Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Sheridan

Martha Sheridan

President & CEO, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Martha Sheridan is president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB). In her role she leads an organization whose mission is to create vibrant growth for the local hospitality economy by promoting, developing, and expanding a united visitor industry. She oversees all day to day operations at the PWCVB, leading a staff of 20 destination sales and marketing professionals. In 2010 Ms. Sheridan spearheaded efforts to form the Rhode Island Sports Commission, now a division of the PWCVB. Ms. Sheridan has over 25 years experience in destination marketing. Prior to her current position she served as Vice President of Sales at the Newport County (RI) Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was recently named one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings magazine. Ms. Sheridan just completed a term as Chair of the Destination Marketing Association International, the world's largest association of destination marketing professionals. She has held leadership positions with several local, regional and national organizations including the RI Hospitality and Tourism Association Education Foundation, Meeting Professionals International New England Chapter (MPINE) and the New England Society of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. Ms. Sheridan is the recipient of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association's (RIHA) Mary Brennan Tourism Award for outstanding achievement in tourism promotion and in 2010 was named RIHA Woman of the Year. She is also the recipient of the MPINE President's Award and the MPINE Supplier of the Year Award. In 2013, Ms. Sheridan was presented the Morris J. Gaebe Profile in Excellence Award from Junior Achievement of Rhode Island. She is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and lives in Wakefield, RI with her husband, Arthur and three children.

Ms. Sheridan can be contacted at 401-456-0224 or msheridan@goprovidence.com

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.