by Allen J. Sheinman | September 01, 2010

Andrea Kasnic is director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. In April she was named Hyatt Hotels Director of Sales of the Year, an award given to those who excel in more than 23 areas, including revenue management, work ethic and innovation. A graduate of Florida State University, Kasnic joined Hyatt in 1998 and has served as sales manager at several of the chain's properties.

How did it feel to be named Hyatt's Director of Sales of the Year at such a challenging time? It was awesome. I was very excited, but I look at it from a team perspective -- it was our team that really deserved the award. We went through a lot of challenges in 2009, and somehow we made the best of a bad situation.

What trends do you see in meetings? Lead times are definitely getting shorter, but what I notice most is that since the start of this year, groups are wanting to move forward and make decisions. This is a big change from last year. Planners are really striving to improve their meeting content and working closer with the hotel to make sure they have strong attendance. What's most important is that the trials of the past year or two have made us all become much more solid partners.

What do you love best about Chicago? The wonderful spring, summer and fall we have here all make winter worth it. This is just an amazing city to be in, there's so much to do. I love riding my bike along the waterfront, the street festivals -- it's beautiful, safe and clean, and our hotel is right in the center of it all.

On the Move

PlannersGraves promoted at metroConnections
David Graves has been promoted to president of metroConnections, a Minneapolis-based provider of conference, event and transportation services. Graves has been with the company since 1988, four years after its founding, when he left Marriott Corp. to work in the sales department; he subsequently advanced to become a partner/co-owner.

Hinda Incentives promotes Peer
Dave Peer has been promoted to executive vice president at Chicago-based Hinda Incentives. Peer previously served as vice president, client services, for the 40-year-old incentive firm, and earlier worked at Carlson Marketing Group.

Suppliers At Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va., Joe Barrow has been named senior conference sales manager for the Southeast region, and Michelle Lotts has been appointed conference sales manager for small meetings and the short-term and express markets.

The Omni Bedford Springs (Pa.) Resort & Spa has appointed Tim Bugas as director of sales and marketing.

Kenneth A. Kirsten
has been hired as director of sales for the Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa, A Wyndham Grand Resort,  in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, and Lori L. Alstrom has been hired as the property's sales manager for the northeast.

The Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Tourism Board has appointed Javier Esquivel Lizarraga as director.

Bill McMillan has been hired as senior director of sales for Visit Charlotte, the destination management organization for the North Carolina city.

Industry veteran Sandi Talley has been hired as managing director of national business development for Team San Jose, the California city's destination management organization.

Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired Roxanne Townsend as national accounts director.

Kris Williams has been named marketing director for the International Association of Assembly Managers, based in Coppell, Texas.