Monthly Archives: December 2008

Tech Trends

igroupnews2Until recently, travelers attending conferences or trade shows had simple Internet needs. They would check e-mail messages and maybe look up information on the Web or connect to the home office.

Now, meetings are likely to include streaming video and online interaction. And back in their rooms, travelers are downloading movies and logging onto peer-to-peer networks.

Event organizers and hotels and conference centers are struggling to keep up and prevent Internet gridlock. “We’ve known for a long time that bandwidth was going to be an issue in hotels,” said Don O’Neal, a hotel technology consultant.

Erika Powell, a meeting planner for Global Knowledge, a company that provides software training to corporate clients, said she was recently forced to move an event because the hotel’s Internet connection could not keep up with her group’s demands.

“On Monday, we started getting reports that the Internet was very slow and they weren’t able to access the labs,” she said. “We communicated with the facility to find out what the problem was, but they were at a loss.” Ms. Powell said she had to pull up stakes and relocate her students to another nearby hotel in the middle of the week so their training could be completed without slowdowns.

As recently as a few years ago, a type of connection called a T1 line was the norm for most hotels. With speeds of 1.5 megabits a second, it was robust enough for e-mail and Web browsing. (By comparison, an average at-home cable modem offers three to five megabits a second.)

The advent of cheap, user-friendly — but bandwidth-heavy — streaming video technology changed the status quo drastically. Demand at hotels and convention centers has spiked, as businesses add videoconferencing to their meetings and guests download media. Adding to the logjam, hotel managers are moving toward Web-based tools for managing back-of-the-house departments, using more bandwidth, too.

Most business hotels now have added more T1s or a T3 (also referred to as a DS3), which accommodates 28 T1s of traffic. Other hotels are installing fiber optics, which also offer large bandwidth capacity. Many of these new systems are what technology specialists term burstable, meaning they have a typical six or eight megabit-a-second rate of transmission but are capable of sustaining many times that amount of traffic if necessary.

At the new Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, technology administrators merged the hotel’s various data networks into a single supernetwork. This consolidation means groups with high bandwidth requirements can tap unused guest room or administrative capacity without having to switch networks and have their service interrupted, said Page Petry, senior vice president for information resources, North American Lodging Field Services for Marriott International, Renaissance’s parent company.

For Maura Sutherland, this bandwidth access was a major selling point. As a senior manager of corporate marketing forAkami Technologies, she recently brought 300 customers from around the world to the Renaissance. She said the hotel was able to partition off bandwidth for her group’s exclusive use, which included high-definition video streaming.

“We were using 60 megs at any given time because we had over 20 partners demonstrating their technology,” Ms. Sutherland said. “The purpose of having these meetings is really to showcase what our customers are doing online.” In keeping customers like Ms. Sutherland happy, it is not enough for hotels to consider how much bandwidth they have. They also have to deal with whether they can ration it. A growing number of hotels have invested in software that allows them to assign bandwidth to various parts of the hotel.

“We have 175 meeting destination properties and upwards of 90 percent of those are capable of dedicating bandwidth,” said Brennan Gildersleeve, senior director of guest and in-room technology for Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “Three years ago, I would say it would have been around 50 percent. So the trend is very clear.”

Nick Price, chief information officer and chief technology officer for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, said that bandwidth has been doubling year over year. “Bandwidth consumption by meeting groups in North America is significantly higher than anywhere else in the world.”

The demand at convention centers has escalated as well. “Our customers are expecting an in-home experience when they travel,” said John Adams, general manager of the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and a senior vice president for the western region of the convention center management firm SMG. “Technology changes so quickly, and meetings have become increasingly more interactive.”

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which will be held Jan. 8-11, bears this out. Exhibitors at the show used 353 Internet connections in 2008, up from 51 in 1999. With a projected attendance of more than 130,000, thousands of people may be logging onto the network to check their e-mail at any time, for instance, and the demand for video is similarly strong. In addition, many trade show organizers now use Web-based registration systems to process their attendees, which takes more bandwidth.

“The demands of what the exhibitors are using the Internet to do have grown,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president for events and conferences for the Consumer Electronics Association, which produces the show. “Five or six years ago, it might have been to pull up their Web site. Now, it’s streaming video.”

Source – The New York Times

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Tech Trends – Internet Use Grows at Meetings, As Do Challenges For Meeting Planners

Until recently, travelers attending conferences or trade shows had simple Internet needs. They would check e-mail messages and maybe look up information on the Web or connect to the home office.

Now, meetings are likely to include streaming video and online interaction. And back in their rooms, travelers are downloading movies and logging onto peer-to-peer networks.

Event organizers and hotels and conference centers are struggling to keep up and prevent Internet gridlock. “We’ve known for a long time that bandwidth was going to be an issue in hotels,” said Don O’Neal, a hotel technology consultant.

Erika Powell, a meeting planner for Global Knowledge, a company that provides software training to corporate clients, said she was recently forced to move an event because the hotel’s Internet connection could not keep up with her group’s demands.

“On Monday, we started getting reports that the Internet was very slow and they weren’t able to access the labs,” she said. “We communicated with the facility to find out what the problem was, but they were at a loss.” Ms. Powell said she had to pull up stakes and relocate her students to another nearby hotel in the middle of the week so their training could be completed without slowdowns.

As recently as a few years ago, a type of connection called a T1 line was the norm for most hotels. With speeds of 1.5 megabits a second, it was robust enough for e-mail and Web browsing. (By comparison, an average at-home cable modem offers three to five megabits a second.)

The advent of cheap, user-friendly — but bandwidth-heavy — streaming video technology changed the status quo drastically. Demand at hotels and convention centers has spiked, as businesses add videoconferencing to their meetings and guests download media. Adding to the logjam, hotel managers are moving toward Web-based tools for managing back-of-the-house departments, using more bandwidth, too.

Most business hotels now have added more T1s or a T3 (also referred to as a DS3), which accommodates 28 T1s of traffic. Other hotels are installing fiber optics, which also offer large bandwidth capacity. Many of these new systems are what technology specialists term burstable, meaning they have a typical six or eight megabit-a-second rate of transmission but are capable of sustaining many times that amount of traffic if necessary.

At the new Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, technology administrators merged the hotel’s various data networks into a single supernetwork. This consolidation means groups with high bandwidth requirements can tap unused guest room or administrative capacity without having to switch networks and have their service interrupted, said Page Petry, senior vice president for information resources, North American Lodging Field Services for Marriott International, Renaissance’s parent company.

For Maura Sutherland, this bandwidth access was a major selling point. As a senior manager of corporate marketing forAkami Technologies, she recently brought 300 customers from around the world to the Renaissance. She said the hotel was able to partition off bandwidth for her group’s exclusive use, which included high-definition video streaming.

“We were using 60 megs at any given time because we had over 20 partners demonstrating their technology,” Ms. Sutherland said. “The purpose of having these meetings is really to showcase what our customers are doing online.” In keeping customers like Ms. Sutherland happy, it is not enough for hotels to consider how much bandwidth they have. They also have to deal with whether they can ration it. A growing number of hotels have invested in software that allows them to assign bandwidth to various parts of the hotel.

“We have 175 meeting destination properties and upwards of 90 percent of those are capable of dedicating bandwidth,” said Brennan Gildersleeve, senior director of guest and in-room technology for Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “Three years ago, I would say it would have been around 50 percent. So the trend is very clear.”

Nick Price, chief information officer and chief technology officer for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, said that bandwidth has been doubling year over year. “Bandwidth consumption by meeting groups in North America is significantly higher than anywhere else in the world.”

The demand at convention centers has escalated as well. “Our customers are expecting an in-home experience when they travel,” said John Adams, general manager of the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and a senior vice president for the western region of the convention center management firm SMG. “Technology changes so quickly, and meetings have become increasingly more interactive.”

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which will be held Jan. 8-11, bears this out. Exhibitors at the show used 353 Internet connections in 2008, up from 51 in 1999. With a projected attendance of more than 130,000, thousands of people may be logging onto the network to check their e-mail at any time, for instance, and the demand for video is similarly strong. In addition, many trade show organizers now use Web-based registration systems to process their attendees, which takes more bandwidth.

“The demands of what the exhibitors are using the Internet to do have grown,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president for events and conferences for the Consumer Electronics Association, which produces the show. “Five or six years ago, it might have been to pull up their Web site. Now, it’s streaming video.”

Source – The New York Times

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Cancellation Alert – Hot Dates May 8-15, 2009 – Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, CA

If you are a meeting planner who is working on a short-term piece of business, you may want to consider the “Artful, Intimate, Unconventional” Anaheim Marriott in the center of Orange County, CA! Due to a cancellation an opportunity has emerged for up to 900 guest rooms on peak and over 82,000 sq ft. of total meeting space over the dates of May 8-15, 2009!

 

Current Promotion:

CREDIT TO THE MASTER ACCOUNT

 250-1,000 total room nights =$2,500

1,001-2,500 total room nights =$5,000

2,501+total room nights=$7,500

TRIPLE MARRIOTT REWARDS POINTS – FLEXIBLE CONTRACTING 

 

$26 Million New Guest Room Experience

Enhancement of all guest rooms, suites and corridors, along with a newly expanded Concierge Lounge  has begun and will be completed by  December 2008. New guest rooms will feature flat screen plasma televisions, Marriott’s new Revive bedding product, artful décor and more.

 

$25 Million Platinum Ballroom Expansion – completed 2007 

The Platinum Ballroom along with the Elite Ballroom is up and running seamlessly! We proudly boast an additional 27,700 square feet of flexible meeting space. Now featuring over 80,000 square feet of function space, with foyer areas included, 100,000 square feet of space.  

 

All in one location, all on one level.

www.marriottanaheimhotel.com

 

The New GardenWalk

An upscale entertainment complex featuring 450,000 square feet of prime retail space, a $500+ million dollar investment is open!  Enjoy popular restaurants such as Roy’s, PF Chang’s, McCormick & Schmick, Bubba Gump’s,  Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Bar Louie and more. Just two (2) blocks from the Hotel.

 

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Our Most Popular Articles For Meeting Planners In 2008

We’d like to close 2008 with this year’s list of our most popular articles for meeting planners.

Thank  you for reading iGroupNews and we look forward to another exciting  year as one of the top-rated news and information resources for professional meeting planners!

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Marriott Launches Sales Force One

Marriott International has launched a new sales structure – Sales Force One – a companywide initiative aimed at simplifying the sales process for customers. The structure of Sales Force One allows the customer to work with one primary point of contact, who represents all brands and properties, enabling Marriott, theoretically, to accommodate all of the customers needs in a one-stop fashion.

Although Sales Force One is a national initiative, Marriott International is in the process of creating regional sales offices to better service customers through organizing individual accounts.

The strategy also encompasses the relocation of sales representatives from individual properties, in which they were primarily focused on booking business for one specific property, to these regional sales offices, referred to as home offices, focusing on a select group of accounts headquartered in a specific area in the market.

As opposed to serving only one property, these representatives have the ability to sell business for their accounts in any property within their region and, if need be, nationwide. Many of the smaller properties, with little or no meeting space, will no longer have on-site sales associates, while some of larger properties will continue to have on-site sales associates to handle larger and more complex group business.

All company-managed properties are required to participate in Sales Force One. Franchise properties, however, have discretion over their participation in the program. While shared service fees to Marriott International may be adjusted for participating properties, those same properties may be able to reduce operational costs by down-sizing their on-site sales and marketing teams.

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Sheraton Dallas Plans $90 Million Renovation

Located at the heart of Dallas’ commercial center, the Sheraton Dallas Hotel announced today that it has begun construction on the first phase of its $90 million renovation project which will include a comprehensive new design of its public spaces, guest rooms in the north and center towers and conference center. Led by Leo A. Daly, an internationally renowned architecture, planning, engineering, interior design and project management firm, completion of the four-phased renovation project is estimated for summer 2009.

Get complete details from PR Newswire

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Wynn Is Prepared To Weather Storm

Steve Wynn is hours away from opening his newest multi-billion dollar venture in one of the hardest economic times Las Vegas has ever seen.

During a 40-minute interview this week with celebrity reporter Robin Leach, Wynn discussed the gaming industry’s economic woes, Nevada’s regulatory climate, his newest resort and the sale of Treasure Island to former Frontier hotel owner Phil Ruffin.

More details from the Las Vegas Sun

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