Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Velez-Couto

Maite Velez-Couto

Vice President, rbb Communications

Maite Velez-Couto, a Vice President at rbb Communications, brings a broad range of media relations, consumer product marketing and branding experience to the firm. Throughout her career, she has handled integrated communications campaigns for a wide variety of consumer clients - from travel and food and beverage to fashion and entertainment brands including, but not limited to AMResorts, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn by Hilton, Norwegian Cruise Line, Vlasic pickles, Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Feld Entertainment. Ms. Velez-Couto has vast knowledge of regional and national media, community relations and special events. She currently focuses on rbb's hospitality and food and beverage clients, managing multiple award-winning programs including recipients of PRSA's “Silver Anvil,” Holmes Report's “Gold SABRE”, and HSMAI's Adrian Awards. Her experience also includes supporting clients' efforts in Mexico, Colombia, the Caribbean and Spain. Ms. Velez-Couto graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor's degree in Spanish Literature and an associate degree in architecture, and from Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in Humanities and post graduate studies in Spanish Language Journalism. She currently resides in Coral Gables.

Ms. Velez-Couto can be contacted at 305-783-3140 or maite.velez-couto@rbbcommunications.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.