The Spring 2009 Elite Meetings Alliance, held May 3-5 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, earned high praise from top meeting planning professionals and hoteliers in attendance, who reported strong interest in corporate and association meetings in markets around the US, Canada, and Mexico, in spite of current economic conditions.
The Elite Meeting Alliance, a semiannual event held by Elite Meetings International, is recognized for its balance of one-on-one business meetings, educational seminars, high-quality speakers and entertainers, and social gatherings that foster new relationships and build business.
The first of this year’s events brought together nearly 200 of the industry’s top planning professionals and representatives from Elite Certified hotels in the western US, Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico. The next Elite Meetings Alliance will be held September 13-15, 2009 at Boca Beach Club at Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.
Advancing the Meeting Industry Agenda
Elite Meetings International CEO Kelly Foy said: “Creating optimism in the face of these tough times is a great feeling. At a time when events have been unfairly painted as unnecessary, the response to this event has sent a strong signal that companies are still booking meetings, and hotels are still eager to win their business.”
In addition to pursuing its twofold corporate mission — providing innovative tools for planners in search of high-end properties for their meetings and incentive travel, and helping hoteliers reach this highly-qualified audience — Elite Meetings is actively involved in Keep America Meeting and other industry-wide initiatives to educate the public on the importance of meetings in the broader American economy.
Highly respected speakers added strong informational content at the event. Christie Hicks, senior vice president, global sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts addressed a packed room with a presentation covering the industry challenges posed by both perception and recession. Meetings technology expert, Corbin Ball, discussed technology trends in the meetings industry. Attorney Joshua L. Grimes discussed contract exigencies in an era characterized by issues ranging from recession, to economic restructuring, to worldwide health issues. Master of ceremonies, corporate emcee James P. Connolly, led the event, tempering discussion of serious issues with good humor and offbeat commentary.
Bringing Meeting and Hotel Professionals Together
As at past Elite Meeting Alliance events, the bulk of the three-day conference was dedicated to one-on-one meetings between the attending hoteliers and corporate, association, and incentive professionals.
Dan Keyser, director of sales and marketing from Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa said: “We ended up having more than a full schedule. I actually worked some on the side and had people waiting. Overall, we ended up with about 11 RFPs and leads with actual dates equal to about 5,500 rooms. And a lot of that was in the next 18 months.”
Planners also praised the quality of business at the event. Senior meeting planner Jennifer Leto of Hess Corporation said: “I have met with several properties that I feel are a good fit. I met with a lot of resorts that I didn’t even know existed — a couple of independent new properties that I may not have found had I not been here.”
An evening at The Broadmoor’s Cheyenne Lodge on Monday night added valuable networking time.
Also unveiled at the Elite Meetings Alliance was the company’s proprietary two-way appointment scheduler. Response for the scheduler was overwhelmingly positive, as it allowed planners to schedule meetings and hoteliers to request appointment with planners with whom they’d like to discuss business.
The next semiannual Elite Meetings Alliance will take place September 13-15, 2009 at Boca Beach Club at Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida. It will feature top properties from the eastern regions of Canada, the US, Mexico, and the Atlantic, plus corporate, association, and incentive planners ready to book business in these regions.