Once again, we took our annual Global Hospitality Expo to sunny Orlando. And, once again, we exceeded expectations for a can’t-miss industry event that continues to raise the bar.
More than 300 customers and 130 suppliers joined our leaders and associates for the 2018 Global Hospitality Expo at the beautiful Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This amounted to more than 1,000 total attendees, a new Expo record. This year’s Expo theme – Just Imagine – set the stage for a week of transformational presentations and conversations, as well as a lot of networking fun.
In celebrating the warmth of Florida, this #globalexpo2018 kicked off with a Super Bowl Sunday Party at a large and lively sports bar in Universal CityWalk. For many early arrivals, the following day meant teeing up and teaming up at the second annual American Hotel Golf Classic.
The more official Expo launch came on Tuesday, at a General Session Welcome where our senior leaders outlined the latest American Hotel initiatives and improvements – from data analytics to global expansion and our plans for a digital transformation. We also introduced Accentuate, a new service where we can personalize a variety of products for customer properties. At every turn in this dynamic presentation, the emphasis was on the importance of responding to growing customer needs.
At the General Session, we also formally announced our partnership Soap Aid, an Australia-based nonprofit that recycles and redistributes hotel soap to save lives and our environment. Soap Aid’s Michael Matulick took the stage to articulate the organization’s mission and the way American Hotel can help expand its efforts to the U.S. Keynote speaker Brian Solis closed out our General Session with an engaging exploration of today’s social media culture.
On Wednesday and Thursday, our Expo highlights included:
- VIP breakout sessions where strategies were strengthened
- Rotating supplier presentations that delved into detail
- Customer Hot Topic sessions where priorities were shared
- Exclusive customer trade show that demonstrated solutions
- Associate trade show that connected people and products
There were also marvelous Expo dinners, including an authentic Hawaiian luau, complete with fire dancing, and a special Expo Block Party at Universal CityWalk. On Wednesday, our special Casino Night went all in as a fundraiser for Soap Aid. During Expo we raised more than $35k for its amazing mission. And, of course, on Thursday the 2018 Expo Awards Dinner saluted our Heroes of Hospitality.
While snowy weather in the Midwest ended this Expo a bit early, it’s safe to say it was a smashing success. Like those that came before it, our 2018 Expo epitomized the Leahy family values of family, friendship, caring, hard work and integrity. It is a tradition that sets us apart and embodies our commitment to improving all that we do for our customers, our suppliers, and our associates.