Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Hickey

Mark Hickey

Senior Vice President of U.S. Hotel Operations, Destination Hotels & Resorts

Mark Hickey is senior vice president of U.S. hotel operations for Destination Hotels & Resorts, the third largest hospitality management company in the United States. Mr. Hickey is responsible for the overall operating performance of Destination Hotels & Resorts' portfolio of more than 35 independent and branded, luxury and upscale hotels, resorts and golf clubs. He also provides oversight and coordinates portfolio-wide initiatives in the areas of organizational development and associate training, customer service, and risk management. Mr. Hickey is primarily responsible for the vision, the goals, the implementation and the leadership of the Destination Earth sustainability program on a corporate level. The Destination Earth program was launched in 2008 and represents the portfolio-wide commitment to implement sustainability practices at each Destination property across the country. Mr. Hickey has worked in close partnership with an environmental consultant and leaders of the hospitality group to accomplish the mission to introduce uniform environmental standards company-wide while encouraging individual property adoption of specific initiatives through property “Green Teams”, which has become a significant and defining element of the program. Mr. Hickey is the steward for the company's commitment to unique, authentic culinary experiences at each hotel and resort. He oversees the corporate food and beverage efforts to develop, define and execute innovative and memorable food and beverage offerings across the country, in conjunction with a vice president of food and beverage and culinary director of food and beverage operations. A father of two young girls, Mr. Hickey is also the catalyst behind the company's commitment to healthy and delicious children friendly offerings, the Destination Kids Cafe™, at all Destination restaurants and dining outlets. Mark Hickey joined Destination Hotels & Resorts in 1995, as vice president and general manager of Destination's Inverness Hotel and Conference Center near Denver, Colorado. An industry leader in conference center management, he has provided oversight and support of the integration of over seven IACC-certified conference centers into the Destination Conference Collection. In 1997, he assumed the position of senior vice president of operations for the western United States and his role expanded to include oversight for all North American operations of the company in 2002. Further, he developed a core leadership team of managing directors to continue to support the portfolio. Prior to joining Destination, Mr. Hickey held various positions in the hospitality industry, including property positions of general manager, regional manager of management services for AIRCOA (now Richfield) and vice president of operations for Metro Hotels in Dallas, TX.

Mr. Hickey can be contacted at 303-268-6868 or mhickey@destinationhotels.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.