Changing Organizations in the Hospitality Industry

arrowsRecently, an industry professional joined my team coming from another meeting and event planning company. As we discussed this opportunity and as he weighed his options, I was struck by two takeaways from this process:

1. It is important to align with the right organization that is the perfect fit for you. As your needs and goals change, it may be necessary to change your affiliation to ensure success both personally and professionally.

2. Make sure you properly manage your most valuable resource, time, to ensure you achieve your career objectives.

Let me focus on the second point, time. His decision to join us reminded me of the need we all have for a work/life balance that still enables us to achieve our dreams. As my Business Coach, Angie Segal, shared with me; “Time is the one resource we cannot get more of.  If we lose money, we can always make more, but if we waste time we cannot get it back.”

I have a few thoughts on how to make sure you are focused on using your time effectively to achieve your professional goals:

  • Align yourself with the right organization that meets your specific needs.
  • Determine your big dreams for the future and the goals you need to pursue along the way.
  • Have energy, passion and put forth the effort needed to achieve your goals.
  • Be confident that nothing will stand in your way and commit to staying positive and picking yourself up when you fall short of your goals.
  • Make the right (and often hard decisions) that will best enable you to reach your desired destination.

Often times, we get caught up in being ‘busy’ and forget our dreams and the goals we have for our life. Make sure you are part of an organization that supports your goals and enables the time to do the activities that will help you achieve your dreams.

Are you where you want to be with your life both personally and professionally?

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My Entrepreneurship Story in the Hospitality Industry

autonomy“Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever”. Ed Sabol

This quote is from Ed Sabol, the Founder of NFL Films. Before 24-hour sports channels existed, he told the ‘story’ of the NFL each week and many of us fell in love with professional football.

We all have a story to tell. Mine is why I chose to leave an executive level position and a 20-year track record with a major hotel company to embrace the entrepreneurial lifestyle. My story is how I pursued my dream of being an independent business owner within the meeting and event planning industry.

My goal is to be in control of my life, career and have unlimited earning potential. Instead of sitting in traffic, I want to be outdoors exercising. Instead of heading to a stand-up meeting, I want to be spending time with my family. Instead of meeting with revenue management, I want to be meeting with my life coach to make sure I am on track to achieving my dreams. My goal is to be able to live and work where I want to be…not where the company is located or where they mandate I need to be.

Have you ever wanted this to be your story? Let me share my full story with you…in hopes that it may live in your heart and inspire you to reach for the life you truly want!

If you haven’t had a chance to read “Taking Charge of Your Hospitality Career,” sign up for this free report today.


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Freedom in the Hospitality Industry

WeWantFreedomAs I watched my 16 year old daughter drive off on her own with the new found freedom that having your driver’s license gives you, I was both terrified and excited. It is terrifying to let go and trust that she will be safe. It was exciting to see her explore on her own and it reminded me of when I took the leap to being an independent professional in the hospitality industry.

I wanted to take control of my life, career and to have unlimited earning potential. I thought I was leaving the security of being a corporate employee, but what I found on the other side was even more security as I was now in control of my own destiny. I was fortunate to have good coaches, mentors and a strong support group.

The following are a few books that have helped me on my journey and I want to share them with you:

  • Making Money Is Killing Your Business- Chuck Blakeman
  • Millionaire in Flip Flops- Sue Cooper
  • Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different- Walter Isaacson

After 8 years in this entrepreneurial model, I have helped over 100 individuals make the transition successfully from employee…to entrepreneur in control of their life. It is not a leap after little thought, but a strategic move with a road map to success. You need a coach, mentor and someone who has traveled the path before you to lead you through the process…I can be that person for you.

Let me know if you want to learn more about my story!

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Share Your Industry Insights with Future Meeting and Event Planners


After a long break, I went back to school…the Hospitality Management School at Ferris State University (FSU). I am a proud graduate of FSU and they invited me back to share with the students (primarily upperclassmen) my 25+ year journey through our dynamic industry.

I was introduced by a senior and it took me a few minutes to recover from the realization that not one of the students in the audience were even born when I graduated. It was gratifying to talk about my career in the hospitality industry which included various hotel positions, trade show management and meeting planning. My goal was to share the many opportunities that exist in hopes that it would spark an interest for a potential career path. We also discussed industry trends and what future opportunities exist for them to explore.

They were engaged and an interactive group that I feel confident is ready to join us in the meeting and event planning industry. I hope all of you will consider sharing your story with the next generation of meeting and event planners…it was a rewarding experience.

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Entrepreneurship in the Hospitality Industry

solo sunsetAs independent hospitality management professionals, we live by the quote I am sharing below. We choose to embrace this philosophy and pursue our dream of being an independent business owner within the meeting and event planning industry.

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t”. Anonymous

Does this lifestyle interest you? If you want to control your life, your career and have unlimited earning potential, I can help ensure your success in this model. I have a proven track record over the past 13 years helping nearly 100 individuals make the transition successfully from employee…to entrepreneur in control of their life. It is not a leap after little thought, but a strategic move with a roadmap to success. You need a coach and mentor to lead you through the process…I can be that person for you.

Let me know when you are ready to talk…it never hurts to at least talk!

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6 Questions to Help Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Champagne glassesAs I took time away from meeting and event planning to visit family in Florida, I was reminded that every year I make New Year’s Resolutions and every year I quickly break them. In an effort to reverse this bad habit, I am on a personal quest to help myself and others achieve their resolutions this year.

Is one of your resolutions to find a better balance between work and family? Is it time to break away from your current role and consider becoming an independent meeting professional? If so, I can help you!

Before making this decision, the following are six (6) questions that you need to ask yourself:

1. Do I have the experience and skills needed to become a trusted advisor and consultant to my customers?

2. Do I have a large enough personal and professional network (organizations and contacts at those
organizations that you could be of service to in your new role)?

3. Do I have the support group that will be with me and encourage me throughout the journey?

4. Do I have the business acumen (you will be starting your own business and need to think like an
entrepreneur/small business owner) to ensure success?

5. Am I motivated and dedicated to do all that it will take to achieve success?

6. How long is my runway (how much time, funding and support will you have to get your business going)?

The end of one year and the beginning of another is a great time to reflect and review what you have accomplished in the past year. It is also the time to resolve what you are going to do to make the future brighter. The new year has the potential to be something very special and I hope this information sparks your desire to find a better balance in your life and to have more control of your future

If you or someone you know is considering a change in 2015, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation about the six questions above.

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Hospitality Industry Professionals: A New Resource

MeetingListslogoThis item is specific to my hospitality industry partners. Do you want to book more group business? Do you have the resource available to generate the leads that will help you reach your goal?

There is a new company in our industry that has helped my team and may be able to help you: www.meetinglists.com. We used them because it provided us with access to current, detailed and accurate data that was targeted to our specific needs. It was easy to use, enabled us to establish our own search criteria and remained within our varied budgets.

This is a great way to connect the industry partners that need group meeting business with those that need to find a home for their programs. This data can also be used for:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Sales blitzes
  • To fill dates open due to cancellations
  • To assist in making your sales trips more productive

I like to share industry resources that can potentially help us when I come across them. Please let me know what you think of this new website.

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The Value of Attending Hospitality Industry Events

conferenceI’ve recently attended a few of the larger industry events that took place in Nashville, Las Vegas and Atlanta. Being in the same location with so many of my hospitality industry peers reminded me of why I am so proud to be a part of this industry:

  • Great people – We have some of the best and brightest talent of any industry. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, share experiences and learn from one another.
  • Great results – Bringing people together is how great things get accomplished. Nothing can replace a handshake, a smile and face-to-face conversations.
  • Great career opportunities – These events power global business and represent all sectors of our industry. The opportunity each of us has and the jobs our industry creates for so many are truly amazing.

In addition to being reminded of the above, the education offered during these events is the best way to stay current with our industry. As the economy and our industry continue to improve, our expertise in each of the areas that we specialize in, are needed more than ever.

I hope you will all take the time to get out and get involved in our great industry with great people and great opportunities. What is the next event you plan to attend?


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A Special Offer to Celebrate My Independent Meeting Planning Anniversary With You

sparklesparkleI am interrupting my regularly scheduled blog posts with this anniversary message. This month marks the 7th anniversary of starting my independent meeting planning business affiliated with ConferenceDirect.

I am delighted to share this celebration with you by bringing you 7 things I have learned since beginning this journey, 7 recent trends in our industry and a great offer to ensure success for you over the next 7 years (and hopefully longer).

 7 Things I Have Learned Since Beginning This Journey

1. Customers partner with people and organizations they know and trust.
2. Offer value to those you work with and hope to work with before you ask for     anything.
3. Network- it is important to be active in your industry and community. Get out and build your professional and personal connections.
4. Referrals- give (first) and then ask for business referrals.
5. It takes hard work to be successful- I have always followed the philosophy that success only comes before work in the dictionary.
6. Give back- once you are able, it is rewarding to give back (time or money) to your community and industry.
7. Have fun and enjoy what you are doing (or find something else).

7 Recent Trends In Our Industry

1. Technology: access to Wi-Fi is now a standard requirement (not just a nice to have) in the guest and meeting rooms.
2. Food & Beverage at events is no longer just a necessity; it is becoming a part of the event experience. We are seeing:

a. Local sourcing- farm to table
b. Food trucks- a unique way to offer menu variety in a fun atmosphere
c. Tasting stations that focus on pairing food with craft beer, wine and cocktails
d. Healthy options that contribute to the attendees ability to stay engaged and ensure the success of the event

3. The number of meetings being held is again increasing.
4. More organizations are including green meeting initiatives as a core part of their event plan.
5. With demand increasing faster than supply, it is harder to find availability and the contract negotiations are more difficult.
6. Social Media needs to be incorporated into the before, during and after plan of the event to both promote the event and ensure the overall experience meets your attendees needs.
7. Community Service/Giving Back is being incorporated into more events.

Special Offer

For those who want to learn more about meeting management companies to either:

  • earn more business from meeting management companies
  • learn more about being an independent meeting planner like me

I will offer a complimentary 30 minute consultation session. You have my guarantee that it will be confidential and will not be an advertisement for the organization that I am affiliated with. It will be a conversation as industry peers who want to grow and improve. Together, we can make the next 7 years a huge success.

Please email me today to set up a conversation at: doug.baarman@conferencedirect.com

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Passion and Hospitality of a Small Business Owner

wineBy Doug Baarman

On a recent trip to Europe, I had the pleasure of visiting hotels and spending time in beautiful towns throughout western Italy. Upon meeting the owner of a small shop in Sorrento, Italy – I realized he demonstrated what all small business owners must have – PASSION!

He was so proud of his wines (some straight from the family vineyard), olive oil (all from the family farm) in addition to many other products in his shop. He wanted us to enjoy his goods and literally opened a bottle of wine and shared it with our group while we shopped. His passion for his product translated into a very nice sale as many in our group were eager to purchase wine and olive oil from him.

A career in the hospitality industry is all about passion. You have to enjoy what you do so much so, that your enthusiasm will be conveyed by your customers and felt by everyone that you come into contact with. Think about the sales or service experiences that you have enjoyed the most and that have left a lasting impression. I am sure the person you were dealing with was passionate about the product or service they were representing…and you caught their enthusiasm.

Do your customers feel your passion for your business?

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