Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Murray

Michael Murray

Director of Technology, Lansdowne Resort

Michael Murray was born and raised in the Downeast area of Maine and by age 11 had developed a passion for writing. After graduating from George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill he moved back to Bangor to take classes for Psychology at the University of Maine. While working in one of the few VCR repair shops in the area he found he enjoyed working with electronics and frequently ended up working beyond the original scope of the store. Mr. Murray soon began working with the first large-chain video retailer to open in the state and took part in their computer-based inventory control. He also became a key player on the task force to open and manage their first location to heavily feature gaming and PC technology, client interaction, and ways to bring in new products. After moving to the San Francisco Bay area in 1996, Mr. Murray focused his career exclusively in the Audio Visual field before relocating to the Washington DC area in 1998. Recognizing the need to integrate technology into all aspects of the field, he took whatever steps he could with new PC's as they became available to utilize them for back-office operations as well as front of house guest services. Having been with Lansdowne Resort now for over 12 years in both the Audio Visual and IT fields Mr. Murray has become familiar with the tendency of technology to shift in both slow, subtle ways as well as dramatic, rapid fashion. In his current position as the Event Technology Manager, Mr. Murray is responsible for both the AV and IT aspects of guests at the Resort. He has been honored by Lansdowne as Manager of the quarter, Employee of the Year, “Best of the Best,” and is an active member of the Resort's Green Team.

Mr. Murray can be contacted at 703-729-8400 or mmurray@benchmarkmanagement.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.