What if you were in the target zone of this shooter?

The headlines have become all too numbingly familiar: mass killings at schools, airports, churches, offices, restaurants, arenas and public streets.

What if fight or flight aren’t your only solutions?

What if you could prepare yourself to spot dangerous behaviors, strategize how you’d narrow the chances of being caught unawares, and might save both yourself and others during unexpected, volatile, life-threatening scenarios?

It’s about understanding behavior patterns and looking at anomalous behavior outside of the normal baseline. It’s about profiling behavior, not people and identifying behavioral indicators consistent to a potential threatening environment.

All of the above are possible according to two experienced lawmen who addressed the Greater Orlando (FL) chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

Director of Education & Life Safety for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Mark Herrera’s keynote presentation was aimed at mitigating threats to employees or meeting groups, but the practical information would be as applicable to individuals.


Sweet treats from Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at the goampi Meeting Planner All Stars program. photo by Lauralee Shapiro CMP

Sweet treats from Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at the goampi Meeting Planner All Stars program. photo by Lauralee Shapiro CMP

What does a meeting planner want?
That question is as enigmatic as a clueless husband wondering what more could his wife could want after his birthday surprise of a new vacuum cleaner didn’t go over quite as expected.
The answer to what a meeting planner wants varies as much as who may be asking. Is the person pondering the hotel coordinator who’s servicing a group’s meeting or trying to solicit that business, or is it the AV tech/florist/caterer/transportation or furniture décor rep? Is the planner working for a corporation, association, or independent?
The simple answer to what a meeting planner wants is a smoothly-run event, surrounded by attentive and reliable vendors in a fantastic venue that was generous with incentives, and to have the client’s attendees wowed by the entire experience.
Easy peasy to pull off, right?
Or not, which is why an audience of about 85 were so intently focused on the questions and responses given by a panel of six Meeting Planner All Stars at the January luncheon meeting of the Greater Read more

Castle Hotel Dresses Up For Corporate Business

Castle Hotel shimmers with royal attitude

Castle Hotel shimmers with royal attitude

There have been two stately Castles in Orlando. Both at one time have been pink, but unlike Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the Castle Hotel on International Drive encourages overnight stays. In fact, after the Castle Hotel became the 9th Kessler Collection  boutique hotel to become part of the Marriott Autograph Collection on October 17, those overnights have gotten cozier.
Two of the 216 guestrooms have magically morphed into the three-treatment room Poseidon Spa and Garden Bistro. The remaining 214 threw off their mantle of yore and are now dressed in modern European furniture and soothing colors. The Castle didn’t shed its spires, turrets or twin rooftop balconies (some of the best viewing of area theme park fireworks and the perfect size for a reception for 120 max), but inside it now more closely resembles an upscale hunting lodge adorned in fine art work. Many pieces—such as the gorgeous chandelier hanging in the Palace Ballroom, came from Chairman and CEO Richard C. Kessler’s private collection.
Upon my visit to the grand re-launch of The Castle as the only Marriott Autograph Collection hotel on International Drive, I couldn’t stop drooling over the two rhinestone-encrusted black-and-white curved chairs enhancing the lobby. I have costumes (for my alter ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady) that aren’t this bejeweled.
As with all 10 Kessler Collection properties in Florida, Georgia, Colorado, New Mexico and North Carolina, this one features local, regional, world-renowned and Kessler Signature artists. The $6.5 million, months-long renovation has repositioned The Castle from a luxury leisure property to one focused on attracting corporate business. There is now more than 9,000 sf in meeting and event space. The new Palace Ballroom can seat 180 in rounds. There is also the Read more

Raising the Platform: SOCIAL MEDIA takes users to communication heights never before reached

 This story was published in the December-January 2012 issue of Facility Manager magazine, an official publication of The International Association of Venue Managers, Inc.  It is reprinted with permission from Editor RV Baugus.
Face it. When it comes to using social media to get traffic through your doors, the concern now is how to use it more effectively than should you be using it at all. In a world where software changes more quickly than a teenager’s moods, the successful arena manager begins by pondering  these questions.
Which social media platforms work best for my audience?

  1. How do I build brand trust and loyalty?
  2. What incentives should I offer to engage and hold their attention?
  3. What’s next?

Deciding which social media platforms work
If Facebook and Twitter aren’t your new best friends, they should be.  “Facebook currently has 800 million active users, who in turn each have about 130 friends they actively share information with on a daily basis,” says Ryan Sheehy, Advertising & PR instructor for the Nicholson School of Communication for the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
What does that mean to you?
“Facebook allows you to directly connect with folks invested in your product.  Research shows that those connected to Facebook are more likely to purchase your product,” she noted during a session on Building A Social Media Strategy for Every Type of Facility at the 22nd annual Area Management Conference in Orlando.
For the 18,000-capacity Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, social media has been a gift for reaching an audience beyond their regional area. Social media collects personal information from users that “allowing us to customize what we’re sending,” says General Manager Michael Marion. “Email is being replaced by social media sites as the preferred Read more