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February 5, 2016

The Top Five Meetings Industry Stories of the Week

It's been a busy week for the meetings and events industry, with speculation over the outcome of the Starwood - Marriott merger and the Zika virus outbreak grabbing attention. 

tom mangas

Interview: Starwood CEO Talks Marriott Merger

Tom Mangas, who took over as Starwood CEO when Adam Aron left the company in December, sat down with our sister publication, Hotel Management, on what's next for the company after its merger with Marriott. 

Mangas talked gaining a foothold in the upscale segment of the hotel industry, as well as why he believes the sale was not a sign Starwood was a "company in trouble."

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What the Zika Emergency Means for Business Travel

The Zika virus outbreak gained more attention this week when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a public health emergency. 

The announcement comes as Brazil, which has been hard-hit by the virus, prepares to host the Olympics next summer. While the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has emphasized that the WHO did not call for any restrictions on travel or trade, travel suppliers, including United Airlines and American Airlines, have begun to issue refunds for passengers traveling to many countries affected by the virus. 

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Incentive Travel Exchange Enriches the Guest Experience With SITE Education

This week also brought an update on what to expect from Questex Travel Group’s 11th Incentive Travel Exchange (ITE) event March 2-5 at The Delano Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay. Questex is the parent company of International Meetings Review

The event, in partnership with the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), will offer the educational session “SITE’s Business Case for Incentive Travel: The Link between Motivation and Incentives,” led by Phillip Eidsvold, account director at Aimia (formerly Carlson Marketing).

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hilton west palm beach

Hilton West Palm Beach Opens With Convention Center Connection

In other hotel news, West Palm Beach got a big new property with the opening of the Hilton West Palm Beach. The hotel is connected to The Palm Beach County Convention Center via an enclosed walkway, making it the only hotel in South Florida to be directly connected to a convention center.

The hotel also has more than 24,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the 13,350-sq. ft. Oceana Ballroom and the 5,800-sq. ft. Coral Ballroom, as well as two 2,400-sq. ft. lawn spaces for weddings, special events and fitness programming. 

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Marriott Rewards Adds Delta Hotels

Finally, planners looking to maximize rewards points will want to keep this in mind: this week Marriott International's loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, expanded to include Delta Hotels and Resorts

Marriott Rewards members can now earn points or miles and Elite night credits, and redeem them for free night stays, at twenty-one Delta Hotels across Canada, with the brand’s fourteen remaining Canadian properties joining the program in late April 2016. Delta Privilege members will also now get the full benefits of Marriott Rewards membership.

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