CJ Invest, Hotels and Development, News

The Caribbean’s Top Hotel Investment Conference Is Back

By: Caribbean Journal Staff

By Guy Britton

It’s long been the top hotel investment conference in the Caribbean: CHRIS, the Burba Hotel Network’s Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit. 

And now it’s back. 

CHRIS is returning for 2021 with a two-day event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. (Here’s how to attend).

To learn more about the event, Caribbean Journal Invest caught up with Jeff Higley, president of the BHN Group. 

Who should attend CHRIS and why?

CHRIS is of interest to anyone involved or interested in the Caribbean hotel industry, but it is specifically designed for hotel and resort owners, investors, developers, operators, and brands that are interested in growing their footprints throughout the Caribbean region. The programming features topics that educate delegates about topics that are essential to reaching that goal, and insights provided by our experienced and knowledgeable speakers are instrumental in providing delegates with essential information for them to make educated decisions about owning, investing in, developing, operating in and/or branding in Caribbean markets.

Tell us about your speakers.

The common threads among the speakers at CHRIS is that they are experts in their fields, and they are willing to share that expertise to help grow one of the most important industries in the Caribbean. The lineup of speakers at CHRIS is a Who’s Who of industry leaders that have a passion for what they do. This year’s lineup includes global leaders such as Jim Alderman of Radisson Hotel Group, David Kong of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, and Alex Zozaya of Apple Leisure Group/AMResorts that understand the opportunities available in the Caribbean as week as leaders in the region, including Carolyne Doyon of Club Med, Danny Hughes of Hilton, Brian King of Marriott International and Scott LePage of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. The executives know the ins and outs of the Caribbean as it’s part of their day-to-day duties, and the knowledge they bring to the table is extraordinary. Add to that all of the other speakers and presenters involved in the 15+ sessions at CHRIS and the educational opportunities are immense. Plus, in CHRIS tradition, countries/destinations are actively involved showcasing their investment opportunities, such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, and more.  

How do you encourage networking and deal making?

We certainly take pride in the content that CHRIS evolves around and the value that the insights and information shared adds to the overall business environments, it’s the networking and the ensuing deal-making that is the backbone of the conference.  Whether it’s the private meetings conducted by sponsors and delegates, the networking breaks throughout the day, the evening receptions or the after-conference dinners and get-togethers, there are many opportunities to re-acquaint with colleagues and meet new contacts. All of this results in deals—whether it’s a seed that’s sown for a future acquisition or development or a contract that’s signed, CHRIS is known as an event that leads to business activity on all fronts. 

Why do you run HOLA right after CHRIS? 

The opportunity to conduct business with hotel and resort owners, investors, developers, operators, and brands interested in the Caribbean and Latin America regions is a win-win for delegates. Business interests in both regions often overlap, so having CHRIS and HOLA co-located in the Miami market—the gateway to both regions from the U.S.—provides an economy of scale for delegates and sponsors. There are distinct features for each conference, but the common denominator is that there is pertinent insight and information shared in an environment that encourages networking and putting acquisition and development deals in motion. Having the CHRIS closing reception and the HOLA opening reception in a combined venue allows for cross-over networking that the delegates and sponsors enjoy, and it provides the host hotel—the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino this year—the opportunity to showcase the property and encourage more deal-making discussions. 

What kind of events are there for socializing?

Socializing is done throughout the day—even outside of the regular conference hours. The networking events, include meal functions, extended coffee and snack breaks and evening receptions. Plus, we strategically add seating elements throughout the conference space to encourage impromptu discussions that facilitates socializing and the all-important deal-making conversations. In addition, we have a conference mobile app that was developed with the value of networking in mind – delegates can search and contact other delegates before, during, and after CHRIS.  

Tell us about the host hotel and event venues

Our mission is to provide a venue with state-of-the-art meeting space and either abundant dining and entertainment options onsite or nearby. Because CHRIS and HOLA attract many of hotel and resort industry’s major players, the host hotels often want to impress their peers, which makes the events even more special. Our industry is full of hospitality people that want to ensure unique experiences for their guests, and the venues for CHRIS go above and beyond in their efforts to fulfill that commitment to service. 

Will there be a virtual or on-line venue

The hotel-and-resort industry is a people industry that thrives on face-to-face contact. That personal connection and commitment to providing superior and unique experiences is best accomplished onsite. Therefore, we have made a commitment to having this event as a live, in-person event that follows CDC guidelines and works closely with the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to provide a clean and safe environment. One of our industry’s keys to overall success is the conference, convention, and meeting business, so we believe that offering only a live, in-person event is taking a leadership position that will help other groups feel comfortable as they explore returning to live, in-person events as their comfort level increases. Therefore, CHRIS and HOLA are not providing a virtual or on-line component.

For more, visit CHRIS.

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