Tag Archives: Lynne Wellish

Deliver on Your ROI, Business Meetings

AzMPI Announces 2013-14 Board

The Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI) recently installed their 2013-2014 slate of Officers for the chapter.

Officers include incoming President Jill Longfellow,  Enterprise Holdings Inc.; President-Elect Cristin Barr, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain; Vice President of Finance Penny Allphin, Hassayampa Inn Prescott; Vice President of Communications Chip Headman, Williams & Associates; Vice President of Membership Julia-Isabel Davenport, Maximize Your Publicity; Vice President of Education Susie Molinich, American Express Meeting & Events, and Immediate Past President Donna Masiulewicz, Timeline Meetings & Events.  The Chapter Directors are: Director of Leadership Development Lynne Wellish, Triage Meetings & Events; Director of Fundraising & Special Events Tiffany Higgins, The Tiffany Event; Director of Strategic Alliances Dave Rosenbaum, Carefree Resort & Conference Center; Director of Monthly Programs Lee Smith, Hotel Valley Ho; Director of Recruitment Dave Borsheim, Hotel Palomar Phoenix; Director of Retention Jacqi Marth, Destination and Details; Director of Information Technology Danielle Adams, KCA; and Director of Public Relations and Marketing James Eggimann, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix

“We strive to promote excellence within the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business-to-business networking opportunities for our members,” said incoming 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.

Restaurant Industry

HSMAI prepares next generation of hospitality leaders

To create the perfect meal, preparation is key. The same might be said for creating the perfect employee in the hospitality industry.

“Though some things like a friendly smile and a well-prepared meal will never change, the hospitality industry has gone through major changes in last few years,” says David R. Landau, program chair for Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Le Cordon Bleu College in Culinary Arts in Scottsdale. “Guest expectations have changed. We are seeing a more food knowledgeable and casual-minded guests. The industry has changed and hospitality education has changed along with it.”

Landau says today’s hospitality industry workers need be comfortable with technology, from creating a profit  and loss statement in Excel or creating a training program in PowerPoint to being familiar with point-of-sale cash registers. To prepare the next generation of hospitality industry leaders, the Arizona chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is partnering with colleges and universities to stress the importance of education and training for the future of the industry. HSMAI’s impact is already being fealt. Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and Scottsdale Community College are all offering classes in hospitality sales.

“Our core curriculum focuses on a diverse range of topics in hospitality; guest services management, marketing, information systems, human resources, accounting, food production and beverage management, property management and industry law,” says Janelle Hoffman, professor in the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Scottsdale Community College.

Hoffman says changes in hospitality educations have been influenced by technological advancements, the evolution of customer relationship management programs, societal marketing approaches, sustainability issues and international growth.

“I stay current in my research area of hospitality group sales,” says Richard McNeill, a professor at the School of Hotel & Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University. “Just this semester, I have integrated new research findings into my classes — for example, the rising power of third-party intermediaries and disruption on traditional selling methodologies. My sales classes involve B2B selling since group salespeople are involved with big-ticket items. It’s not unusual for a meeting or group to bring $300K revenue to a hotel.”

In addition to keeping a eye on the pulse of current trends like McNeill does, Hoffman says the changes in the hospitality industry that have had a biggest impact on education include:
• Every sector of the industry is reliant upon the efficient use of technology. Reservation systems, point of sale, property management and in-room technology are just a few areas in which the implementation and effective use of both custom and pre-designed software make a vital contribution to customer service, employee satisfaction and monetary success.
• Today, customer relationship management (CRM) programs that add value to the product and service are extremely beneficial to cultivating the life-time value of our patrons.
• Understanding how new approaches in areas of societal marketing and sustainability are trending in a response to customer demands and how these efforts assist us differentiating our products and services.
• The hospitality industry works in a global environment. In the last 10 years, new places have opened up to travel and development, providing new opportunities to international employment and community growth.
• The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest employers.

“Many years ago, if you worked hard, you could work your way up in this industry, but times have changed,” Hoffman says. “Everyone is still working hard, but education has assisted in professionalizing the service industry. An individual’s education is something that can never be taken away and helps differentiate them in a competitive professional environment.”

Hoffman advises today’s aspiring hospitality industry to try to understand how diverse the industry has become and identify your specific area of interest. Also, it’s important for students to have real work experience in the area of customer service to balance the concepts and skills they will be exposed to in the education experience.

“Work experience is what employers are looking for,” says Lynne Wellish, an adjunct faculty member in the Hospitality College at Scottsdale Community College. “Find a mentor in the industry and start building a network of contacts. Meet other students in your classes and nurture your relationships.”

As hospitality education grows and is offered as a program of study by more schools, educators say the bar for the industry’s workforce will be raised.

“The hospitality profession will grow in respectability as more individuals see it as a career choice not just a job,” Landau  says. “I also believe for those looking to enter the industry or for professionals who are already there, online education will provide the pacing and flexibility to meet the needs of these learners.  At Le Cordon Bleu, we work closely with our advisory boards on the local and national level to identify what skills employers want our graduates to have. So it works both ways: the industry informs education and vice versa.”

LOOKING TO HIRE?

Az Business magazine asked Arizona educators what advice they would give to hospitality industry employers who are looking to hire new workers.
Jessica Shipley, academic advisor in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Northern Arizona University: “Take chances on students. If employers took more risks in hiring someone who didn’t necessarily have a lot of experience, but the student showed the employer that they were outstanding in other areas, they might be surprised by how well that student ended up being a good fit for their company.”
David R. Landau, program chair for Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Le Cordon Bleu College in Culinary Arts in Scottsdale: “Don’t wait for graduates to knock on your door. Go to the source; contact an accredited culinary and hospitality school. We have a career services office that exists for employers to reach our student and graduates. Put new hires at ease; help that recent graduate see how their entry-level position is part of the overall mission. In order to be motived to succeed, Gen Y and Millennial workers need to know how their job is important.”
Janelle Hoffman, hospitality program advisor, Scottsdale Community College: “Look to hire a hospitality student, someone who has already made a commitment to the industry. Also, take good care of your team members. Word of mouth in our industry is strong. Happy employees create happy customers.”

Mr. Gadget

Technology Changes The Meeting Planning Industry

Mr. Gadget

Technology changes the meeting planning industry

 

Webcasting. Green-screen photography. Video e-mail. Seamless projection. Gobos. Video curtains. Not long ago, this kind of technology would not have been in a meeting and event planner’s bag of tricks. But they are today as technology makes ever-greater inroads into the industry. How members of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International use technology depends upon each company’s expertise.

 

Mr. GadgetMerestone in Scottsdale specializes in audio-visuals. A whole arsenal of gadgets is at the disposal of Merestone president Camille Hill and account executive Lynne Wellish, CMP, who also serves as chairwoman of the MPI job bank committee. “To make your point in the meeting, you have to use the biggest, fastest, smartest and most colorful tools you can get your hands on,” Hill says. “You have to stand out.” Merestone uses glass gobos to project images on screens, walls or the side of a building. The company can make an entire room look like it’s in the tropics. Merestone uses seamless projection in which multiple video projectors blend images together into one image on a huge horizontal screen. The company also uses lasers, confetti cannons, music and sound effects.

Going Gobos
Pictured below:
Merestone uses glass gobos to project images on walls or the side of a building.

Gobos

 

Sonoran Communications in Phoenix specializes in creating visual experiences that encourage people to attend the meeting again next year. Its specialty is video for screens. “Clients pay for video screens, so why leave them empty?” asks Neil Schneider, owner of Sonoran Communications and chairman of the MPI public relations committee. “Why not have something playing on them? Having a blank screen is taboo. People are used to multiple screens of information now, so you can show things during lunch and breaks.” Schneider also digitally records a meeting or event and dubs it onto DVDs for people to take home.

Schneider says the MPI chapter recently used a new technology—video e-mail—to promote its Sept. 14 trade show at Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Chapter President Kathi Overkamp, CMP, was digitally recorded in front of a green screen as she gave her pitch for the event. A slide show was dropped in after she was recorded and the video was e-mailed to chapter members.

Mark Anderson, an account executive with Southwest Scenic Group in Tempe who is active on several MPI committees, sees an uptick in requests for meeting Webcasts. It started two years ago and became increasingly popular over the past year. “It’s always been there in the way of studio-type work, but especially now with HDTV and higher-end digital recording,” Anderson says. “This is used for instructional meetings and what we call ‘rah-rah’ sales meetings. People access the meeting either live or later.” Over the next few years, Anderson expects requests for even smaller presentations that meeting attendees can view at their leisure on the company Web site. “Some of these videos are supplements to the meeting,” he says. “For example, a video of a breakout session that some people were not able to attend—they can watch it later.”

Video curtains are available but the technology is in its infancy, according to Anderson. The curtain is a mass of LED lights (light emitting diodes) that looks like a video screen. It’s lightweight, portable and big. Lighting in general is becoming easier to program, saving operating and setup time, Anderson notes.

Superhero Productions with offices in Chandler, Phoenix and Scottsdale, specializes in the “wow factor,” says agent Randy Breen, an MPI board member. “Superhero got its name from that fact that we are here to save the day and, through technology, provide the wow factor for meetings and events,” Breen says. Images of a meeting–graphics, photos, logos–are made available on memory sticks, MP3 players and digital photo frames.

AZ Business Magazine October November 2006Green-screen technology allows on-the-spot photography with a variety of digital backdrops. Powerful, lightweight LEDs allow total lighting of an event so everyone can see, while small, powerful audio speakers can be strategically placed to make sure the entire audience can hear a speaker, Breen says.

Event planning has become less costly thanks to technology and that’s a real plus for clients on a tight budget, MPI members say. But there is a downside. As technology becomes increasingly easy to use, some clients think they can do the whiz-bang stuff themselves. “People think they are more techno savvy than they actually are,” Wellish says. “We manage people doing their own PowerPoint presentations. We help them determine what to project on stage with lights. This is something that has never happened to us before.”

www.merestone.com
www.sonorancommunications.com
www.southwestscenic.com
www.superheropro.com

 

Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006