Front Desk

5th Annual MLIS Offers Mid-Year Look at Lodging

Up, down or around? Where in the world is the hotel industry at as we head into the second half of the year? Should you be looking to buy, sell or hold tight? Reinvest and maybe reposition, or look to run even leaner?

All of those answers and more will be on display at the Midwest Lodging Investors Summit next week in Chicago. The fifth annual installment of MLIS returns to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place from July 16-18 with its finest lineup of speakers and seminars. The always outspoken CEO of Strategic Hotels, Laurence Geller, will kick off the event Tuesday morning with his take on the lodging industry. In 2008, as the first keynoter of MLIS, Geller bluntly said “things suck now.” Next week, he'll offer his thoughts on where the industry is at now and how things have changed.

Immediately following, Traci Mercer, a VP with Expedia, will discuss the evolution of the online travel agency and how digital distribution has dramatically changed since the first MLIS. After, Jeff Higley, of STR and HotelNewsNow, will present the latest facts and figures and then discuss them with an all-star cast of CEOs: David Kong of Best Western, Mark Laport of Concord Hospitality, Roger Bloss of Vantage Hospitality Group, Wayne Goldberg of La Quinta, Jim Abahamson of Interstate Hotels & Resorts and Andy Alexander of Red Roof Inns.

Breakout seminars follow throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, after an opening reception on Monday evening. Catch Stephen Barth's panel on the shifting landscape of management contracts, or the “Up on the Roof” session exploring when costly niche amenities work (and when they don't). Data guru Mark Lomanno will speak on the social media panel set to discuss how online marketing and metrics can be used for revenue management.

Market Report Segment tracks will offer attendees the chance to attend two of three hands-on sessions exploring the opportunities and challenges within urban, suburban and interstate markets. A general session with industry veterans like Biff Hawkey, Steve Van, Bill Reynolds, Bill DeForrest and Paul Kirwin will discuss effective strategies for repositioning your asset.

New this year will be the Lenders' Pavilion, where 10 active financial institutions will set up shop to discuss your financing needs throughout the event. White Lodging founder and CEO Bruce White will be honored with the second Lodging Hospitality Game Changer award, and the event will close Wednesday with the always popular “Who's Got Money” panel of lenders.

I could go on. There's plenty more slated for MLIS next week in Chicago. I hope to see you there. Here's the full agenda, and you can register here.

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