GREGG HERNING Vice President of Sales and Marketing ✪ Peabody Hotels
The Peabody Orlando Is a New, 1,641-Room Game-Changer
What’s new in your destination that meeting planners are most excited about? We have been referring to our expanded property as a game-changer for the past 18 months. Our $450-million expansion, open for more than a year now, includes 1,641 new guest rooms, 300,000 square feet of meeting and function space, a three-acre grotto pool area, a 22,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, and new restaurants. It’s truly a masterpiece. Planners have described the convention space as the best in the country.
What challenge do you think the meetings industry has successfully overcome in the past year or so? What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry in 2012? All indicators point to business returning to normal, and we are seeing encourag- ing activity specifically in retail, technology, and medical meetings. Planners are still looking for creative pricing, especially for catering and Internet connectiv- ity. The real emphasis is on getting back to normal and bringing people together again. The biggest challenge for 2012 and beyond is pushing our average rates closer to pre-recession levels.
PROUD TRADITION: “I’m extremely proud to represent the Peabody brand of ‘Service Excellence,’” said Gregg Herning. “There’s a special culture that Peabody Hotels believes in and follows every day.”
How has your team used social media to work with meeting professionals and promote your destination? What
new social-media tools are you looking forward to trying? We hosted a viral campaign that offered an all-expenses-paid executive confer- ence. We have also worked with groups before their conference on strategic flight plans to boost attendance. Our popular “Duckmaster” will soon have his own blog so that guests can receive updates about Peabody activities and events.
What single asset makes you most proud to represent your destination? We’ve held the Forbes Four-Star rating longer than any other hotel in Florida — 23 years. The world is full of beautiful hotels, but it’s our service delivery and memorable experiences that really make the difference to guests.
CHANGERS 94 pcma convene January 2012
What are meeting professionals asking for now that they weren’t asking for a year or two ago? How are you responding to that need? Planners want increased Internet connectivity and bandwidth. As more confer- ences adopt an interactive format, their users are encouraged to follow along and communicate with presenters. We as hoteliers have to become more knowledge- able about these areas and know what questions to ask to avoid confusion or lapses in service. n