In this issue

In this month's issue, Smart Meetings had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the most influential and inspiring people in hospitality, Marriott International's Bill Marriott. Marriott talks about the company's historic acquisition of Starwood and what it means for the industry.

Also, don't miss our annual Suppliers of the Year Awards! These awards recognize truly exceptional, innovative leaders who are taking the hospitality industry to new heights.

Smart Meetings is an event planning publication covering meetings, industry news, including expert opinions and interviews, topical articles, coverage of destinations and venues in the U.S and worldwide, and features stories on incentive, corporate, government and association meetings.

Bill Marriott: Setting the Beat

All photographs courtesy of Marriott International Starwood Purchase is Big, but Just One Highlight of Bill Marriott’s Highly Influential Career Hometown: Washington, DC Occupation: Executive chairman and chairman of the board for Marriott International; served as CEO for 40 years Family: Wife, Donna; four children; 15 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren Education: Bachelor of Science degree in…

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Embrace the Small Things: Small Meetings and Executive Retreats

Catalina Canyon Resort & Spa, Avalon, California Unique touches make small meetings and executive retreats even more special Colin Cowie, party-planning maestro, believes meeting experiences can help retain employees by making participants feel special while simultaneously reinforcing a company’s story. “Romance them,” Cowie says. “Everyone is looking for an experience. We’ve learned how to make…

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6 Trends Shaping Golf & Spa Resorts

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania Unique experiences cater to business travelers You don’t have to live in California’s Silicon Valley to see the impact technology is having on leisure and networking activities, especially when it comes to golf. With computerized greens, high-tech putters and balls with wafers enhancing the modern game, today’s golfing experience is…

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2016 Suppliers of the Year

25 Industry Leaders Who Make the Meetings World Go Round They have a wide range of personalities and come from varying backgrounds, but all of them have made major contributions to their companies, as well as the meetings and hospitality industries in general. They’re the 2016 Suppliers of the Year, a group of 25 people…

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Affordable Meetings: Maximum Value, Reasonable Cost

4 cities that offer affordable meeting options As every planner of meetings and conventions knows, budgets are among the least flexible elements of the job. Negotiating with hotels and suppliers is part of coordinating any event, but going back to your boss and asking for more money to spend can be a dicey proposition. Fortunately,…

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Technology Takeover: Oracle and Salesforce Conventions Saturate San Francisco

On Sept. 18, more than 60,000 people flooded downtown San Francisco for OpenWorld, Oracle software solution’s annual tech conference. For four days, the city was buzzing with dine-arounds, keynotes, parties and events at venues large and small. Just as OpenWorld came to a close, San Francisco began preparing for another mega-event, Dreamforce, the citywide convention…

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MGM is Transforming Las Vegas

Bliss Dance at The Park, Las Vegas MGM is busy creating and reinventing in the heart of The Strip A small stretch on South Las Vegas Boulevard near West Tropicana Avenue in Sin City has been buzzing with activity recently—with plenty more to come. That’s because MGM Resorts International is immersed in a development project…

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New and Renovated Hotels: The Next Big Things

Striking properties complement key meeting destinations Marriott Marquis Houston Opening this month in the Houston convention district, Marriott Marquis is an example of a hotel that is coming online during a city’s game-changing renaissance. The 1,000-room property is located in the heart of downtown and connected via skybridge to George R. Brown Convention Center. It…

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Boise Adds Modern Twists to its Meetings Options

Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) Broadening its appeal After touring a Basque neighborhood, groups can visit an Anne Frank human rights memorial and a cutting-edge creative center before heading to one of the many nearby wineries. This type of stimulating outing conjures up images of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and other progressive, multicultural cities.…

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13 Festive Holiday Gift Ideas for Groups

Your resource for trendy treasures and gift ideas Treat attendees and VIPs to unique, thoughtful gifts they will definitely want to take home. Smart Meetings has selected an assortment of items that can make work and travel more enjoyable, and contribute to good health and well-being. Bonus: Everyone will remember your event! Worldly Wonders Spa…

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Great Leaders Take Time to Rest

It will make you a better leader! Spending my birthday this year at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, was the best gift I ever gave myself. I know that many times, we do not think of relaxation experiences as a gift, yet taking time to pause and turn off did more for me…

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Telepresence Enhances Attendee Experiences

Everyone in the meetings and events industry can attest to the unique benefits gained when people physically gather in one place to share information and perspectives. While the debate between meeting industry members and outsiders about whether technology could effectively replace in-person meetings will press on for years, something else of note is happening right…

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Second Home for the Holidays

We aren’t insinuating anything about grandma and her home cooking, but unless she’s a classically trained chef in one of the most competitive culinary settings, enjoying turkey dinner on the road isn’t all that bad. Especially when today’s chefs are anything but traditional—finding inventive and delicious ways to transform turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin…

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Smart Talk: Eric Ly, Co-Founder of LinkedIn

Eric Ly is CEO of Presdo Match and Co-Founder of LinkedIn Hometown: Sunnyvale, California Education: B.S., Stanford University; M.S., MIT Media Lab Career: Began as a software engineer at numerous tech companies, including IBM and Sun; Co-founder of companies such as Netmosphere and LinkedIn. About Presdo Match: The event app platform supercharges relationship building before…

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Power Players: Meetings Industry Leaders Giving Back

Kathleen Cochran is one of those admired bosses whose reputation precedes her. The general manager of The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana, has made an exemplary career out of transforming hotels and resorts into thriving pillars of the community. As a result, she’s been named the Top Woman in Business for three years…

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Serenity in Wild Wyoming

Hotel Terra Jackson Hole Like many other ski destinations, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has lots of activities that appeal to summer and winter visitors. Teton Village offers ski-in, ski-out venues for food, lodging and entertainment, and the hiking and biking culture is perfect for summer. But a press trip in September proved that the shoulder season…

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