6 Concerns on Planners’ Minds
What are your top concerns within the meetings industry this year? Accord- ing to a recent poll by Teneo Hospitality Group of planners in the U.S., budgets,
quality control, cost and reliability of audiovisual and technical services, security of content
and the challenges of meeting increasingly
complex dietary demands as top of mind.
According to Teneo President Mike
Schugt, rapid expansion of technology
has generated new and more complex
issues and rising prices: “Concerns about
technology costs and reliability led the list
of trends, and planners expressed unease
with their ability to protect [meetings-relat-ed] content.”
Here are the six top concerns presented
Effective, high-speed Wi-Fi is the most
critical aspect of today’s meetings. But
more than ever, planners are frustrated by
high prices, increasing labor costs, lack of
flexibility, difficulties in negotiations and
in some cases, a lack of options in hiring a
firm for these events.
Linking Wi-Fi to AV is increasingly prob-
lematic, with stories of breakdowns in
coordination that have impacted presen-
tations and events. Reliability of AV can be
easily compromised. Controlling costs and
ensuring technical quality are a challenge
for both venues and planners. In order to
negotiate effectively, become more familiar
with terminology and the specific needs of
exhibitors, vendors and attendees.
Plug-In Power Sources
As devices proliferate, travelers are faced
with the problem of recharging everything
from phones and tablets to laptops and
other portable electronic devices. It is no
longer enough to have power sources in
guest rooms and meeting spaces. Comments from those polled by Teneo also
indicate that the existing outlets cannot always accommodate the number of devices
travelers take with them.
Diet, Diversity and Liability
These issues are not new but the demand
for special dishes at meetings is rapidly changing. Where once a few options
such as kosher, vegetarian or perhaps a
heart-healthy dish were offered, today’s
menus are flooded with choices that span
gluten-free, lactose intolerant, Halal, pes-catarian and infinite varieties of vegan and
vegetarian options that are ever-evolving.
Consistency of Service
Even in an age of highly standardized big
brands, consistency of service remains an
issue. As one respondent noted, it is possible to book the same meeting at the same
hotel brand in two different cities and find
notable discrepancies in cost, facilities,
services and staff competence.
Security of Data
As technology expands, so do the opportunities to steal information and compromise
data. Security problems can range from
thefts of mobile devices to a full-blown
hacker attack. It’s a challenge that both
hotels and planners must meet. Successful
negotiations for technical services now
require a wider and more in-depth knowledge of IT.
DID YOU KNOW? // Hyatt Hotels Worldwide announced its hotels worldwide plan to eliminate single-use plastic straws
and drink picks. After Sept. 1, 2018, straws and picks will be available on request only, and eco-friendly alternatives
will be provided where available.
By Kate Cripe
Sheraton Gets a New Look
Marriott International unveiled a new vision for Sher- aton Hotels and Resorts. The brand announced its new look will transform the lobby and public
areas into gathering places for locals and guests. The new
look and approach brought the transformation to life with a
4,200-square-foot display at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York.
The new design features collaborative spaces to work and
meet, such as a community production table with locking
drawers, partially open small meeting rooms and soundproof
booths for privacy when making phone calls.
Food and drink are also at the center of the design. The
new lobby incorporates what parent company Marriott
International calls a coffee bar-bar, a space that functions
as a cafe during the day and transforms into a bar in the
evenings. The food choices at the bar are also carefully
thought out and designed to make it convenient and easy to
consume while working.
“When you look at the design signatures, you see the
spaces have purpose, they are focused around working,
around gathering and around eating,” explained Indy Ad-
enaw, vice president and global brand manager, Sheraton
Hotels & Resorts. “The foundation of the public space is the
notion of being a gathering place.” www.sheratonhotels.com
By Kate Cripe