Q&A: John Iannini of Melia Hotels International Talks Innovation

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John-Iannini-Melia-InternationalWe spoke with John Iannini, CIS, CTC and VP of Meetings & Events America, Melia Hotels International, on how Melia is helping to facilitate innovative meetings, incentives and events. Here’s what he had to say.

Prevue: In what ways has technology been woven creatively into meetings and incentives?

Iannini: Millennials thrive on technology and meetings, incentives and event apps are extremely popular. These apps offer instant communication within the group for on-site agenda, messaging to attendees, surveys and downloadable presentations. Hotels need to be keenly aware that their IT infrastructure will be in high demand during this time and plan accordingly. This is a routine question we now have for all planners as they source our hotel, so we can be prepared in advance for high usage.

Many companies now use technology to communicate incentive contest results to their teams on a monthly basis. The event “dashboard” provides all attendees with quick reference as to dollars earned or percent achieved toward their goal. This information is commonly displayed in a graph format.

Social media posts (pictures and videos) are also now common for meeting planners when they visit properties and complete their site inspection. One firm has developed an extensive mobile app (valid on tablet or smartphone) for their associates to document all details of the hotel site visit. It includes all the categories of room products, definition of the meeting space, types of dining options and on site activities. These reports can later be downloaded in a presentation format for distribution to their end user clients.

How are you connecting groups to host destinations in meaningful ways?

Recently, I have seen a very creative way to showcase a Mexico destination. Our hotel has created a mariachi flash mob scenario providing a musical experience that builds the hotel staff members as the talent. These cast members are being added with each verse of the song. At the end of the 10 versus is a complete musical ensemble to entertain any audience, whether it’s casual in a bar or restaurant, or for a group at their opening session.

Have you offered any team building experiences that showcased local heritage and traditions?

We offer life-enriching classes such as wine and tequila tasting sessions held by our skilled sommeliers, cuisine classes on how to make sushi by the chefs of our Asian cuisine restaurant and classes on guacamole making, the typical Mexican dish. This last one creates amazing team building as groups select their own ingredients in the kitchen and celebrity chefs judge the creations that are presented.

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