Days 2 and 3 at this year's ALIS conference were filled with numerous highlights, including a very well attended presentation (or should I say, political commentary) in the Nokia Theater by "the Donald" himself, Mr. Donald Trump. Days 2 and 3 were also filled with hundreds of meetings by conference attendees in nearly every hallway and corner of the hosts JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton.
While optimism continued to be the theme most often heard in the meetings I attended, the optimism was far from unbridled. With so many unknowns remaining in the world (e.g. European debt crises, continued high unemployment, the upcoming presidential election), nearly everyone recognized that the many signs pointing to an industry rebound could quickly change.
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.
The first day included an opening presentation by Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia. According to John, five key economic fundamentals that he regularly follows (growth, profits, interest rates, inflation, and currency) lead him to believe that the United States will continue to enjoy sustained growth in 2012, though at rates lower than prior economic recoveries.
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.
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.
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.