Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Maher

Melissa Maher

Senior Vice President - Global Partner Group, Expedia, Inc

As the leader of the Global Partner Group for Expedia, Inc., Melissa Maher spearheads all aspects of global business relationships with the company's top hotel partners.  Ms. Maher has taken an active role in driving significant discussions within the hospitality industry regarding issues affecting lodging supply partners and key stakeholders in the online travel space.

Ms. Maher oversees the teams responsible for creating new initiatives, driving the strategy behind negotiations, distribution, and connectivity for Expedia's chains, key accounts, and independent partnerships. She also leads Expedia's gaming lodging supply division.

As part of her role, Ms. Maher also manages the Global Partner Marketing team which strives to enhance relationships with key partners including large and regional brands, connectivity providers, ownership groups, management companies, and industry associations, along with executing marketing communications and global partner events.

During her tenure with Expedia, Ms. Maher has been passionate in driving meaningful dialogue about women in leadership within the company and hospitality industry.

Previously, Ms. Maher served as regional director with Expedia, with oversight of the Nevada/gaming lodging division. Prior to joining Expedia in 2001, Maher opened the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas as the director of conference center sales. She also served as director of tour and conference sales with the Las Vegas Hilton.

Ms. Maher received an M.B.A. and a B.S. in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Ms. Maher can be contacted at 702-938-2347 or MMaher@expedia.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.