US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
USVIHTA President Lisa Hamilton recaps her weekend at one of the leading industry forums in the region: Wow – what an amazing conference this year! The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association hosted its popular Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum last week, bringing together hundreds of industry stakeholders to discuss and share ideas regarding Caribbean tourism. CHTA changed the format this year offering more “TED Talk” like general sessions versus the standard concurrent sessions where attendees must choose which great topic to learn about. The opening session, Vision 2024: Embracing Change, Diversity and Growth, was truly eye opening. Speaker Doug Lansky shared amazing insights into our industry, including major trends and pitfalls. One recurring theme throughout the event was Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it will impact our industry. If you think it’s a fad, you’re mistaken! I also took special note of Voyager HQ, which has 2000 members that consist of entrepreneurial start-ups with solutions for the travel industry – they are true disruptors and I encourage you to check them out. We were treated to five presentations in a “Shark Tank” like setup by five of these entrepreneurs who had some incredible offerings to share including sunscreen booths, voluntourism/cultural emersion companies, an AI widget called Oli that tracks your every move to make your life easier, a company called Daycations offering to sell your resort amenities without staying in the hotel and, finally, the winner of the competition, Explorest – I’ll leave you to check them out. A little tip – keep an eye on them! The final general session topic spoke to the hottest trend in the next five years – Cannabis to Crypto. Speakers covered the trends, challenges and opportunities in both. For those CHTA members who did not attend the event, you will be able to access all the presentations online. For those who are not CHTA members, please speak with me as this organization is providing cutting edge information to assist us in making wiser business decisions! Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. And check back for more CHIEF videos and photos! We hope to see you at CHIEF in 2020!