Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Barnes

Karyl Leigh Barnes

Executive Vice President & Partner, Development Counsellors International

Karyl Leigh Barnes is the managing partner of the Tourism Practice at Development Counsellors International (DCI), leading destination marketing campaigns from offices in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, Canada. Founded in 1960, DCI has worked with more than 450 countries, regions, states and cities to drive investment and tourism leads. Since joining DCI in 1998 from a New York State destination marketing organization, Ms. Barnes has led destination strategy and campaign implementation for destinations on every continent except Antarctica. DCI's Tourism Practice has been recognized recently for its campaign to introduce Namibia to North American travelers, which garnered a Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Platinum Award in 2014, and its work to promote surf culture in Huntington Beach, California, through its “Guinness World Record Surf Board Activation” which was named a HSMAI Platinum Award winner and “Best In Show” in 2015. The campaigns she designs with her colleagues not only win awards, but increase visitor arrivals and spending to destinations. This helps to create jobs in local communities and improve the quality of life for residents living there. Karyl Leigh is often asked to speak on leisure tourism and meetings industry trends and has been featured at conference by IACC, International Congress and Conference Association (ICCA), IMEX America, IMEX Frankfurt, North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC), and numerous Governor's tourism conferences and tourism summits. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and newborn son.

Ms. Barnes can be contacted at 212-444-7123 or karyl.barnes@aboutdci.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.