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Gary Diedrichs

Gary Diedrichs is senior content editor at Smart Meetings. He has degrees in history from Princeton and New York University. His journalism career has spanned staff positions in radio, newspapers, magazines and websites. Other writing includes a novel set in Sausalito, California, in the 1950s. In his spare time, he publishes an award-winning website devoted to eco-friendly travel.

New Policies Likely Dampening Foreign Travel to USNewsTravel

One of the hot current topics in the industry is whether or not President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric and Trump administration attempts to ban some foreign travelers from entering the country have had an impact on international tourism to the United States. Although it may be too early to have a definitive answer, Foursquare CEO…

ASAE Aims to Reinvent Meetings with Xperience Design ProjectEventsIndustry Events

The Center for Association Leadership, known as ASAE, unveiled Xperience Design Project (XDP) in National Harbor, Maryland, this week at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. The two-day event brought together 1,816 association professionals and industry partners. Their challenge: to collaborate on ideas to reinvent their meetings.   .@garibaldiarts keeping the #myxdp co-creators mesmerized and…

Meeting Professionals Applaud Court Ruling on Trump Travel BanNewsTravel

The fog has yet to lift around whether nationals from six Muslim-majority countries will be able to travel freely into the United States for meetings, but meetings industry reaction was positive today as a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, further delayed attempts by the Trump administration to institute the ban. The U.S. Court of…

Millennials Choose American Airlines as Top BrandAirlinesNews

Because of millennial influence, American Airlines won its first Airline Brand of the Year honor in the Harris Poll’s 29th annual EquiTrend Study. The study, which measures brand health over time, found that American adults born after 1980 gave a big boost to travel brands—most notably airlines and cruise lines. American Airlines has a higher equity rating…

Omni Extends Hunger Initiative Offer to Meeting PlannersHotels & ResortsNews

After donating 8.4 million meals to hungry Americans, Omni Hotels & Resorts has decided to extend indefinitely its Say Goodnight to Hunger initiative—an offer it hopes meeting planners can’t refuse. Since June 2016, Omni has made a donation to Feeding America for every meeting or event booked by planners at any of the luxury hotel brand’s…

US Hotels See Strongest Demand Since 2015Hotels & ResortsNewsTrends

During the year’s first three months, consumer confidence drove demand for lodging at the strongest quarterly rate since 2015, reports PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Both occupancy and the average daily room rate saw modest growth, and revenue-per-available room increased 3.4 percent. Reinforced by rising employment, higher real income and increased household net worth, consumer confidence and sentiment…

LEED-Certified Hotels Gaining MomentumHotels & ResortsNews

Hotels worldwide are leading with LEED. The U.S. Green Building Council created this program in 1993—an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—to certify that buildings meet standards of energy efficiency, conservation and community sensitivity. USGBC’s rating system has four levels based on points earned: certified, silver, gold and platinum. Certified properties must accumulate at…

Airport Therapy Dogs, Pigs and Ponies Reduce Travel StressNewsTravel

Remember when spotting a dog in an airport terminal meant a red alert? Depending on your recreational habits, it could have been anything but a calming sight. Today, though, so-called therapy dogs are part of the passing parade at more than 30 airports—and counting—in the United States. At San Francisco International Airport (SFO), for example,…

Guns and Meetings: What You Need to Know NowMeeting PlanningPlanner

Hands up! How many are packin’ today? In today’s America, some of you undoubtedly are (and feel strongly it’s your right to do so). The rest of you are sharing a shudder. Without taking sides on this hotly debated subject, the reality is that you can’t plan your next meeting without addressing the question of…