Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Vandevender

Jim Vandevender

Chief Marketing Officer, Knowland

Jim Vandevender is Chief Marketing Officer at Knowland. Mr. Vandevender joined Knowland in 2012. He has supported various departments within the company including data and research and has been actively involved in supporting the development team in the redevelopment of Knowland's Insight tool and in the creation of the new Market Analytics tool. He works closely with the sales department in the areas of training and developing customer relationship skills.

Currently, Mr. Vandevender manages Knowland's marketing department, including all aspects of social media, new product launches, and supporting all processes for creating, communicating, and delivering Knowland products to customers.

Mr. Vandevender is an award-winning hotel industry veteran, having spent more than 20 years in various sales positions within Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts. Among the properties where he worked was New York's Waldorf Astoria, where he began as a Senior Sales Manager. He has been awarded AICPA's Supplier of the Year Award given to the National Account Manager providing the highest level of service to AICPA's meeting planning division.

Before coming to Knowland, Mr. Vandevender held the position of Vice President of Training and Development for ConferenceDirect for 7 years, where he managed one of the company's largest Strategic Meeting Management accounts and was the Team Leader for CD's largest team of sales associates. In addition to these duties, Mr. Vandevender was responsible for training all of ConferenceDirect's associates. He was awarded ConferenceDirect's “Hero of the Year Award” for three consecutive years for being the person making the most impact on ConferenceDirect associates.

Mr. Vandevender also worked on the Microsoft account. He also was the recipient of the Hilton Achievement Award for ConferencDirect Team Microsoft for his work. In 2015, Mr. Vandevender was appointed to HSMAI's Sales Advisory Board. He has been a featured speaker at many HSMAI conferences and events including the 2016 Hotel Management Company Roundtable. Mr. Vandevender is also a proud Member of Skål International, Washington - a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry.

Mr. Vandevender has a large presence on LinkedIn with almost 12,000 Followers who receive his weekly blogs on trend and industry developments within the hotel industry. He has been featured in various hotel and meetings trade publications.

Please visit http://www.knowland.com for more information.

Mr. Vandevender can be contacted at 202-351-1552 or jvandevender@knowland.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.