Editorial Board   

Mr. Ricketts

Mark Ricketts

President & Chief Operating Officer, McNeill Hotel Company

Mark Ricketts serves as President and COO of McNeill Hotels. Prior to joining McNeill Hotel Company, Mr. Ricketts spent the previous seven years serving as Vice President of Hotel Asset Management in the Realty Management Division for Goldman Sachs in Irving, TX.

In his capacity, Mr. Ricketts provided hotel asset management oversight for a portfolio of over 300 properties, spanning 10 brands and 27 flags while working with nearly twenty (20) management companies. Mr. Ricketts has nearly 35 years of experience in the hotel industry, starting as a Hotel General Manager at the age of 23 years old.

Mr. Ricketts previously worked as Vice President of Asset Management for Equity Inns, Inc., a publicly traded Hotel REIT based in Germantown, TN. At the time of its sale to Goldman Sachs, Equity Inns was the 3rd largest Hotel REIT in terms of number of hotels owned.

Prior to Equity Inns, Mr. Ricketts served as the Vice President of Hotel Operations for Memphis, TN based MASTER Hospitality Services. In his role, the company received the prestigious "Partnership Circle Award" from Marriott International in 2004. In addition, the company's Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Tupelo, MS won the Marriott "Courtyard of the Year" award for two consecutive years.

Mr. Ricketts was recently named to serve as a member of the Home 2 Suites by Hilton Owner Advisory Council (OAC). In addition, he has served on the Hampton Brand Operations Council since 2000 and was a past member of the Hyatt Place Operations Advisory Committee. He previously served on the Board of Directors for both the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association from 2000-2008.

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

Mr. Ricketts can be contacted at +1 901-322-4806 or mricketts@mcneillhotels.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.