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HelmsBriscoe, the global leader in meetings procurement.
Greetings From HelmsBriscoe
HelmsBriscoe has been helping clients implement best practices in meetings procurement for over 17 years. One of the best practice topics
that has become increasingly important during these uncertain times is transparency, which sounds daunting but really isn’t. Transparency
simply means that there should be a documented process for the criteria and motivations used to determine whether a property or vendor is
the right fit for your meeting.
The good news is that it doesn’t take expensive software or a great deal of extra effort to improve transparency. While it can vary from
company to company, following is a simplified overview of the process:
• Develop a standard meeting request form. This form should capture the business purpose for the meeting, who requested the meeting
and who is paying for the meeting.
Greg Malark • An RFP for each program should be developed and sent to at least 5 qualified properties. Having a variety of options is considered good
COO procurement practice and should be strived for.
• Explore venue options. Avoid getting in the habit of returning to the same property time after time without adequate due diligence.
• Exploring new options also ensures that you are receiving competitive bids from vendors.
• Keep a record of the responses you receive. While this can be time consuming, HelmsBriscoe associates will help you manage the
entire RFP process including solicitation of proposals from qualified properties.
• Document the basic reasons you have decided on a venue or vendor and keep them in a file with your responses. These reasons do
not always need to be financial. Convenience, perception, anticipated service quality and many other “soft” considerations are perfectly
legitimate reasons for choosing one property over another.
• Develop a trace system that confirms you have received a countersigned copy of all your contracts.
• Once a decision is made, keep all these forms in an electronic or paper file. Keep them for at least two years after the event.
By implementing these practices, you can be assured that you and your organization will be able to clearly demonstrate why a decision was
made regardless of the passage of time or changes in the environment.
Thank you for your business and we stand by always ready to serve you. Call us to see how our clients utilize HelmsBriscoe to ensure their
meeting planning process is transparent.
In This Issue... State of the Industry
• State of the Industry According to a survey by Business Travel News, while few companies are talking about
expanding their travel spending, there has been no indication that companies are expecting
• TARP Guidelines Published
to make further cuts at this time. This has left the industry trying to discern whether it is still
• Big, Bigger, Biggest
hanging onto the roller coaster or if we have truly hit bottom and can begin to work at climbing
For quick access, click on any of the back up. As one industry leader put it, “we’re hoping that flat is the new up.”
• Did You Know... TARP Guidelines Published
• Site Inspection: Loews Lake Las
The U.S. Treasury Department published new rules governing some meeting, event, incentive
and travel expenses for companies that received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds
• News You Can Use
and the travel industry is breathing a sigh of relief. Though the rules are not final until August
• Food & Beverage Money-Saving Tips to allow for public comment, they are not expected to change. They require TARP recipients
• What Would You Do? “to eliminate excessive and luxury expenditures” as defined by the Treasury Secretary. The
• A Sleep in the Deep U.S. Travel Association and the National Business Travel Association applauded the new
guidelines and said in a statement, “We are pleased that after months of discussion with the
• Airline Fees Gone Wild
Obama Administration and our industry’s full-court press on the value of meetings, events
• HelmsBriscoe Commercial
and incentives, these regulations do not do any further harm to the meetings and events
• Omni Hotels - A word from one of our marketplace.” It is expected that non-TARP companies that have limited events and travel to
partners... avoid criticism by stakeholders will now begin to relax their policies too.
Big, Bigger, Biggest!
IHG has retained its place for the fifth straight year as the hotel company with the most number of guest rooms. The company added
25,000 rooms in 2008, bringing its total to nearly 620,000. They anticipate adding 250,000 rooms over the next several years. Most of
the growth was in their Holiday Inn Express brand and the expansion of Crowne Plaza. Next on the list is Wyndham Hotel Group with
nearly 600,000 guest rooms, followed by Marriott International with just over 545,000 rooms. Hilton is just behind Marriott and actually
had the largest percentage growth of any chain on the top 10 list at 9.4%.
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Did You Know... by John Portman Associates, to have approximately 100,000
square feet of meeting space. The goal is to open the hotel
That the average meeting produces 20 pounds of waste per in the fall of 2012.
person per day? That the meetings industry is the second most
wasteful industry after construction? • The Waldorf Astoria collection has two new properties. The
legendary Roosevelt in New Orleans (formerly the Fairmont)
For ways to reduce waste, visit: has been returned to its original glory after a $145 million
restoration. The 504-room hotel has 64,000 sq. ft. of meeting
www.sustainablemeetingsportal.org. space and 37 meeting rooms. The Dakota Mountain Lodge
& Golden Door Spa is at the base of The Canyons Resort
One tip I especially like: when attendees register, give everyone a Village in Park City, Utah. The 200-room resort will initially
personalized, reusable water bottle and provide pitchers of water have meeting space to accommodate 20 people conference
throughout your conference. style but an additional 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space is slated
to come on line in 2011, including a 6,000 sq. ft. ballroom, the
• Loews Atlanta Hotel is opening in Midtown spring of next
year. There will be 414 guest rooms, all with floor-to-ceiling
windows, and 25,000 sq. ft. of conference space on one floor
– also with floor-to-ceiling windows.
• W Fort Lauderdale Opens - The 346-room, 171-residence
W Fort Lauderdale is open for business. A Stephen Starr
restaurant, Steak 954, is featured, along with the Whiskey
Site Inspection: Blue nightclub. The property has a Bliss Spa, a Sweat workout
center and two pools. A total of 12,400 square feet of event
Loews Lake Las Vegas space and studios can be booked for meetings.
There probably aren’t too many luxury hotels in Nevada that are • The 295-room Island Hotel Newport Beach recently wrapped
approachable by boat but on my recent visit to Loews Lake Las up a two-year renovation of all guest rooms, public spaces,
Vegas, that’s exactly how I reached it. You can arrive by land too meeting facilities and the Palm Terrace Restaurant & Lounge.
but the quick water taxi ride from the Lake Las Vegas village is a Décor was redesigned with a tropical them. Paintings of
lot more fun. This 25-acre lakefront desert resort offers wonderful exotic birds, oversized plants and Murano glass light fixtures
water and mountain views and surroundings that make it seem imported from Italy now adorn the property. The hotel offers
a world away from the Vegas Strip, not the mere 17 miles that it a spa, a fitness center and more than 30,000 square feet of
actually is. meeting space.
There are 493 guest rooms, including 46 suites, a full-service spa, • The 582-room Terranea Resort in Southern California’s Palos
two 18-hole golf courses, two pools and even a lakeside beach. I Verdes opened recently. Accommodations include a 360-room
had dinner in their fine-dining restaurant, Marssa, featuring Pacific hotel with 32 suites, 20 oceanfront bungalows, 50 casitas and
Rim cuisine and a sushi bar considered the best in the state. It 32 villas. A total of 135,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor
is under the creative eye of Nevada’s only Master Sushi Chef. event space is available, including the 18,000-square-
There are four additional restaurants and lounges. foot Palos Verdes Grand Ballroom, the 6,600-square-foot
Marineland Ballroom, the Catalina Room and 15 breakout
The resort has 45,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and multiple outdoor rooms. For outdoor events, groups can use The Meadows, a
venues including a private lawn overlooking the lake. The Village, 16,000-square-foot lawn with a stage, or the 13,000-square-
just minutes away, features a range of restaurants, a small casino, foot Palos Verdes Terrace and Lawn. The property offers eight
and shops. Lake Las Vegas is an alternative to Scottsdale or Palm restaurants, a 50,000-square-foot spa and fitness facility, and
Springs yet offers easy access to the world-class entertainment a nine-hole par-three golf course.
and gaming only Vegas can provide.
• An opening ceremony for the expanded Melbourne
Convention and Exhibition Centre complex along the Yarra
News You Can Use River in Australia was held on June 5. The expansion has
• Here’s a new one – the construction of the new Wilmington, 323,000 square feet of exhibition space, a grand ballroom
NC Convention Center is actually under budget, giving them for up to 1,800 people, 32 meeting rooms and a 5,000-seat
an additional $5 million for expansion. Originally designed plenary hall. The new center was built using advanced
to include 12,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space, 30,000 of exhibit environmental practices, earning what executives are touting
space and 6,150 of meeting space, the center will now add as the world’s first “six-star green star” rating for a convention
an additional 4,500 of meeting space. It is scheduled to open center. The existing center has two theaters, a ballroom for up
April 2010. to 2,000 guests, and 20 meeting rooms.
• The 147-room Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, opening in October,
will be the chain’s first LEED-certified hotel. The property • The venerable Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs,
offers 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. West Virginia, has reopened and is again being staffed by the
nearly 400 employees who were furloughed earlier this year.
• A new 1000-room hotel in Nashville has been approved by The 635-room property was purchased for $20 million by Jim
the Nashville Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. Justice. It will be marketed by Marriott but managed by the
It will be adjacent to the planned new Music City Center in Justice Family Group. The resort has a 40,000 sq. ft. spa
downtown. Plans call for the hotel, which will be designed and 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Last fall the Greenbrier
County voters approved casino gambling. “This is going to be
M E E T I N G P L A N N E R N E W S L E T T E R S U M M E R 2 0 0 9 : I S S U E 1
News You Can Use Cont... • The unique and historic Arctic Club Hotel in downtown
Seattle will add Doubletree to its name next month. The
a state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind, Monte Carlo-style casino,” 120-room hotel opened in July 2008. It was a men’s club
Justice said. in the 20th century and that feel has been retained but with
contemporary design and amenities. The exterior of the
• San Francisco hotels are sprucing up, perhaps in response landmark building features 23 stone walrus heads across
to the opening of two new properties - the 550-room the front (truly!), and inside the Northern Lights Dome Room
Intercontinental (44,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and the is considered one of Seattle’s grandest function facilities
400-room Marriott Union Square (10,000 sq. ft. of meeting featuring a stained glass dome. All in all, the hotel has
space). The 591-room Fairmont San Francisco (47,000 5,800 sq. ft. of meeting space.
sq. ft. of meeting space), 313-room Hyatt at Fisherman’s
Wharf (19,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), 362-room Omni • In June, the 582-room Terranea Resort will open along the
(10,500 sq. ft. of meeting space), 393-room Stanford Court, scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula, 20 miles south of the Los
a Renaissance Hotel (13,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) and Angeles airport. The 102-acre property will include a spa,
the 1,195-room Westin St. Francis (50,000 sq. ft. of meeting nine-hole golf course, 63,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space
space) have all undergone recent renovations. and another 75,000 sq. ft. of outdoor function space.
• The 454-room Le Westin Montreal (32,000 sq. ft. of meeting • A JW Marriott will open in Puerto Rico in 2011. The
space) recently opened across from the Palais des Congres. 371-room resort will have 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space
Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel completed an extensive including a 12,000 sq. ft. ballroom divisible into multiple
facelift of all 825 guest rooms. The property has nearly 52,000 sections. The resort will be located approximately 20 miles
sq. ft. of meeting space. east of San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
on a 27-acre oceanfront site and will be part of the existing
• The Fairmont Pittsburgh is scheduled to open in December. 1,000-acre, master-planned development called Coco
It is located in the heart of downtown and near the David Beach Resort. Included in the development is an existing
L. Lawrence Convention Center. Developed according 36-hole championship golf course.
to sustainable design and construction guidelines, the hotel
anticipates being LEED certified, complementing Fairmont’s • The Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in the heart of
philosophy of operational sustainability and responsible Sonoma County, California, just completed a multi-million
tourism. The hotel will have 185 guest rooms, including 20 dollar makeover. The 155-room Tuscan-style property has
suites, and 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
• The 292-room Vail Cascade in Vail, Colo., is launching an • In Arizona, the 497-room Talking Stick Resort is scheduled
executive leadership program. The program lasts two to to open in early 2010. The property will have more than
four days and can be customized to include individual/team 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space.
assessments, outdoor work, coaching-skills training, one-on-
one executive coaching and the opportunity for ongoing work.
The resort, managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, offers Food & Beverage
about 45,000 square feet of meeting space. Money-Saving Tips
• Langham Hotels International introduced its No Strings
• To save on staffing costs, set up a
Attached program recently, a pledge for all meetings booked
between now and March 2010. Langham is waiving attrition few stations where guests can serve
fees and will require no food-and-beverage minimums for themselves. Do-it-yourself sundaes, for
groups that host at least one meal in the hotel. Cancellations example.
that occur at least 60 days prior to the event will incur no
penalties; those made within 60 days will be able to apply 50
• Let your organization’s executives
percent of the penalty to another 2010 meeting. Additionally,
there will be no Internet-access fees for meeting delegates serve guests. Whether your event is for
staying at participating hotels. employees or clients, the gesture will
have a nice impression.
• The Atlanta Airport Gateway Marriott and Springhill Suites
are scheduled to open in September 2010 and January 2011.
• Instead of canned drinks, offer large
These properties will be Marriott’s newest hotels in the Atlanta
Airport market boasting 403 sleeping rooms and over 20,000 pitchers for lemonade, water and iced
square feet of meeting space at the Gateway and 147 suites tea. If you serve beer, consider kegs.
at Springhill. They will both be located adjacent to the new
Georgia International Convention Center with over 300,000 • Replace larger cuts of meat, fish or
sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space. A people-mover tram
chicken with grilled kabobs.
system will transport travelers directly from the airport to both
hotels and the convention center.
• In August, the 1500-room San Francisco Marriott will What Would You Do?
complete a renovation that will add 10 small meeting rooms to
its 117,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. A survey conducted by USA Today asked “What is the first thing
you do after checking into a hotel room?” The top answer, at 34%,
• The Hyatt Phoenix will begin a $15 million renovation in was “adjust the thermostat” followed by “turn on the TV,” “unpack,”
July with completion scheduled for December. All 712 guest “check out the free toiletries,” “plug in rechargeable electronics,”
rooms, bathrooms, corridors, lobby and 48,000 sq. ft. of and “find the gym.”
meeting space will be included in the transformation.
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A Sleep In The Deep HelmsBriscoe Commercial
Have you heard about the undersea hotel being built in Dubai? There was an article recently in Meetings & Conventions magazine
Being somewhat claustrophobic, it reads like a nightmare to me about how to work with event planning/meeting management
but they’re certainly aiming big – self-acclaimed 10-Star status companies. The advice gave the pros and cons of working with
(whatever that means) and room rates of $5,500 per night. large vs. small firms but it brought to mind the fact that many of
According to a newspaper article, the new hotel is called the these firms include site selection in their portfolio of services.
Hydropolis Undersea Resort and will cost $500 million to build. While it might seem that working with one company for all your
It will be roughly the size of London’s Hyde Park set sixty feet meeting planning needs makes sense, it probably doesn’t.
underwater. There will be 220 bubble-shaped Plexiglas fitted
suites. An automatic train will carry guests from dry land through By separating the two functions you can ensure success by
a 515-meter long tunnel underwater into the hotel lobby. Two utilizing the expertise best suited to the task. When it comes to the
domes – one a concert auditorium and the other a ballroom site portion, HelmsBriscoe is the acknowledged leader in helping
(so, yes, you can have your next meeting there) - will “penetrate clients select meeting venues. Our status as the number one
the Gulf’s blue surface.” Guests will be protected by the hotel’s meetings customer of every hotel chain means that your group
security system - a missile defense system. It was scheduled to room purchase becomes part of our buying clout. In addition, our
open this summer. expertise in contracting, the collective knowledge bank of our 1000
associates worldwide, and our contacts at properties throughout
the world are unmatched. Why not let the experts do what they
Omni Hotels -
Airline Fees Gone WIlD!
A word from one of our partners...
Airlines have made charging for services an art form. A very
detailed chart that appeared in USA Today June 22, (http://www. There are places we go and moments in time that stay with us;
usatoday.com/money/industries/travel/2009-06-22-chart-airline- that is what Omni Hotels is all about. We create genuine, authentic
fees_N.htm) showed how extensive and expensive these fee-for- guest experiences at 43 distinct luxury Hotels and Resorts in some
services can be, airline by airline. of the top business and leisure destinations in North America.
Take a trip from, say, Phoenix to Pittsburgh on USAir. Assuming Through our preferred partnership with HelmsBriscoe, Omni
you make the reservation on the phone, make one change, have Hotels has been able to grow our business and in turn offer
one bag, are flying coach, want an aisle seat, a drink, a meal, and incentives that HelmsBriscoe associates are able to pass on to
a little shut eye, here’s what it might cost you over and above the their clients. Incentives they would not normally receive and at no
cost of your ticket: cost to their clients. We feel that our partners at HelmsBriscoe are
actually extensions of our sales staff and we work together to find
• Phone reservation: $25 solutions for their clients throughout the entire process.
• Fee to check your bag curbside - $5
• First checked bag - $20 And please remember our great incentive with No Attrition for
• Fee to change reservation one time (not including cost of meetings booked by September 30, 2009 that take place by
ticket price difference) - $150 ($50 if on the day of departure December 31, 2009! Ask your HelmsBriscoe contact for other
to the same destination) promotions that are currently available.
• Preferred seat selection - $30
• Meal - $7 From,
• Alcoholic beverage - $7 Tamara Bent, Omni National Sales
• Headset - $5
• Pillow/blanket $7
• That’s $256 over and above the cost of your ticket. Add
another $40 if you want a day pass to the club lounge.
Note that Southwest Airlines, up to now the only carrier without
extra fees, will soon be charging for a third bag.
But it could be worse. European discount airline Ryanair recently
confirmed it will soon charge to use the toilet! For More Information on
contact Melinda Douglas, Manager,
Easy. Smart. Trusted.