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Dear <<First Name>>,

Year End...we made it! 
(Insert a BIG Inhale here and now a slow Exhale!)

A few years ago, as a gift to a friend who was opening up her own beautiful spa just before Christmas, I offered to do some media relations to generate interest in her exciting new adventures. Media outlets understandably will only pick up your story if you position it in such a way that it benefits the greater good, so I delved into understanding a condition that we all know too well: stress.


Turns out that even reading the word ‘STRESS’ triggers our limbic system to kick start the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) process: the stress hormone twins of cortisol and adrenaline begin to be produced in the endocrine gland which start the rush to your brain to give you the 'endorphin high' which prepares us to fight or flight. Your tolerance to pain increases, the heart rate slowly increases and breathing becomes shallow. This is the state of ‘high alert’.   


You may laugh (as I did) as any one of us are 'there' more times in a week than we care to admit. The good news is that by simply taking a deep breath followed by a long extended exhale, will begin to engage the parasympathetic nervous system which is the brain's way of finding 'homeostasis', also known as rest, balance, calm, zen, nirvana or metabolic equilibrium. 


The project was meant to be a gift to my friend while in all honesty, the research to this day continues to give me more than I can ever have imagined. This holiday season, I wish you many, many moments of metabolic equilibrium and homeostasis to you and yours!  



Timely Yours,

Brenda Howes


The Howes Group



101 Tips: Room Block Management Tools

Feeling in control helps reduce fear. It can be debated that technology has added more urgency to our lives but if we, as meeting planners, can harness technology's ability to help us, then it can be a 'friend' vs 'foe'.

Timing is everything when it comes to information, and receiving timely data determines the level of priority each task will receive.  If your block is not trending the way you would like to see it performing, knowing early is key to being able to adjust. 

Hotels have introduced tools to help keep us current on 'where we are at' in the process of an event. Room block management software such as Passkey and Stargroups helps manage the room block to determine the trends of the bedroom pickup.  Stargroups was designed for Starwood properties while Passkey is used by numerous brands including Fairmont, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott.

The software is designed to give the planner a 'dashboard' in which they can retrieve real-time reports that gives access to rooming lists as well as knowing who in your organization has not booked their room yet so you can simply call them.

It is important to keep in mind that while they are useful, it is important to cross reference the data to the hotel's manifest as sometimes the tools are not alwayss up to date as the master.

The best part is that these tools are offered at no additional cost to the meeting planner while you must specify that you wish to take advantage of the service.   

Here are links for more information:

These tools help give us a PEACE of mind which is always welcome!   

In the spirit of PEACE this month ~ it was great to see these
FAB FOUR from Starwood  finished up their holiday tour
in Ottawa. 



p 613 692 2514
c 613 447 1185

Where Am I?

In November 1976, John Lennon and Yoko Ono welcomed international reporters to their hotel bedroom in protest of the Vietnam War. It was to famously be called, a 'Bed In'. In which city and hotel did they choose to do this? 

Email your answers to for your chance to win a $10 Tim Horton's gift card! 

Who Knew?

According to Dr. Paul Zak, a Professor and neuroeconomics researcher, it takes eight hugs a day to maintain a healthy daily dose of the cuddle/affection hormone called oxytocin. Click here to read more...

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