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Civic Hotel’s Catering Sales Manager Brings West Coast Cool to Event Planning

In the approach to the early 2018 opening of Civic Hotel’s event and meeting spaces, Rob Martin is well prepared to meet the demand for unique and highly visible events. And he’s quite clear about the factors that steadily reshape the hospitality and event planning industry worldwide. “I see so many events these days, that I know what it takes to make an event stand out. People want their events out there on social media, blogs, and in the media. They are looking for event spaces that will stick in their customers minds and elevate their brands.”

Given his constant research and monitoring of market trends, Martin is particularly excited about being able to offer events that draw on the Civic’s rooftop deck and the open-air plaza directly adjacent to the hotel. He also sees the open foyer, which looks out over the lobby and outdoor plaza, as meeting the growing need for greater social connectedness. “It joins those attending meetings or events to the whole scene happening around the space. It’s about being part of something larger, rather than just closing the doors and being inside your own four walls.”

A 20-year hospitality professional, Martin started out serving part-time at banquets while studying accounting. It was while working as a server and bartender at a yacht club that he fell in love with the idea that every banquet and event could be entirely unique and different. So, having found a perfect outlet for his creativity and organizational skills, he returned to school to specialize in hotel hospitality management and planning. “I’ve been the guy setting up and serving the event, and it was more interesting to me to be the guy who was thinking about it, and planning it.”

Over his two-plus decades working at 4-star hospitality venues, his success reflects his natural empathy and the connection he feels with clients. “Everything I do reflects on them. They want the unique scene, the professionalism, to meet their budget, and for all of these things to come in to line so that it shows they’re successful. And not just meeting expectations but exceeding them. That their event is a home run.”

While someone with his creativity might be expected to pursue art as a hobby, Martin spends every possible spare minute on the North Shore mountains, where he makes the most of the West Coast of sport, freestyle mountain-biking. “Mountain-biking exhilarates me, barrelling down a mountain at high speed, in control, and hitting that big jump in front me I’ve never done before: that feels great.”

It’s a feeling he likens to the way he feels at the end of the event. “It’s similar to having this one event with a fundraising group I’ve worked with for years. You plan everything, put the details together, and the months go by, and then 800 people walk in and everyone’s ear-to-ear smiles and chit chatting. And they’re taking photos and posting on social media. That’s really cool.”