“From an experience standpoint, we try and create experiences that are extraordinarily unique so that we have a competitive advantage against the other people they are looking at,” said Jeff McIntyre, partner at Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, an operator of independent, upscale resorts and urban hotels. “There are things you can do for the group as a whole that might hit their happy button,” he said. “We can put together things that nobody else on the planet can. When you can scuba dive in a crater and then later that day be skiing and later that day be golfing, and we can package that in a unique way that's tailored to your group, that's pretty powerful.” And the request-for-proposal process has become impersonal. Meeting planners “are in a hurry and there are so many hotels to choose from,” she said, adding that planners want rates and dates before considering a hotel. Get the full story at Hotel News Now