Meeting in an idyllic, natural setting doesn’t mean you have to give up a dynamic urban energy –at least not when you’re gathering in The Woodlands, a charming community located less than 30 miles from Houston and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The town boasts a full social calendar, as well as all of the conveniences found in a more metropolitan locale. But it is shaded by acres of heritage trees, surrounded by neighborhood parks and centered around the sparkling waters of Lake Woodlands and The Woodlands Waterway.
Photo credit: Randall L. Schieber
The time is right; the stage is set. Groups are ready to meet face to face again, and the four-star luxury hotel MGM Grand Detroit is ready to welcome you back.
According to MPI’s report “Spring 2021 Meetings Outlook,” three-quarters of meeting professionals predict a face-to-face event this calendar year. And that definitely rings true for Lisa Williams, executive director of sales for the hotel.
After about 15 months of Zoom happy hours and countless virtual meetings, events, and conferences, it’s clear that virtual gatherings don’t hold a candle to the magic that in-person gatherings can spark. People are excited for in-person events again.
After 15+ months of tight restrictions on gathering, Michigan is finally beginning to open up again. Typically, masks are only required for unvaccinated people until July 1, and capacities for indoor gatherings have drastically increased. However, just because regulations are loosened doesn’t mean that every attendee will be comfortable around so many people and so few masks.
When executed safely, in-person meetings and events are possible. But it’s been tough for meeting planners across the nation, due to differing state-by-state and even county-by-county guidelines. In some areas, meetings and events returned a while ago, but for others, it’s hard to imagine what planning a meeting would be like. In an effort to show the latter how to hold safe business gatherings when restrictions loosen, the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) launched their Meet Safe platform as a resource for other planners to reference when planning future in-person meetings.
2020 was on track to be a record year. For some catering companies across the state, continuous growth year-over-year had set them up for success, and they thought it would be their best 365 days yet.
And a record year it was—but not for good reasons. Layoffs and furloughs, major losses in sales, and too many cancellations and postponed events to count made 2020 a year that catering companies will never forget.
These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raul Moronta was recently named the chief commercial officer for Remington Hotels.
1. What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
Unprecedented times call for strategic measures. With so many planners wondering how best to plan for the event-specific challenges posed by COVID- 19, industry leaders and top associations have stepped up to offer a road map with trainings on everything from cleaning protocols to new contract clauses.