Unum's Lance Wieland and Tim Aube as the Wright Brothers? Marilyn Brumbaugh as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz? Is that Tom Joyal, Lutheran Brotherhood, doing a perfect imitation of the wisecracking, cigar-toting W.C. Fields?
Figuring out who was who helped make the Millennium Madness costume party, the final banquet at Hyatt's Insurance and Financial Services Roundtable held in August in Kauai, a huge success. Guests didn't know they'd be impersonating some of the most famous people of the 20th century before they arrived in Kauai. Having sent in their measurements beforehand, they were told to "bring black dress shoes" for the final banquet. It wasn't until the insurance execs arrived in their rooms the evening before that they knew the party's theme (New Year's Eve, 1999) and what they would be wearing to celebrate. Buffalo Breath, a costume rental company based in San Diego, flew in more than 100 quality costumes, representing celebrities and styles of dress from every decade of the 20th century.
The final banquet capped off a memorable weekend at the Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort and Spa for some of Hyatt's best customers--a fam trip, educational session, thank you, and incentive all rolled into one. It was the first time financial services was incorporated into the title of the roundtable, according to Marilyn Brumbaugh, director, national accounts, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, "which reflects the changing state of the insurance and financial services industry." She; Mary Rocereto, director, national accounts; and Chuck Floyd, senior vice president, sales, Hyatt Hotels Corp., were among the weekend hosts.
The serenity and beauty of the 602-room oceanfront Hyatt Regency Kauai, which cascades into the pristine Poipu Beach, proved the perfect backdrop for planners to learn about the company's developments, including an array of new services designed to make Hyatt more responsive to their needs (see box).
Hawaiian culture played a large part in the weekend: the opening session featured a Ho'olauna ceremony, in which a Hawaiian woman welcomed the group with a greeting of Ohana, the symbol for family.
Several breakout sessions on Saturday took planners on a trip to the hotel's prop department, where they tried their hands at theme decorating a banquet table with a range of budgets; to a food and wine tasting in the kitchens with Philip Kendall, vice president, food and beverage, Hyatt Hotels; and to a session on convention services. That afternoon, lunch (catered by Kendall and a staff of Hyatt executive chefs from around the country) was served in the middle of Allerton Gardens, a botanical garden where parts of Jurassic Park were filmed, in the heart of Hawaii's Garden Isle.
1) Meeting Concierges: 78 on-site event coordinators now work at Hyatt hotels, "designed to supplement the convention services managers, not replace them. They are entry-level, shadow the convention services manager, and are empowered to make decisions," according to Brian Comes, director of catering and convention services at the Hyatt Regency San Diego. The number of concierges in any given property depends on the size and budget of the hotel.
2) Standardized: If you haven't already noticed Hyatt's standardized contracts, you'll soon be seeing more of them.
3) National account credit references and forms: Hyatt's accounting department contacts clients to udpate their credit references once a year, which will be distributed to every Hyatt where you hold a meeting. The program starts in January 2000.
4) Standardized post-con reports: These will become standard corporate-wide, mandatory for sales personnel to fill out. Reports will be sent to planner, general manager, sales director/managers, and can be given to the competition, without the rates.
5) Internet: While the auction/Priceline Internet model "will not be good for service in the long run," says Peter Connolly, vice president and general counsel of Hyatt Hotels Corp., Hyatt believes strongly in the future of booking travel on the Internet. "In two years, we'll have our Envision booking software system, which our sales force now has, on planners' desktops." That system allows you to view space availability by date and property.