Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. O'Donnell

James O'Donnell

Chief Operating Officer, Vail Resorts Hospitality

James O'Donnell joined RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality in 2002 as Corporate Director of Finance, and became Regional Director of Operations in 2004. In 2006, he became Vice President of Strategic Development, where he was responsible for the acquisition of new management contracts and developments for RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality. In this capacity, he was also responsible for the acquisition and growth of Vail Resorts' Mountain Division and other lines of business, including ski resorts and online media. Mr. O'Donnell was named Chief Financial Officer in August 2011 and Chief Operating Officer in 2012. Before joining RockResorts, Mr. O'Donnell was an assurance and business advisory services manager for Arthur Andersen LLP, in both the Miami and Denver offices. While at Andersen, he specialized in the hospitality and real estate industries. Mr. O'Donnell received his Bachelor and Master in Business Administration degrees from the University of Miami, in Miami, FL. He regularly speaks on industry expert panels at the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), the NYU Lodging Conference and various other conferences

Mr. O'Donnell can be contacted at 303-404-1800 or jodonnell@vailresorts.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.