Elite Meetings Alliance Brings Together Top Meeting and Hotel Professionals: Despite Challenging Times, Strong Interest in Meetings Reported
The first of this year’s events brought together nearly 200 of the industry’s top planning professionals and representatives from Elite Certified hotels in the western U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico. The next Elite Meetings Alliance will be held September 13-15, 2009, at Boca Beach Club at Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.
Advancing the Meeting Industry Agendabr/>Elite Meetings International CEO Kelly Foy said, “Creating optimism in the face of these tough times is a great feeling. At a time when events have been unfairly painted as unnecessary, the response to this event has sent a strong signal that companies are still booking meetings and hotels are still eager to win their business."
In addition to pursuing its twofold corporate mission—providing innovative tools for planners in search of high-end properties for their meetings and incentive travel, and helping hoteliers reach this highly qualified audience—Elite Meetings is actively involved in Keep America Meeting and other industry-wide initiatives to educate the public on the importance of meetings in the broader American economy.
Highly respected speakers added strong informational content at the event. Christie Hicks, senior vice president, global sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts addressed a packed room with a presentation covering the industry challenges posed by both perception and recession. Meetings technology expert, Corbin Ball, discussed technology trends in the meetings industry. Attorney Joshua L. Grimes discussed contract exigencies in an era characterized by issues ranging from recession, to economic restructuring to worldwide health issues. Master of Ceremonies, corporate emcee James P. Connolly, led the event, tempering discussion of serious issues with good humor and offbeat commentary.
Bringing Meeting and Hotel Professionals Together
As at past Elite Meeting Alliance events, the bulk of the three-day conference was dedicated to one-on-one meetings between the attending hoteliers and corporate, association, and incentive professionals.
Dan Keyser, Director of Sales & Marketing from Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa said, "We ended up having more than a full schedule. I actually worked some on the side and had people waiting. Overall, we ended up with about 11 RFPs and leads with actual dates equal to about 5,500 rooms. And a lot of that was in the next 18 months."
Planners also praised the quality of business at the event. Senior Meeting Planner Jennifer Leto of Hess Corporation said, "I have met with several properties that I feel are a good fit. I met with a lot of resorts that I didn't even know existed—a couple of independent new properties that I may not have found had I not been here."
An evening at The Broadmoor’s Cheyenne Lodge on Monday night added valuable networking time.
Also unveiled at the Elite Meetings Alliance was the company's proprietary two-way appointment scheduler. Response for the scheduler was overwhelmingly positive, as it allowed planners to schedule meetings and hoteliers to request appointment with planners with whom they'd like to discuss business.
The next semiannual Elite Meetings Alliance will take place September 13-15, 2009, at Boca Beach Club at Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida. It will feature top properties from the eastern regions of Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the Atlantic, plus corporate, association, and incentive planners ready to book business in these regions.
ABOUT ELITE MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL
Elite Meetings International is based in Santa Barbara, California, and connects top meeting professionals with a hand-selected, independently evaluated group of upscale hotels and resorts throughout North America via their semiannual publication, Elite Meetings magazine and semiannual event, the Elite Meetings Alliance. Additionally, the company's Web site serves as a commission-free RFP-generating tool and a comprehensive vehicle for sourcing luxury properties. For additional information, please visit or call 805.730.1000.
Evins Communications, Ltd.