Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Toomey

Colin Toomey

Concierge, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Colin Toomey is a 25-year veteran of the Concierge profession. He began his career at the Sheraton Brisbane Hotel in the mid 1980's. A native of Sydney, Australia he returned home during the Australian bi-centenary celebrations of 1988 and started work in the lobby of the historic InterContinental Hotel Sydney. As the Japanese tourism boom of the early 1990's reached its peak Mr. Toomey opened the 470 room Hotel Nikko in Sydney's leafy Potts Point, assuming his first role as Chief Concierge. A final move back into the city in 1995 to the newly opened ANA Hotel, coincided with Colin's acceptance into the Society of the Golden Keys. Receiving his keys from the then International President of Les Clefs d'Or, the legendary Tony Facciolo, was considered by Mr. Toomey to be a highlight of his early career as a professional Concierge. In the ensuing 18 years Mr. Toomey has risen through the ranks of Les Clefs d'Or, first in his native Australia and then on the International Board of Directors. When elected President of his National Section in 2002 Mr. Toomey became the youngest person to ever hold this position. He presided over a period of strong growth for the Gold Keys in Australia. Two years later he was entrusted with the Zone Directors role for Oceania, the smallest of the seven regions that make up the international body of UICH. Having been elected onto the International Executive during the Guangzhou Congress of 2009 Mr. Toomey now holds the position of 1st Vice President Les Clefs d'Or and remains the only representative of that body based in the Southern Hemisphere. During his time at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, (which took over management from ANA in 2003), Mr. Toomey has received numerous industry awards recognizing his achievements. A two time winner of the Australian Hotels Association Concierge of the Year Award, Mr. Toomey was also a recent recipient of an equivalent honor bestowed by Hotel Management magazine. Outside of work Mr. Toomey is an avid golfer and bush-walker. He resides in the coastal Sydney suburb of Little Bay with his wife and three young daughters.

Mr. Toomey can be contacted at 612-9250-6018 or colin.toomey@shangri-la.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.