Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quality Committee Update

Outstanding service is a vital element of any successful operation. Everyone has experienced a conference where the facilities, surroundings and food were astonishing, but lack of service shattered the overall experience. The Quality Committee held their June meeting on July 1 and hopes to elevate the IACC experience for conferees by greater focus on service. Through the Universal Criteria, the committee already ensures that conference centers users can access facilities and other tools needed to enable the most productive meetings.

Now, we’re beginning the process of developing service recommendations that should assist members who operate high-quality meeting venues to provide their conferee guests with world-class service, too. The next meeting of the Quality Committee is scheduled for July 29.

Written by:
Michael Blackley

Banquet/Conference Center Manager
Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Executive Meeting Center

Friday, July 9, 2010

Green Initiatives from Wyndham

Per a reader's request, here is a post of green initiatives taking place in the conference center industry.  This post focused on Wyndham Worldwide and how they are not only bettering the planet, but also satisfying their clients and guests through their efforts.  We welcome any feedback about other companies' efforts and will continue providing suggestions in the future.


Wyndham Worldwide, was ranked among the top 100 greenest companies and it is part of every hotel's goal in the brand to come up with more green initiatives and implement all those that are mandated company-wide.

Right now, The Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel is Green Certified and we are working on a few strong initiatives including buying local food & beverage products in our "buy fresh" program. In addition, we have an internal "Green Committee" comprised of 10% of the employees. They are responsible for leading our team towards green standard maintenance and creatively incorporating new green ideas into our everyday operations.

We find more demand now from meeting planners required to book their events exclusively at Certified Green Properties. In fact, green certification is one of the initial questions we, as sales managers, receive when responding to inquiries from planners.

Please feel free to read more about our Green Initiatives at Wyndham with the links below:

Written by:
Kristen Parr
Sales Manager
Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel & Conference Center

Monday, July 5, 2010

JW Marriott, Morton's, and Cisco -- They're Embracing Virtual Meetings. Is Your Property?

If you thought virtual meetings only took place in a boardroom, think again.  I found an article this past week that highlights JW Marriott hotels and Morton's Steakhouses, and discusses how both chains are adapting to a decrease in business travel by embracing virtual meetings. 

The technology that is discussed in this article is not the latest and greatest, yet the idea of implementing it into JW Marriott hotels and Morton's restaurants is new.  Both companies are eager to find ways to help the business travelers they do receive at their properties have a more productive stay.  They want their guests to be able to do more, even if they cannot meet face-to-face with their business partners.

While no prices are quoted for how much it cost to build these "GoThere" meeting suites at the JW Marriott properties, I'm sure it is substantial.  These rooms are very high-tech and outfitted by Cisco, which has built a thousand of similar rooms at its own offices.  Marriott's investment in these rooms shows that they feel virtual meetings will continue to increase at their properties, and they are among the first to give the public this opportunity.

What I would personally love to see is the new Cisco Suite at the JW Marriott Union Square.  According to the article, the suite "recreates an intimate, face-to-face meeting that can link multiple locations.  The room has six large leather chairs arrayed in a semi-circle facing three large screens. Each of those can link to another suite, and the people there appear life size."  The other suites that the room can link to are all over the world at other JW Marriott properties.

The article is called "Hotels, even restaurants, embrace virtual meetings as way to profit from business’ lower appetite for travel," and it was published in the San Francisco Business Times.  I encourage you to read through it, see what these companies are bringing to the table in terms of technology competition, and think about where you want to see your conference center in two or three years from now.  Yes, more and more research shows that meeting face-to-face is more beneficial and productive than virtual meetings, however, data also shows that most companies are still cutting back on business travel. 

Leave feedback as to how your conference center is embracing (or not) virtual meetings, and whether or not you can see this type of technology at your property. 

Also, happy (late) 4th of July!

Written by:
Meghan Bollenback
Food & Beverage Manager
R. David Thomas Executive Hotel & Conference Center

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Statements to Avoid In the Workplace

May and June college graduations have come and gone and a new round of Millennials are looking to join the working world (or some may have already joined).  Since the positions they acquire will most likely be their first "real jobs," it is imperative to show co-workers and bosses that you are serious, willing to work, and are a team player.  There are many stereotypes about the Millennials, including that they are lazy and feel entitled to not work as hard as others.  To combat those stigmas, here is a short list of phrases to avoid using in the workplace.  They are part of a list of 18 statements to avoid in general conversation, recently released by Real Simple magazine.

From Real Simple's "18 Common Phrases to Avoid in Conversation":

"Don’t say: “That’s not my job.”
Why: If your superior asks you to do something, it is your job.
Instead say: “I’m not sure that should be my priority right now.” Then have a conversation with your boss about your responsibilities.

Don’t say: “This might sound stupid, but…”
Why: Never undermine your ideas by prefacing your remarks with wishy-washy language.
Instead say: What’s on your mind. It reinforces your credibility to present your ideas with confidence.

Don’t say: “I don’t have time to talk to you.”
Why: It’s plain rude, in person or on the phone.
Instead say: “I’m just finishing something up right now. Can I come by when I’m done?” Graciously explain why you can’t talk now, and suggest catching up at an appointed time later. Let phone calls go to voice mail until you can give callers your undivided attention."

Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list?