Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Obie

Brian Obie

Founder, Obie Hospitality

Brian Obie has had lots of crazy-big ideas in his 76 years. After building a very successful outdoor advertising business, which was taken public under his leadership and listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, he invested in and then decided to own the Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene, Oregon, when no one imagined such an entity could thrive. The now 41-year-old market is a Eugene icon (and the city's top visitor destination) boasting highly localized food and retail, as well as office space, and most recently a boutique hotel called [Inn at the 5th][1], which Mr. Obie opened in 2012. The hotel was an immediate hit with guests and the community alike, also providing additional customers to the market and creating a fantastic synergy across operations. Then, building upon the success of the hotel, Mr. Obie transplanted the same hospitality concept across state lines to Idaho, where he recently opened the [Inn at 500 Capitol][2] in downtown Boise to great acclaim earlier this year. Mr. Obie's success in the hospitality business, however accidental and organic he claims it to be, was hard-won and smartly pursued by the humble former Eugene mayor and city councilman, who saw an opportunity in under-served Western communities for what he calls “boutique hotels that have a strong attention to detail and the complete guest experience.” Earlier this year, Mr. Obie officially launched Obie Hospitality to prepare for the future, which holds additional properties growing under the brand. In addition to his business operations and city governance service, Mr. Obie is heavily involved with the University of Oregon, completing two terms as a trustee of the University of Oregon Foundation, including as president. He is currently serving as emeritus trustee. He is also active with the Oregon Historical Society. [1]: http://www.innat5th.com/ [2]: http://www.innat500.com/

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

Mr. Obie can be contacted at 541-484-0383 or bobie@obie.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.