Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. d'Elsa

Laura d'Elsa

Regional Director USA / Canada, German Convention Bureau

Laura d'Elsa is the Regional Director USA/Canada for the German Convention Bureau (GCB). Based in New York City, she represents the GCB in the North American markets and promotes Germany as a leading meetings destination. Ms. d'Elsa serves as the main point of contact for U.S. and Canadian companies, associations and organizations interested in hosting events, meetings, and incentive programs in Germany. She also oversees all operations for the NYC office. Ms. d'Elsa is focused on educating clients and prospects on the benefits of hosting meetings in Germany, which include excellent value for money, a world class transportation system, exciting and historic cities, and many green venues and convention centers. A major theme she is responsible for driving in North America is Germany's expertise in key sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, finance and economics, logistics management, technology and more. In leveraging these expertise clusters the GCB and its German partners are able to create memorable and strategy-focused experiences that have made the country the #1 association meetings destination in Europe and #2 in the World. Ms. d'Elsa joined the GCB in 2011 from Sydney, Australia, where she worked for event agency DKC International. At that agency, which focuses on events in the government, non-profit, and association sectors, she was responsible for the public relations and marketing for all events, including strategy development and implementation, sponsorship management, collateral production, and media planning. Among other projects, Ms. d'Elsa managed and coordinated all media relations for the Australian lecture tour of Nobel Laureate in Economics Joseph Stiglitz, which was extensively covered in national and international media outlets. Ms. d'Elsa's previous professional experience spans all areas of integrated communications. She started her career at the Coca-Cola Company in Vienna, Austria, working first in the company's public affairs and communications department and then for the Coca-Cola UEFA Euro 2008 project team, where she managed the company's Austrian hospitality activities surrounding the 2008 European Soccer Championships. Ms. d'Elsa has also worked as a freelance editor and translator in the fashion and media industry and as a public relations consultant in the non-profit sector and now serves as a source on the meetings industry and business travel in Germany in leading MICE publications.

Ms. d'Elsa can be contacted at 212-661-4582 or gcbny@gcb.de

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.