There wasn't much major news coming out of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association after day one, but that could change today. Thursday was more about entertainment and style than information and substance--a heated debate between Karl Rove and Terry McAuliffe highlighted the main general session, which also included honoring many of AAHOA's annual award winners.
The debate was like watching Fox News vs. MSNBC, both sides blaming the other over and over (Bush did this, Clinton/Obama did that), but the two rival strategists did finally agree to a personal $1,000 wager on predicted democratic losses in the next congressional election with the money going to an AAHOA scholarship fund. It was about the only topic the two agreed on, and that was difficult.
AAHOA also released its latest report on fair franchising, which included direct responses from the major hotel franchising companies who were responding to specific questions from the association and its members. Today, at the morning general session, the results of that may heat up as top execs (from Carlson, IHG, Choice, Wyndham, ACCOR and Marriott) face questions from members. More to come on that, and the entire event, Monday. Check back.
President Fred Schwartz said attendance was off 20 to 25 percent, but vendor participation on the trade floor wasn't down. Although a few I spoke to weren't thrilled with the traffic they were seeing. It's the same story I've heard at just about every event I've attended this year.