Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Blake

Michael Blake

Chief Executive Officer, Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG)

Michael Blake is the Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG). Mr. Blake previously served as the CIO of Commune Hotels & Resorts, encompassing Joie de Vivre, Thompson, Tommie and Alila Hotels. He provided strategic leadership and sound perspective to contribute to the management and evolution of Commune's global IT functions.

Before his role at Commune, Mr. Blake was the CIO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation where he set the global technology direction for their global footprint. He has over 20 years of experience in finance and technology from various roles at numerous companies. Before his CIO positions with Commune and Hyatt, Mr. Blake was SVP of IT for First Data, CFO of IT Finance at Kaiser Permanente and Director of IT Finance for Sears. In each role, he was the highest-ranking IT Finance resource and key internal consultant and advisor to international senior leadership teams.

Prior to that, Mr. Blake held various financial roles within United Airlines including the controller of the IT organization.

Mr. Blake holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Utah, received his Master of Business Administration in Finance and Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and also his Master of Science in Information Technology from Northwestern University. He also maintains several credentials and licenses: CPA, CMA, CISA, CITP.

Mr. Blake served as a member of HTNG's Board of Governors since 2009 and held the Treasurer position for many of those years.

Please visit http://www.htng.org for more information.

Mr. Blake can be contacted at 847-303-5560 or michael.blake@htng.org

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.