All posts by

Bruce Serlen

Will Wellness Work for Your Group?

No question, planners know the pros and cons of holding a meeting in a luxury destination spa. They’re less certain when the subject turns to a wellness spa, however, “wellness” being one of those positive-sounding terms that can cover a whole range

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How the Hotel Majors Stack Up

With Marriott International’s huge acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide now six months old, planners are reasonably wondering 1) how the ranking of the world’s largest hotel companies stacks up and 2) and, probably more importantly,

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Luxury, Two Ways

As attendees’ tastes and preferences become more defined, planners are realizing that one definition of “luxury accommodations” doesn’t necessarily fit all palates. There’s a long, established tradition of formal, even staid luxury certainly. But

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Marriott, Absorbing Starwood, Eyes Group Sales

Since closing on its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in September, Marriott International has methodically gone about the massive integration process. Planners—especially those who were either Marriott or

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7 Takeaways from “Oldchella”

Last weekend (Oct. 7-9), promoters presented Desert Trip in Indio, Calif., a rock ‘n roll extravaganza specifically targeting Baby Boomers with heavyweight acts famous since the ‘60s on the order of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil

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The Good News on 2017 Hotel Rates

With RFP season for negotiated group hotel rates getting underway for 2017, planners and other buyers of corporate travel can take heart from a report issued last month by the Tisch Center of Hospitality and Tourism at New York University. After a

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Marriott Completes Starwood Acquisition

Ten months after heated negotiations and prolonged approval seeking from regulators, Marriott International today closed on its $13.3 billion deal to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Planners can now expect the competitive landscape

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Private Dinner Primer: 7 Pointers

Skillfully arranging small, intimate dinners for company senior officers, VIPs and select groups of other stakeholders during a larger business meeting or event has always been an important part of a planner’s toolbox. Ten years ago, a boardroom or

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A Celebration of Rebirth in Lower Manhattan

In the years following the September 11th attack in New York, a visit to the site of the former World Trade Center became a high priority for many. Planners with events held in midtown were used to attendees making their way to downtown on a free

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Dolphin Programs: How to Navigate the Waters

Given their intelligence and seeming friendliness, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have been popular attractions at oceanfront resorts throughout the U.S. and Caribbean for decades. Planners booking these resorts have been happy to oblige as attendees

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Family Planning: 11 Tips for Kid-Friendly Events

Children and meetings don’t always mix. In theory, attending an off-site event at an interesting destination can be a wonderful opportunity for attendees to bring the spouse and kids, turning the business occasion into a quasi-family vacation.

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When Management Companies Merge

With consolidation currently a major trend in the hotel industry, it’s no surprise that management companies should be some of the players to join forces. Among hotel branding companies, the big news is still Marriott International’s pending

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2017 Hotel Pricing: A Tale of Two Coasts

Research presented at the annual conference of the Global Business Travel Association this month (July 15-20) in Denver presented a mixed picture of what planners could expect in the coming months when it comes to negotiating 2017 hotel rates. For

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New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Downsizes

In late-2014, a Chinese insurance company announced plans to acquire the iconic Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, well-known by planners of luxury meetings, for a record-breaking $1.95 billion, the most ever paid for a U.S. hotel up to that

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IMEX America: Where Networking Complements Education

Trade shows, exhibitions and conferences too often make a distinction between their educational programs and the events’ networking opportunities—with the networking sessions invariably relegated to second-class status. Entire days may be devoted to

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Hilton Debuts New Hawaii Option

The Aloha state is certainly known for its fair share of luxury, ocean front resorts, many carrying the flag of some of the world’s leading hotel brands. But over the past few years, these trophy properties have been joined on various Hawaiian

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A Planner’s Guide to Brexit

After months of contentious politicking, the people of the United Kingdom voted June 23rd to leave the European Union, a development popularly known as Brexit. The 52%-48% vote stunned many observers. The morning after the vote, commentators began

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Martini, Anyone? A Classic Cocktail Goes Fashion-Forward

Given today’s wall-to-wall marketing, it will come as no surprise to planners that June 19 was National Martini Day. It’s not clear which association or trade group, if any, sponsors this annual recognition, but the event apparently has been

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The New Thinking in Luxury Hospitality

Owners, developers and operators were bullish on the luxury hotel segment at last week’s (June 5-7) annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York. Smith Travel Research reported that occupancy in U.S. luxury hotels

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Costa Rica: Moving Beyond Eco-Tourism

Long known as a destination that placed a high priority on preserving and enhancing its rich natural beauty, Costa Rica is in the process of raising its visibility as a host of luxury meetings and conferences. The latest evidence occurred last month

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