Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. De Franco

Agnes De Franco

Professor and Distinguised Chair at C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston

Agnes De Franco, Ed.D., CHE, CHAE, is a professor and distinguished chair at the C.N. Hilton College at the University of Houston. She is a recipient of teaching awards at both the college and university level; co-author of five textbooks and has published more than 90 refereed articles. Ms. De Franco conducts workshops for the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive examination; a Certified Hospitality Educator Cadre member and is a recipient of the Dean's Award for Excellence in Applied Research, the Best Paper Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and International Education (I-CHRIE), and the HFTP-iHITA Best Research Paper Award. She earned the Distinguished Faculty Award, Distinguished Alumna Award, and Young Alumna Award from the Hilton College Alumni Association and is a recipient of the H. J. Heinz Graduate Fellowship. Ms. De Franco is active in a number of local, state and national organizations, including serving as the global president of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) from 2006-2007; member of I-CHRIE's finance and future fund committees and treasurer of I-CHRIE from 1999 to 2002. She is the past president of Phi Beta Delta and Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Houston and has eight years of central administration experience at UH working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on undergraduate issues such as persistence, graduation, general education curriculum, and college and career readiness standards. She has eight years of industry experience in food & beverage.

Please visit www.uh.edu for more information.

Ms. De Franco can be contacted at 713-743-2422 or adefranco@uh.edu

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.