Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Lapierre

Michelle Lapierre

Senior Director of Customer Experience and Social Media, Marriott Rewards

Michelle Lapierre is on the leadership team of Marriott Rewards, voted best hospitality loyalty program with 18 brands in 72 countries and over 48 million members worldwide. She sets the strategic direction for the Marriott Rewards social media channels to drive new member enrollment, engagement, trust, preference and loyalty. Her team is also responsible for representing the voice of the customer inside the company, ensuring focus on enduring relationships and meaningful recognition. Ms. Lapierre is an independent thought leader in the area of human-to-human relationships between consumers, the brands they love and the needs they wish to fulfill. She combines her first-hand experience in hotel operations, account sales and social media marketing with strong research and innovation skills to contribute to Marriott's impressive growth. Ms. Lapierre received her B.A. degree from Michigan State University with a dual major in psychology and sociology; and her Masters in Management at the University of Redlands.

Ms. Lapierre can be contacted at 301-380-3000 or michelle.lapierre@marriott.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.