ConventionSouth

DEC 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 52 The AWARDS Issue! marketing at the Fairmont New Orleans from 1994 to 2000. After holding high-level sales positions in St. Louis, Mo. and Biloxi, Miss. for a few years, he returned to New Orleans in 2002 to take the position of area director of marketing at the Royal Sonesta and from 2008 to 2010, he was director of marketing and sales at the Roosevelt New Orleans. While building his career, Wilson was also very involved in the community, one of the at- tributes that the Silver Plume Awards consider important. In addition to being a past-president of the French Quarter Business Association, he is also a past-president of the Friends of the Vieux Carré Commission, a former Board Member of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and a past Chair of the New Orle- ans Convention & Visitors Bureau's Tourism Committee. Marc Becker, area director of marketing and sales development at The New Orleans Hotel Collection, offered high praise for Wilson: "As the consummate marketing professional, Mark Wilson has customer service ingrained into his very being," Becker said. "He long ago learned that creating the best possible meeting environ- ment in advance is the best way to avoid any complaints, and he has carefully cultivated this philosophy at the Bourbon Orleans of the New Orleans Hotel Collection and with every level of staff. The service team scarcely knows the word 'no.'" Becker also stated: "Mark is personally in- volved in the preparations for any site inspec- tion, and is there when the client arrives. He knows what business is coming to the hotel, and is involved in the research that pinpoints the key issues of a meeting, in order that he can communicate the importance to staff. Every morning, a detailed events schedule is re- viewed in Mark's office with all team mem- bers, long before the meeting planner arises to a creole breakfast." Becker further pointed out that "Mark is passionate about hospitality, the guest expe- rience and the experience each associate has at work. He encouraged the 'Battle of the Bulge,' where healthy lunches, taking the stairs and afternoon stretching is promoted. He believes in promoting from within and encourages employees to cross train in other departments to see if it is something the em- ployee is truly interested in. ED WALLS General Manager, Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, Fla. 39 Years In The Business A Leading Hospitality Executive During the Hos- pitality Sales and Marketing Associa- tion International's (HSMAI) South Florida Hospitality Awards Gala in early November, Ed Walls, general man- ager of the Diplomat Beach Resort, received the 2017 South Florida Hospitality Award for Gen- eral Manager of the Year. The awards gala celebrated South Florida's top hospitality executives and also included awards for Sales & Marketing Professional of the Year and Revenue Manager of the Year. In addition, William D. Talbert III was honored as Hospital- ity Legend of the Year. The gala also hosted a silent auction where proceeds would benefit the HSMAI South Florida Dr. Peter Ricci Scholar- ship. Walls, who has been the Diplomat's general manager for more than six years, has served in several capacities over his 39 years in the hospi- tality industry. His experience includes stints as director of operations, general manager and area managing director for several companies, includ- ing Boykin Management, Arden Hotels, Star- wood Hotels & Resorts and most recently Hilton. Additionally, he is very involved in the com- munity and is an active participant in various local organizations. He serves on the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the Art & Culture Center of Hollywood Board of Directors, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Board of Directors, the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Memorial Foundation Board of Directors, is a member of the Tourist Development Council and is also involved in several local Broward charities. Among Wall's recent challenges has been working with staff and clients through a $100 million renovation at the Diplomat Beach Re- sort, a major transformation project that was completed in April and involved newly designed guest rooms, 26 new poolside cabanas, a re- imagined sleek and open-designed lobby, and 10 culinary concepts – two of which are helmed by Celebrity Chefs Michael Schulson (award-win- ning Monkitail) and Geoffrey Zakarian (Point Royal). In recent years, the Diplomat Beach Resort, part of Hilton's Curio Collection, has received a number of meeting and hospitality industry acco- lades. The AAA Four-Diamond resort was voted a Top Florida Resort by Conde Nast Traveler readers in 2016 and received top honors from Tri- pAdvisor and Orbitz, along with being named a top 100 Meeting Hotel in the US 2016 by Cvent. Along with 1,000 guest rooms, the resort offers more than 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space for groups of up to 5,000 participants. Onsite amenities include a Diplomat Beach Resort Spa

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