Officials of the Southern Lodging Summit, an annual gathering of hoteliers specializing in development and operations in the southern United States, today announced it will host its annual conference August 29-30, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. A discounted “Early Bird” rate runs through Saturday, July 15.
Celebrating its 15th year, the conference kicks off with the organization’s signature luncheon at the world-famous Rendezvous BBQ Restaurant, offering networking opportunities with industry experts and event speakers such as keynote speaker and Burba Hotel Network Co-Founder James E. Burba. Attendees also will receive a private tour of the recently opened 450-room resort, the Guest House at Graceland for an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the various design elements and how they relate to the late Elvis Presley.
“Much like the pink Energizer bunny, the good times in the hospitality industry just seem to keep going and going and going,” said Chuck Pinkowski, owner of Pinkowski & Company and conference co-founder. “The Southern Lodging Summit is an ideal opportunity for industry leaders and participants to network and educate themselves on how to best take advantage of the current economic situation and phase of the industry cycle. While we are at historic highs with occupancy, rate growth has slowed and operational costs continue to grow. Attendees will hear from some of the most respected minds in the industry as we navigate the future together.”
Following the Rendezvous luncheon and Guest House at Graceland tour, the opening day concludes with a “March of the Ducks” at the Peabody and an evening cocktail reception and dinner. Additionally, the conference hosts an online auction that runs from August 1, 2017 at 9 a.m. through 7 p.m., August 31. Auction items include a two-day golf package at The Broadmoor, two-night deluxe accommodations with breakfast for two at the Westin Jekyll Island, two nights at the Westin Portland Harborview and one night with breakfast and one round of golf at Lansdowne Resort & Spa.
A full day of sessions will occur at the Memphis Cook Convention Center, kicking off with the Annual Presidents Panel, including such industry stalwarts as Jagruti Panwala, AAHOA treasurer and president/CEO, Wealth Protection Strategies; Doug Dreher, president/CEO, The Hotel Group Holdings, LLC; Patrick Pacious, president/CEO, Choice Hotels International; and Andrea Foster, senior VP of development; Marcus Hotels & Resorts. The conference will provide rich, detailed industry analysis with presentations from STR’s Jan Freitag and CBRE’s Robert Mandelbaum highlighting current industry trends. Additional panels will focus on such wide-ranging topics as, “Dual-Branding—How Does It Improve Profitability” and “Convention Center Hotel Impact on the Market—Does It Lift All Boats or Drain the Swamp?”
The keynote speaker will be Jim Burba, co-founder of Burba Hotel Network (BHN). BHN is a new division of Northstar Travel Group and is the worldwide leader in developing and producing more than 150 conferences for the hotel and tourism investment community. He is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and the Industry Real Estate Advisory Council (IREFAC). In 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Burba to a second term on the California Travel & Tourism Commission, where he also served on its executive committee. He has been honored with the ISHC Pioneer Award, IREFAC’s Crystal Ball Award and Educational Institute’s Lamp of Knowledge Award. He received an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from UCLA and his B.A. from the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.
Celebrating its 15th year, the Southern Lodging Summit was co-founded by Pinkowski & Company, an independent hotel industry consulting firm headquartered in Memphis, and 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.