Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Garretson

Cara Garretson

Media Supervisor, McKee Wallwork & Company

Cara Garretson is a Media Supervisor with McKee Wallwork & Company, a strategic integrated marketing firm. Ms. Garretson has approximately a decade of marketing experience and has been with McKee Wallwork & Company since 2006. She is responsible for the development and management of strategic media plans. Specializing in channel planning, her expertise covers everything from traditional to digital media channels. Ms. Garretson's travel and tourism experience ranges from resort advertising to state and city level marketing efforts, and has focused on both leisure and convention strategies. Having dedicated much of her career to the travel and tourism industry, Ms. Garretson has enjoyed staying on the cutting edge of emerging media technologies and opportunities in the space. With a taste for all things digital, she loves finding new and interesting ways to target in both the desktop and mobile spaces. While the ever-changing digital landscape brings innovative ways to communicate to prospective travelers, it also brings challenges and complications to marketing that didn't exist just a decade ago. Naturally data driven, Ms. Garretson focuses on the constant analysis and optimization of her campaigns to ensure her clients' messages are reaching their target markets and driving conversions. Ms. Garretson's work has been recognized nationally, receiving Media Magazine's Creative Media Award in the Outdoor or Place-Based Media category. A native to New Mexico, Ms. Garretson enjoys life in the beautiful foothills of Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains with her husband and Australian Shepherd.

Ms. Garretson can be contacted at 505-314-7745 or crogers@mwcmail.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.