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09/18/07
Group Business, Education and Networking Highlight The Fall 2007 Elite Meetings Alliancee
Powerful Combination Delivers Successful Outcome
SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Sept. 18, 2007—The Fall 2007 Elite Meetings Alliance held September 9-11, 2007, in Naples, Florida, received high praise from participants for its balance of one-on-one business meetings, educational seminars, and social gatherings that fostered new relationships.

The invitation-only three-day affair, held at Naples Grande Resort & Club, brought together more than 100 of the industry’s top planning professionals and representatives from Elite-certified hotels in the eastern U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Educational breakout sessions with highly respected speakers provided highlights throughout the event. Speaker, author, and consultant John Di Frances discussed the Millennials, their mindset, and how to market to them. On Day Two of the event, three more speakers took the podium. Ed Jones of Constellation Communication Corporation, accompanied by Jan Farr Koors, discussed meeting ROI and ways to measure it. Attorney Joshua Grimes also spoke, presenting ten “musts” for meeting contracts—a topic that gave even the most veteran planners and hoteliers ample food for thought.

Starwood Senior Vice President Scott Hermes, speaking at dinner, presented an overview of the current sellers market and gave his projections for the future. Shawna McKinley, executive director of The Green Meetings Industry Council gave the closing keynote address. She presented the case for going green and the cost savings for both hotels and planners. She also dispelled some of the most common objections to eco-friendly planning.

Elite Meetings International CEO, Kelly Foy, said, “The educational component added new depth to the Alliance experience. The sessions were so well received that moving forward, we’ll include these and future speaker presentations on the EliteMeetings.net Web site in order to continue the educational dialogue.”

Along with educational breakout sessions, the agenda included one-on-one appointments in which planners met with hoteliers to discuss and book business. David Cole of JW Marriott New Orleans described the Alliance as a can’t-miss event. “The ratio of planners to hoteliers was extraordinary. Not only did we leave with a large number of solid leads, we actually received a signed contract for a lead we received at the event,” he said.

Planner Rob Cohen of Alliance Benefits said, “It was the best event I’ve ever attended. The execution was flawless.” Lynn Norris of GambroBCT echoed the sentiment, saying, “I made many wonderful contacts and new friends and look forward to doing future business with them. I also look forward to (the next event at) Ojai Valley. I just signed up! The whole experience was phenomenal, I spoke to veterans and rookies alike, and everyone agreed that the entire event was a success!”

The next semiannual Elite Meetings Alliance will take place March 30-April 1, 2008, at California’s Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. It will feature top properties from the west coasts of Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the Pacific, plus corporate, association, and incentive planners ready to book business in these regions.

Based in Santa Barbara, California, Elite Meetings International provides targeted solutions to the upper-echelon groups segment of the hospitality industry. Through its annual publication, Elite Meetings magazine; Web site, www.EliteMeetings.net; and semiannual event, the Elite Meetings Alliance, the company connects top meeting and incentive planners with the best hotels and resorts in North America. For more information on Elite Meetings International, please call 805.730.1002. For media kit information, please visit www.elitemeetings.net/mediainfo.

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