes, expected to attract 12,000 attendees over four days in January, followed by the “Let’s Be Great” Inaugural Celebration for Massachusetts Governor-elect Charlie Baker at the BCEC on January 8. 

The MCCA will also welcome back a number of successful annual events in 2015 including BCEC events Yankee Dental Congress with 26,700 attendees (January 29-31) and New England Grows with 16,000 attendees (February 4-6). 2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of Yankee Dental Congress, and the 30th anniversary that the event has been held at an MCCA facility. They first held the event at the Hynes in 1985 and moved to the BCEC in 2008. New England Grows has been an MCCA customer since 1993 and moved from the Hynes to the BCEC in 2005.

And in early 2015, BCEC will again host popular public events including the New England International Auto Show (January 15-19), the Boston RV & Camping Expo (January 17-19), and the New England Boat Show (February 14-22).

In 2015, the MCCA will host nine events with more than 25 percent international attendance including the Heart Rhythm Society with 15,000 attendees, the Seafood Expo North America with 18,000 attendees, NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Conference & International Education Expo with 7,000 attendees and the American Diabetes Association Annual Meeting with nearly 15,000 attendees. This will be the first BCEC meeting for the American Diabetes Association – they last held their meeting at the Hynes in 1995. The ADA Annual Meeting is a five-day, science-heavy conference that brings participants from more than 124 countries together to discuss the most timely and significant advances in basic science and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes.

Other events of note in 2015 include the New England Region Volleyball Association’s Pre-Qualifier at the February event, which will transform the BCEC’s exhibit halls into nearly 20 regulation-sized volleyball courts, the return of PAX Expo East in March, the largest video gaming conference in New England, and the International Association of Convention Centre’s (AIPC) Annual Conference and General Assembly at the Hynes over the Fourth of July holiday. AIPC is the industry association for professional convention and exhibition center managers worldwide.

2014 was a fantastic year for the MCCA, with 241 events held at the BCEC and Hynes bringing 845,000 attendees to Boston, and generating an estimated 630,000 hotel room nights and $590 million in economic impact. In June 2014, the MCCA’s sales team had its best contract signing month in history, booking 38 future events for the City of Boston. These events are expected to generate 472,787 future hotel room nights in Boston. And in August, the MCCA debuted its new experimental outdoor space at the BCEC, the Lawn on D to great review. The Lawn on D was used by several Boston events, including HubSpot’s INBOUND 2014, which utilized the innovative outdoor space for morning workouts, lunchtime food trucks and an evening reception for 10,000 attendees.

Also in 2014, the MCCA received legislative authorization for a 1.3 million square foot expansion of the BCEC, including substantial additions to the exhibit and meeting space, and a second, larger ballroom. The expansion, expected to be complete in 2019, will allow the MCCA to host more and larger events. In addition to the BCEC expansion, in 2015 the MCCA, in partnership with Massport, will select a developer for a 1,200-room headquarters hotel across from the BCEC on Summer Street.

“We have a busy year with much hard work ahead of us,” said Rooney. “In 2015, we will be focused on executing exceptional events for our customers, and working simultaneously on our expansion and hotel development efforts in the South Boston Waterfront. It’s an exciting time for the MCCA, and we look forward to sharing more successes throughout the next year and for many years to come.”

More info at Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
Photographs courtesy of Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

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Fri, 09 Jan 2015 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Boston-Breaking-Records
Starwood Hotels Finishes 2014 With A Bang http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Starwood-Hotels-Finishes-2014-With-A-Bang Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) announced this week it has opened 74 new hotels in 2014, representing approximately 15,000 rooms in 26 countries. The company also signed 175 new hotel management and franchise agreements in 2014, a 15% increase over the prior year, marking the fifth consecutive year of increased signings and the most new deals in one year since 2007. Starwood anticipates another year of solid growth in both mature and emerging markets in 2015, fueled by hotel openings and high-quality deal signings.

Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. at Eventinterface“With more than 1,200 hotels in 100 countries, we’re on the frontlines of global change and continue to see increasing demand for innovative, design-led brands, playing to Starwood’s strength,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Our nine lifestyle brands continue to attract owners as does our loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest®, which brings high-value guests to our hotels from around the world, driving more than half of our occupancy on any given night.”

HOTEL OPENING MOMENTUM CONTINUES

Building on its strong signing year, Starwood continues to grow in all corners of the world across all of the segments where it operates with plans to reach the following milestones in 2015:

  • 300th hotel in Asia Pacific and China
  • 150th hotel in China (with all nine brands represented)
  • 90th hotel in Africa and the Middle East
  • 175th Luxury hotel
  • 750th Upper Upscale hotel
  • 300th Mid-Market hotel

Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. at Eventinterface“Our balanced growth approach continued in 2014 with consistent, organic signings across all nine of our brands,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Looking ahead, emerging markets remain a focus for us, but recovering economic conditions and increased availability of financing have also led to strong growth in North America and Europe.”

Turner continued: “North America accounted for more than one third of our signings last year, and the availability of new construction lending resulted in a more than 50% increase in new-build hotel signings over the previous year. Globally, we renewed or extended 76 of our existing agreements with owners in 2014, underscoring the strength of our brands, loyalty program, operating teams, and systems. We remain focused on working with the right partners, on the right properties, in the right places, and our agile development approach allows us to adapt our growth strategies based on specific geographies and brand needs for both new development and conversion projects either managed or franchised.”

STARWOOD WIDENS ITS LUXURY LEAD

With one of the fastest growing luxury portfolios under its St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W brands, Starwood is lengthening its lead in luxury hospitality. Building on its base of more than 170 of the world’s most beautiful and iconic hotel experiences, Starwood expects to open more than 25 luxury hotels over the next two years adding to the 12 new luxury hotels which debuted last year. This pace continues to accelerate to meet increasing demand for luxury in all corners of the world.

In 2014, W Bogota marked the brand’s entry into Colombia, while The Luxury Collection brand added seven new hotels to its portfolio including La Posada de Santa Fe in New Mexico, Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan and The Castle Hotel in Dalian, China. In 2015, Starwood is on track to add more than 10 luxury hotels to its portfolio, including St. Regis hotels in Istanbul, Macao, Dubai and Mumbai, The Luxury Collection properties in Nanjing, China; San Antonio, Texas; and Broumana, Lebanon, and W openings in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Goa, India.

INCREASED DEMAND FOR UPPER UPSCALE BRANDS

Starwood opened 27 hotels across its Sheraton, Le Méridien and Westin brands last year, with over 150 under active development. The iconic Sheraton brand, on track to open its 500th hotel in 2016, continues to serve as a growth leader for Starwood and pave the way for the further development of all of Starwood’s brands in fast growing markets. This year, the brand will debut in Samoa and Romania and re-enter Iraq, following last year’s launch in Tajikistan. Sheraton accounts for nearly 40% of all Starwood hotels in Asia Pacific and is leading Starwood’s growth in Africa, where the brand will open six more hotels by 2018.

Le Méridien opened flagship hotels in Chicago – Oakbrook, Bahrain, and Bangkok in 2014, and signed 18 new deals, a meaningful increase over the previous year. Building on this momentum, in 2015, the brand will open more new hotels than in any other year since Starwood acquired Le Méridien in 2005. The brand continues to expand in established markets primarily through conversions, while also extending its reach in emerging markets, with openings planned for India, Bangladesh and Bhutan this year.

Westin opened its 200th hotel worldwide in 2014 and demand continues to rise driven in part by the phenomenal success of its distinctive wellness positioning. In 2015, Westin will open its 125th hotel in North America and its 50th hotel in Asia. The brand will also debut in Qatar with the opening of The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa – the brand’s fourth hotel in the Middle East.

MID-MARKET BRANDS DRIVE PIPELINE GROWTH

Starwood’s mid-market segment continues to gain considerable momentum, with 35 openings and 100 new deals signed in 2014 across the Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element brands. The segment accounts for approximately 40% of Starwood’s global growth pipeline and will comprise nearly half of the company’s new hotel openings in 2015, amid rising demand for strong global brands at an affordable price point in both major metro and secondary markets around the world.

Four Points by Sheraton signed 50 new hotel deals in 2014, the most in company history, and will surpass 200 hotels in 2015, with more than 25 planned hotel openings this year. The ‘best for business’ Four Points brand boasts Starwood’s second largest and fastest growing development pipeline, fueled by its widespread, global appeal to guests and flexible development options.

Aloft Hotels signed 31 new deals in 2014, the most signings in one year since 2008. Designed for the next generation of travelers, Aloft will cross the 100th hotel milestone in 2015 and expand its portfolio in Greater China to ten hotels by year end. Aloft will also enter numerous new markets this year, including both Munich and Stuttgart, Germany.

Starwood’s eco brand, Element Hotels, signed 19 deals in 2014 and is on track to triple its portfolio by 2017. On the heels of opening its first hotel outside of North America in Frankfurt, Germany, Element will open its first hotel in China in 2015 followed by new hotels in London, Amsterdam, Boston and Philadelphia, signifying the global appeal of this brand.

For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

Photographs courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Lead in photograph Le Méridien Bangkok.

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Thu, 08 Jan 2015 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Starwood-Hotels-Finishes-2014-With-A-Bang