Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Johnson

Leslie Johnson

Director of Sales & Marketing, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

Leslie Johnson is director of sales & marketing of Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wis. Managed by Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS). Ms. Johnson joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in 2008 as director of restaurant sales and promotions, where she oversaw the management teams and organizational systems for the company's Milwaukee-area restaurants. Most recently, she served as general manager at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Prior to joining Marcus Hotels & Resorts, she spent 12 years in various positions within the hospitality industry focused on sales, catering and marketing. Marcus Hotels & Resorts provides expertise in management, development and historical renovations. The company's portfolio includes a wide variety of properties including city-center meeting hotels, upscale resorts and branded first-class hotels.

Ms. Johnson can be contacted at 866-636-4502 or lesliejohnson@marcushotels.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.