September 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   HOTEL COMPANY UNVEILS NEW MEETINGS PROGRAM AT 81 PROPERTIES

Meetings by Starwood

Salt Lake City: Mountains vs. moguls might mean an OIA exodus.
Salt Lake City: Mountains vs. moguls might mean an OIA exodus. After two years of research and six months of testing, White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts officially rolls out Starwood Meetings on Oct. 1, a standardized event services program for its 81 largest meeting hotels.

Following are key elements of the program.

  • Forms have been standardized based on the ideas put forth by the Accepted Practices Exchange, the Convention Industry Council’s initiative to create accepted practices for meeting planning. These include a uniform banquet event order that can be e-mailed, a standardized postconvention report and universal use of Meeting Matrix software to arrange room setups.
  • Hotel staff is being shuffled, based on planner input. The general manager and the director of sales will take a more active role in meetings, and a convention services staff member with decision-making power will be available at all times.
  • A StarMeeting Concierge will have the sole purpose of roaming the floor and fixing minor problems, such as a sweltering meeting room or a broken projector bulb. Convention services staff and planners will be able to communicate via walkie-talkie.
  • A website,, allows planners to search for the ideal hotel, examine meeting room layouts and submit requests for proposal.
  • Starwood Meetings is a major step for the chain, said Dave Scypinski, senior vice president of industry relations. “In some cases, these are not new concepts,” he admitted. “However, when you apply them consistently across a large company, that’s when you make the big change in perception with a customer.”

    Starwood expects to add more of its 740 worldwide hotels to the program this year.


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