Hotel Online  Special Report


Elite Meetings International Achieves Unprecedented Growth 

- In Less Than a Year, EMI Doubles the Size of its Advisory Board, Quadruples
Website Traffic and Cements New Corporate Relationships - 
- Hyatt, Starwood Execs Are Added to the EMI Advisory Board -


Santa Barbara, CA – September 9, 2009 – On the eve of its semiannual Elite Meetings Alliance event (, Elite Meetings International (EMI) announced that its year over year growth surpassed expectations, as the company doubled the size of its Advisory Board, quadrupled its unique visitors per month to nearly 20,000 at, announced a technology partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts (NYSE:HOT), and worked to provide other corporate partners with access to planner-focused, hotel profile information and its Request For Proposal (RFP) functionality. The company also unveiled its proprietary FaceTime™ appointment scheduling system, and expects additional new product announcements in the coming weeks.

“When Elite Meetings International (EMI) brought together more than 100  top meeting professionals and luxury hotels for our Elite Meeting Alliance (EMA) in fall 2008, it was not yet clear how challenging the year ahead would be,” said Kelly Foy, EMI’s chief executive officer. “We are proud that in the midst of the turmoil, we have not only continued and accelerated our company’s growth, but more important, provided new, integrated solutions to help enhance the performance of a growing number of meeting planners and hospitality professionals with the assistance of the Elite Meetings Advisory Board (EMAB).” He concluded, “As we prepare for this fall’s EMA, we look to the coming year with sound optimism and the promise of even bigger, better things to come.”

The Fall 2009 Elite Meeting Alliance will take place September 13-15 at the Boca Beach Club at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida. An exclusive group of top meeting and hospitality professionals will attend the three-day, invitation-only event that features pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings between planners and upper-upscale and luxury hotels; educational breakout sessions for CMP credit, and unique networking events and activities. Geoff Freeman, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Travel Association, has been a leading voice for the meetings industry and will be headlining the speaker lineup. More information can be found at

Starwood, Hyatt Added to the EMAB

EMI also announced the appointment of two new members to its Elite Meetings Advisory Board (EMAB):  David C. Marr, Senior Vice President of Brand Management for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Gus Vonderheide, Vice President of Group Sales for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.

The addition of these executives grows the membership of the EMAB to 18, more than double its size a year ago, and expands the board’s supplier voice as the business continues moving forward. The EMAB includes executives from companies and brands including Charles Schwab & Co, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Hess Corporation, Nike Inc., Symantec, and VMware,. 

“We are pleased to welcome David and Gus to the EMAB at a moment of unprecedented and dymanic growth for Elite Meetings,” said Andy Anderson, a founding member of the EMAB and Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, for Destination Hotels & Resorts. “At a relatively young age and with an amazing new member growth rate, EMI has emerged as the preeminent meeting planning resource organization, which has changed the way luxury hotels interact with meeting planners. Foremost among the innovations is EMI’s property certification process, meeting planner interactive sessions and their progressive and contemporary on-line presence.”  He concluded, “As an advisory board member I have been both energized and amazed by EMI’s development of new and innovative tools that bring the planner and supplier together as a working unit, in the pursuit of better and more focused meetings.”

Web Traffic, Partnerships Validate EMI Growth 

During the first half of 2009, EMI also notched exponential growth in traffic to its website,, and cemented relationships with leading industry brands.

“Our most recent statistics indicate that unique visits per month to have more than quadrupled when compared to this time last year,” said Brad Pirman, EMI’s chief information officer. He concluded, “With the site’s combination of information, resources, and commission-free RFP tool, we are confident the growth will continue to accelerate.” is an interactive site that provides a forum for meeting professionals and upscale to luxury hotels to interact, share leads and information, and transact business. The site has won numerous awards and is a trusted resource for thousands of industry professionals. 

Also in the first half of 2009, EMI announced a partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts for the redesign and re-engineering of the company’s Starwood Convention Collection (SCC) website, In addition, Elite’s certification process and its “Elite only” search option functionality continued to gain acceptance among major players in the industry.

EMI is scheduled to announce additional innovations and partnerships in the weeks ahead.

About Elite Meetings International

Based in Santa Barbara, Elite Meetings International (EMI) provides integrated solutions to enhance the performance of meeting and hospitality professionals. EMI supports this community through a combination of innovative technology, direct sales support, customized marketing programs and face-to-face business-building events. Additionally, the company’s Web site serves as a commission-free RFP-generating tool and a comprehensive vehicle for sourcing luxury, upper-upscale and upscale properties. For additional information, please visit or call 805-730-1000.


Michael Frenkel for 
Elite Meetings International, Inc.
(212) 808-6556

Also See: Wins Gold in the 2009 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards / September 2009
Geoff Freeman of the U.S. Travel Association Will Deliver the Keynote Address at the Fall EMA, September 13-15; Elite Meeting Alliance (EMA) to Feature Leading Industry Speakers - Focus on Building Business in the Current Economic Climate/ August 2009
Getting Face Time at Trade Shows Just Became Easier Elite Meetings International Set to Partner with Top Meeting Industry Partners to Roll Out its FaceTime™ Appointment Scheduler at High-Traffic Shows / July 2009
Elite Meetings Alliance Brings Together Top Meeting and Hotel Professionals: Despite Challenging Times, Strong Interest in Meetings Reported / May 2009 Goes Commission-Free / January 2009
Elite Meetings International Releases List of Five Top Renovated Resorts / September 2008
Elite Meetings International Announces Magazine Distribution Agreement with Hudson News at Major US Airports; Elite Meetings magazine to arrive on newsstands July 1 / June 2008
Elite Meetings International, Inc. debuts version 2.0; New site release packs powerful, time-saving tools for planners to search, locate, and negotiate directly with luxury hotels / June 2008
Group Business, Education, and Networking Headline the Spring 2008 Elite Meetings Alliance; Top hoteliers and meetings planners succeed in booking group business at the Elite Meetings Alliance hosted by Elite Meetings International / April 2008
Elite Meetings International Announces the Acquisition of; The purchase allows company to move forward on its long term vision / January 2008 Takes Bronze in the 51st Annual Adrian Awards; Official Award Presentation by HSMAI to be January 28, 2008 at New York City's Marriott Marquis / December 2007 to Launch First-Ever Online Community for the Luxury Meetings Market / November 2007
Elite Meetings International Welcomes Brad Pirman as CIO / October 2007
Group Business, Education and Networking Highlight the Fall 2007 Elite Meetings Alliance; Powerful Combination Delivers Successful Outcome / September 2007
Elite Meetings International Welcomes Susan Campbell to Top Editorial Post / August 2007
Elite Meetings International Opens Latin America & Caribbean Offices; Mauricio Aceves, Caroline Musy, and Renata Villa appointed to management team / July 2007
Elite Meetings International Announces Capital Investment from Jones Equity Partners; Company receives initial $2 million investment, backed by $5 million in revolving credit / July 2007
ELITE MEETINGS International Welcomes Thérèse Hilton as the Newest Member of the Team; The company states this is the first of many key hires in anticipation of exponential growth in 2007 and 2008 / June 2007
Elite Meetings International Launches New Magazine Showcasing North America's Top Hotels and Resorts for Meetings; Elite Meetings magazine, along with the newly launched Web site, are the ultimate resources for meeting and incentive planners / April 2007
Elite Meetings International Launches First-of-its-kind Website, Setting a New Standard for Meeting and Event Planning; Extensive database of North America's top resorts and hotels establishes a one-stop-shop for planning professionals / April 2007
Sundance Prepares for the Elite Meetings Alliance; Event unites top meeting and incentive planners with hotels and resorts for a one of a kind face-to-face business meeting experience / February 2007
Luxury Hoteliers and Corporate Planners Rave About the ELITE MEETINGS ALLIANCE; Next Alliance, Scheduled for March 19-21, 2007, at Utah's Sundance Resort / October 2006
Top-tier Incentive/meeting Planners and Hospitality Executives Join Elite Meetings Advisory Board; Magazine Featuring Best Properties to Launch in 2007 / October 2006
Top-tier Incentive/meeting Planners and Hospitality Executives Join Elite Meetings Advisory Board, Magazine to Launch in 2007 / September 2006
Top Corporate Meeting and Incentive Planner, Luxury Hotelier Gathering in September Has a Few Remaining Openings / August 2006
Hoteliers and Corporate Planners Give High Marks to Inaugural Elite Meetings Alliance; Next Alliance scheduled for September 10-12, 2006, at The Club at Hammock Beach in Florida / May 2006
Hoteliers and Corporate Planners Give High Marks to Inaugural Elite Meetings Alliance; Next Alliance scheduled for September 10-12, 2006, at The Club at Hammock Beach in Florida / May 2006


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