Being in a room of like-minded people and generating ideas is exciting for me, and there is one event every year I especially look forward to. The annual meeting of the Resort Committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association focuses on the needs of us hoteliers, and the 60 members — many of whom represent independents — gather from all over the United States to discuss issues and stimulate new ways of thinking. Imagine spending two days with some of the best minds in the business from Montage, The Breakers and Salamander Hotels & Resorts, and people like Dick Holtzman. (That’s a big shout out to you, Dick, because I know you read this blog!)
One of the main reasons we attend this meeting is the Cracker Barrel Sessions, which have become so popular they’ve added a second session into the agenda. Each day for two hours, fellow hoteliers join the session to engage in a free flow of ideas on trends and topics critical to our business, like how to find great staff, better wellness for our employees, print versus digital marketing, the state of golf and spa. It’s an incubator of ideas, a place where members can knock around thoughts and possible solutions with their peers and also share some of their great concepts and discuss why they worked. I always come away with several pages of notes.
As an independent, it’s inspiring and rewarding to give and share feedback with others in the industry.