All posts by

Bruce Serlen

How to Set the Stage for Ideal Brainstorm Sessions

The opening session at last month’s (April 19-20) International Association of Conference Centers–Americas’ annual gathering in New York focused on “Innovation in the Meeting Experience” and, not surprisingly, the subject of brainstorming came

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Hotels Boost Their Interactive Offerings for Groups

As part of their job, planners are always on the lookout for exciting new programs to capture the interest of their attendees. Inevitably these days, such ideas involve new technology. Given the entire culture’s embrace of mobile apps, streaming

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Hotel Programs Adding Local Color

After decades of stressing consistency and conformity in service, amenities and guest room design as they expanded their respective brands, hotel companies in recent years have done an about face. Travelers—meeting attendees included—no longer want

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Marriott Beats Back Starwood Suitor

With the fate of such popular high-end meeting and incentive venues as St. Regis, Luxury Collection, W, Westin  and Le Meridien hanging in the balance, planners have been avidly following Marriott International’s quest to acquire Starwood Hotels

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The High Cost of Expense-Report Errors

In advance planning and then managing meetings and incentives while on-site, planners don't focus on the last piece of the process: attendees' filing expense reports. Not that they should: planning and on-site management are intense and

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Starwood and Marriott Move on Cuba

Planners on a quest to come up with new and exciting destinations have had their eye on Cuba since late-2014 when President Obama announced plans to normalize long-strained relations between the U.S. and the Caribbean island. But by and large the

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Weighing the Star Wars Effect

Hollywood gave itself a giant New Year’s present this past weekend in the form of its sci-fi epic Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which continued to post box office records. As of Sunday, January 3, 2016, the Walt Disney Company–produced adventure tale

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Team-Building by Jeep Tour: 6 Practical Considerations

Understandably, Jeep tours are a popular option for planners looking to give their meeting attendees and incentive program participants a taste of the local environment as well as simply a morning, afternoon, or even all-day spent off the hotel

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Survey Says: Planners Under Pressure

Responses to Destination Hotels’ most recent meeting planner survey presents a snapshot of the predicament meeting planners find themselves in today: under pressure to control costs at the same time struggling to provide events that meet the high

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Brooklyn, Old and New

For at least a couple of generations, when planners thought about New York as a meeting or incentive program destination, it invariably meant Manhattan with its theaters, museums, high-end shopping, fine dining and, not coincidentally, its rich

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Marriott Grabs Starwood: 7 Takeaways for Planners

Hotel companies, owners, managers and analysts woke up Monday morning to some startling and unexpected news: Marriott International had agreed to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in a $12.2 billion deal. The scope of the combined

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One City, Four Experiences? Here’s How…

As brands like Kimpton (now part of InterContinental Hotels Group) and Autograph Collection (from Marriott International) have increased the number of independent hotels they manage in a major group destination in the past few years, planners have

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A Bold Move on Tipping

While planners are tasked with carefully budgeting for the meetings and events they handle, there’s always been one unknown: the amount attendees opt to tip for service in hotels, restaurants and even taxis on their trip. Most tips get added onto

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RFP Season: Why You Should Know Lodging Taxes

With many planners already knee-deep into the RFP process for 2016, negotiations over preferred hotel rates are already heating up. With what could be the most stressful few months of the year for planners, it’s easy for the vexing matter of lodging

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When Hotels Change Operators: A San Francisco Story

Planners find themselves facing a thorny issue when they’ve got an RFP out to a hotel for an upcoming group event, they’re in active negotiation with the hotel or even have a signed contract on that piece of business, and the hotel suddenly changes

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Resort Spas Move From Mere Massage to Personal Awakening

Veteran spa watchers attending the 21st ISPA Media Marketplace this month in New York noted a marked shift in resort spa offerings lately from traditional massages, body wraps, and scrubs to more holistic, alternative healing-type experiences.

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The Big Apple’s Bumper Crop of New Luxury Hotels

Lodging analysts are warning that supply growth in Manhattan has reached a point where it is beginning to outstrip demand, putting downward pressure on rates. According to Smith Travel Research, as of June there were 14,630 hotel rooms under

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Goodbye, Jumping Jacks; Hello, SUP Yoga

Gone are the days when a quick five-minutes of jumping jacks before the start of the general session covered a planner’s back on the health and wellness front for the entirety of the meeting. Like so much else about meetings at luxury resorts today,

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Hilton and the Room Service Reboot

Planners holding events at upper upscale, full-service hotels and resorts may have a reasonable expectation that room service will be available. Senior executives, guest speakers or other VIPs may be on a late flight, arriving at the hotel hungry

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Newport’s Multi-Mansion Meetings

When the Vanderbilts and other barons of industry built a series of sprawling mansions in the New England fishing village of Newport, Rhode Island, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, little could they know that centuries later meeting

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