Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Ramanathan

Akshay Ramanathan

Founder & CEO, Sukoon Travel Group

Akshay Ramanathan brings big-idea thinking alongside a passionate curiosity for marketing, technology, and all things digital to the hospitality industry. Mr. Ramanathan began his professional career working with major companies like JetBlue and T-Mobile to generate brand awareness among university students on his local college campus.

Working at global advertising agency, BBDO, on the MARs brand account, confirmed Mr. Ramanathan's fascination with helping businesses market their products and services in the online space. The specialization into telling stories and marketing specifically travel experiences came after living abroad in South America and the Middle East. Mr. Ramanathan developed a passion for the hospitality industry and soon returned to school to pursue a masters degree in the field.

Shortly after graduation he joined HeBS Digital, creating a new role for himself as Business Development Analyst. In this position he identified and helped secure international business opportunities and expand product lines to new markets. He played a key role in bridging marketing and sales efforts and streamlining internal department processes through developing a technology stack. Now as a young entrepreneur and independent consultant he relies on a combination of specialized technology applications to help him grow and scale his business.

Mr. Ramanathan is presently working with hospitality businesses to assess the overall efficacy of their digital assets and e-commerce strategy. In doing so his aim is to make technology more meaningful and accessible for his clients who seek to maximize the value of their online marketing efforts.

Outside the office Mr. Ramanathan is an active member of the community giving back through various volunteer efforts. He presently serves as the Community Service Chair for the NYU Tisch Center Alumni Society as well as plays a role in other organizations such as HSMAI Greater New York Chapter and StreetWise Partners.

Mr. Ramanathan holds a M.S. Degree in Hospitality Industries from NYU and is a regularly featured speaker and participant in university programs and events.

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

Mr. Ramanathan can be contacted at 347-501-0850 or ramanathan.akshay@gmail.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.