Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Urbat

Christian Urbat

Senior Vice President, Technical Services, Americas, Carlson Rezidor

Christian Urbat joined Carlson as senior vice president, Technical Services, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Americas, in January, 2011. Mr. Urbat's responsibilities include translating brand standards into technical standards; overall technical leadership for the owned and managed hotels—with a clear focus on the Carlson Hotels Real Estate Company (CHREC) portfolio and key flagships; and ensuring compliance of franchised properties with the agreed upon technical standards—overseeing the definition and execution of property improvement plans (P.I.P.) or other strategic investments in single properties. In this compliance work he will provide consulting assistance to the owners to help ensure alignment with the strategic direction of the brands. He further works in close cooperation with the Development and Operations teams. Mr. Urbat, who was born in Porta Westfalica, Germany, previously held various positions with Hyatt International as vice president of Technical Services for Europe, Africa and Middle East in Zurich, Switzerland, responsible for all building and site related pre- and post-development activities as well as renovations. Prior to that, he worked for Hyatt in various corporate positions and in Food & Beverage Operations across the U.S., China and Germany. Mr. Urbat has a master's degree in Culinary Art and a Bachelor of Arts degree in hotel management from Hotel Management College in Altötting, Germany.

Mr. Urbat can be contacted at 763-212-5451 or curbat@carlsonrezidor.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.