From analyzing the latest industry trends and technological innovations to assessing financial forecasts and shifting customer needs, the key hospitality conferences of 2018 will cover a diversity of wide-ranging issues. Here are 20 major upcoming events to look out for in North America and Europe.
Where: The Fairmont Austin Hotel, Austin, Texas
When: Jan 29-31
At its annual Global Distribution Conference, HEDNA (the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) dives into the latest trends, ideas and best practices that are redefining the hotel sector. The event aims to equip industry professionals with the knowledge and expertise needed to succeed in the ever-changing landscape of distribution and technology. During this year’s event, key topics will include “Artificial Intelligence and Travel,” “The Electronic Identity Has Arrived” and “Demystifying BlockChains.”
Caribbean Travel Marketplace
Where: San Juan, Puerto Rico
When: Jan 30-Feb 1
Offering a forum to conduct face-to-face appointments, raise visibility, and share industry insights, Caribbean Travel Marketplace is the region’s leading industry travel event. Last year, 29 Caribbean countries and more than 1,000 delegates were in attendance, from hotels and tour operators to tourist boards and transport companies. In 2018, a new “Spark Speed Networking Session” will give hoteliers and tourist boards a quick-fire round of interaction with buyers.
HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference
Where: Marriott Marquis, New York
When: Feb 21
This content-packed event is a must-attend for hospitality professionals in the digital marketing space. Through a series of pre-conference workshops, breakout sessions and creative presentations, the Digital Marketing Strategy Conference provides an invaluable forum to network, share ideas, and gain invaluable insights to sharpen up your digital marketing strategy. Attendees can also chat online before, during, and after the conference using a dedicated app.
Digital Travel Summit
Where: Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa, Las Vegas
When: Apr 30-May 02
Digital marketing experts and thought leaders come together at the prestigious yet intimate Digital Travel Summit, which attracts more than 75 of the industry’s biggest brands. Networking sessions and inspiring content from guest speakers form the heart of the summit, helping hospitality professionals adapt as digital technology evolves at breakneck speed. An impressive line-up of speakers for 2018 includes top executives from brands including HotelTonight, Google, Skyscanner, and Hilton Worldwide.
Boutique Hotel Investment Conference
Where: The Times Center, New York City
When: Jun 6
Hosted by BLLA (the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association), the Boutique Hotel Investment Conference is a must-visit for boutique properties and lifestyle hotels looking to build their network and uncover crucial investment tips. Along with gaining new contacts and insider information, leading voices in the sector will offer advice as panelists and keynote speakers. Prominent past speakers include Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, entrepreneur and hotelier Ian Schrager, and Jason Pomeranc, owner of SIXTY Hotels.
Where: George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston
When: Jun 18-21
Marketing itself as “The World’s Largest Hospitality Technology Show,” HITEC Houston is where hospitality professionals go to learn about the key trends redefining the industry. Three highly respected keynote speakers and a series of educational sessions will offer invaluable tech insights over the course of the event. During E2OX, innovative startups will also present their ideas to a packed audience and expert judging panel with the hope of winning the $5,000 investment prize.
Where: George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston
When: June 20
A record number of hospitality professionals attended last year’s HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference, held for the first time in Canada. Co-located with HITEC, this one-day event will delve into the evolving trends and strategic issues affecting hotel revenue management. Along with an interactive program of inspiring educational talks, there’ll be plenty of engaging breakout sessions and opportunities for face-time with product and service providers. The 2018 agenda and additional information is soon to be announced.
Hotel Data Conference
Where: The Omni Nashville Hotel, Nashville
When: Aug 15-17
Now in its 10th year, the Hotel Data Conference packs in a serious amount of content and regularly hosts over 100 guest speakers. Last year saw a record attendance with discussions focusing around topics including occupancy and average daily rates. While the 2018 agenda is still to be revealed, former Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen has been announced as the event’s keynote speaker. He’ll be offering his advice on how tech trends are disrupting the status quo and the steps businesses need to take to survive.
Global Gaming Expo
Where: Las Vegas Sands Convention Center, Las Vegas
When: Exhibit Hall: Oct 9-11 | Education: Oct 8-11
Billed as “the show” for the casino-entertainment industry, Global Gaming Expo (G2E) attracts close to 26,000 gaming professionals to its annual event. More than 450 exhibitors showcase an array of services, technology and new gaming products including slots, tables, iGaming, casino design and security systems. Education sessions are another key feature of the convention, with past topics ranging from tribal gaming and customer intelligence, to revenue diversification and the evolution of game play.
Independent Lodging Congress
When: Fall 2018
Visionaries and thought leaders take to the stage at this three-day independent-focused event, which combines “deep dive breakouts” and plenty of networking opportunities with like-minded professionals. All about innovation and disruptive ideas, ILC combines tips from industry insiders with fresh perspectives from leaders outside the hotel sector, including fashion, marketing, technology, design and academia.
Expedia Partner Conference
Where: Las Vegas
When: Dec 2018
Key Expedia executives present inspiring presentations at Expedia’s glamorous Partner Conference, which last year featured talks from the company’s CEO Mark Okerstrom and a keynote from bestselling author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek. Along with a busy schedule of speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions, Expedia partners will have the perfect forum to network and pick up best practices from industry peers.
Travel Tech Europe
Where: Olympia London, United Kingdom
When: Feb 21-22
Now in its 15th year, Travel Technology Europe bills itself as Europe’s leading event for travel technology professionals. Alongside 72 conference sessions and 120+ expert speakers, the event attracts over 6,000 attendees (so plenty of networking opportunities). Additional highlights include live tech demos, free sessions offering insights on how technology is shaping the industry, and a chance to browse hundreds of leading products and services from specialist suppliers. There’ll also be the chance to see the hotel room of the future.
Where: Messe Berlin, Berlin
When: March 7-11
The world’s largest tourism trade fair, ITB Berlin offers hotels, tour companies, destination marketing organizations, and numerous tourism professionals to share ideas, gain inspiration and do business with over 10,000 global exhibitors. Along with meeting service providers from over 180 nations and travel areas, the fair’s various “Segments” will provide information on the tourist industry’s major topics, ranging from social responsibility and LGBT travel to luxury and cultural tourism.
Where: RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, Amsterdam
When: Apr 10
Held the day before the European HITEC conference, HSMAI’s ROC Amsterdam represents Europe’s leading annual event for revenue optimization. Over the course of this one-day conference, guest speakers and industry experts will deliver tips and strategies for hospitality professionals looking to stay ahead of the curve in revenue optimization, distribution and digital marketing.
Where: RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, Amsterdam
When: Apr 11-13
This is the second time HFTP has brought HITEC to Europe, with the buzzing tech city of Amsterdam making a more than suitable location. Over two days, there’ll be a series of exhibits showcasing some of the newest industry products, as well as themed educational sessions held on the show floor. In 2018, sessions will cover a broad range of issues including AI and voice recognition, sustainability, and a closer look at the customer journey.
Where: Sheraton Lisboa Hotel, Lisbon
When: Jun 4-6
The European leg of HEDNA’s annual conference this year comes to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The schedule for 2018 is still to be announced, but attendees can expect a similar flavor to last year’s Dublin conference, which focused heavily on the future of eCommerce. This topic continues to be a major one in Europe following Brexit, ongoing security issues, and the new General Data Protection Regulation, set to come into force next May. Official registration for HEDNA Lisbon will open in Spring 2018.
Hotel Distribution Event London
Where: The Montcalm London Marble Arch, London
When: Oct 3
Overall strategy rather than day-to-day tactics are the focus of the Hotel Distribution Event, which aims to deliver a program full of big picture thinking. Themed topics last year included “The big brand distribution strategy” and “Global brand views on distribution,” while a new question time allowed hoteliers to pose challenging questions to a panel of hotel industry solution providers. Expect a similar flavor at the 2018 event, with the official schedule still to be announced.
Independent Hotel Show
Where: Olympia, London
When: Oct 16-17
The UK’s only show for the luxury and boutique hotel industry, the Independent Hotel Show attracts over 6,000 visitors to its swish annual event. A variety of free-to-attend seminars dive into topics ranging from technology and design to well-being and wine tasting, while over 300+ exhibitors showcase premium services and innovative industry-related products. The event also includes the Independent Hotel Show Awards, which hands out prestigious awards to the Independent Hotelier and Outstanding New Hotel of the year.
World Travel Market
Where: ExCeL London
When: Nov 5-7
Held annually in London and now in its 37th year, WTM continues to attract a huge global audience of over 51,000 travel professionals, along with close to 5,000 exhibiting destinations, technology and private sector companies. Along with the clear potential for networking, the show features a range of live seminars, a section dedicated to travel technology, and will also host World Responsible Tourism Day on November 7, brought to life through a series of responsible tourism events and sessions.
Where: Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France
When: Dec 4-6
Glitzy and exclusive, ILTM in Cannes is an “invite-only” event for the luxury travel sector. As an exhibitor, you’ll get to build leads and sales with a carefully hand-picked group of global buyers, all through pre-scheduled appointments. There’ll also be opportunities to gain exposure and build relationships with high profile media contacts from luxury publications, as well as networking with up to 1,500 buyers from 75 countries.
Travel Tripper will be attending many of these conferences this year—we would love to meet you and connect with fellow hotel professionals! If you’re attending one of these conference and are interested in meeting directly with us, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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