by Terence Baker | June 01, 2006

Mike MasonCorporations are picking up
on the association mode of meeting...”

Mike Mason is senior vice president of sales for Nashville-based Gaylord Hotels. A resident of Kissimmee, Fla., Mason is responsible for selling all four Gaylord properties, including the Gaylord National in Prince George’s County, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., which will open in 2008.

How difficult is it to sell a nonexistent hotel? It was certainly more difficult when we had to pre-sell the Gaylord Palms, which opened in 2004. The company has learned that the best way to sell is to deliver excellent service and have happy, loyal clients.

Who’s booking the Gaylord National? We are getting business from both associations and corporations, some 547,000 room nights so far for the 1,500-room hotel. We find corporations are picking up on the association mode of meeting, where exhibits account for a very large percentage of the association’s income. Corporations are starting to fund their meetings this way, too, and they are asking us to provide very flexible space. They also tell us that they want their meetings to include networking opportunities, and this is where our huge atriums come into play, as people want to remain in them long after the day’s business is done.

What do you do in any spare time? I like to be with my family, mainly. I have four daughters, ages 3 to 14. I also enjoy photography. Recently I bought a Canon EOS 20D digital camera, which takes five shots a second -- very useful for filming my children’s swimming, softball and soccer games. I then later bore them all with home slide shows.