Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Denston

Dan Denston

Executive Director, Mystery Shopping Providers Association - North America

Dan Denston, the Executive Director of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (North America), has an extensive history with associations and association management throughout the country, as well as other varied business and educational experience. Mr. Denston, hired to lead MSPA-NA in 2011, began his association career as a membership coordinator for the National Association of Brick Distributors. After holding various positions with the association over 6.5 years, he was named the Executive Director of the NABD, a post he held for 2.5 years. While there, Mr. Denston developed a national marketing campaign working with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Brickyard 400 race and won an ASAE Gold Circle Award for the association's magazine. Mr. Denston has worked for and with associations and association management companies in the Washington area in membership and member services, conventions and trade shows, marketing, publishing, and government relations. In addition to mystery shopping, his association management experience has included work with the construction, manufacturing, and medical industries. A graduate of Union University in Jackson, TN, Mr. Denston began his professional career as a high school teacher, teaching U.S. government and coaching high school football and baseball in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. He also managed and co-owned a restaurant business. He also started founded his own publishing company, publishing a life-style magazine for a beach community in North Carolina covering topics ranging from history to current events, environment to business development, and government and community affairs to topics of local interest. He also was elected as a Board member of the Chamber of Commerce and represented the business membership to the local government and community.

Mr. Denston can be contacted at 502-574-9033 or dan@mysteryshop.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.