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The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, March 5, 2014 - Benchmark Hospitality International®, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, announces the introduction of "Benchmark Conference Centers®" (BCC) - a new, innovative and preferred mark of distinction for the meetings market.  Unveiled by Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® under the umbrella of Benchmark Hospitality International, the prestigious designation classifies properties that are purpose-built with personally-tailored service, locally sourced and highly customized cuisine, together with Four Diamond lodging to provide the assurance of the most productive, rewarding and authentic meeting experience in the industry.  Each Benchmark Conference Center meets a rigorous set of criteria and conforms to the requirements of the International Association of Conference Centers, though IACC membership is not a prerequisite.  Third-party audits ensure BCC guest satisfaction performance meets or exceeds 94%, well above the industry standard of 90%.  And, Benchmark has established a Benchmark Conference Center Brand Promise.

"This is a dream come true for me," said Burt Cabañas, Founder & Chairman of Benchmark Hospitality International.  "When we were designing our first dedicated conference center resort, we formulated the triangle of Living, Learning and Leisure, and this expresses our philosophy of meeting productivity to this day.  You see it in our company's logo.  It's the philosophy of creating the balance between the best of a hotel, the best of a conference center, and the recreational aspects of a resort, which yields the most productive meeting environment.  Each aspect of a conferee's meeting at our property has to be carefully orchestrated for a healthy, personally fulfilling and accomplished conference experience."  Cabañas continued with, "and our team is empowered to do everything necessary to ensure this takes place every time.  We guarantee it will be!" 

Meeting Planning Professionals say Benchmark delivers on this promise.  "Benchmark's properties are very conducive to maximizing the productivity of the meeting environment.  With them our expectations are high and they deliver," said Margaret Moynihan, Director Deloitte Services.  "That's assurance -- based on what we experience, which helps us move forward with maximum confidence.  There's assurance in their performance promise based on experience, expertise, and a passion to be the very best at what they do."

For nearly 35 years, Benchmark Hospitality International has built and refined a reputation for excellence in meeting environments and personalized conference concierge services.  Now Benchmark Resorts & Hotels has turned three decades of experience into a mark of distinction for corporations, associations and planning professionals seeking the most value and the greatest productivity for their meeting investment.  The Benchmark Conference Center designation differentiates a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels' property as a preferred meeting environment conforming to the requirements of the International Association of Conference Centers -- which Burt Cabañas and Benchmark Hospitality were instrumental in helping establish and within which the company remains active -- with the assurance of a customized and productive meeting experience for every guest, maximizing the investment in face-to-face gatherings.  

"You see, humans need to gather in person," stated Mr. Cabañas.  "Technology will enhance the meeting experience going forward, but never replace what is achieved when people of like purpose gather and experience the intellectual stimulation and synergies that result.  We are social creatures and our nature is to come together."  Cabañas went on to say, "The objective of Benchmark Conference Centers is to provide the highest level of meeting experience at the greatest value and, importantly, with the lowest impact on our environment.  We intend to 'Be The Difference' - our guest service initiative -- for every guest so that what we provide is remembered as key to the success of their meeting experience."

Meeting environments are much more than ergonomic chairs, compliant tables, and pens/pads/candy, or even the complete meeting package.  The most productive meeting environment delivers the assurance of a transcendent experience for meeting attendees that leaves them with goals accomplished, unified as a singular team, and having received maximum value for their investment.  This is the goal of every property with the Benchmark Conference Center certification.

The Benchmark Conference Center Brand Promise

Benchmark Conference Centers come with a guarantee:  When you hold a meeting at a Benchmark Conference Center, your meeting experience will be delivered as promised…period.  Each BCC property's general manager will sign your meeting contract, and if we do not meet your expectations, we will make it right in a way that is completely acceptable to you!  That's our promise to you, our guarantee that your meeting experience will be the most successful possible in the market!      

What may be the most important component of the BCC, however, is Benchmark's "Be The Difference" service culture, and it actively supports the brand promise.  Be The Difference empowers every Benchmark employee - yes, every employee -- to do whatever is necessary to ensure the guest experience is personalized, productive, highly memorable, and beyond expectations.   

There's BCC accountability for sustained performance with an annual Report Card to ensure each Center is living up to brand expectations.  Benchmark does 3rd-party operational audits with Market Metrics for each BCC with the expectation of a 94%+ guest satisfaction goal, well above the industry standard of 90%.   A rating of 94% or higher must be maintained to retain BCC certification.

Criteria for BCC Certification include:

  • Benchmark Conference Plan, offering an all-inclusive package providing meeting facilities and conference services, dining, and four diamond lodging, with package customization available
  • A Professional Sales Team trained to listen carefully to clients' meeting needs and objectives
  • Conference Support Team that works hand-in-hand with the professional meeting planner to ensure no detail is overlooked before, during and after the meeting.  Includes a single point of contact from start to finish, Conference Concierge when meetings are in session, with daily review to ensure all meeting needs are met.  
  • High Quality (in many cases award-winning) Culinary Team, which focuses on local, sustainable and nutritious cuisine and continuously varied dining options
  • Onsite Presentation & Technology audiovisual service team supporting each meeting
  • Ample bandwidth and WiFi available throughout the property to support meeting and individual requirements
  • Benchmark's proprietary "Be The Difference" customer service platform
  • IACC membership -- or alignment with member criteria 
  • 94%+ Customer Satisfaction Score as measured by 3rd Party Research partner  

Certified BCC Properties include:

  • Bonaventure Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Chaminade Resort & Spa, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Downtown Conference Center, New York City
  • Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Chicago, IL
  • Edith Macy Hotel & Conference Center, Briarcliff Manor, NY
  • Hotel Contessa, San Antonio, TX
  • Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV
  • The Chattanoogan Hotel, Chattanooga, TN
  • The Heldrich, New Brunswick, NJ
  • The Inn at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
  • Tokyo Conference Center Ariake,, Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo Conference Center Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan

About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® represents the finest in lodging, dining, recreational and meeting accommodations. Many are certified by the International Association of Conference Centers, the leading professional organization governing the multi-billion dollar conference center industry on five continents, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence.  Benchmark Resorts & Hotels deliver highly specialized service that anticipates guests' needs and ensures a hospitality experience unsurpassed and long remembered. www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels.

Contact: Ken Ellens - KEN ELLENS COMMUNICATIONS

KenEllens@aol.com / 201-758-2864

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