Devon Whitaker Joins Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau As National Sales Director

Philadelphia-Convention-Visitors-Bureau-logoThe Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau today announced Devon Whitaker as its new National Sales Director. In her new position, Whitaker will be responsible for the DC/MD/VA market, booking between 1,501 to 4,500 total room nights per group. She will begin her new position in August.

Whitaker brings to the PHLCVB over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. In her most recent position, she served as the National Sales Manager for Destination DC where, for the last three years, she exceeded sales goals and expectations. Her ability to cultivate and maintain great client relationships has resulted in her being able to confirm six new annual conventions for Washington, D.C. totaling more than 125,000 room nights. Also during her time with Destination DC, Whitaker co-created “Dine with DC,” a quarterly event which provides an intimate setting where clients personally engage, exchange best practices and experience Washington, D.C. hot spots.

“Devon’s consistency and creativity will be an immeasurable asset as Philadelphia’s meetings industry continues to evolve and expand,” said PHLCVB President & CEO Jack Ferguson. “Her drive to engage customers, exceed goals and deliver results will help us share the city we love with even more people wishing to experience Philadelphia.”

Whitaker began her career in hospitality at the front desk of the Inner Harbor Marriott in Baltimore, MD and was promoted to the Human Resources department after six months. Within two years, she advanced to Sales Manager at the Marriott International in Gaithersburg, MD where she rose to be a top sales person selected as a Golden Circle Candidate for each quarter in 2005. After three years with Marriott, Whitaker returned to Baltimore as a Convention Sales Manager for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. She remained in Baltimore for over a year before moving to Washington, D.C. and taking a position at Destination DC where she handled the entire east coast and was promoted twice within seven years.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the momentum of positive change surrounding Philadelphia. It is a vibrant city that has so much to offer, whether it’s sports, history, culture or terrific restaurants,” said Whitaker. “Now that the new Customer Satisfaction Agreement is in place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, along with SMG management, Philadelphia is a gem that can now shine even brighter. It’s an exciting time to join such an esteemed and respected team.”

Whitaker is a graduate of Morgan State University. She currently maintains professional affiliations with PCMA, Capital Chapter; IAEE; MPI and Just Because Networking Group.

Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB),, a private non-profit membership corporation, is the official Tourism Promotion Agency for the City of Philadelphia globally, and the primary sales and marketing agency for the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center. The PHLCVB competes with its counterparts worldwide for convention and tourism business. The organization has departments dedicated to the multicultural, sports, and life sciences markets.The PHLCVB incorporates the short code PHL, an open source graphic identifier for the City of Philadelphia into the Convention & Visitors Bureau brand identity.

Source:- Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

New Appointment: Monarch Group announces new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

monarch-group-logoThe Monarch Group announced the appointments of Sir Roy McNulty, currently a Non-Executive Director, as Group Chairman and Andrew Swaffield, currently Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, as Group Chief Executive.




They will assume the responsibilities of Iain Rawlinson, Executive Chairman, who steps down from the Board after five years with the Group. Andrew Lavery has also been appointed Chief Financial Officer.
Sir Roy McNulty is one of Britain’s most experienced executives in the transport and aviation sectors. He is currently Chairman of Gatwick Airport and has previously held the same role at NATS and the CAA; in addition he is Deputy Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority. Sir Roy was Chief Executive and Chairman of Short Brothers, which became part of Bombardier in 1989, and was Chairman of the Rail Value for Money Study sponsored by the Department of Transport.


Andrew Swaffield joined Monarch Airlines in April 2014 from Avios Group Limited, where he was Managing Director for seven years from 2006. Under Andrew’s leadership, Avios launched the new global single currency for International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns Avios Group Limited, and the new Avios brand in 2011. He has over 25 years’ management experience in travel, aviation and airline loyalty gained with Thomas Cook and British Airways, where he headed leisure sales in the UK and Ireland, as well as running its travel agency and tour operating subsidiaries.
Andrew Lavery joined The Monarch Group in May 2014 as Group Finance Director. Andrew is a qualified accountant of 25 years’ standing. He qualified with Ernst & Young, and spent 10 years in its London Corporate Finance department advising on clients including British Airways, Saga Leisure and Thomas Cook. After leaving Ernst & Young in 1999, he spent three years at British Airways where he was Head of Investments and Joint Ventures and also acted as a trustee of the BA Pension fund. Since 2002 Andrew has been the Group Finance Director for Peter De Haan’s private office.


Sir Roy McNulty said, “On behalf of the Mantegazza family, the Group’s principal shareholder, I would like to thank Iain for his five years of service to Monarch where he has strengthened the Group and repositioned Monarch Airlines as a differentiated scheduled low-cost carrier with a focus on superior customer service. He leaves with our best wishes.”
Iain Rawlinson said, “The Monarch Group has reached another chapter in its development and the time is now right for me to stand back. There could be no two better people than Sir Roy and Andrew Swaffield, both with exceptional careers in the aviation and transport industries, to take Monarch forward and build on the excellent Monarch name and reputation.”


Andrew Swaffield said, “This is a challenging time for airlines and we have much to do. Monarch has outstanding people, a strongly differentiated position in the budget airline market and an excellent travel group and engineering business. I look forward to working with my colleagues to realise all the opportunities ahead of us. As a priority, along with our work on a new fleet of aircraft, we are currently engaged with our shareholder in a close look at our capital structure to ensure we have the most appropriate base to support future growth.
source: Monarch Group

LVCVA’s Rossi Ralenkotter Inducted into Inaugural Destination Marketing Hall of Fame

LVCVARossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), has been honored with the 2014 destination marketing Hall of Fame Award by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI).




The award was created to honor individuals who have changed the future of destination marketing for the better, made significant contributions to the advancement of the industry and shaped travel marketing.
“DMAI as an organization recognized the importance of leadership in our industry to sustain our 100 year history and grow destination marketing into the multibillion dollar industry that it is today,” said Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of DMAI. “Our goal is to shine a spotlight on these pioneers, champions and influencers, and allow our members around the globe an opportunity to get to know them and their works.”
Ralenkotter, last year celebrated his fortieth year at the LVCVA, where he oversaw the creation of the most successful branding campaign in tourism history, best known for its oft-repeated tagline, “What happens here, stays here.” It was selected the No. 1 campaign by the voting public and was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2011.
Ralenkotter is engaged with the travel industry, having served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism, chairman of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the U.S. Department of Commerce, and chairman of the U.S. Travel Association.
Ralenkotter has been named one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Meeting News and was named Co-Brand Marketer of the Year by Brandweek magazine. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Marketing Association, the Travel and Tourism Research Association, and was recently announced to be inducted into the U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders.
“With more than 41 years at the LVCVA, Rossi is truly the North Star for the Las Vegas tourism industry,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the LVCVA. “He has made an indelible mark on the destination with his leadership and vision and without Rossi, we wouldn’t have one of the most popular Vegas phrases ever – ‘What Happens Here Stays Here.’”


Source:- LVCVA

Mackay to host events conference

mackayMackay’s economy will receive a boost, when it hosts more than two hundred event organisers from across Queensland, delivering on the Government’s promise to grow tourism as one of the four pillars of the economy.
Acting Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Tracy Davis said the conference would bring together industry professionals to network, share knowledge and learn about creating and growing a successful event in Queensland.
“The Queensland Government’s 20-year plan for tourism, Destination Success, outlines the need to nurture and support events to maximise benefits and grow regional tourism destinations,” Ms Davis said.
“The former Labor government ignored tourism, but we know that it grows regional economies and provides the jobs of the future.
“Events play an important role in driving visitation to Queensland’s regional areas, delivering significant economic and social benefits to the local community while providing a great opportunity to showcase the destination and its attractions.
“The TEQ Regional Events Conference provides a valuable forum for event organisers, regional tourism organisations and local councils to develop their event management skills, marketing approaches and share information to maximise event outcomes.”
Mackay Tourism General Manager Stephen Schwer said Mackay Tourism was thrilled to host the TEQ Regional Events Conference in Mackay for the first time.
“A welcome addition to our business events calendar, the TEQ Regional Events Conference will give local operators first-hand access to tourism and events industry experts right in their own backyard,” Mr Schwer said.
“Mackay boasts a dynamic event calendar including the River to Reef Ride, River Rock to Mountain Top Community Festival and the Mackay Beach Horse Racing Festival.”
The sixth Tourism and Events Queensland Regional Events Conference will take place from 7 to 9 November 2014 at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. It is held annually as part of the TEQ Regional Development Program, designed to extend the flow of economic and social benefits to regional Queensland. A full event program will be launched in the coming weeks.


source: Tourism Queensland

Trade Group Takes on Challenges of Migrating Hotel Systems to Cloud

HTNGHotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), the membership association that unites the world’s hospitality companies and technology innovators to solve industry challenges, announced a new effort that will generate resources to guide the rapidly growing number of hoteliers and vendors who are moving technology systems above property.



This collaborative effort among hoteliers and vendors, most of whom have real-life experience migrating to the cloud, will help hotel companies minimize risk by providing guidelines to benefit hotels, hotel brands, application providers, cloud service providers and others.

Companies in many industries are moving to the cloud to gain benefits such as greater reliability, cost savings and a reduction of on-property IT support staff. In recent years, hospitality companies have been increasingly making this transition as well. However, doing so has led to many new challenges. These are often discovered only after the fact, sometimes after days of downtime for critical systems.
The HTNG Above Property Systems Workgroup will create a framework document, including a list of best practices and definitions of terms that business and technical leaders need to understand. Additional materials from the workgroup will include documentation of views among the various parties (hotels, brands, application providers, cloud service providers, etc.) on critical issues such as data ownership, security, termination rights and support. Hotels will be able to use the framework to ensure more effective interoperability between cloud-based systems, at both business (relationship and contracting) and technical levels.
The volunteer HTNG members who have committed resources to this workgroup effort include hospitality companies Delaware North Companies, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Kempinski Hotels, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and Senate Hospitality Group. Leading vendors and consultants also planning to contribute include Agilysys, AjonTech LLC, Cisco Systems, Eleven Wireless, Fingi, Guestware, IBM Corporation, Newmarket International, NEC Corporation, Oracle, PAR Springer-Miller Systems, Professional Accounting Solutions, Saflok, SkyTouch Technology, Sonifi Solutions, Systems Design & Development, TS&C and Xenia Hospitality Advisors.


source: HTNG

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