MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Officials of the Southern Lodging Summit, an annual gathering of hoteliers specializing in development and operations in the southern United States, today released results of its first annual “State-of-the-Industry” report revealing a continued upbeat mood by attendees of the recently concluded 13th annual conference. Attendees were queried on such topics as the future outlook for the industry, the impact of Airbnb and which technologies will play the most important role in hotels moving forward.
“Now is an excellent time to be in the hospitality industry, and our conference attendees clearly believe the good times lie ahead for the foreseeable future,” said Chuck Pinkowski, president of Pinkowski & Company and conference co-founder. “Fifty-eight percent of respondents believe 2016 will be even stronger than 2015, and the remaining 42 percent opined the industry would stay at its already healthy levels. No one responded that 2016 will be worse. Barring an unforeseen black swan event, our panelists and attendees were unanimous in their opinion that the future remains very bright for hoteliers both in the Southern U.S. and nationwide.”
Attendees were asked their views on a variety of topics, with technology being one of the hottest topics. Thirty-five percent of respondents stated that Wi-Fi broadband capacity would have the most impact during the next 12 months with an overwhelming 98 percent agreeing that faster, free Wi-Fi is the most important amenity for millennial guests. Interestingly, attendees were divided over whether or not Airbnb is a threat to the industry (48 percent think it is, 42 percent do not, and 10 percent remained undecided). Full results of the poll are available at the SLS website: http://www.southernlodgingsummit-memphis.com/.
The day-and-a-half conference, held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center, began with its annual “Lunch with Speakers” at the world renowned Rendezvous BBQ Restaurant and evening cocktail party/dinner before a robust schedule that included industry updates and outlooks from Interstate Hotels & Resorts and President and Chairman of AH&LA Jim Abrahamson.
Additional panels included The Presidents’ Panel, moderated by Isaac Collazo, vice president of performance strategy and planning for Intercontinental Hotels, and featuring Robert Cole, president & CEO, HVMG; Chip Rogers, AAHOA president & CEO; Michael Tall, president & COO, Charlestowne Hotels; and Mitch Patel, president/ CEO, Vision Hospitality Group, Inc. Introduced by John J. Koshivos, vice president/managing director development for the southeastern region for Hilton Worldwide, Steve Bartolin, chairman of The Broadmoor, gave this year’s keynote address. Jeff Higley, vice president of digital media & communications/editorial director for STR/STR Global/Hotel News Now, moderated a well-received panel entitled, “Putting Technology in the Comfort Zone,” while Lee Davis, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C, designer/BIM model manager for Earl Swensson, led the discussion on “Designing for the Future Guest.”
Celebrating its 13th year, the Southern Lodging Summit was co-founded by Pinkowski & Company, an independent, Memphis-headquartered hotel industry consulting firm, and the Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association. The hospitality industry event brings together hotel professionals who target the southern and mid-south region of the United States for development and operations. The annual event draws a diverse group of owners, operators, sales executives, financial institutions, architects, attorneys, and hotel company representatives from more than 22 states nationwide.