As we enter Q2 2019, we’d like to recap the megatrends, micro factors and quirky tidbits we’ve encountered in our travels during Q1. What better place to start this journey than The Americas Lodging Investment Summit, held Jan. 28-30 in Los Angeles? We couldn’t think of one, so we packed our bags and dodged a few days of Ohio’s polar vortex. Here are some of our highlights.
When the hospitality industry says it cares, that’s not just lip service. Your clients value giving back. The implementation of the 5-Star Promise, an initiative to increase employee safety in the hospitality industry, continues to gain momentum. Shatterproof, an organization dedicated to ending the disease of addiction and started by HEI Hotels & Resorts founder Gary Mendell after his son’s death from addiction in 2011, raised over $635,000 at its gala, held during ALIS opened in Los Angeles. AAHOA’s partnership with Polaris and its own BEST Inhospitable to Human Trafficking training, both designed to prevent exploitation, have been used to train close to a million people. Since hotels are locations traffickers often use, training team members to recognize the signs that someone is being trafficked is a key tool in the fight against exploitation. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts ceo Geoff Ballotti also shared the personal story of a hotelier who, along with her staff, had saved a girl from being trafficked. “That hotelier isn’t going to look back on her career and remember how profitable the hotel was in 2017/18, she’ll remember saving someone’s life,” he says.
If there’s one mega-mega-mega influence we’re seeing, it’s the rise of the crossover mentality. Thanks to the rapid spread of online ideas, visuals, knowledge and best practices, thought processes and points of view are (or are aiming to be) less siloed. ALIS capitalized on that by having one-on-one “CEO Exchanges”: one with Hilton ceo Christopher Nassetta and The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc ceo David Solomon and one with Keith Barr, ceo, InterContinental Hotels Group and Delta Airlines ceo Ed Bastian. Nassetta and Solomon dug deep into strategies for running a storied company with an extensive history with the nimbleness and verve required to compete with disruptive startups. And, for those of you who are or want to be the head honcho: a warning. “When I was the number two, the number one was kind of a ‘heat shield,” said Solomon. “Now that I’m the ceo, not having that is one of the hardest parts of my job.” Barr and Bastian delved into loyalty and tech—two shared points of interest for hotels and airlines.
There’s new frontiers in experiential design. AccorHotels deputy ceo Chris Cahill points that guests still want new experiences; but they don’t know what they are. That means it’s up to you and your clients to figure out what amenities and “extras” make a space sing. The need for spaces that are feel-good spots is extending into areas of design previously considered merely functional. Panelists on the “BOARDROOM BROADCAST: INVESTING TODAY, TOMORROW, & BEYOND – EPISODE FOUR” session made it clear that an aspiration back-of-house work environment is key to attracting and retaining highly-desirable executives and team members. Speakers on “HOTEL CO-WORKING SPACES – IS IT A FAD OR THE FUTURE?” detailed the importance of a workspace setting that fosters not only productivity, but wellness and connection.
Stay tuned for more coverage of where BD has been and what we’ve learned in the first quarter of 2019!