Tag Archives: Joanne Winter

Deliver on Your ROI, Business Meetings

Arizona MPI honors excellence with awards

The Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI) recently recognized its members who went above and beyond to volunteer for the chapter. Winners include: Rising Star Award presented to Troy Peters with Video West; James A. Fausel Student of the Year Award presented to Shelby Wray, ASU; Committee of the Year Award presented to Sponsorship Committee; Host Property/Venue of the Year Award presented to TPC Scottsdale; Sponsorship of the Year Award given to kool Party Rentals; Member of the Year Award presented to Jacqi Marth, Destinations & Details; The Edward E. Scannell Award presented to Christina Tzavellas, CMP with CTZ and Associates; Supplier of the Year Award presented to Chip Headman, Williams & Associates; Planner of the Year Award presented to Susan Molinich, CMP, SMMC, American Express Meetings & Events; Presidents Achievement Awards were given to Jamie Cook, CMP, CMM, Strategic Meetings & Events and to Joanne Winter, AzMPI.

“We strive to promote excellence within the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business-to-business networking opportunities for our members,” said 2013-2014 AzMPI President Jill Longfellow. “Anyone who plans or supports meetings in any capacity, whether an administrative assistant or a caterer, can benefit from what AzMPI offers.”

The 375-member Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International was established in 1979. Meeting Professionals International is the meeting and event industry’s largest association for the $102.3 billion meetings and events industry. AZMPI offers monthly events providing education, and networking opportunities. MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 80 chapters and clubs worldwide. To learn more about AZMPI visit www.AZMPI.org or call 602-277-1494.

sales

HSMAI helps hospitality industry fuel sales

Like most industries, hospitality took a hit during the economic downturn, but the Arizona travel industry started to recover in 2010 and pumped $18.3 billion in direct travel spending into Arizona’s economy in 2011.

Helping fuel that economic engine is the Arizona chapter of the he Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

“HSMAI’s mission is to provide hotel professionals and their partners with the tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue,” says Joanne Winter, executive director of HSMAI Arizona. “HSMAI is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and to be the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth.”

HSMAI is not new to Arizona’s tourism scene. The Greater Phoenix Chapter was incorporated as a chapter in 1968 and merged with the Southern Arizona Chapter in 2005 to become the Arizona Chapter. The united force has worked well as the 250-member Arizona Chapter has grown to become the second-largest chapter in the U.S. and was honored in 2011 as International Chapter of the Year.

“Our chapter offers members a variety of benefits, including monthly education programs targeted specifically to the sales and marketing and revenue management professional, a variety of networking and fundraising events, leadership development training and community service volunteer opportunities,” Winter says. “The bottom line: We want HSMAI to provide our member companies with added and measurable value.”

That measurable value is exactly what HSMAI leaders say differentiates the nonprofit organization — whose core members are hotel sales and marketing professionals and their partners: CVBs, attractions, restaurants and suppliers to the industry — from other tourism-boosting organizations.

“We serve our members through a comprehensive online Knowledge Center and face-to-face and online educational programs and events,” says Bob Gilbert, CEO of HSMAI Americas. “Our HSMAI University produces between 30 and 40 webinars annually and administers four certification programs for industry professionals. We are the only nonprofit association dedicated to this educational mission with a hotel target audience.”

Like every other industry that is constantly evolving and growing, HSMAI has kept its finger on the pulse of the business to adapt and change with the economy and with the times.

“There is a lot of pressure to deliver increased member value for all not-for-profit associations,” says Fran Brasseux, executive vice president of HSMAI Americas. “HSMAI got out in front of that changing environment  nearly two years ago and  held numerous stakeholder focus groups to review our member value proposition, and our industry relevance. We listened, we asked questions, and we acted. We reset our mission statement and redesigned our logo.  We wanted  to ensure it represented  not just who we are, but what we do.”

From those meetings came HSMAI’s mission statement: HSMAI is committed to helping hotels and their partners fuel sales, inspire marketing and optimize revenue.

“In line with the new mission, we laser focused our member e-newletter to increase its frequency and  focus its content on three key areas – sales, marketing and revenue management,” Brasseux  says, “and late last year we also completed a complete makeover and redesign of our hsmai.org website and the HSMAI Foundation Knowledge Center. The work is not done – it is on-going, and the member feedback is excellent, with membership growth, higher program participation and new partners.”

Gilbert says the Arizona Chapter has been producing educational programs for its members for more than 40 years.

“We believe that chapters can produce programs that leverage the interdependence of all those in a market that depend on the inbound corporate, leisure and group traveler,” he says. “Chapters can focus on very specific needs and emerging trends which will help the industry be better equipped to gain more market share and revenue. The hospitality business has been experiencing significant shifts in how hotel business in sourced and how consumers select destinations and hotels for all types of travel. HSMAI is committed to helping sales, marketing, and revenue management professionals stay abreast of the emerging changes and best practices that will enable their success.”

As HMSAI strengthens the knowledge base and performance of its members, the Arizona Chapter is also realizing that there is strength in number, joining forces with other industry groups to build on the state’s success in tourism.

“As a member of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association (ALTA) and the Arizona Event Industry Alliance (EIA), HSMAI has the opportunity to work with other state-wide meeting, tourism and hospitality industry associations in giving the industry more strength and unity,” Winter says. “Working together, we all make a difference and have a bigger voice.”

hospitality

HSMAI presents 31st Annual Chinese Auction

The Arizona Chapter of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) will present their 31st Annual Chinese Auction, celebrating the “Year of the Snake,” on Friday, June 21, 2013 the beautiful DoubleTree Paradise Valley Resort, beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Proceeds from this event will help to support our association’s mission and our continuing efforts to provide quality continuing education and scholarships for those professionals currently in the hospitality industry and those who are pursuing a career in the field.

In addition, funds will help support HSMAI’s 2013 “Charity of the Year” – Kitchen on the Street. Kitchen on the Street, a faith-based, volunteer driven, nonprofit organization, turns hunger into hope … one child at a time.  What does hunger look like? Look into the eyes of one of the hundreds of children served by Kitchen on the Street each week and you’ll know. Hunger is a growing crisis for many children in America. 17 million children in the United States suffer from food insecurity! Kitchen on the Street fills the gap – and the stomachs – of children experiencing hunger and poverty. Through partnerships with Arizona schools, KOS provides pre-packaged, child-friendly food for evening and/or weekend meals. For many, these “Bags of Hope” become their primary source of food when school is not in session. (http://www.kitchenonthestreet.org/).

HSMAI is a global organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is comprised of nearly 7,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide. HSMAI’s mission is to “grow business for hotels and their partners by fueling sales, inspiring marketing and optimizing revenue”.

The 250 member Arizona Chapter was established in 1968 and is the third largest chapter in the U.S. Additionally, the Arizona Chapter was honored as the 2011 International “Chapter of the Year.” The chapter offers members a variety of benefits including monthly education programs targeted specifically to sales and marketing and revenue management professionals, a variety of networking and fundraising events and community service volunteer opportunities.

The Chinese Auction is a unique fundraiser combining a silent auction with a live auction.  Each guest receives a list of items to be sold in a live auction and a paddle with an individualized number. Each guest “bids” on an item by placing a quarter in the bucket placed at the center of each table. An auctioneer travels through the dinner announcing numbers indicated on each guests paddle until a Chinese gong is rung.  The number last mentioned before the gong wins the prize.  Money is raised through the through the quarters bid on each item by each guest, the silent auction preceding the dinner and a live bidding auction. This unique auction was conceived by the Arizona Chapter and has been adopted by chapters all over the U.S. 300 meeting and hospitality industry members will attend and support the event.

Prizes include golf outings, artwork, gift certificates for goods and services, signed sports memorabilia and weekend getaways to various destinations throughout the U.S., Hawaii and Mexico.

Tickets are available for $60 per person or $575 for a corporate table of ten.

For more information about the event, contact Joanne Winter at 602-240-5552 or visit the chapter website at http://www.hsmai-az.org/.

busy tomorrow for Meeting Planners

Meeting Planners an Industry On A Roll

Meeting planners an industry on a roll

Only a few years ago, professional meeting planners in Arizona were struggling through a post-9/ll slump in business. Those days are now history. But don’t get the impression meeting planners are breathing a sigh of relief. Members of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International are much too busy for that. The number of meetings and events in Arizona is in a sharp rebound as the state’s economy hums along again and planners who once had nothing but time on their hands, can’t get enough of it today.

“It’s such a turnaround from three years ago,” says Bonnie Brant, national sales manager for Doubletree Guest Suites Phoenix near Sky Harbor International Airport. “We’re so busy and it’s a nice kind of busy. People are traveling again, rooms are filled, planners have a broader selection of events and venues. It’s great.” Brant, a chapter board member and 2006 Mentor of the Year, says the Doubletree steadily booked meetings and events all summer.

Michael Barnhart, CMP, a chapter member and national sales manager for Pointe South Mountain Resort in south Phoenix, is happy to be scrambling again. “The economy is definitely back and it’s nice to have demand again. I like being busy. It beats the alternative.” Planners say that business from associations remained steady during the lean years while corporate meetings nosedived. Now corporate business is back and planners are helping with incentive meetings for top producers, sales meetings, new product launches, board retreats and departmental brainstorm sessions. Because of its proximity to the airport, the Doubletree’s weekends are devoted primarily to military reunions for veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.

Some resorts and hotelsMichael Barnhart - meeting planners are funneling money back into their properties to attract more visitors. For example, Brant says the Doubletree refurbished all public areas in 2004 and also enhanced its meeting space, installing new lighting and soundproofing and softening the colors. “Repeat business is key and if you’re not providing renovations and high-tech features and good service, you are not going to be one of the ballplayers,” she says. But the good times also bring challenges. Planners are coming to grips with a time crunch they call compression. Clients struggle with their own lack of time and that trickles down to planners who now have a substantially tighter turnaround to do their jobs compared to previous years. “Usually, what we planned a year out, we are now planning 90 days out,” says Katherine Christensen, CMP, president and owner of Katherine Christensen & Associates and PRA Destination Management in Chandler. Sometimes, there is virtually no lead time, says Christensen, a past chapter president. “They call on Tuesday, asking me to plan an event for Friday.”

Planners who book hotel rooms are bumping up against higher rates as fewer rooms are available and the law of supply and demand flexes its muscle. Christensen sees it as a seller’s market in which booking terms are less negotiable. Part of the problem is that three major Valley resorts–Marriott Mountain Shadows, Doubletree La Posada and Radisson Scottsdale–closed in 2004 and 2005, Barnhart says. “Supply has dipped,” he notes. “With the economy coming back, we’ve got that pent-up demand from corporate America. Their national and regional meetings are in full force. Rates have gone up as much as 10 percent for February through March. Rates are just now getting back to where they were before 9/11.” Meeting planners at one Scottsdale corporation face the same problems with rates and space availability as they organize 60 to 80 events a year for their company. Courtney Aguilar and Shannon Urfer, each a marketing manager of events at eFunds Corporation and chapter member, say their greatest challenge is getting executives to understand that rates are higher and that space is hard to come by. Urfer, who serves on the chapter’s membership, fund-raising and holiday party committees, says from her experience, rates have climbed 20 to 30 percent over the past few years. “When we started looking for the 2007 location for our annual global sales kickoff, almost all the properties we looked at were sold out,” Aguilar says. “We booked both our 2007 and 2008 kickoffs in February of this year.”

Christensen has noticed a significant change in the kind of corporate people her company works with. Increasingly, she works more with procurement departments and less with internal event planners. The bottom line has become more important than the relationship, she says. “The deliverability of our services has not changed,” Christensen says. “What has changed is how we prepare our proposals and that is becoming more line-itemed. That’s fine, but as they pick apart the event to save money, they pick apart the ambience. We will do all that. Just don’t come back to me and say this is not what I originally described in my proposal.”

But since it’s better to be busy than not, planners are taking it all in stride. Christensen attended a MPI retreat over the summer and the busy times was a topic of discussion. “No one really has an answer as to how they are doing it; they’re just doing it,” she says. “We are all glad to see the business.”

Urfer sees meeting and event planners taking on an increasingly important role in the years ahead. “Meeting planners will become more integral and valued as people look to them not as order takers, but as someone who can provide direction,” she says. Brant believes the profession will have a bright future in metropolitan Phoenix. “We’ve got a new convention center coming in. Light rail is coming in. We will have the Super Bowl in 2008. It’s just a great place to be a meeting and event planner.”

www.azmpi.org
www.webeventplanner.com/doubletreeguestsuitesphoenix
www.efunds.com
www.kc-a.com
www.pra.com
www.arizonagrandresort.com

ABOUT MPI
Established in 1972, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest association for the meetings profession with more than 20,000 members in 68 chapters and clubs across the USA, Canada, Europe and other countries throughout the world. As the global authority and resource for the $122.3 billion meetings and events industry, MPI empowers meeting professionals to increase their strategic organizational value through education and networking opportunities. Its strategic plan, Pathways to Excellence, is designed to elevate the role of meetings in business via: creating professional development levels to evolve member careers to positions of strategic understanding and influence; influencing executives about the value of meetings; and ensuring MPI is the premier marketplace for planners and suppliers. More information can be found by going to www.mpiweb.org. Active since 1979, the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter is MPI’s 15th largest chapter in the world. The organization is comprised of over 460 members throughout the state of Arizona, representing a mix of corporate, association and independent planners as well as suppliers who provide a variety of products and/or services to the meeting and hospitality industry.The local chapter offers its members educational, networking, community volunteer, industry certification and professional growth opportunities throughout the year. For more information, contact Executive Director, Joanne Winter, at (602) 277-1494 or visit the chapter website at www.azmpi.org for up-to-date information on events and programs.

Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006