updated 11/18/2010 4:15:22 AM ET 2010-11-18T09:15:22

ACME, Mich., Nov. 17, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the business of business meetings slowly rebounds, a dramatic shift in meeting habits has occurred relative to the timeframe in which they are now being booked. This latest challenge for hotels and other conference facilities is that the traditional 6-12 month process of booking/planning/facilitating a corporate meeting now requires conference service providers do it all in a matter of weeks. And for many meeting planners and their chosen hospitality partner this has created challenging problems resulting in unfulfilled expectations.

Not so at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, one of the Midwest's finest full-service, year-round, golf, spa, vacation and conference destinations, which has long excelled at facilitating quick turnaround meeting needs.

Having just been awarded its 18th Pinnacle Award by Successful Meetings Magazine readers (meeting planners) for their impeccable service standards, their Sales & Conference Service team relishes the prospect of aiding yet another planner and their attendees with last minute meeting needs.

In the past three years (2008-2010), Grand Traverse has hosted 1,739 meetings, conferences and educational forums within their 86,500 square feet of versatile function space, 65% of which were booked and conducted within 90 days.

"Though negotiating and then servicing meetings in a tighter timeframe may cause some added stress for some, we here at Grand Traverse consider ourselves partners with the client and our goal is help take some of that stress off the shoulders of the planner" says Colleen Brzozowski, Director of Sales. "Our team is skilled in knowing the questions to ask to help the planning go smoothly and can offer suggestions that will enhance the experience and the agenda."  She continues, "Our Conference Services team boasts an average of a ten year tenure in their position and I can tell you that their experience and knowledge is something you can't put a price tag on.  Their insight definitely helps planners determine the best way to utilize what's available making for an exceptional meeting and happy attendees."

In the meetings industry they're referring to the softened short-term meetings market as "just in time procurement," which is likely to continue to trend.  As analysts point out "why should corporations and their planners take the risk if they can find the space 90 days out?"  This where Grand Traverse can be a great solution.  With 36 meeting rooms and 600 guestrooms, the Resort has the flexibility to accommodate a number of groups in at one time and fit in those short term bookings along with the business already on the books.  And when meetings are booked short term, the chance of facing cancellation or attrition fees lessens because the planner has a better, more accurate handle on attendance and details. That accuracy allows for more opportunity to find the perfect space for them.

Back at Grand Traverse Resort they continue to hone their skills pulling together stellar meetings in a matter of weeks. "Inasmuch as the educational content of a meeting is important, that's up to the client.  Where the hotel can make a difference is in service, food and beverage and ensuring the organization can meet its ROI when holding the event," notes Brzozowski.

"We've developed a series of seasonal menus utilizing farm-fresh local produce, local wines and micro-brews, Great Lakes fish and more.  It's often said, if the food is good, attendees consider the business meeting a success."

In a do more with less society, the chance to get away and focus on the agenda at hand results in better productivity and discovering new ways to be successful.

First however, the business needs to be booked.  At Grand Traverse their success record at short-term meetings has given them confidence that meeting planners can see. The fact that they routinely turn out great meetings with less than a month's notice does not go unnoticed.  Planners are (and should be) reticent to book a meeting at a facility whose service staff comes across as unsure they can accomplish what's being asked of them during the initial site inspection.

Adds Brzozowski, "As long as the marketplace dictates it's fiscally prudent to book short term meetings, we're in the game, in it to make it a win-win for all, and in it to stay."

And win-win it is, as recent client Tom Zmarzly, of Masco Cabinetry attests, "We were given a challenge by our President and our Vice President of Sales to put together a plan for a National Sales Meeting with 400 attendees in 5 months…a definite challenge. The site had to be perfect and near our new corporate office in Ann Arbor."
 
"We selected Grand Traverse Resort & Spa because it just says Michigan! We went to contract in June and held the event in August. Everything went as smooth as silk. All of the elements of the program from logistics, to food and beverage, to AV were executed flawlessly. The team at Grand Traverse Resort was fabulous to work with.  We look forward to working with the team again."

To interview a Grand Traverse Resort & Spa meeting specialist please contact: J. Mike DeAgostino, Public Relations Manager, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, T: 231-534-6352 | jmdeagostino@gtresort.com

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa offers 600 Hotel and Tower guestrooms and suites, as well as studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom Condominiums, 86,500 square feet of versatile function space, and 54 holes of championship golf including The Bear, a signature course designed by Jack Nicklaus, and The Wolverine - a Gary Player signature golf course. Additional features include a full-service spa, comprehensive tennis program with indoor and outdoor tennis courts, complete health club with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, children's center, shopping gallery, diverse restaurants and lounges and year-round recreation. Grand Traverse Resort & Spa is owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. For further information about meeting facilities, rates and availability, or to make reservations, please call 800-748-0303, or visit http://www.grandtraverseresort.com

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