In March of 2016 the InnDependent Lodging Executive Summit at HI Connect was held in Nashville, TN. This hotel conference is the ultimate idea exchange opportunity. With expert panels, meetings and educational sessions, hoteliers from around the world gathered together to network, learn and cultivate new relationships. This summit focused not only on branded hotels but also on independent hotels, putting a new focus and emphasis on the owners. Hotel Management, an online hotelier company, recently posted an online article featuring how this years InnDependent Lodging Executive Summit bridged the gap between branded and independent hotels. IBC Hotels co sponsored the summit, and Hotel Management focuses on key points and speakers from the summit to summarize important themes.

Independent hotels were in the spotlight during this years summit event. The summit featured panels, meeting and educational sessions on lodging and hospitality related topics with a unique focus towards independent hotels and independent hotel owners. As the president of an independent hotel company with 6300 members in 170 countries, Pamela Barnhill was the perfect person to contribute insights and co-sponsor this years summit. Pamela Barnhill said that “the conference’s second annual showing was a mix of branded and independent operators, creating a number of networking opportunities for those in attendance.” The article posted by Hotel Management highlights key points and speakers from the summit.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

Summit Bridges Gap Between Branded Hotels, Independents. Summit Bridges Gap

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by Elliott Mest of Hotel Management.

“What attracted Barnhill to the independent space was the level of involvement the average independent owner has with his or her property, as well as the ability to swiftly make changes and evolve based on what guests are looking for. This aspect of the business is what pulled Michelle Nelson away from her post at a national chain. Nelson, who is owner of the Arbuckle Lodge in Gillette, Wyo., attended the conference for the first time to meet with other independent owners and get information on how they promote their properties…..

Another major hurdle facing independent hotels is consumer loyalty, with Barnhill saying that an underwhelming number of independents are embracing loyalty programs. Part of the problem is that a number of independent loyalty programs exist, but they are inclusive and target primarily the upper-upscale market. Eric Gravelle, VP, revenue management for North America at Diamond Resorts International, said that another barrier to the success of independent loyalty programs is that independent operators are often just as picky as the programs they wish to join.

“We’ve looked into loyalty programs in the past…but your program must have some kind of value your customers want and will become a follower of,” Gravelle said. “We need to be at the top of their wallet.”

Gravelle also urged operators and vendors to consider attending an independent conference. “Bottom line is this is a quality event,” Gravelle said. “Just about anyone involved in lodging can get something out of attending this. Don’t pigeonhole yourself.””

Read more of the article here: