Bill Walshe, CEO of Viceroy Hotel Group, opened the International Luxury Hotel Association’s INSPIRE conference with Lodging Leadership 2.0 – Prepare to Pivot. He spoke about the luxury hotel industry’s primary role as hosts and how Viceroy has incorporated diversity, equity and inclusion throughout their organization.
Bill talked about the impact on leadership in the hospitality industry as a result of things that have happened in recent years, which have seen leaders move from action to reaction, making split-second decisions in the moment.
“We are a purpose-driven industry,” he said, “and my job is to create and curate environments that make people proud.”
This concept builds on the essence of the hospitality industry, a business whose primary objective is to make other human beings happy. One of the ways it achieves this is by making people feel proud. The best way to do this is through an ideology, a platform upon which the organization’s purpose is built with a cultural roadmap to activate and achieve business excellence.
Watch Bill Walshe’s talk here to discover why he considers himself Viceroy’s chief pride officer.
Patrick Huey, General Manager, We Care Spa, was the event emcee and the show’s star, keeping the agenda on track with a wonderful energy that lasted all day until the raffle at the end.
Attracting the Luxury Traveler panel
David Goldstone, Executive Vice President & Chief Sales Officer of World Cinema, moderated Attracting the Luxury Traveler, with panelists Ron Pohl, President of World Hotels; Benoit Racle, Vice President Brand Management, W Hotels Worldwide; and Kris Singleton, Senior Vice President, Dish Business. The panel explored today’s luxury traveler profile and how the luxury travel business has changed. Inclusivity, freedom of choice and purposeful travel were identified as important to today’s guests, along with technology provided at each point in their stay so that guests can reach for what they want, when they want. Learn more about determining factors in selecting a location and how restaurants are the new nightclubs here
The high-powered conference included immersive and engaging elements to help elevate its programming even further. Encore served as the strategic production partner, enhancing the event’s impact with a high level of execution. The team transformed the stage with a striking LED wall that reinforced the speakers’ messaging and enabled greater audience engagement during each panel via its Chime Live app, which connected in-person and virtual participants with opportunities to network, watch sessions, and learn more about the featured speakers and products. Providing support before, during and after the conference, Encore ensured that all sessions were seamlessly delivered so that the speakers and their discussions took the spotlight on stage and beyond.
Imshan Jamal, Managing Director & Co-founder EQ Group, said, “From my perspective, the conference was excellent. The quality of the content and the caliber of the attendees were great and sparked some inspiring conversations and, hopefully, some lasting relationships too. Congratulations on putting it together!”
Sarah Khalifa, Vice President Mixed-Use Development Marriott International, told us, “I had a wonderful time at the conference and meeting you – I very much enjoyed the panel – the topics and selection of panelists were excellent!”
Rachael Rothman, Head of Hotels Research, CBRE; moderated the panel Predicting and Planning for a Recession, with Jonathan Falik, CEO of JF Capital Advisors; Dave Tessier Founder & CEO of Hospitality Gaming Advisors and Zach Demuth, Head of Americas Hotel Research, JLL. Panelists spoke through their own macroeconomic lens touching on the disconnect between strong hotel RevPAR and a slow-down in GDP growth, elevated CPI, rising interest rates, a slow return to the office, and a modest recovery in inbound international travel. They also gave insight on how to maximize margins as amenities reopen and demand fully recovers despite material inflation in labor, property taxes, Capex costs, insurance, etc. They finished with an overview of the deals market and their view to the future.
Avendra, one of the ILHA’s official partners, kicked off the conference with a Welcome to Wellness cocktail reception at the Arizona Biltmore Spire Bar. Avendra also sponsored the session Reinventing Wellness Space to Drive Revenue, moderated by John Moore, Founder, The Spa Expert; with Chris King, Chief Development Officer, Salamander Hotels & Resorts; Rika Lisslö, Vice President – Hyatt Hotels Corporation; and Jessica Wadley, Vice President, Oakworks. Key takeaways included what wellness really means and exciting data to support the five-year growth in wellness and revenue opportunities. View the recording here
The INSPIRE Hub was the focus of the networking with roundtable discussions both days on topics around wellness, guest experience, brand storytelling, expansion in a time of uncertainty, sustainability, & DEI, how independents are staying competitive and the pros and cons of being public vs. private.
The first day ended with a cocktail event on the lawn followed by an intimate president’s dinner at Renata’s Hearth at the Arizona Biltmore, sponsored by Monoplex.
Recordings of all the sessions can be found on the ILHA’s luxury hotel TV where you can view talks on Building a Brand Story, Innovation in a Disruptive Landscape, the Intersection between Experience and Technology, the Rising Trend of Luxury Hotel Residences, Industry Check-In: How have Hotels Adapted to Thrive and more.
The ILHA INSPIRE event is only possible with its sponsors, who add the sizzle to networking events, support thought-provoking sessions onstage and provide unique solutions to challenges hoteliers are facing. View ILHA 2022 sponsors here