StayOnline Responds to Meetings Market Uptick with On-site Meetings HSIA Support

  • StayOnline
  • 06.26.06

A welcome resurgence in the meetings market, after the Post 9/11 slumber, has led to increased demand for meetings and convention attendees to be able to instantly connect to the Internet, either while in meetings or during breaks.


The potential for revenue, both to the host property and the hosting organization, is enormous. By the year 2008, projected annual meeting room revenue for High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA) is over $1 billion.  (Source In-Stat/MDR, 2004)

StayOnline, a leading provider of High-Speed Internet solutions to the hospitality industry, has been ahead of the curve on providing complete meetings HSIA to its large portfolio of hotel and meetings facility clientele for several years.  To keep up with the increasing demand and to streamline the process for its customers, StayOnline created a Conference Services Division that is reporting significant growth since beginning in January.  From February 15 through March 15 alone, StayOnline handled 70 conference events for companies including Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and the American Heart Association.  In the last three months, the company has completed installations or gone under contract to do so for over half a million square feet of meeting space through North America.  Properties include: Westin Galleria, Dallas Hilton, Renaissance Dallas, Alexandria Mark Center, Hilton Gaithersburg, Doubletree DC, Doubletree Buckhead (Atlanta), Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza, Kansas City Marriott Downtown, Renaissance Chicago North Shore, and Omni Severin Indianapolis.



Late last year, the company hired hospitality and technology industry expert Chuck Vollmer as it first National Director of Conference Services.  Vollmer brought over 12 years experience in the Technology and Hospitality industries to the position, along with a comprehensive understanding of the market through his success in developing, implementing, and supporting technology solutions in the hospitality industry.  Before joining StayOnline, Vollmer was the Founder and CEO of Media Miami Inc., a web-application development and internetworking consulting company, where he successfully developed web-based solutions for businesses as well as the design and implementation of wired and wireless solutions for the Hospitality and MDU condominium markets.  Prior to this, he worked as Regional IT Manager in the Miami area for Sonesta hotels where he was responsible for solution design, implementation, and support of all infrastructure and systems for both the Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort and the Sonesta Hotel & Suites Coconut Grove from the construction phase through grand opening of both properties.  Mr. Vollmer has also served successfully in roles as Network and Telecommunications Administrator for Ericsson Inc. and Network Engineer for the Cyntergy Corporation.



Vollmer and his team at StayOnline put together a new model for providing onsite Conference Services to hotel and meeting facility clients , putting a StayOnline representative permanently on site to handle needs in the same way the AV industry has supported larger hotels for years.



“In addition to ensuring that our representative is there to work with the clients before, during and after each event and to develop an in-house comfort level with the property’s convention services staff, our model also enables the property to fully control the revenue stream generated by sales of HSIA services,” said Vollmer. “We know that we are unique in this regard in that other providers set a fee which includes connections the user may not need and may or may not include on site support but which charges for it regardless.  Our solution and the revenue stream to the property is customized to each client and situation.”



Vollmer sites a recent installation which involved 200 connections over a wired and wireless network across four rooms of a hotel. “Had our customer paid “rack rates” for this, it would have been nearly impossible to generate revenue.  Instead, we worked with them to customize both the solution and the revenue stream. It was a win-win for everybody.”



To simplify and streamline the entire process for convention services staff members, StayOnline has also created a proprietary Conference Services Manager (CSM) tool.  The tool works hand-in-hand with StayOnline’s on-location support personnel and facility staff to create projections, revenue models, reports and checkpoints.



“Our Conference Services Division and our tailored products and handpicked personnel further show our commitment to being the premier HSIA provider for the hospitality industry,” said Antonio DiMilia, President and CEO of StayOnline.  “We have anticipated their trends and, as a result, are expecting half a million additional conference facility square footage to be added to our portfolio within the next two months.”



StayOnline has published a popular White Paper about its Conference Services model for HSIA.  TO download the white paper, go to www.stayonline.net/CSMwhitepaper.




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