A Must-Visit Caribbean Hospitality Conference

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - May 5, 2017

Caribbean hoteliers and industry stakeholders will gather in Miami for the third installment of the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum, slated to take place from June 2 to 4 at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, CHIEF is a high level forum which features a number of educational sessions, where the region’s hospitality industry assembles to network, learn, share ideas and collectively brainstorm creative solutions to current challenges.

“There’s not another forum where you get to meet all these persons talking about energy efficiency, technology, social media and online marketing,” said Sanovnik Destang, President of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association and Executive Director of Bay Gardens Resorts in St. Lucia.

“You get a chance to interact with regional hospitality professionals and figure out what they’re doing,” Destang added. “Then you realize that you’re not alone. You think that there’s a problem that you’re facing and you’re the only one. You realize that we face all the same challenges. What’s interesting is how people in different islands are dealing with it.”

As a learning experience, CHIEF has been invaluable to past participants David Moore and Jessica Peguero.

The husband-wife team runs Hostal Casa Culebra in Puerto Rico, and attended last year’s event in Puerto Rico for the first time.

“We really came here looking for educational opportunities to learn more about the industry– to learn more from other people, and all that so far has been successful,” Moore said.

Particularly beneficial for the pair was connecting with hotel supply vendors, a key component of CHIEF 2017 as well.

“One of my favorite parts of this has been meeting people in the industry, which is a little bit difficult for us to do in Culebra when we just have our heads down working all the time,” Peguero said. “This is a good break from that during the slow season to make new friends and new partnerships.”

“CHIEF offers a priceless educational opportunity for hoteliers to create a customized plan of success,” said Frank Comito, CHTA’s CEO and Director General.

This year’s CHIEF offers attendees the chance to be part of intimate professional development sessions and customize their experience with a choice of 16 industry-relevant topics.

General session tracks focus on leveraging marketing potential, embedding sustainability into tourism offerings, and the purchasing power of the LGBTQ community.

Other more specialized sessions will highlight areas such as branding strategies, cost management, customer service, local sourcing and upselling.

“In a nutshell, CHIEF’s educational sessions encourage discourse and inspire hospitality professionals to embrace change and pursue new opportunities,” Comito said.

Attendees will be able to mingle with peers, industry leaders and experts, and will benefit from the expertise of respected Caribbean hotelier Sir Royston Hopkin, KCMG, who will address the importance of excellence in Caribbean tourism when he delivers the keynote presentation at this year’s event.

CHIEF will also recognize Caribbean businesses that masterfully implement best practices in the categories of Operations, Sales and Marketing, Environmental Sustainability, and Social Responsibility.

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