Successful Meetings - March 2008 - (Page 14)

News & Analysis > On The Record Burt Cabanas’ Road to Leadership It’s not unusual for Burt Cabanas, founder, chairman, and CEO of Benchmark Hospitality International, to receive an accolade. But unlike many of the awards he’s received from the hospitality industry, this latest one singled him out for both his work and his background: He was named one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders” by Hispanic Business magazine. SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS: A former corporate business, so there is room for seven or eight conference centers. But none has ever flourished there. No matter what city you’re in, the majority of occupancy is going to be in hotels and resorts, so someone has to be told that we’re a segment of the meeting market that fills a need. SM: Where are your sights focused outside of the United States? CABANAS: Japan is going to be nuts employee— Ben Baez—who you continue to mentor, nominated you for this award. How important is the mentoring process to an organization? BURT CABANAS: I like to play that role, and I do it with a lot of people. If I see someone with a positive attitude, determination, and energy, I will go out of my way to help them because I think this country goes out of its way to help people with the right attitude. SM: As someone who has been a mentor BURT CABANAS Benchmark Hospitality that planner can pick up vibrations beyond what [she] sees and hears. That way, when your gut says that something isn’t right, even if everything appears fine, you can prepare for problems. Because usually, when a meeting is a disaster, the planner was caught off guard. SM: What opportunities are ahead, in for us. We are building our second property there, and we’re in the bidding process on two more. We’re also looking at Central and South America, In all, we’re looking at five or six opportunities in the region. In Europe, we are fishing for major projects in Denmark and Barcelona. SM: The Complete Meeting Package (CMP), the all-inclusive pricing model for conference centers, still has its detractors. What’s the future of the CMP? CABANAS: The issue isn’t whether to to many people, what do you think senior-level meeting planners should be teaching junior planners? CABANAS:: An important teaching would be how to develop a gut feeling for people and properties. Sometimes, the property is in the right location and the planner has chosen the right meeting room. But still, if [she] has developed that gut feeling about how to deliver a good meeting, the antennae go up higher and terms of what Benchmark can offer customers? CABANAS:: There are markets, domesti- cally, that still don’t have much conference center penetration [which we’ll continue to watch]. Orlando, for example, does over one million room nights of bundle or unbundle, it’s that we need to listen to the customer. If a meeting planner wants to skip a dinner to bring the group to an area restaurant, we shouldn’t be so rigid that our way of operating interferes with the planner’s desires. We should educate our sales executives about why the concept was created. But if a client needs something, those sales executives need to find a way to do that. Preview the entirely new Williamsburg Lodge at 323 Guest Rooms • 45,000-square-foot Conference Center 20,000-square-foot New Spa • 45 Holes of Golf Williamsburg, Virginia • 1-800-822-9127 • (757) 220-7600 The Mid-Atlantic’s Premier Destination is on Your Desktop © 2008 The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - March 2008

Successful Meetings - March 2008
Editor's Note
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Management Matters
Mouth for Sale
Meetings Law
Tools of the Trade
On Site
Quick Tip
Critical Conditions
A Family Affair
Conference Centers We Love
CSM of the Year
Places & Spaces
Luxury Las Vegas
New York CIty
New Orleans
Oahu & Big Island
Florida Keys

Successful Meetings - March 2008