* Marriott Hotels, Resorts and Suites recently named its first corporate director of convention and meeting services. He's Sam Bonfe, formerly the senior director of catering standards for Marriott International in Washington, DC. Still based in the nation's capital, Bonfe will direct recruiting, training, development, compensation, and motivation of conference and convention services staff for all Marriott brands. He will also coordinate standardization of, master billing, group resumes, and post-convention reports across properties.
* With Juergen Bartels in the saddle, Westin is growing by leaps and bounds. Shortly after being named CEO of Westin Hotels & Resorts last May, Bartels announced his plan to add one hotel a month to the chain over five years. Instead, he's added nearly two hotels per month, through acquisitions or development. Among the hotels coming soon: The Westin Banyan Tree in Bangkok, The Westin Dragonara Resort in Malta, and The Westin Resort, Giza in Egypt.
* The Ramada Meeting Pledge guarantees you'll get the service you expect for your meeting or receive agreed-upon compensation. The pledge states, for example, "Your audiovisual equipment, contracted by you, will be present and in good working order or you will not be charged for the equipment in question, plus a credit of the meeting room charge or $50, whichever is greater, will be given." For a copy of the entire pledge plus a free copy of Ramada's Meeting Planner Workbook, send a request by fax to (201) 428-0322.
* Sheraton targets small meetings. Customers booking meetings from ten to 100 rooms now can work with dedicated small-meetings staff with a guaranteed turnaround time of 24 hours. Call the Small Meeting Group Sales Office in Chicago at (800) 500-1282 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. central time, weekdays.
Meet the meeting trend of the mid-1990s-the cigar. Stogies are burning up the after-dinner circuit these days with a new twist. More and more women are puffing their way onto the smoky patios of America's meeting places, joining the men with their Macanudos and Upmanns. Our take on the trend: Bring back the Electric Slide.