The recently concluded BITAC® Symposium garnered accolades from a number of high-level executives who touted everything from the format to the size of the gathering, as well as the location and venue of the event, which took place at the InterContinental Times Square in New York City.
Lisa Sawyer, president, Budget Host Inns, was effusive in her praise calling attention to the format, which includes personalized meetings, as well as the execution.
“It’s the best industry event there is. It’s the one-on-one meetings and I love the assigned seating and gathering because you meet all different people. You find out you’re connected in ways you never thought you were. It’s all very well organized, well planned and well paced. It’s perfect,” she said.
Ken Greene, president, The Americas, Radisson Hotel Group, returned for a second consecutive year. “I think it’s a wonderful event. The size of the venue and the number of people makes it really conducive to have meaningful conversations and to build intimate and great relationships with people across the industry,” he noted.
Greene elaborated on the value of the event from his perspective. “What’s good for me as a leader of one of the hotel companies is to really see what’s going on in the vendor world. What’s new, what’s innovative and what’s happening? What are we doing as a company to implement some of the ideas that are coming out of the vendor world and then also what are some of the challenges that we have with existing relationships with vendors and working those out. In a very short period of time we’ve accomplished a lot of business,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alan Roberts, global head, Embassy Suites by Hilton, noted “it’s been impressive...I personally have enjoyed the engagement.”
Roberts specifically mentioned the keynote address by noted author and speaker David Avrin, which was focused on branding and customers. “I think his message and his story both were right on par with where my brand sits. What your team can do to engage with the customer and to empower your team members, that’s stuff we’ve preached for years but his message just resonated with me. It sounded like something that was very ‘Embassy-esque,” he said.
Britton Wren, senior director, procurement, Wyndham Destinations, highlighted the venue. “I love the location, I thought New York was a great place [to have it],” she said.
Wren further noted she took full advantage of many of the networking opportunities. “I thought it was a great event. I liked the sequence and the lineup and I especially liked the smaller scale. For me it was more of an opportunity to get to know the vendors and the other guests. I wasn’t expecting to have both sides of that, but that’s what I’m looking for. I like the networking with my peers but I also like getting to know new vendors and people that are going to actually help make my life better in procurement,” she commented.
The executives also called attention to some of the product that stood out for them.
For example, Sawyer noted she was particularly impressed with SP Square and the company’s guest management system.
“I would have thought I wouldn’t have even been a fit and I’m totally a fit for them. So I wouldn’t have even talked to them if they had cold called me or emailed me. I would have thought ‘oh that technology is not in the economy realm,’ but it’s completely affordable and totally great,” she commented.
In addition, Roberts noted that Knickerbocker Bed Frame Co. and Samsung were among the companies that stood out to him and with whom he hopes to continue the conversation.