THANKS to the ingenuity of planners coupled with the power of technology, you can create an event on top of a mountain or beneath the sea. (And if you've been looking for a new source for submarines, see page 14 of this issue.) Yet perhaps because hotels have specialized in making guests feel special for centuries — the world's oldest, the Hoshi Ryokan in Japan, has been pampering patrons since the year 717 — hotels retain their premier status as the No. 1 venue choice for special events.
This issue brings our annual focus on eventful hotels, starting with our cover story on the blossoming event business at boutique hotels. These chic, signature properties are proving to be nimble players at the event game; turn to page 28 to learn more.
This month's “Guest Room” shares the perspectives of David Dvorak, CMP, vice president of catering and convention services at powerhouse Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Just as events and meetings change, so must the hotel properties that strive to serve them — in everything from menu options to technology capabilities. For his thoughts, turn to page 20.
We also present the results from our fourth annual hotel event marketplace study. We're able to give you data on such crucial topics as forecasting, budgets and market segments going back to 2002 — statistics you just can't find anywhere else. The charts begin on page 25.
Along with the data that our hotel respondents sent to us came their comments on what makes the special events staged at their individual property or brand stand out. The comments clearly show the dedication to caring for clients, both event guests and planners. Some examples:
“We offer a complete wedding package that includes chair covers, wedding cake and standard centerpiece in the price, along with a holding room for the wedding party with hors d'oeuvre and beverages at no additional charge. A captain or manager is designated for each function, even — especially — when multiple events are at the same time.”
“Our menus follow current trends — one of our newest offers lots of action stations, passed cones, shooters, lollipops. Our equipment is the most modern — for example, Evo flattop grills and infrared burner cooking carts instead of chafing dishes.”
Over and over again, the comments stress the importance of the team:
“The banquet department does an excellent job of setting up, providing menus and in many cases doing the decorations. We have an exceptional director of catering and banquets who works very closely with special events and sales.”
And, “We have an excellent and extremely flexible banquet department that supports the catering and convention services team.”
As the staff at the Hoshi Ryokan could tell you, taking care of clients has been the secret of success for the last 1,288 years.