Eye on Hospitality: Seattle Hospitality Summit a Big Success
By Paul Schlienz
Last Tuesday was a red-letter day for Washington’s hospitality industry.
On April 4, the Washington Hospitality Association hosted the first of three of hospitality summits. A mini trade show packed with expert speakers, 42 vendors and networking opportunities galore for industry professionals, the summit, held at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, was attended by 126 hospitality industry professionals.
“2016 has seen the birth of a new model to our industry and we are pioneering the way,” said Anthony Anton, the Washington Hospitality Association’s president and CEO. “This Hospitality Summit is a chance for people to come and learn about the key things that are impacting our industry’s future. In new times with new expectations, it’s time for us all to think differently and look at the future in a different way.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s keynote address kicked off an afternoon lively, discussion-filled afternoon that delved into the new realities of tipping, service charges, tourism, preventing human trafficking and the potential of statewide paid family leave. Hospitality professionals engaged with their peers and went home with innovative approaches from expert advisors to implement in their own businesses.
“I enjoyed it,” said Tom Diller, owner of La Residence Suite Hotel, in Bellevue, and the Lopez Islander Resort. “I thought it really delved into some of the critical issues in the Seattle marketplace. Whether you’re in Seattle or not, you need to know what’s happening there to the hospitality industry to get a sense of what could happen outside the city limits in the rest of King County and beyond.”
City regulations were also on the mind of Destiny Sund, owner of The Confectional, in Seattle.
“I registered for the summit to learn more about upcoming city laws and policies that will impact my bottom line,” said Sund. “Being able to ask the tough questions with my peers is essential to innovating and keeping our doors open.”
Mark Beattie, associate professor at Washington State University’s School of Hospitality Business Management also found the summit useful.
“I met quite a few old friends,” said Beattie. “The summit helped me stay current on what’s going on in the industry, especially on technology, which is a real game changer for hospitality. And I found the panel discussions, especially the one on gratuity models, really interesting.”
The Association will host subsequent summits on in Spokane, on May 22, and in Tacoma, in June. Each will offer hand-picked speakers and topics tailored to those regions.
To learn more about the summits and to register, visit hospitalitysummit.org.