Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McGuinness

Brian McGuinness

Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Brian McGuinness is the Senior Vice President of Starwood's Specialty Select brands, including the Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton brands. McGuinness is responsible for development, strategic and creative direction, and overall performance of each of Starwood's select-serve lifestyle brands. Mr. McGuinness leads an integrated team, charged with ensuring the successful global launch of Starwood's first new brand introduction, Aloft Hotels, since the 1999 premiere of W Hotels; establishing Starwood's new green trailblazer, Element Hotels, as the extended-stay category leader and Starwood's green innovation lab; and re-launching the newly reinvented Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness began his career with Starwood in 1997. His tenure started at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Towers as Towers Manager, later transitioning to Reservations and Revenue Management Director. Successfully advancing through his hotel career, he was eventually tapped by Starwood corporate to roll-out a new property management technology platform and joined the creative team to launch the highly successful Starwood Preferred Guest Program. Continuing in marketing, he created the Global Marketing Operations group where he oversaw the execution of marketing programs globally. In 2002, furthering his entrepreneurial desires, Mr. McGuinness left Starwood to personally oversee the restoration of a charming bed and breakfast located on Cape Cod. After the successful completion of the restoration, Mr. McGuinness returned to Starwood's Manhattan-based offices to take on the challenge of leading one of the most exciting brand introductions in the hotel industry's history - Aloft Hotels. He relocated to Starwood's corporate headquarters in White Plains, NY in 2007 to lead the launch of both Aloft and Element Hotels worldwide, and has recently taken the reins on the Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness grew up in New England, the youngest of seven children. His passion for the hospitality business started at a young age during annual international trips with his family to everywhere from Canada to Europe.

Mr. McGuinness can be contacted at 914-640-8100 or brian.mcguinness@starwoodhotels.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.