November 04, 2019
According to one estimate, about 1.8 million events and meetings of all sizes are organized in the U.S. every year. To accommodate all that demand, there are countless venues in the country, from massive convention centers to tiny executive conference rooms.

So, there's an enormous amount of competition and a dizzying number of options and choices for today's planners. How can a venue compete? In short, if a hotel or conference center can't keep enhancing service and improving its product, it will be overshadowed by the ocean of competition. So how does a venue of any size keep it fresh? Here are some of the top game-changers. 

Changing physical structure/offerings. The most visible form of upgrade is to the physical environment of a venue. That can mean adding space, renovating existing spaces or even making cosmetic changes. One estimate is that the U.S. hotel industry spends upward of 6 billion dollars a year upgrading its infrastructure. 

Those changes can pay off if a planner picks a venue because it looks "new" after a renovation. Even if the group has been there before, the changes can alter the venue enough to make it "new" again.

Harry's Poolside at Rosen Centre
A case in point is at Rosen Centre in Orlando. New carpeting has created, in essence, a new ballroom. In addition, the hotel will be adding a minimum of 400 guestrooms, and expanding meeting spaces, dining areas and the spa. Slated for completion by the end of this year, the guestroom updates will include sleek and polished new furnishings, a calming color palette (touches of gray, white and teal create a contemporary feel) and tech-friendly improvements are designed keep business travelers rested and recharged.

According to Leslie Menichini, VP of Sales & Marketing, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, "More than just keeping pace with the competition, we stand out in part due to the Rosen Difference. That means we're free to develop the most creating and engaging events in Orlando. We're constantly looking for ways to enhance and upgrade our meeting spaces and offerings."

Updated, trendy food & beverage. One trend that's welcome on everyone's plate is the increased focus on quality F&B. Cookie-cutter meals and ordinary buffets have been replaced by healthy, customized offerings. And in the same way that properties are constantly moving forward with new amenities, bringing on a new chef may bear even greater, more widespread results.

New guestroom at Rosen Centre
With more than two decades of experience at AAA Four -and Five-Diamond hotels, acclaimed pastry chef Alon Gontowski has joined the award-winning culinary team at Orlando's Rosen Centre, enhancing the offerings for special events, groups and Everglades Restaurant guests. His accomplishments include a silver medal in the American Culinary Federation's pastry competition and a Guinness World Record as part of the team that created the world's largest wedding cake. However, taking the top prize on Food Network's "Sweet Genius" TV competition really raised his visibility. At Rosen Centre, Chef Alon will fit right in as he joins an award-winning banquet and catering staff.

"We're excited for the opportunity to showcase the talents of Chef Alon," said Michael Rumplik, Executive Chef, Rosen Centre. "He's a difference-maker, ensuring that our guests will enjoy many sweet memories."

Increased scope of service and amenities. As a counter balance to the age of technology, an added emphasis on service in new and creative ways is often the difference between a positive meeting experience and a disastrous one. And the competition is more fierce than ever. When one hotel offers a new or free service, its competitor has to double-down.

Winners of a 2017 Stella Award, the Rosen Centre staff embodies a commitment to unparalleled service, here again, the Rosen Difference. Exceptional service and attention to detail are the hallmarks of a Rosen Centre event, from casual coffee breaks to fully themed, lavishly decorated functions.

Added convenience. The less time we, as professionals, have the more important our time is. Anything that helps both planners and attendees save time is a huge plus. So when you can drastically cut down travel connection time to a meeting/event, you've done your group a favor. 

That's the case with the 1,334-room Rosen Centre, connected to the Orange County Convention Center by a covered pedestrian skybridge. OCCC attendees will appreciate the skybridge and how it makes their experience so much easier. And speaking of the need to improve and renovate, the OCCC has an expansion planned to start in 2020.

To see and learn more about upgrades in Orlando, visit Rosen Centre's website at