Helpful strategies for those attending the upcoming NYU Investment Conference
Next week the capital markets and hospitality industry leaders will converge upon New York City for the annual NYU Investment Conference from June 4Ð6, 2017. Hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, the NYU Hospitality Investment Conference features general sessions, workshops and networking events that provide data, analysis, perspectives, insights and opportunities.
The conference is one of the most important investment conferences in the hospitality and financial sectors.ÊRepresentatives from the capital markets along with hotel owners, operators, brands and C-suite will huddle to network and generate deals.ÊAlso in attendance will be those seeking funding to launch contemporary brands, expand portfolios or acquire hospitality assets. For operators and management companies the conference provides an opportunity to grow their portfolios by adding lucrative management contracts.ÊLadies and gentleman, the conference is the virtuoso of the hospitality and financial markets, which are the best of the best.ÊIt is on par with ALIS and the Crittenden Investment Summit.ÊBelow are the players:
Architects and designers
Product and service providers to the lodging industry
A host of panel discussions, keynote, networking breakout sessions and sidebar meetings comprise this important conference.ÊHowever, the main attraction are investors who with a stroke of a pen and after careful due diligence, possess the power to launch a brand, fund a hospitality project and/or expand a brand’s presence in desired markets.
Over the years, the conference has achieved acclaim and prestige as being one of the most productive and resourceful events of the year. Jon Tisch has successfully created a forum in which the capital markets and hospitality industry convene to provide data, analysis, perspectives, insights and opportunities.ÊThe conference attracts leaders in all sectors as well as media covering financial, hospitality and tourism sectors. It is truly remarkable when you think of the deals generated and information garnered.
So, how does one tap into and capture the attention of movers and shakers and powers that be within the structure of a conference setting?ÊPreparation.ÊBy preparation I mean understanding the scope of the conference; i.e., speakers, panelists, topics, organizations represented and most of all, benefits that can be derived as an attendee.ÊRecognize that as an attendee you are not alone; meaning there will be hundreds of hospitality industry professionals clamoring for one-on-ones and time with hospitality leaders and potential investors. The following are strategies to maximize the opportunities the NYU Investment conference offers, as well as gain valuable knowledge of industry trends and forecasts.
The program – carefully review the conference’s program in its entirety to ensure the conference is appropriate for your needs.ÊReview:
Sessions -Ê identify sessions relevant to your interests and goals, be sure to include analytic and/or industry data sessions for updates.
Speakers Ð review bios, company background, earnings reports, investment strategy, recent acquisitions and/or development.
Panels Ð register for panel discussions relevant to your business, research panelists’ backgrounds to familiarize yourself with their organizations and to prepare yourself for future engagement.
Workshops Ð opt for workshops featuring topics unfamiliar to you Ð this is an opportunity to sharpen skills and expand your knowledge of the industry.
Networking sessions Ð consider how you will engage and with whom.ÊCreate a list of targets prior to the conference and prepare by understanding their investment strategies, organization and backgrounds – research.
Attendee lists Ð hospitality industry partners, professionals, providers, et al.
Consider and plan a method for recording the conference.ÊBy record I am referring to note taking and other methods for documenting pertinent information for post conference note taking.
Your game plan Ð generating your desired results.
Goals and objectives – devise your goals and objectives, what you hope to achieve by attending the conference. Set realistic goals keeping in mind that time is limited and that you will have competition in terms of attendees seeking to accomplish the same goals and objectives.
Targets Ð identify beforehand your targets; i.e., capital market representatives, hospitality leaders, brands, et al.ÊLimit the list to a manageable number; you want to focus on quality, not quantity.
The opportunity (what do you have to offer) Ð review your target list carefully to ensure that the opportunity is in line with your targets’ investment strategy and/or is within their wheelhouse. Focus on the immediate need for your investment opportunity rather than presenting a portfolio of opportunities.ÊThis tactic will keep the conversation focused and position you as knowledgeable, thorough and expert in your field.
Workshops Ð engage.ÊWorkshops are a fantastic opportunity to ask questions of the facilitator as well as engage with other attendees.ÊHere are some tips:
Review carefully the topic and facilitators’ background. Prepare questions ahead of time. Keep the questions on topic. Ask questions for knowledge, clarity and future ideas or strategies.ÊBe considerate and mindful of the others in the workshop taking care to remain on topic.
Engage with workshop attendees prior to and post workshops.ÊThis is a wonderful time to connect with potential colleagues, clients, partners/alliances and or investors.ÊYou never know who may be present. Take notes; you will need to review post conference for follow-up. Exchange contact information only if your goal is to engage in meaningful interaction. Consider what you have to offer as opposed to what you have to gain.
Rules of engagement Ð determine how you would like to engage. This includes collateral, materials and information you would like to present.
Collateral Ð keep it brief.ÊA one-page overview is fine if you are meeting with a target individually. The follow-up, post conference is ideal for sharing additional information.ÊYou may consider leaving behind with your target info in a digital format they can take with them. Go paperless as conference goers are traveling and not interested in packing presentations.
Messaging/speaking points – keep it brief, and create before the conferenceÊfive key speaking points containing critical info about your investment opportunity. Rehearse your speaking points so that you may communicate briefly and with ease.
Set appointments ahead of time Ð this of course is very common.ÊIn between breaks is great; however, it can be intense. Situations or attendees may cut into the meeting time.ÊConsider breakfast meetings, after hours and/or after the conference.ÊReserve this tactic though for targets with whom you have engaged prior to the conference.
Post conference Ð the real work begins post conference when you must engage in follow-up strategies and techniques.
Organize Ð review notes and information gathered from each workshop, panel discussion and meeting.ÊPlace in piles according to topic and/or company.
Review notes Ð go over notes for each session and place in the appropriate piles, per above.
Contacts Ð organize contacts based upon areas of interest.ÊConsider your new contacts’ desired method of communications.ÊMake note of this for future use.
Reach out Ð customize email communications to your contacts’ interests.ÊAlways begin with a reminder of a key message point (refer to rules of engagement, and the second bullet above).ÊBe cognizant of the fact that your target has had hundreds of conversations over the course of the conference.ÊRefresh their memory.ÊMost importantly, only reach out if solid interest was established during the conference.ÊConsider everyone’s time and interest.
Cultivating relationship post conference Ð continue the conversation, even if there is no opportunity for an immediate deal or collaboration. You can do so by periodically forwarding a Ònews articleÓ of interest or some relevant information to the contact.ÊBy relevant, specific to his/her interest as communicated to you at the conference.ÊDo this monthly. You are demonstrating your knowledge, expertise and interest in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.
Attending a major conference such as the NYU Investment Conference should be part of your annual strategic plan.ÊThese events can net incredible returns, not only in terms of capital gains but Human Resources; mutually beneficial connections, partnerships, alliances and potential investors. Approach conference attendance the same way you would approach any new business opportunity: due diligence.Ê Properly plan a strategy and execute with great care.ÊAlways consider the needs of your targets.ÊPlace yourself in their positions, they too are attending for a reason and a mission. Attend the conference with the goal of gaining valuable knowledge and skills, cultivating relationships, and positioning yourself as an expert, resource for business opportunities. Convene with a purpose!
By Trica Jean-Baptiste
Trica Jean-Baptiste is the founder and President of Morgensheer Hospitality, Inc., a consortium of hospitality, real estate, development, sales and marketing and communications consultants.ÊThe Morgensheer Hospitality Inc. Consortium provides strategic hospitality services to real estate investors acquiring and developing hospitality assets.ÊTrica is also a licensed real estate sales associate specializing in commercial real estate Ð hotels, resorts, hospitality, development projects and real estate investments. Prior to embarking upon a second career in commercial real estate, Trica was President and founder of Trica Jean-Baptiste Communications, LLC; an award-winning boutique Travel Hospitality PR based in NYC for 15 years. While heading up Trica Jean-Baptiste Communications, LLC. she represented some of travel’s leading hotels, resorts and tourism units: Rocco Forte Hotels, Star Hotel’s the Michelangelo Hotel, St. Giles Hotels New York, Hotel St-Barth Isle de France, Rosewood Hotels’ Caneel Bay and Little Dix Bay, Hotel Esprit St-German (Paris, France); Dubai Tourism, Scotland Business Tourism Unit, Brussels to name a few. Trica is the author of ‘Operation reset: A guide to reinvent your career in any economy’.