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May 29, 2018

Supplier News: New Rewards for Meeting Planners

Increased commission and perks for meeting planners lead this week's supplier news in the meetings and events industry.

Viejas Casino & Resort Raises Meeting Planner Commission to 15%

Viejas Casino & Resort, a corporate meetings and events venue in Southern California, is raising its commissions for third-party meeting and event planners in response to the recent cuts by major hotel groups in the United States and Canada. The property is increasing its third-party commissions to 15 percent. 

Viejas has more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including open-air and outdoor venues, ballrooms, nine meeting rooms, a dedicated meeting concierge, a full business center and a number of catering menus. The resort opened the Willows Hotel & Spa earlier this year, a premier, adults-only tower with 159 VIP suites, an 18,000-square-foot full-service spa and a saltwater pool. The resort’s other on-site hotel, Viejas Hotel, has 237 rooms, for a total of 396 rooms on the property. 

The move makes Viejas the latest hotel to increase meeting planner commissions in the wake of the recent cuts. Eden Roc Miami Beach, Nobu Hotel Miami Beach and Nobu Hotel Los Cabos have all increased their group commission from 10 percent to 12 percent on newly contracted groups that book a minimum of 10 rooms per night now through December 31, for travel anytime. Dream Hotel Group is likewise offering a 12 percent commission on qualified groups and meetings that are booked and actualized in 2018. Wyndham Hotel Group and Coast Hotels have both said that they will continue to hold commission levels steady at 10 percent. 

Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) have all announced plans to cut their commissions for third-party meeting planners from 10 percent to 7 percent at their respective properties in the United States and Canada. Marriott’s new policy went into effect March 31, with Hilton’s to follow October 1 and IHG on January 1, 2019. 

Sheraton Hong Kong Launches New Meeting Rewards Program

Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers has announced a new rewards program for meeting and event planners. Dubbed the Sheraton Meeting Perfected Rewards Programme, meeting organizers who host their meetings and events on selected hot dates can enjoy special rates on hotel stays, full day and half day meeting packages through December 31. The new program also rewards the organizers who book the venues before September 15 for meetings and events held before September 30 with three perks from the SPG Power of Three package, as well as three additional benefits from the below list:

SPG Power of Three

  • 5 percent off master-billed rooms
  • Complimentary Internet in meeting room
  • Triple Marriott Rewards points or Starpoints
  • One complimentary room night for every 25 paid room nights
  • One complimentary room upgrade for one night for every 25 paid room nights

Additional Benefits

  • One complimentary meeting package per 25 paid guests
  • Upgrade free flow of coffee & tea
  • Complimentary welcome cocktails on welcome gala dinner
  • Tailor-made refreshment topped with event logo for coffee break
  • Complimentary SPG Lounge access for meeting organizers (Applicable to two organizers for group size of 50 rooms on peak days)
  • Complimentary Towers Lounge access for meeting organizers (Applicable to two organizers for group size of 100 rooms on peak days)
  • Dedicated private office access for organizers, subject to availability

The additional benefits are applicable to groups of 30 – 50 rooms. The price is based on a per room per night basis, and all prices are subject to a 10 percent service charge. The confirmation is subject to hotel availability. 

The 782-room Sheraton Hong Kong has 15,043 square feet of space in the Ballroom and 14 function rooms. It is set at the top of Kowloon’s Golden mile with Victoria Harbour frontage, with access to the city’s premier business, shopping and entertainment destinations. The property is also near the ferry terminal and subway (MTR). 

Visit www.sheratonhongkonghotel.com

New Omni Hotel in Boston to Have Seaport’s Largest Ballroom

Omni Hotels & Resorts has broken ground on its new property in Boston, which, when complete, will be the city’s fourth-largest hotel. The Omni Boston Seaport Hotel is scheduled to open in late 2020 on the two-acre parcel of Massport-owned land at the corner of Summer and D Streets, in the Seaport District

In addition to 1,055 guest rooms, including 52 suites, the 21-story hotel will have approximately 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space that includes the largest hotel ballroom in Boston’s Seaport District, along with breakout rooms, outdoor and pre-function spaces. Select suites will feature views of the Boston Harbor

The culinary experiences at Omni Boston Seaport Hotel will include an all-day restaurant and collaborative workspace, lobby lounge, entertainment lounge, French brasserie and boulangerie, as well as an elevated pool bar and grill. 

Guests will have access to an urban rooftop pool deck located on the fourth floor. The pool deck will have an optional space which will allow guests to host year-round events with views of Boston’s skyline. In addition, guests can relax, unwind and beautify at the signature Mokara Spa that is complete with a fitness center and blow dry hair bar that will be available to hotel guests as well as locals via street access. The hotel will also have a curated retail shop with items from local purveyors.

In addition, six local non-profit organizations will receive a portion of the hotel’s profits, including The Edgerley Family South Boston Clubhouse of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, The South Boston Community Health Center, Julie’s Family Learning Center, Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop To Inner-City Killing (LIPSTICK), The Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester and the Building Pathways Program, a pre-apprenticeship program that provides construction career opportunities to low-income Boston residents.

The $550 million project is estimated to create 1,100 construction jobs and between 700 – 1,000 permanent jobs.

The Omni Boston Seaport Hotel will become a part of Omni’s Convention Center Collection, which includes properties in Atlanta, Louisville, Dallas, Fort Worth and Nashville. Upon opening, it will be the largest hotel in Omni’s portfolio.

Major Expansion on Tap for Gaylord Palms

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, FL, is about to undergo a $150 million expansion project.

The planned expansion will add 303 guest rooms to the resort’s current 1,416 room inventory and 90,000 square feet of carpeted meeting and pre-function space. Once complete, the planned expansion will bring the total convention, meeting and pre-function space at Gaylord Palms to approximately 490,000 square feet.

The meeting space addition includes a new 30,000-square-foot ballroom, 30,000 square feet of breakout space and approximately 30,000 square feet of carpeted pre-function space. In addition, the planned expansion will include a new multi-level parking structure and an expansion to the property’s resort pool that will include a new lazy river feature and a new events lawn.

In a written statement, Colin Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Ryman Hospitality Properties, said, “Much like our recently-completed Gaylord Texan expansion, we believe this expansion will allow us to meet the increasing demand we are seeing from large group customers seeking additional high-quality meeting space in a way that takes full advantage of our existing resort infrastructure.”

Construction on the multi-story parking structure is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2018. Construction on the meeting space, rooms expansion and pool enhancements is expected to begin following the completion of the parking structure in the spring of 2019. The planned expansion is expected be completed during the spring of 2021.

Rooftop Pool Highlights Omni Charlotte Reno


Omni Charlotte Hotel announced the completion of its $26 million dollar property renovation that includes a sleek new exterior, a modern lobby experience, a refreshed restaurant and bar, new cosmopolitan guest rooms and suites and a redesigned rooftop pool deck and bar space that can be rented for private events.

The hotel's design theme revolves around Charlotte's unique history with precious metals. The hotel now offers custom fabrics and finishes of rich gold and silver tones.

The centerpiece of the improvement is the complete redesign of the rooftop pool deck, Coin Bar. The area has nearly 3,000 additional square feet of space that includes a new bar and grill serving poolside cocktails and small bites. The space also has 22' (w) by 12' (h) double-sided LED television screens that can be seen from EPICENTRE, the surrounding area of businesses and entertainment venues. The space is available for private event rentals. 

The hotel transformation started with a redesign of its 374 guest rooms and suites. Rooms include a modular coffee bar built into the countertop, oversized sofas near the windows and a color palette with touches that tie back to the overall concept of precious metals. Additionally, the bathrooms received new vanities and showers.

The hotel's entry facade now has an expansive glass exterior, giving the hotel a more prominent street presence. Other changes include burnished metal wall finishes and a new guest registration. Metals also serve as inspiration for the finishes used in the cocktail tables, furniture and other lobby fixtures.

Trade Restaurant & Bar now has an expanded bar that opens into the lobby, providing guests direct access to the new space. The restaurant also has new modern seating, tables, carpet and decorative lighting.

The exclusive club lounge on the 14th floor now includes new counter bars with views of the Charlotte skyline. 

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