This year's Asian American Hotel Owners Association kicked off its annual conference today amid a lot of optimism and enthusiasm. And despite the crappy state of the hotel industry, it's not surprising this group is upbeat. As is typical of many immigrants to the U.S., Asian hoteliers believe strongly in the American dream and are always sure success is just around the corner, if they work hard enough to achieve it.
Unofficially, I heard this year's conference, which marks AAHOA's 20th anniversary, has 3,200 attendees and that the trade show is sold out. Another good sign: Marriott bumped up its sponsorship for this year's meeting.
The conference is being held at the new Gaylord mega-property at the National Harbor mixed-use complex in suburban Washington, DC. What I've seen of the hotel impresses me. It may be the most intimate of the Gaylord big-box hotels, if that's possible.