Boutique Design Events and Trade Fairs

Today’s consumers are “spending less on things and more on experiences, which is highly beneficial to the hospitality industry.” That sentiment—from Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist of The Economic Outlook Group in the kick-off session for the 23rd annual run of The Lodging Conference (TLC)—reflects one of the many reasons that participants at the event expect the hotel business to remain strong as it heads into 2018.

Indeed, as is his wont, conference co-founder and producer Harry Javer kicked off this year’s TLC (held last week at The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix) by informally polling the opening morning crowd about whether they are optimistic or pessimistic about the next year for the lodging industry—and the vast majority raised their hands in response to the upbeat outlook.

Among the many expressing a positive view from the podiums at TLC was Chip Rogers, president and ceo of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA). For example, for all the paralysis among lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on a variety of issues, Rogers said during the event’s opening session that he is “extremely optimistic that Congress will pass a significant tax cut by Christmas. For my membership, the most important aspect of that proposed tax reform would be bringing down the rates on small-business owners.” (Related note: Rogers weighs in on other potential benefits of tax reform and other issues impacting his organization’s 17,000-plus members in an in-depth Q+A that’s in the November edition of Boutique Design magazine.)

Here are some other nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from TLC speakers:

“Look around at any consumer good and you see an ever-growing array of choices. The same thing applies to all the new brands that are being launched in the hotel business. These days, people want more choices in their lodging, as well.”—David Kong, president and ceo, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, during the “A View from the Top” panel.

“If you’re complacent, you’re dead.”—Kevin Frid, chief operating officer, North & Central America, AccorHotels, at the “A View from the C-Suite” session.

“There’s always some element of surprise in doing an adaptive reuse project. Your best bet is to expect the unexpected.”—Mike Conway, chairman and chief portfolio officer of Winegardner & Hammons Hotel Group, during the “Historic Building Conversion” panel.

“Soft brands allow us to bring truly iconic buildings into our system that keep their own identities, thereby giving more choices to travelers.”—Noah Silverman, chief development officer, full service hotels, Marriott Intl., at the “A Guide to Soft Brands” session.

“To pull off a successful renovation, you have to have a great team in place, right from the start. Without that, it’s like trying to build a house without first having the foundation in place.”—Kip Richards, principal/director, Source Direct Imports, during the “Smart Renovation to Add Value and Increase Profits” panel.