by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | February 26, 2018

Cheryl-Anne SturkenSweden's Gothia TowersWhen earlier this month a press release popped up in my email announcing that Associated Luxury Hotels International had added yet another hotel to its Convention Collection, my curiosity was piqued. While I certainly know about ALHI, a global sales organization dedicated to the meeting and incentive marketplace with more than 250 hotel, resort, cruise ship and global DMC members worldwide, I had never heard of this particular collection of meeting properties.

A call to Mark Sergot, ALHI's chief sales officer at the company's Orlando headquarters, filled me in on some major changes the company made in 2017, which included the midyear renaming of its ALHI Big Box Solutions as the ALHI Convention Collection of 30 hotels. Talk about a smart branding move — after all, who wants to stay in a "big box" when they can stay in a hotel that's so distinctive it's part of a "collection"?

The newest Convention Collection addition, the 1,200-room Gothia Towers in Gothenburg, Sweden, above, is a three-tower hotel complex that includes the 53-room Upper House on the top floors of its second tower featuring its own full-service spa and fine-dining restaurant, Upper House Dining. The entire hotel offers 60 meeting rooms, for close to 442,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and five restaurants. "It's an outstanding choice for large conventions, but also fantastic for smaller meetings," said Sergot.

For a better perspective on ALHI's push into major meeting properties, I further chatted with Sergot about this special collection of hotels.

What are a hotel's qualifiers for becoming a member of the Convention Collection?
In addition to featuring 500 or more guest rooms and/or suites, hotels must have at least 50,000 square feet of meeting space. All of the members in this collection are luxury or upscale and offer at least one ballroom of 20,000 square feet or more.

How are your marketing the Convention Collection?
It's on the homepage of our AHLI website. Planners can quickly and easily search for the many available options by selecting "Convention Collection" in the search bar near the top of the home page. You also can quickly narrow the search to suit your meeting's specific needs — for instance, by the number of guest rooms, amount of meeting space, city, state and/or country.

The hotels also are showcased in AHLI's 2018 Global Meeting Guide, which is a very useful 228-page meeting planner resource.

How many clients book multiple events across the Convention Collection?
Each year the number of clients booking across the collection varies. We specifically developed this category for customers who book large annual programs and want to utilize independent brands and hotels. We have many customers who will book an East-West rotation.

For planners who might not know about the Convention Collection, what do you think would surprise them to learn?

The diversity of hotel products and locations. Many of our customers are now extending programs into European markets and are struggling to find large meeting hotels. Our outstanding worldwide portfolio of luxury meeting, as well as incentive-focused, hotel and resorts enable them to quickly identify options.

Also, we exclusively represent Kempinski for North American customers. Their portfolio of 76 hotels around the world are exceptional options for luxury meetings and events. These treasured properties are located across Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.