It has been reported that the producers of the conference this year were torn between an exclamation point and question mark in the program title. As you can see, the optimistic decision was made to include an exclamation point. As I explain below, I tend to agree with that decision.
Monday marked the opening of the 11th annual ALIS here in Los Angeles. This year's attendance of 2400 makes the 2012 conference the third largest in its 11 year history. From the many conversations I had throughout the day, the optimism expressed in pre-conference survey results was shared by many.
Washington hotel owners, operators and suppliers enjoyed two days of learning, socializing and recognizing their colleagues' successes at the recent Washington Lodging Association's 2011 Annual Conference at the incredible Tulalip Resort and Spa. This year's Conference featured a variety of presentations on workforce challenges, recent changes to the ADA, revenue management, fraud prevention and social media.
Just two weeks ago over 300 restaurateurs, hoteliers and industry suppliers came together in Bend, Oregon, for the 2011 Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association Annual Conference. I had the chance to attend this year's Conference and to present during Sunday's opening sessions.
I know. I know. Here it is the end of September and I am only now posting details on the 2011 ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum that occurred weeks ago. What can I say, it is fall conference season and the many seminars, conferences, panels and presentations scheduled for the months of September, October, November and December are taking their toll. That said, I wanted to take the time to share highlights from this terrific all day investment forum put on by our friends at ZINO at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.
Fall is upon us and like every fall, there is no shortage of upcoming travel and tourism industry events to attend. Over the next few months, our team will be busy attending and speaking at a number of industry-related events.
Upcoming events include:
Last week the Seattle Hotel Association presented the 6th installment of its annual symposium and economic forecast. Like years past, this year's program featured a terrific line up of local and regional experts, including Matthew Gardner (Gardner Economics), Vail Brown (STR), Lee McCabe (Expedia), Chris Kraus (PKF) and Tom Norwalk and Jerri Lane (Seattle King County Convention and Visitor's Bureau). Local general managers and directors of sales and marketing have come to rely on the Association's annual symposium as an important part of their annual budgeting process.
I am just back from the 5th Annual HR in Hospitality Conference, held in Washington DC last week. The Conference was an information-packed two and one-half days. There were terrific presentations, interesting panel discussions, great audience questions, and many opportunities to informally connect with others in the hospitality industry who focus on human resource issues. I have already marked my calendar for next year’s Conference to be held February 27-29 in San Francisco.
Earlier this month, Stephen Barth and HospitalityLawyer.com hosted the most recent installment of their successful hospitality law conference held each February in Houston. This year’s conference saw attendance return to pre-recession levels with representation from many of the in-house legal departments of the largest national and international hotel operators. The conference dedicated the first day to three all-day pre-conference boot camps on real estate, privacy / PCI compliance and the unique issues faced by the restaurant and lodging in-house lawyer. I sat through the real estate presentations, which although a little slow at times (you can only define REVPAR so many times), did a reasonable job of summarizing the variety of issues associated with the development, purchase, sale and management of hospitality properties in one coherent presentation. Ruth sat through the privacy / PCI discussion and found it very informative. The second day was filled with a wide variety of topics – from alcohol compliance, to sweepstakes, to franchise negotiations, to receiverships to tips – in one of four breakouts dedicated to food & beverage, lodging, human resources and loss prevention. The highlight of the third and final day was the annual hospitality case update.
Greetings from an unusually cold Houston, location of the 2011 Hospitality Law Conference, sponsored by HospitalityLawyer.com. I attended a number of interesting sessions over the course of two and a half days including the one that is the topic of this post: legal concerns that arise with holding contests and sweepstakes that result in the award of prizes.
No doubt you’ve seen advertising for these kinds of promotions: “Submit your favorite photo of a stay at our hotel and win a free night!” “Leave your business card for our monthly drawing and win a chef’s menu dinner with wine pairings for 2!” “After your cucumber eye treatment, enter your name for a chance to win a shiatsu massage with reflexology finisher!” Contests and sweepstakes are immensely popular marketing tools throughout all retail markets, including hospitality. I myself have shed business cards all over Seattle, chasing dreams of chic meals taken at funky, retro hotels (with free wi-fi). Contests and sweepstakes can be as simple as dropping a card in a fishbowl or as complicated as shooting, editing and submitting a polished six-minute animation short to be judged in a “contest of skill.”
A word on terminology: the speakers defined a sweepstakes as a promotion in which prizes are awarded by chance versus a contest (or contest of skill) in which entrants must perform an action—answer a trivia question, write an essay, paint a picture—in order to be judged for a prize. Prizes in contests are based on skill and not luck.
The primary focus of the session yesterday was the importance of making sure all sweepstakes and contests stay on the right side of the line that separates a fun and useful marketing tool from an un-fun, illegal gambling operation (lottery). Every state regulates gambling, games of chance, lotteries—in short, if you aren’t the government, or aren’t licensed by the government, don’t run a lottery.
Wednesday marked the end of another Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) Conference. This year's Conference celebrated the 10th anniversary of the venerable hospitality development and investment conference held each year in sunny Southern California.
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Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.