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Peter's Perspective

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June 01, 2005
Peter's | Perspective
Peter Holmes

© 2004 Hospitality Upgrade. No reproduction without written permission.


New York, N.Y.—April 19-21
Boasting 1,300 attendees and 50 exhibiting companies, TravelCom appeared to achieve its mission to “educate, inform, challenge and entertain.” Conference content was strong, led by a spirited and enlightening keynote panel titled “New Faces of Leadership” and comprised of industry executives who have been in their roles less than 18 months. The panel included Travelocity CEO Michelle Peluso, Hotels.com President Cheryl Rosner, Amadeus North America President and CEO Kay T. Urban and Frontier Airlines President and CEO Jeff Potter. This session was made all the more compelling by the release that morning of IHC’s new standards for doing business with third-party intermediaries. Henry H. Harteveldt of Forrester Research did an exceptional job of hosting the session, asking a number of unscripted and enthralling questions. Each of these senior executives was as impressive as you’d expect, and it was refreshing to see 3:1 females in these top positions. Attendees were spilling out into the hallways for another session titled “Why Brand Still Matters” (see our Point/CounterPoint on pages 18-19 for two opposing perspectives on that topic).

HSMAI conducted a very informative and well-received half-day session on “Hotel Internet Marketing Strategy” that included both strategies to defend brands online as well as offensive strategies to drive customers to hotel Web sites. TravelCom appears to be a very solid conference offering great educational content and networking opportunities.

Dallas, Texas—May 5-6
This was the first time I’ve attended a PhoCusWright event and I was duly impressed by the professionalism and attention to detail evident throughout. While it might seem trivial to mention, even the name badges were done to perfection – large (36-point bold font) names and company names, printed on BOTH sides of the badge. (How many times have you found yourself looking at the blank flip-side of an attendee’s badge while you struggle to recall their name?) The roster of speakers was impressive and what struck me most was that several of them, as the top technologists in their respective firms, were clearly not polished speakers. This made their presentations more compelling and genuine. Taek Kwon, vice president of engineering for Hotwire.com, had the audience spellbound during his presentation on the “Technology Challenges of Opaque” as he exhibited extensive technical expertise coupled with top-notch presentation skills. PhoCusWright CEO Phillip Wolf and John Bray of Sapient Corporation did a stellar job of leading each of the sessions and instigating thought-provoking discussion. The final session, a keynote address by Harrah’s CIO Tim Stanley, mesmerized the crowd with his overview of the myriad technologies Harrah’s has deployed to run their business and connect with their customers, like no other hospitality organization. TRAVDEX is a high-quality conference.

Having spent some time in New York City walking though the neighborhoods where I had lived years ago, I found myself in a reflective mood. Perhaps it was the drastically distorted skyline that is still so hard to comprehend. In the aftermath of Sept. 11 most of us experienced a radical reshuffling of our priorities. We all had a better sense of what was, or wasn’t, worth sweating over. Many frequent travelers started departing at 3:00 p.m. on Friday to be home for dinner with our families or to make sure and catch that dance recital or ballgame.

The passage of time is not only a soothing anesthetic for painful memories but also it seems to fog our memories. We now appear to be slipping back into our old, less tolerant, more judgmental and more frazzled ways.

We suggest you re-evaluate your priorities once more and focus on those things that are truly important to you. Take every opportunity to tell loved ones and friends what they mean to you.

While we think this is good for all of us, we also think it’s good for business. People with balance in their lives, who don’t expend a great deal of useless, unproductive energy fretting over relatively unimportant things, are far more productive and creative. A good, positive attitude is amazingly contagious. Many of us work in this industry because of the warm, personal relationships that are fostered here. Let’s celebrate that aspect of our work lives and put everything in perspective once again.

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