Q&A: Daniel C Surette, Chief Sales Officer, Omni Hotels & Resorts
Tell me more about the Initiative Say Goodnight to Hunger program?
The Omni Hotels and Resorts Say Goodnight to Hunger program allows us to contribute meals in our communities in partnership with Feeding America. For each completed stay at any of the 50 Omni Hotels & Resorts’ properties, we donate one meal to those in need. Since launching this program in June 2016, we have proudly provided over 20 million meals to feed children, families, and seniors through local food banks in 42 communities across the U.S. In support of Global Meetings Industry Day, Omni donated 1 meal for every group room in house during the week of Global Meetings Industry Day for a total of 50,000 meals to support Feeding America through our Say Goodnight to Hunger program.
What is the response you are hoping to achieve with regards to this program?
At Omni, it is important that we are involved in and give back to the communities where we operate. Our goal is to continue to connect with our communities and hopefully encourage others to give back to their communities however they may be able to. Our initiative around global meetings industry day allowed us to incentivize the increased Group travel that we are already seeing while also contributing to our communities in a meaningful way.
Are you seeing an uptick in group events for business travel?
Yes, we have seen an increase with in-person meetings since last summer and it continues to grow. Our lead volume has achieved pre-Covid levels and we are seeing significant short-term demand. Omni Hotels & Resorts Global Distribution System (GDS) bookings off only 13% during the month of March which is the strongest since COVID. Business travel has increased significantly in the last 60 days and we expect this to continue as more companies are opening up their offices. We live in a hybrid world and more people are working from home, in the office, and while traveling. But when it comes to forming meaningful connections, we understand that there is no substitution for face-to-face interactions. Omni Hotels is ready and prepared to facilitate all business travel needs, from meeting spaces to audiovisual capabilities, that allow for more face-to-face interactions but also provide flexibility while traveling.
Can you tell us about what you offer as far as event space and safe meeting in person?
Omni Hotels & Resorts specializes in large conventions to small meetings. We provide versatile indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, sensational meals and impeccable service catering. In addition, Omni Hotels & Resorts has enabled a secure and safe return to in-person meetings and events (see above question). We continue to follow all local and state guidelines related to Covid protocols or any health risks.
What was the inspiration that drove you to decide on this as an initiative?
It has always been important to Omni Hotels & Resorts to be engaged and involved with our communities. We call it “Local Market Leadership”. Partnering with Feeding America to form the Say Goodnight to Hunger program and provide meals to our communities was the perfect outlet to give back and align with our core values as a company. During Covid, even when our business was hurting we knew that our communities were also likely struggling, so from October 5 through 13 our team travelled over 5,000 miles and stopped at 15 Omni locations from Boston to Minneapolis to deliver meals to families, seniors and children who were struggling to find healthy, nourishing meals.