Hotel senior leaders representing HSMAI Organizational Member companies investigated key issues facing the hospitality industry at Curate: An HSMAI Executive Insights Forum, hosted by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) on September 5 and 6 at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Headlined by keynotes from Amazon and Under Armour, the event also featured collaborative and interactive elements, such as group brainstorming and live polling.
The Curate program in Baltimore was the second event of its kind in HSMAI’s Americas Region, on the heels of a successful inaugural Curate held earlier this year at Terranea Resort in California. The main program in Baltimore began with a recap of takeaways from the inaugural spring event, where attendees identified innovation, data analytics, and talent development as priority issues for the hospitality industry.
This time around in Baltimore, Curate attendees identified distribution costs and technology platform challenges as major pain points at their companies. Attendees discussed each issue in depth and proposed solutions in guided collective brainstorming sessions.
The educational program continued with a keynote presentation by Sam McCleery, vice president of open innovation, and Perry Williams, chief of staff to the chief innovation officer, both at Under Armour. The presentation challenged attendees to think differently and consider partnerships across industries as a potential path to innovation. The speakers also gave insight into using customer feedback and data to drive innovation.
Later in the day, Amy Cropper, global talent acquisition leader at Amazon, shared additional insights into fostering a culture of innovation. She also highlighted the importance of experimentation, decentralized decision making, and determining in advance whether an innovation-related decision is reversible.
Informal networking was also prevalent throughout the event. The evening prior to the main program, attendees mingled at a welcome reception at Sagamore Spirit distillery, which was co-hosted by Visit Baltimore.
Prior to the first Curate, attendees took part in a survey that identified priority issues to focus on during in-person discussions and shed light on commonalities and differences in perspectives of the three disciplines of hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue optimization.
In attendance were a total of 70 delegates from major hotel brands and companies, including Accor, Best Western, Booking.com, Expedia, Hilton, IHG, and Marriott, as well as leading educational institutions. HSMAI has 59 organizational member companies, including six hospitality universities.