The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Annual Convention & Trade Show, taking place April…
The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Annual Convention & Trade Show, taking place April 24-26 in Long Beach, California, promises to be one of the industry`s premier events. Keynote speaker Earvin Magic Johnson kicks-off the three-day event, which features political forces such as consultant James Carville, who led Former President Bill Clinton to victory in 1992; industry leaders like Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and chairman of Travel Business Roundtable (TBR); and Hollywood stars including Preity Zinta, who was named best newcomer at the 1998 Filmfare Awards.
The AAHOA board of directors and staff have been working hard all year to secure an impressive line-up of featured and keynote speakers, said Hitesh Bhakta, vice chairman, AAHOA, and chair of the Annual Convention Planning Committee. Our members deserve the best of the best, and that is just what we plan to deliver.
In addition to presentations by Johnson, Carville, Tisch and Zinta, the two-hour morning general sessions will include guest speakers, AAHOA officers` reports, dance presentations and panel discussions.
The annual Industry Issues Panel is one of the most anticipated general session segments for AAHOA members and the industry in general. After taking last year off, panel moderator Anthony Marshall, president of the Educational Institute, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), returns in 2003. Panelists include: Thomas R. Higgins, president and CEO, Best Western International, Inc.; Tom L. Keltner, executive vice president and president, Brand Performance and Franchise Development Group, Hilton Hotels Corp.; Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., president and CEO, Choice Hotels International; Michael Leven, chairman and CEO, US Franchise Systems; and Steven A. Rudnitsky, chairman and CEO, Hotel Group, Cendant Corp.
The Industry Issues Panel is traditionally one of the more passionate segments of the general session, said Mike Amin, chairman, AAHOA. A few fireworks are inevitable when you put a group of savvy hoteliers in a room with top franchising executives, yet that is what makes it so honest and therefore so important.
After the fireworks of the general sessions, each afternoon features a specialized breakout session – one for women hoteliers on April 24, one for independent hoteliers on April 25 and one for future hoteliers on April 26 -as well as several concurrent educational seminars.
The afternoon breakout sessions are typically big draws for both people in the category group and people just wanting to gain insight into the issues of that group, said Fred Schwartz, president, AAHOA. Last year the women` s breakout session was standing room only.
Themed Journeying Through Success and Significance, this year`s women`s breakout features Zinta along with Lata Krishnan, president of American India Foundation; Mary Mahoney, president of Howard Johnson International, Inc. from 1998 until March 2003; and moderator Krish Dhanam, director of International Operations, Ziglar Training Systems. They will discuss how to harmonize personal and professional lives among other topics.
We have also planned several concurrent educational seminars for those who may not want to attend the breakout sessions designed for women, independent, and future hoteliers, continued Schwartz. Education has always been a cornerstone of AAHOA, and we work hard to ensure that all of our members` interests are met.
This year`s session topics include: owner strategies for saving one`s hotel in troubled times; insurance guidelines; negotiating successful franchise agreements; using technology; sales and marketing; and maximizing staff performance.
At the end of the morning programming on April 24 and 25, AAHOA will host a trade show featuring more than 350 vendors. Top representatives of AAHOA`s founding sponsors will also be on hand.
The evenings of April 24 and 26 will feature star entertainment straight from Hollywood. On April 24, Nousheen (TV`s Kusum) will present her fashion collection, followed by comedians Narinder Singh Bedi and Devang Patel along with his dancers. Kusum returns for the closing night gala on April 26 when she will perform with fellow Superstars of a New Generation Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan.
The AAHOA office has been flooded with members and vendors registering for annual convention, concluded Bhakta. We already have the highest number of pre-registered attendees ever for annual convention. This should be a record-breaking year.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.