A Brief Q & A with Sherry Romello, a Professional in the Hospitality Industry

Sherry Romello is the Senior Director of Hilton Meetings and Product Management.  With roughly 20 years of experience in the event and meeting planning industry, Romello was at the forefront of the inception of the birth of the industry.  Romello offers some insight on her career to date in a brief Q and A.

You mention the industry of career event planning did not really exist coming out of college and that you kind of fell into it, was there a defining moment in life where you thought this could be something special and something I could do for a career?

In my various administrative roles early-on, I planned a lot of holiday parties and picnics and really discovered I loved to plan things and create events. It wasn’t until the early 90’s when I took my first association job that I got the bug for meeting planner and saw that it could become a career path for me. I was the Administrative Assistant for the President of the American Waterways Operators and was promoted to the Event Planning and Membership Coordinator. As far as a defining moment, that probably occurred in my next job at the National Association of Chemical Distributors. I didn’t know if I had what it took to actually get hired as a meeting planner vs. being an administrative assistant that planned meetings, but this job was my first step down the career path.

What was the process to getting your CMP certification?

The Certified Meeting Professional designation that is administered by the Convention Industry Council. I think the guidelines have evolved since I received by designation back in 2002, but when I applied, you had to apply and have a certain number of points that were earned by experience, memberships, publications to even be eligible to sit for the exam, then you had to take an exam that was a 2 hour exam with an extensive list of questions regarding different aspects of the industry – food & beverage, audio visual, contracts, international meetings – to test your knowledge.

Check back soon for more with Sherry Romello or check out her homepage at sherryromello.com.

3 Things Your Attendees Care About

When organizing an event you have to think of a coupe of things. Who’s your target audience? How big of a venue is needed? The list could go on and on. While you can do what’s in your power to make what you think will garner the most attendance, at the end of the day, there are three things other than education and networking that will ultimately get them to your event and keep them there. Let’s take a look at these three things according to PCMA.org.

Give Them Time to Explore

With every event your going to want an agenda. However, you don’t need to have every waking moment booked with a specific presentation or activity. Give them time to do some freelancing. A lot of these people come into these meetings with their own agenda and if you book them for every minute while they’re there, there is a chance they won’t get around to everything they wanted to do.

They Want Time to Hang Around When It’s Otherwise Not Needed

Sherry Romello - conventionWhile you can offer attendees extra time to explore, some attendees will have trouble to attend most of a meeting or conference. Conflicts come up whether it be other business meetings or maybe they’re tired from a long day. Attendees are looking to extend their trip or turn their trip into a vacation. Some coordination will go into this. You’ll want to talk with your partnering hotel to see if they’re willing to offer an extension on their discounted rates. This not only makes attendees happy but also rewards the hotels with more business.

They Want an Opportunity to Bring Someone

Attendees always want the extra invite. Whether it be a coworker, spouse, family member or friend the extra invite goes a long way. Your organization that is planning the convention should take into consideration a guest pass.