MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials of the Southern Lodging Summit @ Memphis, an annual gathering of hoteliers specializing in development and operations in the southern United States, today announced that attendees of its eighth annual conference reported confidence in the rebounding economy. As part of the ever evolving program, this year's Southern Lodging Summit @ Memphis included an interactive component that allowed participants to offer real-time feedback and work with panelists to create actual programs, such as a working, effective social media platform for hotels.
"While certain markets continue to struggle as the rebound affects them personally, the majority of our attendees were very optimistic," said Chuck Pinkowski, president of Pinkowski & Company and conference co-founder. "Fifty-one percent of respondents believe industry RevPAR will be stronger in the second half of 2010, and sixty-three percent believe that 2011 will be stronger than 2010. Based on the presentations and outlooks given at the Southern Lodging Summit @ Memphis, we believe this optimism is well founded and look forward to continued industry growth as the year progresses."
Attendees were asked questions dealing with everything from whether or not they planned to renovate soon (19 percent replied positively) to have franchisors been flexible during the downturn (33 percent yes). Additionally, conference goers were invited to collectively put together an actual social media program during a panel on eCommerce hosted by Jeff Higley of HotelNewsNow.com/STR. The combined document is available for viewing at www.mmhla.com. Suggested tips included, "Discover who is interested and qualified on your staff," and "Understand that it is a 24/7 endeavor and plan for it to be monitored that way."
The day-and-a-half conference, held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center, began with its annual "Lunch with Speakers" and evening cocktail party/dinner before a robust schedule that included an industry updates and outlooks from the American Hotel & Lodging Association's chairman, David Kong, and executive vice president of public policy, Marlene Colucci, as well as Jan Freitag from Smith Travel Research, with insights into both the national and Memphis-specific marketplaces.
Additional panels included The Presidents' Panel, moderated by Isaac Collazo, vice president of performance strategy and planning for Intercontinental Hotels, and "Preparing for Recovery," led by William Edmundson, president/CEO, Abby Office Centers.
Jack DeBoer, the "Father of the Extended Stay Segment," gave the luncheon keynote address. DeBoer created the segment in the mid-1970s with the launch of the iconic Residence Inns brand. The current chairman of ValuePlace, he also created Summerfield Suites and Candlewood Suites, each in its own unique hotel segment.
Celebrating its 8th year, the Southern Lodging Summit @Memphis was co-founded by the Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association and Pinkowski & Company, an independent hotel industry consulting firm headquartered in Memphis. 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.
SOURCE Southern Lodging Summit @ Memphis