When Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. merged, the largest hotel company in the world was born. Marriott isn’t the only company consolidating. InterContinental Hotels Group purchased Six Senses, Hyatt Hotels Corporation acquired Two Roads Hospitality, amongst others.
With all these mega-mergers taking place in the hospitality space, where does that leave independent hotels and resorts? That was the question that spurred Danielle Bishop to create HB Hospitality, a community of independent luxury resorts and hotels and qualified meeting professionals in 2011. Since then, her mission has been to “Connect Exceptional People to Extraordinary Experiences.”
Bishop knows the industry well as she has more than a decade of experience working with resorts including The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA, Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA.
What makes HB Hospitality unique is its transparency. “Our hotels pay us to be part of our community and to come to our events, and that is it. There is no financial compensation when connections are made,” explains Bishop.
At a recent HB Hospitality Showcase held at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi in New York, Lisa Madden, chief commercial officer, Antares Capital, commented that HB Hospitality has made her job easier as every hotelier that is part of the network knows who she is, the nuances of her company, and the type of meetings she arranges. Not only does being a member save her time, but it has spurred ideas for her events that have made her look like a “rock star,” she said.
HB Hospitality has declared that 2020 will be its year of the planner with hopes of growing its meeting planner members from 3,500 to 5,000. Each planner is stringently vetted to be accepted into the network.
Its online community, “The Hive,” will also be adding a section devoted just to planners where private discussions about industry best practices and vendor reviews occur. There is also a “Success Spotlight,” where planners share details of recent meetings and events.
Bishop describes The Hive as LinkedIn meets Travelocity. On it is a tool called, Request for Conversation, or RFC. “It’s about getting them on the phone, not filling out a form,” says Bishop. The planner goes into The Hive and blocks several times that work for them to have a conversation, and the hotelier then confirms.
Genevieve Dumont, senior sales manager, Windsor Court Hotel, and one of HB Hospitality’s partners explains, “For smaller independent properties like ours, we didn’t have a platform except for what Danielle has created. HB makes us look really good.”
HB Hospitality is focused on networking and creating connections. Need help in fostering better interactions? Click here for five tips and here for help in finding your networking voice. For more information on HB Hospitality, click here.