Whether you were excited to head to Nashville for the 2018 Hotel Data Conference (HDC) to take in the sights, eat the food, enjoy music. We know your main goal was to hear from the speakers at the conference, and/or see some of your favorite colleagues and partners in the hospitality industry. We get it!
Our teams look forward to HDC each year for so many reasons, and this year was no different. Here’s a quick recap of what we found most valuable, how the NAVIS team contributed, and some tips for next year’s conference. We’d also like to give a shoutout to our friends at STR , Jan Freitag and Elyse Carfrey of Hotel News Now for putting on another great event!
We sat down with NAVIS National System Consultants, Stacie Bushaw, and Michael Stark who attended the conference and asked about their top takeaways were from HDC , plus thoughts for next year. Read the Q&A below:
NAVIS: What did you think was the most impactful thing about the conference this year?
Stacie: I was super excited by the overall number of attendees this year! The conference was sold out, and there were 71 people on the waitlist. The high attendance brought an impressive vibe and energy to the overall conference.
Michael: For me, the most impactful session was the No Flag No Problem session. It was great to hear the experts from Woodbine Development, Host Hotels & Resorts, and AJ Capital Partners, along with Stacie Bushaw of NAVIS highlight the real advantages of being an independent or unique property. The advantages range from pricing control, to experience delivery, and even more so, how they must rely on technology and systems for this advantage. For me it rang true, even if you are not an independent—if you want to take control of your destiny as a property or collection—you must align with the right partners, technology and systems.
NAVIS: What was your biggest takeaway from the sessions and/or favorite aspect of the conference?
Stacie: There were many amazing sessions, companies, and presenters, but overall I felt that there was an overall sense of optimism in the content presented about RevPAR continuing to grow slightly, new and more in-depth opportunities to maximize distribution channels and how and when to use OTAs strategically.
Michael: I most enjoyed the social networking sessions. It was a great time to connect with colleagues prospects and clients. Truthfully, Nashville offered some of the best food I have ever experienced at a conference. Good food, good people and great business discussions— always a winning combo!
NAVIS: What did you hear attendees asking the most questions about?
Stacie: Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) were top of mind in the conversations and discussions we had. There was a lot of concern around how to plan for economic shifts – while the market is booming right now, the economy is ever-evolving. Attendees were concerned about planning for the next economic slump.
Michael: A lot of guests at the conference were interested in the ROI behind guest loyalty campaigns. Attendees also wanted to gain more insight on portfolio strategies for independents. And many of my discussions centered around the pros and cons of being flagged.
NAVIS: What was your favorite meal or dish while in Nashville for the conference?
Stacie: The pork belly beignettes were absolutely incredible! Still dreaming about them.
Michael: This is making me hungry! This was my first trip to Nashville and I was introduced to “Hot Chicken” a very spicy chicken dish. It was amazing.
NAVIS: Any other thoughts you want to share?
Stacie: Yes! There’s a general feeling of security in the market right now around growth. The economy is thriving, and the hospitality industry is too. However, hoteliers need to plan for start planning now for the next economic downturn. For properties, there are many variables to consider and planning that can be put in place to ensure your property is ready!
Michael: Data Analysis is the future. One of my main takeaways was the knowledge that hotels have the data, but knowing what to do with it can be the issue. Many discussions this year surrounded how, where, when and what to do with your guest data.
I also echo Stacie’s thoughts in regards to the optimism across all aspects of the conference. This confidence combined with a what seemed to be a common willingness to try new things to keep the momentum going and drive more direct high-profit business was really special to see and experience.
Thanks for the feedback, Stacie and Michael!
We’re always thrilled to take part in the industry events that help connect us to our clients and community counterparts. Along with the wonderful feedback from Stacie and Micheal, our team left HDC with a few other valueable takeaways about how the conference runs to help you plan for next year!
• Get to know the area – You’ll be there for a few days. Don’t stay in the conference center the whole time!
• Dig into the agenda – Depending on your business goals and pain points; not all sessions will be right for you to attend. Get to know the schedule before the conference.
• Download the conference app – We live in a technology age, and HDC has its own app to help you find your way around the conference, and give you updates along the way.
• Sign up for the Hotel News Now Daily Update – Sessions will be covered, conference news and more.
We hope to see you there in 2019!