Posts

Q & A With Visit Phoenix

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  As the preferred housing provider for Visit Phoenix , Connections Housing recently had the chance to catch up with Lorne Edwards, Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and Services.   Visit Phoenix is the  non-profit organization that promotes the Greater Phoenix community to a global audience of travelers and books conventions into the Phoenix Convention Center and area hotels and resorts.   In this Q & A, Lorne shares the latest updates on new programs, safety protocols and other innovations from hotels, indoor and outdoor venues throughout the Greater Phoenix area. Q: In light of Covid-19, what new initiatives and/or programs have you launched to help travel pros feel comfortable booking their events in the Greater Phoenix Area? A: The Phoenix Convention Center, along with our greater community of hotel and hospitality partners, have implemented several key initiatives that we feel are key to inspiring confidence in planners considering Phoenix. For example, the Pho

The Mountains Were Calling. Clarion Events Answered With Successful Live Event

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 Q & A with Lisa Berry, Vice President, Clarion Events Gift & Souvenir Portfolio The Clarion Events Gift & Souvenir Portfolio successfully returned to face-to-face events last month w ith the 55th annual Smoky Mountain Gift Show – known as the nation’s oldest and most respected event for the resort, gift and souvenir industry.    We had the chance to talk with Lisa Berry, vice president for the Clarion Events Gift & Souvenir Portfolio, about the team’s commitment to creating a safe environment for the show’s buyers and exhibitors, as well as key takeaways and advice for planners looking ahead to their first live events.  (Pictured:  Lisa Berry (center right) and Christina Bell (center left), Smoky Mountain Gift Show Director, flanked by JK2 Apparel exhibitors.)  Many 2020 trade shows cancelled or pivoted to virtual formats for 2020. What led to Clarion’s decision to move forward with the live edition of the Smoky Mountain Gift Show? We were really driven by cust

From Our Table To Yours | Festive Holiday Recipes

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 Between all the Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings,  strategy sessions and conference calls while we've all been working from home, we've also been perfecting our holiday recipes.  We've got some fun, easy (and not so easy!) and festive ones we'd like to share with you: Click on any image to download the complete recipe! Larry Peterson, Vice President of National Accounts, has a great libation to liven up any holiday gathering with this wonderful Old Fashioned Swedish Glogg recipe.  Jon Mitchell, Vice President of National Accounts, recommends this amazing Kabocha Squash Pie With Spiced Crust .  It won a winter squash recipe blind taste test (the pumpkin is part of the squash family) and promises to win over your holiday guests, too!  Courtnie Hicks, Director of Account Management, has shared a few recipes, including this savory Italian Briolata .   Not the easiest of the recipes she shared, but it's a favorite of her Italian family! For an easy appetizer, Courtnie

Celebrating The Other Members of Our Pack

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 Where would we be without our animal companions! Whether returning to a room after a quick trip to the kitchen or returning home from a long day away, they're always happy to see us!  Bottom line, our pets just make everything better.   So we wanted to take a moment to introduce you to some of our fabulous furry friends: Robert Colvin, Chief Operating Officer, and Chip Courtnie Hicks, Director of Account Management, and Sheba, a Great Dane Pitbull mix; Harlow, a Shih Tzu Terrier; and Bella, a Chiweenie    Larry Peterson, Vice President of National Accounts, with Sally the super dog, Luke and Kate   Truman, named for Harry S. Truman, and pal to Jon Mitchell, Vice President of National Accounts  Tom Bell, Vice President of Sports Programs, sent this great shot of (top to bottom)  Maggie, Zeke and Benny    A very special picture.  Jeff Moore (right)  a long-time member of our Connections Family, passed away in April of 2020.  Shown here with husband Richard and their 2 dogs, Zoey and

Easy Hacks To Stop Hackers

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By Stephanie Gasca, IT Manager and Zac Kellogg, IT Specialist, Connections Housing Cybercriminals are getting craftier every day.   Here are some quick and easy “hacks” to stop scammers from getting access to your devices and personal information. Be Cautious of Unknown Networks When traveling or in public, it might seem like a convenient option to leave your WiFi turned on so your device will connect to known networks. Make sure that any networks you connect to are secured and that your phone or laptop does not auto-connect to unknown networks. It is very easy for even a novice cybercriminal to gain personal information, including usernames, passwords, and any uploaded or downloaded data. NEVER connect a work computer to ANY public networks (including hotels and airplanes) without your IT team knowing first. Be On The Lookout for Phishing Phishing -- the fraudulent practice of sending emails that appear to be from reputable companies as a way to trick individuals into revealin

Getting Back To Business

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Las Vegas is busy with property expansions and new resorts.  Connections Housing   COO Robert Colvin and Larry Peterson, Vice President of  National Accounts, recently went on  “socially distanced” site visits of the Downtown Grand and new Resorts World Las Vegas , opening in May of 2021.  Resorts World Las Vegas is the newest property currently under construction on the Las Vegas Strip.  Opening with an initial 3,500 rooms and 350,000 square feet of meeting, convention, and event space, this property will grow to 10,000 rooms and 1.5 million square feet of space.  The property will feature Hilton, Conrad and Crockfords/LXR Hotel brands.   In addition, Circa Las Vegas, the first downtown property to be built since 1980, opened on October 27, 2020. The 711-room, 35-story property will offer a higher-end option for events in Downtown Las Vegas, as well as a great addition to our Las Vegas Market events.   

Winning The Battle: How Careful Planning & Mutual Respect Delivered Successful Live Martial Arts Tournament During Pandemic

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When Truth Entertainment owners Greg and Toby Ruth rescheduled the 2020 Battle of Atlanta World Karate Championships for the second time due to Covid-19 concerns, the duo knew their prestigious event was facing a fierce adversary. Typically held in June, the 52nd annual Battle of Atlanta, which has been home to some of the greatest fighters the martial arts world has ever known (think Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, Joe Lewis and others who have graced its halls), had already been pushed to July. As summer approached and Covid-19 showed no signs of backing down, Greg and Toby made the decision to move their event to September 2020  -- Labor Day weekend – remaining at the original Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel venue. Even after the North American Sports Karate Association (NASKA) World Tour Board of Directors made the decision to cancel its 2020 season in August, Greg and Toby pressed on.  Teamwork Makes the Dream Work The Ruths and their incredible team worked tirelessly to

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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By Courtnie Hicks, Director of Account Management, Connections Housing Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the annual international health campaign organized by a number of breast cancer charities with one goal in mind – to raise awareness of the disease and funds for ongoing research into the cause, treatments and a cure. 2020 has certainly been a strong reminder that we’re all in this together.   While many of us are working remotely, the Connections Housing team is coming together virtually to show our support of this very important cause.   Pictured here, some members from our West Coast team: (top to bottom): Amy Blankenship, Rosa Gaitan, Lourdes Canduela, Crystal Blake, Sarah Atkinson, Abby Archer, Shawn Woodrich, Kim Ragusa, Dawn Davis, Stephanie Gasca, Marie Tasker, Courtnie Hicks, Anna Vivas-Wicha and Robert Colvin.   There are so many great organizations out there working tirelessly for a cure all year long.  If you’d like to do more or get involved, Charity Navigator has

Staying Strong On the Sidelines: Physical & Mental Fitness Tips For Meetings/Events Industry Members

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By Jonathan Misiewicz, Vice President of National Accounts, Connections Housing Let’s face it, we’re all used to working in a very fast-paced environment. Now, in place of daily deadlines, back-to-back meetings, overflowing email boxes and a seemingly insurmountable to-do list, our industry has been sidelined by coronavirus and the uncertainty in its wake.   A temporary set-back to be sure, but it’s left us all waiting - biding our time while looking for signs that business is returning.     Mindset Management The key thing to remember is that this return is out of our control.   We should turn our focus, instead, to what we can control.   Use this down time wisely --   zeroing in on those mental and physical aspects of our lives that took a back seat while we were always on the go --   and working   to strengthen them so that we are ready and at the top of our game when the time comes to get back to work at full throttle. I’m making a conscious effort to focus on healthy living

Making The Decision To Travel: A Resource Guide

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 By Edie Gupton, Travel Services Manager, Connections Housing As more destinations, hotels and venues reopen, more people are asking if it is safe to travel.  While there’s little question that the travel/hospitality industry is going above and beyond to implement safety protocols to keep guests safe, the answer is not a simple yes or no.  Rather, the decision to travel is one we all must make for ourselves right now -- based on our individual circumstances, health concerns and comfort levels.  The good news is that there are several resources you can use to help make an informed decision.  Among them: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) The CDC website travel page   is a wealth of information –offering everything from a practical list of things to consider before you travel,  helpful FAQs,  travel health notices and post trip safety tips. In addition, the CDC also provides a one-stop resource list with links to all state & territorial health department websites.