Quite simply, thank you. I am sincerely grateful to each of you who wrote to me and to Allen to share your stories of—and thoughts about—Jay. As I had mentioned shortly after his passing in August, we had decided to put together a cover-story tribute to him in this, our September 21 issue, The Lodging Conference edition. I had requested that anyone who wants to contribute to the piece send me a few words and even a few photos, as I would be compiling the submissions as part of a larger piece. What I didn’t know at the time—but should have expected given his larger-than-life-presence in the industry—is that the letters would not supplement the cover story, they would become the story.
I read each and every one, each and every word, and, admittedly, went from tears to smiles—and even a few chuckles—multiple times. I’m sure you will, too. The unparalleled love Jay had for this industry was certainly returned to him through the anecdotes and insights you all so graciously shared. Reading them, there were words and phrases used to describe him that were used over and over again, painting a beautiful picture of a beautiful soul. If I put theses often-repeated qualities together in one description, from many industry voices, this sums him up: Jay Schultz was a humble man, a knowledgeable media executive and consummate salesman, who was loved and respected both personally and professionally, and who sincerely cared for others and took the time to show them, often going above and beyond his role in hospitality media to be a genuine and thoughtful friend to all.
I took the time to go back through some old issues of Hotel Business to pull together some of the columns he had written over the years, snapshots of his perspectives on many topics, and am sharing excerpts from them throughout the cover story. In some cases, it was a matter of recalling what he had written during my tenure here at Hotel Business; in other instances, I was being introduced to thoughts he shared with readers way before my time. Either way, the ones I chose for you to read, or re-read, collectively create this wonderful tapestry of Jay the advocate, Jay the cheerleader, Jay the motivator, Jay the proud publisher, Jay the realist and even Jay, the kid at heart.
Jay always showed up. Even when his health made it challenging for him. And he loved industry conferences, getting the inside information and connecting with peers. He had them all marked on his calendar, which he carried with him everywhere. And while Jay can no longer be with us at The Lodging Conference, we thought it fitting that he is there in some way, his life and contribution to this industry celebrated. Harry Javer, whom Jay counted among his many friends, agreed. So, on Wednesday morning, September 26, during the General Session, Allen and I will take to the stage and share with you a short video of a man who was, as someone termed, a giant in this industry and whose legacy will endure. Through Jay’s mentorship, Allen and I have been able to lead this brand over the past few years, and we will continue to do so in a way we know Jay would be proud of. Please join us in Phoenix, and if you’re not attending The Lodging Conference, you can view the video tribute on our website at hotelbusiness.com.