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2017 TRENDS Speakers

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SPEAKERS: 2017 Hospitality and Tourism TRENDS Conference

 

REGISTER HERE!

 

Keynote Speakers

State Leadership Panel Speakers

 
 

Travel Editors and Writers Panel Speakers

Marketing and Destination Breakout Speakers and Panelists

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Shelley Thompson

     

 

Sales/Revenue Generation Breakout Speakers and Panelists

 
 
 

Keynotes

Good Trends, Bad Trends

Presenter: Steve McKee - President, McKee Wallwork + Company (MWC)

2016 was a year of great consequence. Some people were happy with the results of the national election and mystified about what happened in New Mexico. Others were dismayed by the national results and pleased with what happened here. Still others were upset about both. Whatever your perspective, 2017 portends to be year of change—some good, some bad—for our industry and the thousands of people we employ. In this conference-opening keynote, Steve McKee will elaborate on what to look for (and look out for) as the year unfolds. 

Steve McKee is the president of McKee Wallwork + Company (MWC), Advertising Age’s 2015 Southwest Small Agency of the Year.  He is the author of When Growth Stalls: How it Happens, Why You're Stuck and What to Do About It, an award-winning business book now published in four languages, and Power Branding: Leveraging the Success of the World's Best Brands, which New York Times bestselling author Jay Baer called “the definitive book on modern branding” that “should be mandatory reading in every business school in America.”
MWC made the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America its first year of eligibility and has twice won the prestigious Effie Award for marketing effectiveness from the American Marketing Association. In addition to winning “Southwest Small Agency of the Year” from Advertising Age, MWC also won its 2015 “B2B Campaign of the Year” award.  In 2016, Advertising Age recognized MWC as one of the nation’s “Best Places to Work.”
Steve was a popular Businessweek.com columnist for more than a decade and currently writes a monthly column for SmartBrief on Leadership. He has also been published or quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes.com, Investor's Business Daily and The Los Angeles Times, among others. A popular speaker at corporate and association events, he has appeared on CNBC, ESPN2, CNNfn, Bloomberg, and network television affiliates across America.

The Best of Both Worlds: How Leveraging the Traveler's Experience and Occupancy Data Will Dictate Future Success for Hospitality and Tourism 

Presenters:

Amir Eylon - President, Longwoods International USA Inc. 

Chris Klauda - Director of Destination Research, STR

In today's day and age, decision makers in the hospitality and tourism industry can no longer rely merely on anecdotes of the traveler's experience. On the flip side, the industry cannot expect to succeed by relying purely on data alone. Today, success is reserved for those who can strike a delicate balance between consideration to the traveler's experience and occupancy data. Join us during our marquee presentation as we explore the 2017 Tourism Outlook and Trends by fusing these two topics together into a dynamic discussion.

Amir Eylon, President of Longwoods International USA Inc., will join Chris Klauda, Director of Destination Research for STR, to discuss how travel trends and occupancy data can help decision makers in the hospitality and tourism industry optimize their operations. Over the course of this presentation, Eylon and Klauda will emphasize:

 - Travel trends and occupancy data over the last 18 months and projections for what will happen heading forward
 - Key strategies and best practices for hotels to capture these trends
 - Future inventory
 - The impact of Airbnb
 - Motivators in driving consumer choice

The 1-hour keynote will function as a dynamic discussion between our presenters, moderated by Adrian Perez, President of Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Inc.

Amir Eylon - President, Longwoods International USA Inc. 

Amir Eylon joins Longwoods from his previous role as Vice President, Partner Engagement with Brand USA, the public-private partnership serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the US. Eylon led the team responsible for helping to increase Brand USA's partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout Brand USA's deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure, Brand USA grew its partnership base to 475 partners, comprised of destination marketing organizations, convention and visitors bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators. 
Prior to joining Brand USA, Eylon served as Director of the Ohio Office of Tourism. Under his leadership, the state's marketing programs realized a tremendous return on investment and contributed to the growth of the state's $40 billion tourism economy. The programs he developed leveraged industry and nontraditional partnerships that generated $14 in new state and local taxes for every $1 invested and included active participation by thousands of Ohio's tourism-related businesses. He has also served as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Assistant Director of the Ohio Tourism Division, and Sales & Marketing Manager with the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau. 
Eylon has been recognized with a number of Industry honors including: Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing award (2014) by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); The Ohio Tourism Industry's Highest Honor, The Paul Sherlock Award; and The State of Ohio Distinguished Service Medal. - See more at: http://longwoods-intl.com/senior-staff/#sthash.u2BbheTB.Ig4mZvwp.dpuf 

Chris Klauda - Director of Destination Research, STR

Chris Klauda joined STR as the company’s first director of destination research. She leads the research and analytic efforts for STR’s destination clients, in addition to supporting the sales efforts of the company’s business development team. Chris was previously a VP with D.K. Shifflet & Associates, where she provided research and managed projects for all DKSA hotel clients, including Best Western, Choice Hotels, and Marriott. She played a major role in creating DKSA's syndicated travel tracking product, which provides research to all segments of the travel industry with an emphasis on hotels and destinations. Chris is often called upon to present at travel industry conferences and as a guest lecturer at various universities. Chris graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business.

State Leadership Panel

Presenters:
Celina Bussey - Cabinet Secretar, Department of Workforce Solutions
Matt Geisel - Cabinet Secretary, Economic Development Department
Tom Church - Cabinet Secretary, Department of Transportation
Veronica Gonzales - Cabinet Secretary, Department of Cultural Affairs

Moderator: Rebecca Lantham - Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Tourism Department

State Leadership will convene for this panel to discuss topics and ideas pertinent to the hospitality and tourism industry. 

Celina Bussey
Cabinet Secretary - Department of Workforce Solutions
 
Celina Bussey serves as the Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions where she began her career in state government. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Ms. Bussey received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and communications from the University of New Mexico. The Secretary's vision for department is to become more engaged with the business community and to promote the vast array of employment-related services and resources. Her vision includes the Department of Workforce Solutions as a leader in and a facilitator of a competitive workforce for the benefit of all New Mexicans. 
 
 
 

Tom Church
Cabinet Secretary - Department of Transportation
Tom Church was appointed Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Transportation by Governor Susana Martinez in 2012. A career employee of the agency, Tom has served in multiple management and policy positions since 1994.
 He has managed the agency bond programs, quality programs, budget and administration, and is an advocate for performance management. Church has focused the agency on performance results and customer service.
NMDOT maintains 30 thousand highway miles in a vastly rural state. The department and its 2,400 team members are responsive to the safety of the people and the betterment of the transportation system in New Mexico.
 
Matt Geisel
Cabinet Secretary - Economic Development Department
Matt Geisel was appointed Cabinet Secretary by Governor Susana Martinez in October 2016.
Prior to serving as Cabinet Secretary, Matt served in various leadership roles with the City of Rio Rancho, most recently as Economic Development & Business Relations Manager.
Matt has had a diverse career, serving in both the private and public sectors. Matt held management sales and marketing positions with Pulte Homes and the Ford Motor Company. Matt also served a Country Manager for the Fritz Companies, overseeing operations in Mexico. He holds a Bachelor in Economics and Spanish from The University of California, Davis, and he holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.
He has also served on the Board of the New Mexico Partnership, the state-wide Economic Development Organization, charged with the marketing and attraction of New Mexico to economic based job creators.
Matt is a California native. He speaks fluent Spanish having lived in Latin America for eight years.
 
Veronica Gonzales
Cabinet Secretary - Department of Cultural Affairs
Veronica N. Gonzales was appointed Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs by Governor Martinez in January 2011 and again in 2015. With eight museums, eight historic sites, arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and library programs, the Department of Cultural Affairs is one of the largest and most well respected state cultural agencies in the nation.  Together, its facilities, programs, and services support an annual $5.6 billion cultural industry in New Mexico.
Gonzales, a native New Mexican, holds a background in public administration, non-profit management, and American Indian higher education. She served as professional staff in the United States Congress, federal departments, the White House, and as executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, a national nonprofit.
Ms. Gonzales worked as senior officer at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, securing more than $30 million for the college and museum and launched the nation's first Lifelong Learning Center for Indigenous peoples.
Ms. Gonzales is a former trustee of the American Indian College Fund and member of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Native American Higher Education Advisory Committee.  She is a member of the International Women's Forum.
 
Christy Tafoya
Director - State Parks Division
 
Tafoya, an archaeologist by training, began her career with State Parks when she was selected as the first State Park Archaeologist nearly 17 years ago. Since 2007, she has managed the statewide Outdoor Classroom Program, which has provided hundreds of thousands of students with meaningful, hands-on experiences in State Parks. Tafoya became the Field support Bureau Chief in 2011. Tafoya holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA, double majoring in history and historic preservation and received a Master of Arts in anthropology in 1997 from New Mexico State University.
 
 
Moderator: Rebecca Latham
Cabinet Secretary - New Mexico Tourism Department
In January 2015 Governor Susana Martinez appointed Rebecca as the Cabinet Secretary of the Tourism Department. With more than a decade of experience in advertising and marketing, Rebecca is a passionate tourism professional who has served New Mexico's hospitality industry since 2006. She brings a wealth of experience across all aspects of the marketing spectrum including economic development, strategic messaging, brand development, public relations, and communications. Under her leadership the Tourism Department is focused on building awareness and driving travel to The Land of Enchantment through the New Mexico True campaign, which delivers a 7:1 ROI at the tax base level (Longwoods Intl 2015).

Travel Editors and Writers Panel

Cathy Barber
formerly with Dallas Morning News

Cathy Barber is a freelance travel and food writer in Santa Fe. She spent most of her career at The Dallas Morning News, where she specialized in food and travel coverage.  She earned a bronze award for best section in the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition and a  James Beard Journalism award for stories about the making of Parmigiano-Reggiano in Italy.

 

 

Laura Begley Bloom
formerly with Yahoo Travel

Laura Begley Bloom is the founder of Begley Bloom Media, which works with travel and luxury lifestyle brands to provide content strategy that drives consumer engagement, business, and innovation. Clients include Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Lincoln Motor Company, and New York’s Time Warner Center. Laura also writes a popular travel column for Forbes and contributes to a number of media outlets, including Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and the New York Post.

Prior to launching Begley Bloom Media, Laura was the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Travel, where she oversaw all aspects of the digital magazine. Laura used her skills as a leader, content producer, and change agent to transform Yahoo Travel into the world’s most-read digital travel magazine.

Laura has also been the deputy editor of Travel + Leisure, a travel editor at Condé Nast’s Brides magazine, a reporter at Money magazine, and a stringer for The New York Times. She has appeared regularly on television, including Good Morning America, NBC Today, and CNN, and has spoken at conferences hosted by the Harvard Business School, The New York Times, and the NYU Hospitality School.

Journalism is part of Laura’s heritage: Her great great grandfather was a Civil War correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.

Don George
National Geographic Traveler

National Geographic has called Don George “a legendary travel writer and editor.” Don has been exploring new frontiers as an author, editor, and adventurer for almost four decades, and is also an acclaimed teacher, speaker, and tour leader. He has visited more than ninety countries on six continents, has published hundreds of articles in dozens of magazines and newspapers around the world, and regularly speaks, teaches, and consults at conferences, campuses, and companies from San Francisco to Singapore to London. Currently Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler, Don has been Travel Editor for the San Francisco Examiner and Salon.com, and Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet. Don’s most recent book is the highly acclaimed The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George. He also wrote the best-selling book on travel writing, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. Don has edited twelve award-winning literary travel anthologies, including An Innocent Abroad, Better Than Fiction, and The Kindness of Strangers. He has received dozens of awards for his writing and editing, including twelve Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers. He is a highly sought-after speaker, workshop leader, and consultant nationally and internationally on travel and social media. Don is co-founder and host of the award-winning San Francisco-based reading series Weekday Wanderlust, and co-founder and chairman of the celebrated Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Hollins College graduate program in creative writing. His website is www.don-george.com.

Steve Larese
BBC Travel, Travel Channel

Steve Larese is a New Mexico-based travel journalist who writes and photographs for National Geographic Traveler, Travel Channel, U.S. News & World Report Travel, BBC Travel, USA Today Travel, New Mexico Journey and other regional, national and international travel outlets.

 

 

Veronica Stoddart
formerly with USA TODAY

Veronica Stoddart is an award-winning travel editor and content marketing consultant with more than three decades in travel publishing. She provides content marketing solutions for travel clients via her consultancy, VS Content Strategies, and as Executive Editor in Residence for Percepture, a marketing communications agency.

Previously, she was USA TODAY’s Editor in Chief for Travel. Under her leadership, USA TODAY’s travel site grew into a comScore top 5 for travel news and information. She was also the founding editor of Caribbean Travel & Life magazine, which she edited for 10 years. She has worked as a contract editor for the National Geographic Society, as travel editor of Americas magazine, as stringer for Time-Life News Service in West Africa, and was a faculty member of the SATW Institute for Travel Writing & Photography for five years. 

A thought leader in travel and tourism, she has served as a frequent speaker or panelist for dozens of professional organizations. She has also appeared as on-air expert on "Best Beaches of the World," a 12-part series that aired on the Travel Channel.

Veronica has received more than 30 awards, including 12 Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, seven awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association, and the Marcia Vickery-Wallace Memorial Award in Travel Journalism. She was granted a 2014 Asia Pacific Journalism Fellowship by the East-West Center. 

A travel addict, she has visited more than 100 countries, reporting from many of them. She believes that travel can be a force for good in the world. She is a graduate of Wellesley College.

 

Moderator: Tom Garrity
The Garrity Group

Founding The Garrity Group 20 years ago this July, Tom Garrity has strong connections to New Mexico’s tourism industry.  His expertise in the visitor industry has benefited organizations like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show as well as visitor agencies and local/national hotel groups. Bringing more than three decades of knowledge in media relations, communications strategy and crisis communications, Tom’s commitment to staying conversant on industry trends and community affairs has helped New Mexico small businesses to be heard and large organizations to be understood.

 

Marketing and Destination Breakout Sessions

Impacting Communities and How We Do Business

Communities throughout New Mexico and the world are seeking solutions to the rapidly growing short term rental market.   Even though these internet based platforms offer guests alternative styles of accommodation, there are some unintended challenges that have surfaced around occupancy regulation and taxation.  Due to some minor ambiguity in the tax codes (lodgers tax and gross receipts tax), the online short term rental platforms have historically developed their own rules and therefore, have not paid taxes. But now, communities are speaking up and driving change at the local level.  Learn how the City of Santa Fe, Town of Taos and Village of Ruidoso are taking a disciplined approach to formalizing agreements and serving their communities.  This workshop has a dynamic panelist including Randy Randall of Tourism Santa Fe, Karina Armijo of Town of Taos, Gina Kelley of Discover Ruidoso and Chris Cordova of Southwest Planning and Marketing.

Karina Armijio
Marketing and Tourism Director, Town of Taos
 
Karina Armijo is the Marketing and Tourism Director for the Town of Taos, a unique and authentic multi-cultural destination in Northern New Mexico. She has been a part of marketing Taos’ tourism assets for over 20 years. After graduating with a B.S. in Design from the University of Cincinnati, Karina began her career in the Communications Department at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Soon after, she was introduced to the Taos community where she worked as a graphic designer, web designer/developer, events coordinator and marketing strategist for a number of tourism-based businesses in and around the Taos area. She currently serves on the Department of Tourism Regional Marketing Board and is a member of the Enchanted Circle Marketing Group. 
 
 
Chris Cordova
Southwest Planning & Marketing
Chris Cordova is the principal at Southwest Planning and Marketing.  Mr. Cordova specializes in market research, economic development, project management facilitation and planning. In addition to his duties as principal of SWPM, Chris serves the firm as consultant, facilitator, analyst, and marketing researcher, and works with communities, marketing and planning organizations at both the local and national levels. His areas of expertise include a wide-ranging spectrum of all aspects of planning, market research and development including: research and strategic planning, statistical data analysis applications, fundraising, project development, and project management.
 
 
 
Gina Kelley
Director of Tourism, Village of Ruidoso
Gina Kelley has served as the Director of Tourism for the Village of Ruidoso since January 2011. Prior to this, she served as the Director of Tourism for Sierra County, New Mexico for over 3 years. Her background in tourism includes working in the hotel industry in California, Hawaii and New Mexico for over 30 years and partnering with the San Francisco and Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureaus and the New Mexico Department of Tourism to represent these destinations at industry events throughout the United States. During her tenure in Ruidoso she has launched Ruidoso’s first TV commercials, digital campaigns, tourism website and social media efforts that have shown rewards; lodging revenues have increased by 25% over the last four years. This year Ruidoso was honored by the New Mexico Hospitality Association as the “Destination of the Year.” 
 
 
Randy Randall
Executive Director, Tourism Santa Fe
Randy Randall, Executive Director of Tourism Santa Fe, is responsible for the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Community Convention Center and the Office of Arts and Culture.  From 1994 to 2004 he was the general manager of Eldorado Hotel, a four-star hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Prior to this he served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Richfield Hospitality Management based in Denver, Colorado; General Manager of Mariner’s Inn on Hilton Head Island, SC and The Inn at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ.  He was also Director of Operations for Palmas Del Mar Resort in Puerto Rico and Manager of the Hilton Head Inn.
 
 
 
Moderator: Jen Schroer
President and CEO, New Mexico Hospitality Association

Jen has a Master’s of Business Administration and over 15 years of work experience ranging from entrepreneurship, associations to corporate marketing and communications. In March 2013, Jen relocated to Albuquerque, NM with her husband, who is a native New Mexican.  She quickly found a role with the New Mexico Tourism Department and was asked most recently to support the tourism industry as the President & CEO of the New Mexico Hospitality Association.

Prior to moving, Jen was the Director of Communications for the Fresno Business Council (a membership based association representing the largest businesses and nonprofits in the region).  Her work was sharply focused on economic development strategies and building coalitions locally and throughout the state.  Here she was part of the leadership council for the regional economic summit and served on California Forward’s economic summit communication committee. Jen was also appointed to the California Stewardship Network (a statewide economic and prosperity think tank).  

Video Distribution: Ignore its Importance at Your Peril!

Everyone knows that video marketing is super important and getting a lot more important in 2017. Many DMOs have invested big budgets on the creation of quality video, but distribution has been disappointing. Ross Borden, Founder and CEO of Matador Network, will walk you through case studies and proven techniques for getting massive views on video and tailoring your video assets to all the different social platforms that matter. HINT: the answer is not just paying Facebook and Youtube for views. Matador executes large and small video projects for DMOs like Visit Las Vegas, Visit California, Brand USA, Destination Canada, Texas Tourism, Visit Seattle, HVCB and brands like REI, Subaru, Visa and Intel. 

Ross Borden
Founder, Matador Network

Ross Borden is an American entrepreneur and executive producer based in California. He founded Matador Network in 2006 with $11,000 and grew it into one of the largest travel media companies in the world. Ross works on Matador-produced video and influencer projects for brands like Disney, REI, Heineken, Subaru, Intel, General Motors and DMOs like Visit Las Vegas, Visit California, Destination Canada, Turkey Home, Brand USA and Innovation Norway. He is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs, DMOs and small businesses win on the Internet. 

 

How to Get Great Press and Make the Most of It

Destinations, attractions, and travel/tourism/hospitality enterprises of all kinds stand to gain enormously by appearing in the right kinds of publications and other media.  New Mexico Magazine is putting together a panel of experts who can describe how great stories happen, how they can be leveraged, and how advertising reinforces media messaging.

Moderator: Dave Herndon

Editor in Chief, New Mexico Magazine

Editor in Chief Dave Herndon will moderate the panel. Dave has been writing and editing for travel-related publications since the late-90s, including Travel + Leisure, where he specialized in adventure travel, and Caribbean Travel + Life, where he was editor-in-chief. 

 

 

Edie Dillman

Art Director and Associate Publisher, New Mexico Magazine

Edie Dillman, Art Director and Associate Publisher of New Mexico Magazine. As the magazine’s creative director and marketing and advertising sales manager, Edie has deep insight into NM-based brand management and can also offer practical advice to marketers and advertisers.

 

 

Kate Nelson

Managing Editor, New Mexico Magazine

Kate Nelson of New Mexico Magazine. With decades of experience in both print publications and in marketing in NM, Kate is uniquely positioned to talk about how the ecosystem works and to provide practical, real-world advice about getting coverage in various outlets.

 

 

Shelley Thompson

Director Marketing & Outreach and Publisher El Palacio Magazine, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Shelley Thompson of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Shelley will talk about the importance of  producing press materials and access that result in high-value editorial, and the importance of reinforcing  DCA museum programming through consistent advertising in the right venues.

 

 

Warren Malkerson

Tularosa Basin Gallery of Photography

Warren Malkerson of the Tularosa Basin Gallery of Photography, in Carrizozo. He’ll talk about a model case history in which he gained feature coverage for the town as a burgeoning destination for creative tourism, and parlayed the coverage into an ongoing partnership by hosting an exhibit of the New Mexico Magazine Photo Contest winners.

Meet the Editors and Writers

 

Cathy Barber
formerly with Dallas Morning News

Cathy Barber is a freelance travel and food writer in Santa Fe. She spent most of her career at The Dallas Morning News, where she specialized in food and travel coverage.  She earned a bronze award for best section in the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition and a  James Beard Journalism award for stories about the making of Parmigiano-Reggiano in Italy.

 

 

Laura Begley Bloom
formerly with Yahoo Travel

Laura Begley Bloom is the founder of Begley Bloom Media, which works with travel and luxury lifestyle brands to provide content strategy that drives consumer engagement, business, and innovation. Clients include Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Lincoln Motor Company, and New York’s Time Warner Center. Laura also writes a popular travel column for Forbes and contributes to a number of media outlets, including Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and the New York Post.

Prior to launching Begley Bloom Media, Laura was the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Travel, where she oversaw all aspects of the digital magazine. Laura used her skills as a leader, content producer, and change agent to transform Yahoo Travel into the world’s most-read digital travel magazine.

Laura has also been the deputy editor of Travel + Leisure, a travel editor at Condé Nast’s Brides magazine, a reporter at Money magazine, and a stringer for The New York Times. She has appeared regularly on television, including Good Morning America, NBC Today, and CNN, and has spoken at conferences hosted by the Harvard Business School, The New York Times, and the NYU Hospitality School.

Journalism is part of Laura’s heritage: Her great great grandfather was a Civil War correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.

Don George
National Geographic Traveler

National Geographic has called Don George “a legendary travel writer and editor.” Don has been exploring new frontiers as an author, editor, and adventurer for almost four decades, and is also an acclaimed teacher, speaker, and tour leader. He has visited more than ninety countries on six continents, has published hundreds of articles in dozens of magazines and newspapers around the world, and regularly speaks, teaches, and consults at conferences, campuses, and companies from San Francisco to Singapore to London. Currently Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler, Don has been Travel Editor for the San Francisco Examiner and Salon.com, and Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet. Don’s most recent book is the highly acclaimed The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George. He also wrote the best-selling book on travel writing, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. Don has edited twelve award-winning literary travel anthologies, including An Innocent Abroad, Better Than Fiction, and The Kindness of Strangers. He has received dozens of awards for his writing and editing, including twelve Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers. He is a highly sought-after speaker, workshop leader, and consultant nationally and internationally on travel and social media. Don is co-founder and host of the award-winning San Francisco-based reading series Weekday Wanderlust, and co-founder and chairman of the celebrated Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Hollins College graduate program in creative writing. His website is www.don-george.com.

Steve Larese
BBC Travel, Travel Channel

Steve Larese is a New Mexico-based travel journalist who writes and photographs for National Geographic Traveler, Travel Channel, U.S. News & World Report Travel, BBC Travel, USA Today Travel, New Mexico Journey and other regional, national and international travel outlets.

 

 

Veronica Stoddart
formerly with USA TODAY

Veronica Stoddart is an award-winning travel editor and content marketing consultant with more than three decades in travel publishing. She provides content marketing solutions for travel clients via her consultancy, VS Content Strategies, and as Executive Editor in Residence for Percepture, a marketing communications agency.

Previously, she was USA TODAY’s Editor in Chief for Travel. Under her leadership, USA TODAY’s travel site grew into a comScore top 5 for travel news and information. She was also the founding editor of Caribbean Travel & Life magazine, which she edited for 10 years. She has worked as a contract editor for the National Geographic Society, as travel editor of Americas magazine, as stringer for Time-Life News Service in West Africa, and was a faculty member of the SATW Institute for Travel Writing & Photography for five years. 

A thought leader in travel and tourism, she has served as a frequent speaker or panelist for dozens of professional organizations. She has also appeared as on-air expert on "Best Beaches of the World," a 12-part series that aired on the Travel Channel.

Veronica has received more than 30 awards, including 12 Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, seven awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association, and the Marcia Vickery-Wallace Memorial Award in Travel Journalism. She was granted a 2014 Asia Pacific Journalism Fellowship by the East-West Center. 

A travel addict, she has visited more than 100 countries, reporting from many of them. She believes that travel can be a force for good in the world. She is a graduate of Wellesley College.

Sales/Revenue Generation Breakout Sessions

Debunking the Myths of Securing New Business

Bringing in new business and revenue is always top of mind for our sales teams.  Join this dynamic breakout session moderated by Jose Garcia of Albuquerque Convention Center, as he leads a thought-provoking (and witty) discussion between hotel sales leaders and meeting planners. They will dive deep into realizing expectations to secure new and reoccurring business, avoiding pitfalls and the ultimate nightmares, and developing best practices.  Don’t have a big conference center?  Doesn’t matter there are group meetings and conferences that urban and rural communities should be competing. 

Tisha Aldredge
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico

Tisha Aldredge, CMP is the Special Events Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico. She has 15+ years experience in the meetings and events industry and has planned, managed and executed many conferences, meetings and events, large and small, all across the country. Tisha graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis on Vocal Performance and in 2010 received the designation of Certified Meeting Professional from the Convention Industry Council. She is a member of Meeting Professionals International and is a board member of the New Mexico chapter. 

 

Joani Jones
Crowne Plaza

Joani Erickson-Jones has been in the hospitality industry for over 3 decades. Her accomplished hospitality career began in Washington DC as a breakfast waitress.  Through the years she worked her way up through the various hotel departments from food and beverage, front desk, reservations, accounting and the last 25 years in the Sales Department. She moved to Albuquerque in 1993 and worked at the Hilton Albuquerque for 10 years. She decided “there’s no place like home” and moved home to Kansas City and was the Director of Group Sales for Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Her work ethic and ability to exceed revenue goals gave her the opportunity to move the San Antonio and be the first female designated “Director of Group Sales” for Marriott’s largest Convention Hotel the 1600 room Marriott Rivercenter/Riverwalk.

Joani relocated back to the “Land of Enchantment” in 2009 and worked as General Manager for Hilton Garden Inn Journal Center and Director of Sales for the Embassy Suites. There was a tug at her heart to switch back to the Hilton facility she had worked at for 10 years – she is currently the Director of Sales for the Crowne Plaza (formerly the Hilton Albuquerque property) and has succeeded once again at establishing record sales over the past 2 years.

Her most recent accomplishment began 6 years ago with the in conception of the “Hospitality Games” a fundraiser for the Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association’s Scholarship fund.

Ed Pulsifer
La Fonda on the Plaza

Director of Sales, La Fonda on the Plaza- Ed is a Native New Mexican, born and raised in Albuquerque. He has thirty years of hospitality sales and marketing experience in New Mexico ranging from single property branded hotel, Convention and Visitors Bureau, multiple property Independent hotels and historic hotels.

 

 

Colette Schobbens
New Mexico Municipal League

Originally trained in foreign languages, Colette worked for the International Society of Radiology organizing their International Congress first in Europe and eventually here in the United States.

Later she managed Los Poblanos Inn and Cultural Center and eventually became the Meetings Coordinator at the New Mexico Municipal League in 2006. The League provides many services to New Mexico municipalities including the management of 14 professional associations.

 

José García
SMG, Albuquerque Convention Center

José García is an accomplished veteran of the meetings and convention industry with more than a decade in the convention center industry.  He has been with SMG since 2004 where he serves as General Manager of the Albuquerque Convention Center.  José started with SMG as an Event Coordinator and he worked his way up the ranks as Director of Event Services and prior to being the General Manager, the Director of Operations for the Albuquerque Convention Center.  José has a bachelor of business administration in Travel and Tourism management from the Anderson Schools of Management at the University of New Mexico.  Prior to college, José is a veteran of the United States Navy where he served four years as a Quartermaster 2nd Class Petty Officer. 

Garcia is a member of several professional organizations including the International Association of Venue Managers, the New Mexico Hospitality Association, and the Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association. 

Working with What You Have: Influencing Rate & Occupancy Performance

Maximizing revenue, through compression-level occupancy, is perhaps the single greatest revenue objective for a destination and their lodging partners.  Leveraging the latest rate-management strategies during compression periods is essential, especially as hotels’ inventory cycle is every 24 hours; making its demand fluctuate more fluidly than any other retail sector. Understanding what level of room-night bookings are needed to start generating more revenue per available room (RevPAR) than is average for hotels in a particular destination is imperative, as well as understanding the effect of digital distribution channels such as Expedia, Home Away and AirBnB.  Chris Klauda, Director of Destination Research for STR, will facilitate this panel discussion, featuring industry experts and leaders from the field of sales, destination marketing, research and metrics. Join Destimetrics, Steve Smith of TMS, Randy Randall of Tourism Santa Fe, Rob Darrow of Heritage Hotels and Resorts and Cainan Harris of El Dorado Hotel and Spa.  

Cainan Harris

Eldorado Hotel and Spa

Cainan started his career in Kansas City, MO with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. His journey with the hospitality industry brought him to New Mexico in 2000 with the opening of a full scale resort and spa. His experience extends to both full service convention hotels and boutique properties in the midwest and southwest.  Cainan joined Heritage Hotels in the summer of 2013, where he served as General Manager at the Hotel Albuquerque. Cainan became General Manager of the Eldorado Hotel in the spring of 2016. He enjoys providing guests with a culturally rich experience.  

 

 

Chris Klauda
Smith Travel Research (STR)

Chris Klauda joined STR as the company’s first director of destination research. She leads the research and analytic efforts for STR’s destination clients, in addition to supporting the sales efforts of the company’s business development team. Chris was previously a VP with D.K. Shifflet & Associates, where she provided research and managed projects for all DKSA hotel clients, including Best Western, Choice Hotels, and Marriott. She played a major role in creating DKSA's syndicated travel tracking product, which provides research to all segments of the travel industry with an emphasis on hotels and destinations. Chris is often called upon to present at travel industry conferences and as a guest lecturer at various universities. Chris graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business.

 

Jeff Moffett
Triple Point Strategic Consulting LLC

Jeff has over twenty years of experience interpreting data to price effectively and maximize revenues in the areas of resort lodging, air service, forestry, and skiing. In the Pacific Northwest, Jeff modelled the allocation of forest land between wildlife habitat and timber production. After holding various positions in the mountain resort industry, Jeff founded Triple Point Strategic Consulting in 2013 to help companies improve their decision making by taking advantage of data. Jeff earned an M.S. in econometrics and a Ph.D. in applied statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle. Jeff and his family live in Crested Butte, Colorado. www.tpsconsulting.net

 

 

Randy Randall
Tourism Santa Fe

Randy Randall, Executive Director of Tourism Santa Fe, is responsible for the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Community Convention Center and the Office of Arts and Culture.  From 1994 to 2004 he was the general manager of Eldorado Hotel, a four-star hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Prior to this he served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Richfield Hospitality Management based in Denver, Colorado; General Manager of Mariner’s Inn on Hilton Head Island, SC and The Inn at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ.  He was also Director of Operations for Palmas Del Mar Resort in Puerto Rico and Manager of the Hilton Head Inn.

 

Rob Darrow
Heritage Hotels and Resorts

Rob has been within Revenue Management for over a decade first starting his career in Steamboat Springs, CO after graduating from Temple University with a Tourism and Hospitality degree.  After a few years at the ski in ski out Sheraton Steamboat Resort, Rob found himself on the North Shore of Kauai to assist in opening the luxurious St Regis Princeville Resort as the Asst Director Of Revenue.  In a few short years following he had the opportunity to open two new ski in ski out properties in Aspen/Snowmass, CO as the Complex Dir of Revenue for the Westin and Wildwood Hotel.  Currently Rob is the Regional Director of Revenue overseeing 6 properties in Northern New Mexico for Heritage Hotels and Resorts with a small team of Revenue professionals and a call center.

 

Stephen Smith
TMS Hospitality

Stephen has served in hospitality since 2002. He recently joined Total Management Systems. His primary focus is to work toward achieving the company’s vision. His responsibilities include revenue and profitability performance oversight of the entire portfolio, building the desired culture, and strengthening the company’s infrastructure. He has expertise in all aspects of hotel operations with proficiency in marketing, food, beverage, and technology. As a visionary and leader, Stephen has established strategic plans where every hotel will consistently achieve or exceed the brand’s standards, revenue indexes and out-perform the marketplace. Stephen is keenly focused on guest satisfaction, associate engagement, training and developing top performers. He is an integral part of the management group and his high level of expertise will contribute to the company’s aggressive growth plans.

Prior to joining Total Management Systems, Stephen was with GF Hotels where he served for three years. As a task force expert, he successfully converted hotels to new brands, opened hotels, closed hotels and worked with management to improve underperforming hotels. His short term assignments were in every type of market, from Ohio to Alaska. He has brand experience within the IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham and Choice franchises.

Stephen is a 2004 graduate of Youngstown State University where he earned a degree in Hospitality. He served as chapter treasurer of the Hospitality Management Association and was nominated for membership to the Centarians organization.

Finally, Stephen is a newlywed who has been in the New Mexico area since 2010. He and his bride have a passion for Southwestern culture and plan to reside in the Albuquerque area. He loves sports and likes to relate situations to sports theories. He lives by a concept of playing and winning.

Part 1: Habits of Highly Effective Hotel Sales People

The perfect analytics of a salesperson's day:

 - Where should a salesperson spend their time

 - Selling vs. servicing vs. administering

 - How many calls does it take to earn a booking

 - What % of a day should be spent on the six critical selling skills

Part 2: Be Highly Effective and Efficient: Managing Your Time, Identifying the Robbers, and Diffusing Them to Increase Sales

 Identifying your time robbers:

 - Understanding the eight most invasive time robbers

 - Help identifying which are your biggest

 - How to eliminate, diffuse or remove them

 - A better understanding of how to manage your time

Steve Steinhart

Steinhart & Associates

Steven J. Steinhart, C.H.S.E, CHME.,  is recognized as one of the nation's leading hospitality sales consultants.  Since opening in 1987 over 40,000 hotel salespeople have completed Steinhart & Associates' Accelerated Hospitality Sales Training Programs that now offers four different phases. 

Having spent twelve years with Hyatt Hotels Corporation, he directed the sales and marketing efforts at airport locations, suburb properties and major city center convention destinations.  Steinhart was also responsible for monitoring the sales and marketing efforts at resort destinations and pre-opening properties prior to establishing Steinhart & Associates in 1987.

A recipient of the California Society of Association Executives' Associate of the Year Award, Steinhart has served on the Board of Directors of California Society of Association Executives, the Executive Board of the Western Conference of Association Executives and is the only hospitality firm authorized to certify graduates of the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus. 

Steinhart has spoken on the topic of hospitality sales and marketing at the American Society of Association Executives, the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Society of Government Meeting Planners and Meeting Planners International.

In 2001, Steinhart & Associates published the Hotel Sales Smart Pack™, which is an in-house, self-administered hotel sales training program. In 2013 they launched their 2nd edition which is now in use in nearly 1,500 hotels in the United States.

 

 

Other Sessions

A2D Update and Demo

Tonya Stinson
Farmington Convention & Visitos Bureau

Tonya Stinson is the Executive Director of the Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau where she has worked since 2000. Tonya is a member of several tourism related organizations and serves as Chair of the New Mexico Hospitality Association as well as being the City of Farmington and San Juan County endorsed liaison to the New Mexico Film Office. In 2015, she was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries.

 

 

Phil San Filippo
Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau

Phil moved to New Mexico in March 2012 to take on the Executive Director position for the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mr. San Filippo previously lived in South Florida where he worked in various aspects of the hospitality and tourism industry for over 30 years.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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We are the unified voice to influence and inspire a growing New Mexico hospitality industry.

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