Four Minutes and  Four Points with Bill Grusich, CMP, Senior Vice President, Associated Luxury Hotels International

bgrusich@alhi.com

SOLUTiONS: What are the latest (or “must have”) features in a hotel/venue package?

BG: Two features that are a sign of the times are complimentary WiFi and  resort  fee waivers.  Everyone wants  to have  WiFi included in guest rooms;  additionally, complimentary WiFi in the meeting space is ideal.

As with all negotiations, the ability to get your “must have’s” depends on the specific property.  Typically, resort  fees include newspapers, health  club/spa access and  Internet  use. If it’s high season, you’ll have  a more difficult time securing a fee waiver; instead, try your approach during  shoulder (off-peak)  season.

SOLUTiONS: These days, everyone is connected digitally.   Is there  a future for in-person meetings?

BG: The outlook for meetings is strong. There’s a prevailing misunderstanding that young  people don’t want to attend meetings. In fact, younger generations do want to attend meetings; they want content, context and  they want that face-to-face engagement as much as Baby boomers. Sure,  sometimes organizations host virtual and  in-person meetings or combine the two, but I don’t see any sign of in-person meetings slowing  down.

SOLUTiONS: What’s happening in “green meetings?”

BG: Because there  are so many  ways to define  green, options are all over the board. When identifying your meeting’s “green”  element, think about what’s important to your group. For example, if food security is important to your attendees, consider donating leftover food to a local food pantry.   If your group wants  to reduce energy consumption, perhaps guest rooms  are programmed so that lights go off automatically when the guest leaves her room.  Another way to reduce overall consumption is to offer online meeting registration (mostly standard these days) and  offer a Smartphone app.

SOLUTiONS: What are the components for a great meeting experience?

Clearly, location,  lodging/dining and  “fun” activities  are important.  But because meeting content is planned so far in advance, ensuring that your meeting is relevant and responding to the needs of participants, is really critical. Think about what’s on the minds  of participants today  – rather  than  when you planned the meeting content. Make changes to keep the content fresh.