HB ON THE SCENE: The New Influencers

NEW YORK—A panel of industry experts shared their perspective on how the lodging industry decision-makers are driving more exploratory thinking to keep their products ahead of the competitive curve during the 2015 Hotel Business Executive Roundtable titled “The New Influencers.”

The executive roundtable was held June 30 at The Wall Street Journal’s headquarters in Manhattan. The event was sponsored and hosted by The Wall Street Journal. Stefani C. O’Connor, executive news editor, Hotel Business & managing editor, roundtables, moderated the panel discussion.

The panelists included Jim Biggar, president, SIXTY Hotels; Melanie Brandman, CEO, The Brandman Agency; Alfredo A. Carvajal, president, Delos International & Signature Programs; Valerie Ferguson, SVP of operations, Denihan Hospitality Group; Howard K. Freilich, president and CEO, Blondie’s Treehouse, Inc.; Jan D. Freitag, SVP of strategic development, STR; Daniel Levine, cofounder and director, The Avant-Guide Institute; Jesse MacDougall, director of strategy & brand development, ICRAVE; Ed Scheetz, CEO, Chelsea Hotels; Toni Stoeckl, VP of lifestyle brands, Marriott International, Inc.; Paul A. Vega, principal and co-creative director, VLDG, Inc.; and Adam Williamowsky, director/Eat + Drink, Streetsense.


@HotelBusiness tweeted takeaways during the roundtable:

Unique experiences are the new meaning of luxury. Not just in hospitality but across the spectrum – Daniel @avantguide #HBRoundtable

STR: AirBNB is targeting the Fortune 2000 and will be a competitor in the coming years @jan_freitag #HBRoundtable

On hotel essentials: People want to see things that are new and innovative @bthnyc #HBRoundtable

STR: We will see more room sales than ever in 2015, continues into 2016 @jan_freitag #HBRoundtable

Hospitality has always been about experiences. They need to up their game and maintain that lead – Daniel @avantguide #HBRoundtable

STR on hotel industry: It’s either good or awesome depending on where you are @jan_freitag #HBRoundtable @WSJ @hotelbusiness

“How do u reward interaction with your hotel brand? Incentivizing interaction is the new rewards program.” – Jesse @icravetweets #HBRoundtable

“We are seeing unusual floral arrangements, less is more in hotel decor.” @bthnyc #HBRoundtable


Extensive coverage of the executive roundtable will be featured in the Aug. 7 issue of Hotel Business.