Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Simmel

Keith Simmel

Principal, Cooper Carry

Keith Simmel is a Principal in Cooper Carry's hospitality studio. He joined Cooper Carry in 1992, was named Associate in 2003, Associate Director in 2005 and Principal in 2008. He has worked on numerous luxury hotels, resorts and conference centers across the United States. Some of his more notable projects include The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, a 255-room hotel, spa and conference center that has garnered numerous awards and accolades, including a coveted 5-star award from Mobil for both the hotel and spa. The Westin Alexandria & Jamieson Condominiums. The full service hotel is located in the Carlyle development of old town Alexandria, Virginia. The 14-story, 338,000 square foot facility consists of 320 hotel rooms, 79 luxury condominiums and approximately 18,000 square feet of meeting space, all sitting atop 2-1/2 levels of underground parking. The luxury condominiums are configured in units ranging from studios to 3 bedrooms, each with full kitchen, laundry, and 1 to 2-1/2 baths. Most recently, Mr. Simmel has been the lead designer for a large mixed-use dual brand (Hyatt Place - Hyatt House) hotel in the historic core of Charleston. This project was especially significant due to its location in the historic district of the city, requiring extensive multi-agency reviews to validate the design alignment with historically significant King Street neighborhood. Mr. Simmel also recently completed the dual-branded Residence Inn and Courtyard Hotel as part of a larger development that included an office building, a parking deck, and two freestanding restaurants in Lake Nona, just outside Orlando, Florida. Each brand has its own identity on both the exterior and the interior of the building, while still maintaining a unifying overall design composition and material palette. The project opened Fall of 2015. Mr. Simmel has extensive hospitality renovation experience, including projects for Marriott, Starwood and Four Seasons.

Mr. Simmel can be contacted at 404-240-9534 or keithsimmel@coopercarry.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.