by Allen J. Sheinman | January 01, 2011

Stacy Lucherini
Associated Luxury Hotels International That the high-end hotel market, like the rest of the hospitality industry, is recovering from the worst of the Great Recession is especially welcome news for Stacy Lucher­ini, Chicago-based regional vice president of Associated Luxury Hotels International (aka ALHI), a national sales organization representing more than 125 properties worldwide that have earned four- or five-diamond status from AAA. M&C recently chatted with Lucherini about the luxury segment and its appeal to planners.   

How is business these days? We've definitely seen a shift in the market where the pendulum is swinging back toward luxury. For example, we survey our member hotels every year, and 53 percent of the properties have more business on the books going into 2011 than they did a year ago. Another indicator is that a year ago, fully 100 percent of our planner clients felt it was a buyer's market, while now 64 percent see it that way.

Is the perception problem still an issue? Based on reporting from our members, I can tell you that perception is not a problem anymore. For one thing, luxury properties learned to provide more value to meeting planners, even as planners cut back on elements in the agenda that were deemed too frivolous. And I do believe hotels will continue to be more willing to work with planners than they were before the recession.

Where do you see rates going in the new year? They will go up, which means right now is a good time to book, while there are still deals out there.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family. I have an 11-year-old son who keeps me very busy. And I love to go boating on Lauderdale Lake in Wisconsin -- it's a beautiful body of water and so relaxing.      

On the Move

PlannersEli Gorin, CMP, has been hired as director of quality control at Miami-based ABTS Convention Services, where he will help develop operations strategies. Gorin formerly served as president of his own meetings management company, gMeetingsInc.

At Twinsburg, Ohio-based event management company Experi­ent, Andy Smith has been promoted to senior vice president, Experient Sales Network. Previously, Smith served as vice president of Experient's Inde­pendent Agent Channel.

Suppliers Anthony Amen­dolaAnthony Amen­dola has been appointed director of sales and marketing at the 212-room Tarrytown (N.Y.) Estate and Con­ference Center.

Based in New York City, Pia Carpenter has been named director of national accounts, Northeast, for the 398-room Inter­Continental San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Thom ConnorsAt the Cobo Center in Detroit, Thom Connors has been named general manager. Connors has long been associated with West Consho­hocken, Pa.-based venue management company SMG, which was recently chosen to manage the center.

Robert Flynn, vice president of strategic marketing at the Hartford, Conn.-based insurance company Travelers, has been elected to serve as chairman of the Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Salim Arkuch Haddad has been named director, sales and marketing, at both the 1,011-room Fairmont Acapulco (Mexico) Princess and the 229-room Fairmont Pierre Marques, also in Acapulco.

At the 500-room Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Andrew Hatton has been promoted to the position of director of sales.

Jennifer Hollen­kampJennifer Hollen­kamp has been promoted to director of marketing at the St. Louis Con­vention & Visitors Commission.

Visit Jacksonville (Fla.) has named Daniel O'Byrne as new president and CEO, replacing John Reyes, who resigned from the position last year to head the Monterey County (Calif.) Convention and Visitors Bureau.

George SharpGeorge Sharp has been hired as executive director of the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau in Washington.

At the 219-room Hamilton Park Hotel & Conference Center in Florham Park, N.J., Kasey Snyder has been appointed sales manager.

Herbert Spiegel
has rejoined the 215-room Chica Lodge & Spa on Islamorada in the Florida Keys as general manager, a post he held from 1988 to 2000.