Meeting Planner View Atlantic City

So Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City

Upon arrival last weekend, I was very impressed with the transformation that has taken place there. No longer is it just pretending to be a rich man in a poor man’s shirt.

The aurora is truly rising behind this solid meetings destination. With the recent opening of the Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in the marina district, this is now one of the largest and nicest meetings spaces on the Atlantic seaboard, just over the Jersey state line. Harrah’s offers over 2500 newly renovated sleeping rooms and two stacked 50,000 square foot ballrooms, each breaking into 30 sections. The pre-function space in the conference center was huge, each level had over 25,000 square feet outside the ballroom. They also had outdoor terraces with amazing bay and ocean views. The flexibility of their meeting space was unsurpassed and impressive.



Prefunction space at the Waterfront Conference Center
One of the sections of the flexible ballrooms at the Waterfront Conference Center


…Sleeping at the beach all night.
The sleeping rooms were divided up into several towers, all have recently been remodeled or are brand new. The vast majority of the rooms have great water views. The elevators were very fast and efficient, something that is often forgotten at a hotel of this size. All the rooms I saw were incredibly nice, with spacious separate tub and shower, with exceptional lighting and counter space. Everything you need to put your makeup on and fix your hair up pretty. The beds were plush and the internet was fast, not much else you need to have an enjoyable stay.

Sleeping room at Harrah’s

…I ain’t here on business, I’m only here for fun.
One of my favorite features at Harrah’s was the massive indoor pool that they turn into a concert venue at night. This is a perfect reception space for up to 400 people. The complex has dozens of restaurants at all price points, ranging from high end steak houses to grab a slice pizza joints. Overall, I found the food to be really good, high quality, and it was not overpriced. Several venues did live music at night, adding to the energy of the hotel. The casino was huge, but not all that noisy. They also have a large performance theater that seats 1200, this can also be used for private events or general sessions should the need arise. Harrah’s offers a very unique offering, a large Viking cooking school. This gives people the opportunity to cook their own meal and learn from professional chefs, then eat what they made in a back room with wine parings. It looked like a lot of fun, this type of experiential activity is really popular right now.


Indoor pool at Harrah’s
Viking Cooking School inside of Harrah’s

…Rich man wanna be king
Over in the center of the boardwalk is Caesars Palace, an 1100 room hotel. This hotel is smack in the center of the action. This is a miniature version of the iconic hotel in Las Vegas. They have 28,000 square feet of meeting space, highlighted by a 17,000 square foot ballroom. The hotel has some of the best restaurants on the boardwalk, Morton’s, Nero’s Italian, Phillips Seafood, and Gordon Ramsey’s Pub and Grill. This is a truly great hotel for groups of 250-300. The rooms were very upscale and large, all with nice water views.


Sleeping room at Caesars Palace

…Running off down the boardwalk
Next to Caesars, is Ballys, a 1200 room hotel. Ballys is a really nice option for groups more on a budget than Caesars or Harrah’s, but still a nice product. The 80,000 square foot meeting space is all on one level, making it very convenient. They also offer the largest casino floor in Atlantic City, and also have a number of restaurants at all price points. Both Bally’s and Caesars are right across from a massive outlet mall. The prices and selection were outstanding here, I am not a shopping fan, but this was one of the best outlet malls I have ever been to.


Sleeping room at Bally’s
Some of the meeting space at Bally’s

…Never gave no thought to landing.
The Atlantic City airport has very limited service, right now only Spirit flies in there. The Philadelphia airport is about an hour away, giving you a ton of flight options. This time from the airport should not be a huge impairment to booking there, as it is often an hour or more to get to the main downtown hotels in cities like Chicago, LA, New York, Houston, and plenty of other cities. As an added convenience, one-third of the US population is within one tank of gas to get to Atlantic City, tearing down the highway like a big old dinosaur. So Mary, climb in…We’re pulling out of here to win.

…Cant start a fire without a spark.
For many people, the first thing that they think of when entering a casino is the amount of smoke that is used to be omnipresent. The filtration systems that casinos have installed recently has changed this reality. I spent extensive time at three large casinos and never once smelled smoke in any public area. The meetings spaces are all non- smoking, as are the restaurants. In years past, it was impossible to enter a casino without smelling like an ashtray, but these are better days shining through now, making this a non-issue in most casinos.

I was impressed by the transformation that the city and the hotels that I visited has undergone. It is a city I would enjoy going back to, and one I can see bringing groups of all sizes to in the future. There is still a lot of value to be found here, especially for groups booking during the week. It has all of the amenities that my groups are looking for, and is perfect for those groups that has a big driving contingent and those looking at the Northeast.

I will say it again, Meet me tonight in Atlantic City.

All photos were taken by Timothy Arnold, May 2018. Most quotes shamelessly stolen from the immortal Bruce Springsteen.
**Guest Written by Timothy Arnold, CMP, CMM – Regional Vice President of HPN Global


Timothy Arnold, CMP, CMM
Regional Vice President
Hospitality Performance Network – HPN Global

972-624-1144 Phone
http://www.linkedin.com/in/timothyarnoldhpn
tarnold@hpnglobal.com

Meet Haley – HPN Graduating Intern from ASU

The past few months I had the pleasure of being an Intern at HPN Global and work with several teams within the company. Before I begin reflecting on my experience, I want to share that I was the first intern HPN has ever taken on. HPN and I both took a leap of faith with this internship. My first day at HPN was in December and I was nervous about joining an office with forty people. I did not know what to expect. Are people going to introduce themselves to me? Do people know who I am? Am I ready to work full-time for a company I was recently introduced to?

Although all these thoughts ran through my head, my first day went great! I was introduced to everyone that I would be working with, with a welcoming, “Hello” and “Can’t wait for you to be a part of our team”. For the first few weeks of my internship I worked as the Office Administrator, where I greeted everyone as they walked through the door. I also sent and delivered mail for the office, and helped with any tasks that need to be completed. Starting off as the Office Administrator I thought my degree was not being used to its fullest potential. But I quickly realized first impressions mean everything in the hospitality industry and that everyone needs to start somewhere.

After returning from Christmas break, I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Meeting Services team. I participated in weekly meetings where past and future programs were discussed. This department is constantly on the move and busy. Because of that, some of the tasks given to me were challenging. However, I learned quickly that I had to be assertive and make myself available on daily basis for the team. I was given the responsibility of creating the monthly Meeting Services Newsletter, designing several proposal templates, and updating the database.

Towards the end of my internship, I joined the Sourcing Team. Being a part of this team, I saw everything from the Associate’s Request for Proposal, hotel selection, to the client’s final decision. Taking a role in this department was not only challenging but required me to step out of my comfort zone. I was given the responsibility to call associates and hotels, which, at first, was extremely intimidating to me. However, through practice and great training by the Sourcing Team, I gained the confidence to make the difficult calls and make sure deadlines were met. As training came to an end, I was asked to look over RFP’s, select appropriate hotels, follow up with hotels, and notify the associate once all hotels returned the bid.

In addition to helping with the Site Selection process, I was given the opportunity to visit several hotels throughout the Phoenix Area. This allowed me to see how each Hotel Brand and Property differ, as well as, the different parts of the Hospitality Industry.

HPN welcomed me with open arms and I truly felt a part of the team when I was with them. From weekly meetings to visiting hotels and social gatherings after work, I learned that HPN is all about “Family First” and that “Relationships Matter”. My role with the Sourcing Team, and more importantly, taking my Internship with HPN has allowed me to gain confidence. I am forever grateful for the experience. Moving forward, I will not be afraid to introduce myself to an unfamiliar face, take on new and challenging tasks, be assertive and asks for more. I truly love the Hospitality Industry.

Connect with Haley on Linkedin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/haley-carty-418834a8/

Chicago Hotel Sales and Marketing Rockstar Joins HPN Global

HPN Global has brought in one of Chicago’s and the hospitality industries most respected Sales & Marketing leaders Roderick A. Jao (pronounced “How”) to the team. Jao brings over 25 years of experience to HPN and will play a key role in expanding new business to the portfolio.

Prior to joining HPN, Jao was fortunate to hold Director positions within other amazing Four and Five Diamond Chicago-based hotels with Hyatt, Wyndham Grand, Omni, Elysian (now Waldorf Astoria), The James, The Affinia, The Sutton Place, The Sheraton Hotel and Towers, where he oversaw and led teams in sales, catering, reservations and banquets.

Our industry is all about partnerships and how a person/organization can give back to the community leads to his/her legacy. Throughout his career, Jao was able to build partnerships that are still engraved in the organizations he was involved with like ABC 7, Navy Pier, Northwestern University / Hospital to name a few. However, the long standing agreement with Lurie’s Children’s Hospital where his team donated as well as designed 9 sleep suites for families to stay close to their child needing extended healthcare is bar none one of his most influential and sustainable projects he was involved with.

Jao was blown away as one of the core values for HPN Global is “Family First.” Jao is the fourth of nine children. His siblings have provided their parents with 16 grandchildren and counting. In 1999, Roderick married Melissa and they are blessed with two children (Cassie 18 and Xander 16).

Roderick A. Jao

Vice President, Global Accounts

Hospitality Performance Network Global

690 Cole Drive

South Elgin, IL 60177

Phone: 312.852.9573

HPN Global adds Southern California Area Sales Rockstar to the team

Edgardo has over 20 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry. Originally from San Jose, Costa Rica, Edgardo attended Costa Rica’s National University before relocating in 2001 to San Diego, CA where he started in the hospitality industry at the Grand Colonial Hotel as a Front Desk Agent. Edgardo held several positions in operations for over 6 years including Assistant Director of Rooms at the Doubletree Golf Resort in San Diego, CA. With an entrepreneurial mindset, Edgardo opened and operated a chain of tanning salons in the San Diego market for a little over 3 years.

In 2008 Edgardo continued in the Hospitality industry, this time in Sales where he held several positions in the San Diego and Los Angeles markets in the capacity of, Corporate Sales Manager, Associate Director of Sales, Director of Sales & Marketing to his most recent position as Area Sales Leader for Marriott Burbank and Seattle Airport, handling HPN Global Network.

Edgardo’s biggest treasures, Savannah Ysabella (8) and Luka Brayden (5) are everything to him. Some of the activities he enjoys are riding his motorcycle, playing soccer, golfing and going to the beach.

Edgardo is fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese. Edgardo and his family currently reside in Valencia, CA but will be relocating to San Diego within the next few months to get back to where the dream started 17 years ago.

Edgardo Barrantes

Vice President Global Accounts

ebarrantes@hpnglobal.com | 858.382.4636

Hospitality Performance Network Global

Nick Elardo is excited about his new Career with HPN Global

Nick began his career with Wyndham hotels in 1993 through 1998 where he worked in Chandler, AZ, Pittsburgh, PA and Los Angeles, CA. Nick also worked for Promus Corp, prior to being acquired by Hilton as Director of Sales for a Homewood Suites property in the Biltmore area of Phoenix.

Nick began working for Hyatt Hotels in 2001 in Monterey, CA then came back to the Valley in 2003 where he spent the next 11 years as a Senior Sales Manager handling the Washington DC/Assn market at Hyatt Regency Phoenix. Nick also enjoyed a Senior Sales position with Sheraton Grand in downtown Phoenix from 2014-2016.

Nick is an avid mountain-biker, motorcyclist and muscle-car enthusiast and he volunteers as a guitar instructor at Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center. Nick is also an animal lover and has a beautiful German Shepherd named Mika.

Favorite food: Cajun and Italian.

Favorite pro team: Steelers!

Nick Elardo

Global Account Director

Hospitality Performance Network Global

13825 N. Northsight Blvd #201

Scottsdale, AZ

Phone: 602.639.1463

Fax: 623-328-9252

Michael Solis Joins HPN Global

20 Year Hotel Sale Pro from Chicago Joins Growing HPN Global

Michael Solis Joins HPN Global

Michael joins the HPN Global team with more than 20 years of sales hospitality experience most recently with Wyndham Hotel Group where he served as a Director, Global Sales – Group. He handled the Association and Midwest Corporate markets for the hotel portfolio. Prior to Wyndham, Michael was Director of Sales & Marketing for various independent and branded hotels in downtown Chicago including The Talbott Hotel, The Silversmith Hotel and Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown. He also held senior sales positions at the Kinzie Hotel (formerly Amalfi Hotel Chicago) and Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel.

He has received multiple accolades in his career such as Sales Director of the Year for First Hospitality Group in 2008 and Sales & Marketing Employee of the Year recognized by Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association in 2004. Based in suburban Chicago, Michael spends most of his time with his wife Margarita and their 3 kids Dylan, Xavier and Danielle. Michael holds a B.A. in Psychology from North Park University – Chicago, IL

Michael D. Solis

Vice President, Global Accounts

Hospitality Performance Network Global

P.O. Box 4953

Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

Direct: 847-243-4936

29 Year Marriott Associate Joins HPN Global

Born in White Plains, New York to a German culinary family, Michael moved to Germany when he was 6 years old. His education, as well as military service, took place in Hamburg, Germany.

Michael began working in his parent’s restaurants at a young age and after high school graduation, he served a 2.5-year apprenticeship with Canadian Pacific Hotels in Hamburg, followed by an 18-month military service in the German Army. After this he started his hospitality career at the Four Season’s Hotel in Hamburg in food and beverage, soon realizing that his passion was in the rooms division. This is when a 29-year run with Marriott International started.

Michael joined the Hamburg Marriott hotel front office team and then transferred to the Marriott Orlando World Center where he started in night audit and then moved back to the front desk. His next step was manager on duty for Marriott’s International Drive property in Orlando. His next transfer took him to the Munich Marriott where he oversaw the front office, reservations and then was promoted to the sales department as Director of Group Sales.
Michael also assisted with the opening of the Bremen Marriott Hotel and the Ramada Munich Airport.

During his time in Munich, Michael graduated from the American Hotel and Motel Association with a diploma in Hotel Management. From there he moved to the west coast of the US where he worked at the Monterey Marriott in Group Sales. Michael’s next promotion took him to the pre-opening sales office for Grande Lakes Orlando, where he was a Senior Account Executive handling both the 1000 room JW Marriott and 582 room Ritz-Carlton hotels. His broad market experience included Florida’s State Association as well as West Coast Corporate and Association accounts. It was at Grande Lakes when Michael began handling the HPN Account as the single point of contact.

After a decade at Grande Lakes, he joined Starwood and the sales team of the 1500 room Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort where he also worked West Coast Corporate and Association accounts as well as the Midwest market. In April 2018 Michael retired from Marriott and joined the HPN Global team.
Michael has been married to his wife Sharon since 1994. Michael and Sharon reside in Orlando, FL where they raised their two daughters, Ashley, 22 and Evelyn, 20.

Michael Duve

Global Accounts Director

Hospitality Performance Network Global

mduve@hpnglobal.com

Top Nashville Hospitality Executive Joins HPN Global

Sarah Durai comes to us from JRK Hotel Group where she held the title of Director of Sports and Entertainment Sales. She primarily sold for the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown, but also booked for the Oceana in Santa Monica, The Roger in New York, and the Holiday Inn Express in Downtown Nashville.

Sarah is a Nashville native and has been in the hospitality industry for the last 10 years. She started her career at Tennessee’s only 5-Star, 5-Diamond property, The Hermitage Hotel where she was able to strengthen her art of true southern hospitality. Sarah loves the industry that she is in and states that her favorite part about her career is the relationships that she gets to make with people from all over the world and being able to leave them with a positive, lasting impression.

Sarah studied Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis, and is currently a member of Meeting Professionals International. Sarah’s passions outside of work include traveling, cheering on the Predators with the rest of Smashville, Fantasy Football and Hockey, Sunday football (especially when her Chargers are playing), dancing, poker nights, attending concerts and listening to live music, and spending time in her wonderful city with family and friends.

Sarah was recently named Top 100 Leading Persons in Hospitality for the city of Nashville, and is so excited to start her new adventure with HPN Global. Sarah was our SPC for almost 5 years, so feels that HPN is already family to her. She states Relationships Matter, and there is no other company she would rather be with!

Sarah Durai

Global Accounts Director

Hospitality Performance Network Global

sdurai@hpnglobal.com

Phone: 615.584.7296

30 Year Hospitality Pro Joins HPN Global

Patty Gannon has over 30 years of experience in the travel industry. She studied at Grand Valley State University and earned a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

In 1988 Patty joined Norwegian Cruise Line as a member of their Cruise Staff and travelled the world entertaining thousands of passengers weekly. When she finally jumped ship., she furthered her career at the Walt Disney World Resorts where she successfully completed Disney’s highly acclaimed management program and worked the front of the house, back of the house and ultimately made her way into sales.

In 1998, Patty started work in the Destination Management world, where she successfully sold and managed hundreds of programs in Florida and most recently Las Vegas. As a longtime partner to HPN the only natural progression in her career would be to take the plunge and join the team which happened on March 1st.

Outside of work you can find Patty in dance class, hanging with her dog Cappy or sipping cocktails poolside with friends! Once she makes her millions her plan is to buy a small island, make a home for her family and a sanctuary for stray animals where they will all live happily ever after.

Patty Gannon

Vice President, Global Accounts

Hospitality Performance Network Global

Phone: 480.998.9770

Pgannon@hpnglobal.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pattybake/

HPN Global Sweet 16

In celebration of HPN Global’s 16th year in business, and my 16th anniversary with the company, I’m sharing 16 thoughts of gratitude and my experience from watching the development and growth of this awesome company.

1. I’m not here by accident. I truly believe the universe lined up perfectly 16 years ago, and connected me with Bill Kilburg, which turned into my role & involvement with HPN. I was and continue to be right where I am supposed to be.

2. I’ve seen how the HPN Global opportunity can change lives. In the past 16 years, I’ve seen people take a leap of faith with their fingers crossed, a dedicated work ethic, and dive head first into entrepreneurialism. They have forever changed their lives and that of their families by way of prosperous incomes, quality time with the people that matter most, and control over their own schedules.

3. While at HPN, I turned 21 (which I’m sure you can imagine is quite the experience!), got married, and started the incredible journey of motherhood. I can’t imagine raising my son under other circumstances where family truly comes first. Also, by my definition, I have been able to successfully tackle being a dedicated mom who is there for her son, and a passionate professional. John (my son) has always been welcome in the office and a fun distraction for many, especially during the early years. We love HPN babies and kids ☺ This is a huge example of the kind of company culture Bill & Joe set out for 16 years ago.

4. When you love what you do, it rapidly ceases to be work. So many people spend their entire life lacking motivation or passion for what they do. Enjoying what I do is extremely important for me, and it also sets the example I want for my son. Work / Life Balance does exist. If you’re not experiencing this, I challenge you to find it.

5. I have witnessed incredible examples and influence of some of the top industry professionals, specifically within our leadership team at HPN Global. This group of people has influenced the person and professional I am today. I will forever be grateful. These are brilliant, compassionate, innovative people who don’t settle for status quo. I am beyond proud to be a part of this team.

6. Change. Innovation. Open mindedness. These are some of the characteristics that have made HPN Global so successful. We seek to find different ways to approach our business.

7. Leadership. What does it mean to be a leader? It’s not a title. Plenty of people have important titles that aren’t leaders. For me, it has meant taking an opportunity and making it my own. Before I knew it, I was providing counsel, guidance, direction, or just a listening ear to our team members. Mentoring others is an important piece of what I’ve experienced. The world I envision is a world where people help each other to advance, grow, and then turn around and help the next person.

8. I am delightfully included in this year’s 100 Women Who Inspire Us, by Smart Meetings. These are 100 truly amazing women, and I’m proud to be in their company.

9. Networking & Connections! Two extremely powerful words. Working for HPN Global has allowed me to develop and refine my own personal networking style, and understand just how important this skill is. Connections can open doors you didn’t know existed.

When you have an opportunity to take a relationship to the next level, and really connect with someone, that’s my favorite part. I love the impact we can have on people (and vise versa). People often forget that every time they interact with someone, they’re making an impact on that person. My goal is to have a positive impact with everyone I interact with.

10. HPN has taken me to some of the most amazing destinations. I’m literally traveling the world, and staying in some of the top hotels & resorts along the way. One of my favorite trips each year is our President’s Club Incentive. We award out top producers with an amazing trip. The destination changes annually, and it’s guaranteed to delight. I spend almost a week connecting with the top producers for HPN Global. Every year, the winners are different, and it’s extremely competitive. It’s a ton of fun getting to know them & their spouses better on more personal level. On that note, my husband has been able to join me on these awesome adventures. Sometimes, I think my HPN peeps enjoy his company more than mine (I’m talking to you, Linscott!).

11. It takes a village – for everything!

I / we couldn’t be where we are today without the amazing individuals that support us. We’re talking everything from talented people who support the HPN Global operation, my family who helps take care of my son when I travel, and my inner circle who provides amazing feedback and counsel for me personally and professionally.

12. Through our travels, I have been exposed to some of the most amazing food & wine. I’ve really come to enjoy this aspect of the hospitality industry. I have truly been spoiled and have loved every minute of it. Enjoying great food & wine is a big part of who I am.

13. What incredible experiences I’ve had in the past 16 years. I’ve done some amazing things that I may not have done on my own: watching an insane lightning storm in the Bahamas, ziplining in Costa Rica, relaxing in the turquois water in the Dominican Republic, a gorgeous waterfall hike in Maui, hanging on a private island in Puerto Rico, to name a few. Wow!!

14. I would be remiss not to mention the quality of education and motivational content we’re exposed to constantly – we’re talking the most incredible speaker experiences available in the market. Really impactful, change your life – if you allow it – content.

15. The opportunities available in this industry are endless. It only takes the right people paying attention at the right time to our ever-evolving world. Through this lens, HPN Global is leading the path for enhanced client safety through Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Crisis Management. This partnership is made possible by HPN teaming up with my very own John Whitney via Emergency Concierge International to provide our clients the highest level of evolutionary service.

16. Finally, Relationships Matter! It’s the foundation on which on our company was built, and I whole heartedly drink this Kool Aid daily. I see this not only in my professional world, but personal world as well. People need people, we are tribal by nature.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Desi Whitney
Senior VP, Sourcing & Industry Relations
HPN Global
13825 N Northsight Blvd., Suite 201
Scottsdale AZ, 85260
Phone: 480.998.9770 Ext 236
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