Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Smith

Carrianne Smith

Director of Sales & Marketing, The Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Starwood Hotels

Carrianne Smith is a leader in the Pacific Northwest hospitality industry. She has held her current role as director of sales and marketing at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel for seven years, where her accumulated knowledge and experience from hotel locations across the U.S. brings immense value to the hotel. Ms. Smith's expertise for hotel management and hospitality ranges from her position as the director of sales at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, where she led her sales team to the Starwood “Team Hot” of the Year Award in 2003; director of marketing at Wyndham Andover and Wyndham Burlington in Massachusetts and sales manager at the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle. In her 10 year tenure with Starwood properties, Ms. Smith has been nominated six times for Sales Team of the Year, winning the honor in 2008, and has twice been nominated for Sales Leader of the Year. After graduating Southern Illinois University, her career began as a front office manager at Wyndham Lisle/Naperville and as a catering manager at Wyndham SeaTac. Ms. Smith is a member of Meeting Professionals International and the Professional Convention Management Association, where she served as co-chair for the marketing and promotions committee for the 2008 PMCA Annual Meeting. She is a repeat guest speaker at Cornell, Johnson & Wales and Northeastern University, and prior to moving to Seattle, she served as a member of the Boston Convention Bureau's Sales Advisory Committee and led the “Introduction to Meeting Management” course at Northeastern University. Ms. Smith, a Chicago native, resides in West Seattle with her family. She enjoys traveling, the outdoors and reading, and her commitment to her community is realized through her passionate A.I.D.S. activism, leading the Sheraton's Gingerbread Village program in support of JDRF and providing groceries to the elderly, homeless and working poor with the Pike Place Market Food Bank.

Ms. Smith can be contacted at 206-447-5531 or Carrianne.pugh@sheraton.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.