Like many others in the hotel industry, the staff at HotelNewsNow.com do a fair amount of globetrotting in our work. (“Where’s Jeff this week?” is one of the most commonly heard questions asked in our offices in reference to our editorial director, Jeff Higley.)
And also like many others, there are certain events held during the year that are musts for us: the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, The Lodging Conference, and the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, to name just a few.
While the business traveler is slowly returning, I understand travel budgets remain tight and companies want to get the biggest bang for their buck and sometimes end up sending employees to the biggest events only. But for me, the past two events I attended—the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit in October and the Hospitality Law Conference earlier this month—serve as reminders of the importance of attending those conferences that don’t necessarily get as much ink.
I have spent quite a chunk of time in trying to talk to various officials at Middle Eastern hotel companies, namely Jumeirah Group. So imagine my delight upon learning that Gerald Lawless, Jumeirah’s executive chairman, was going to be delivering an address during the conference. Not only did I get to sit in on his talk, but I also had the opportunity to get some one-on-one time with Lawless prior to his speech. Virtual meeting technology has come a long way, but this goes to show the value there is to be had in getting away from your office.
And if the quality of the speakers isn’t enough, the beauty of Ithaca, New York, in the fall and the exuberance of the students at Cornell’s Statler Hotel are more than worth the addition to your travel budget.
Most recently, I was in Houston for HospitalityLawyer.com’s Hospitality Law Conference. Now, I can see how the prospect of spending three days with 300 lawyers might put some people off, but this is another event that has a great deal of value regardless of whether you’re an attorney.
Combing through my notes from the conference held at the Omni Houston, I came away particularly impressed with Hank Wolpert, managing director of Colliers Hotels International, who gave an ALIS-quality presentation on hotel transaction activity.
At the end of the day, there are certainly those “must-attend” industry events, such as ALIS and NYU. But conferences like Cornell and Hospitality Law are more than deserving of your attention, too.