Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Verrill

Ashley Verrill

Market Analyst, Software Advice

Ashley Verrill is a Market Analyst at Software Advice, a website dedicated to providing detailed reviews, comparisons and research to help organizations choose the right software. As an analyst on the marketing team, she publishes researches, blogs and reviews on new and emerging software. She focuses primarily on CRM, contact management software, customer service software, help desk software, social media applications, business telephony and hotel management software. She regularly interviews top thought leaders in the space, including R “Ray” Wang, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary, Esteban Kolsky, Brian Vellmure and Paul Greenberg. Additionally, Ms. Verrill serves as the Managing Editor for the Customer Service Investigator, a blog dedicated to research and reports on customer support and customer experience strategy. There, she manages a network of guest contributors, along with posting her own material. Ms. Verrill is also a regular contributor to CIO.com and GigaOM, including a recent feature on the future of social customer service technology. Her work has been cited in myriad top-tier publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Yahoo! News, Business Insider and Inc. She has been participated in several notable speaking engagements, including a presentation at Hewlett Packard's 2013 Social Support Summit in Orlando, Fla. Previous to her current position, Ms. Verrill worked for five years as a Web Editor and Reporter for the Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Her beats at that time included entrepreneurship, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, employment and nonprofit. She also spent time in sales management and advertising with an Austin-based startup. Ms. Verrill graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Ms. Verrill can be contacted at 512-582-2314 or ashleyverrill@softwareadvice.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.