Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Miller

Walt Miller

Design Director, John Portman & Associates

A registered architect, Mr. Miller has been an important member of John Portman & Associates (PORTMAN) since 1987. An accomplished designer and planner, Mr. Miller directs the design team in resolving how to implement PORTMAN design philosophy and vision into functional spaces. He also serves as the Education Studio Director, leading new business development within the higher education sector. His responsibilities include oversight of the administration of the Portman Prize at the Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Architecture, an award created for the purpose of encouraging the school's graduate students to develop a holistic design. Mr. Miller has served as the lead designer on significant projects all around the globe. His recent experience includes the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 1,200-room convention center hotel adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center; the Park Hyatt Hyderabad, a five-star luxury hotel with over 200 guestrooms and 42 serviced apartments; the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, a mixed-use project located outside Chicago containing a 500-room hotel, a 100,000 square-foot convention center, and 28,000 square-feet of ballrooms and meeting space; and the Westin Shanghai at Bund Center, a 570-room hotel located in the historic financial district of the Bund. He has been a guest lecturer and critic at a number of prestigious schools. Prior to joining PORTMAN, Mr. Miller was with the firm of Cesar Pelli & Associates, where he led the team which won the competition for the Key Center in Cleveland. Mr. Miller's design integrated a new tower while repurposing the old Society for Savings building as large plate office space, saving it from demolition. Mr. Miller earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Nebraska and a Master of Architecture Degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mr. Miller can be contacted at 404-614-5555 or wmiller@portmanusa.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.