Two students from the School of Hospitality Business traveled with Dr. A.J. Singh to Miami to participate in the Hotel Opportunities Latin America (HOLA) conference and the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) from April 24 – 28. Amy Majercik (BA Hospitality Business ’18) and Alis Manoogian (BA Hospitality Business ’18) are enrolled in The School’s Real Estate Investment Management Minor. They joined students from several other universities to assist with the logistics of both conferences, which drew nearly 700 leading hotel executives, investors, lenders, developers, and professional advisors. HOLA and CHRIS are back-to-back conferences produced by Burba Hotel Network, founded and led by the School’s Alumni Association Hall of Fame Member Jim Burba (BA Hospitality Business ’77).
Amy and Alis helped with registration, coordinated breakout sessions, and attended plenary sessions. They were particularly impressed with the presentation from Chip Conley, strategic advisor for Hospitality and Leadership at AirBnB, who said, “Innovation in the industry happens because of people outside the industry, as they see the waves differently.” The session was thought-provoking, according to Alis. “It was inspiring to hear about the creation of AirBnB and how something that began so small has now changed the lodging industry forever.”
For the first time, the School partnered with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) to host a networking reception on the evening of Tuesday, April 25. Students from a number of universities met with hospitality industry leaders in an informal setting to further their knowledge and their career prospects. “We loved partnering with EHL students and alumni for the reception, and we hope to continue this tradition in years to come,” says Amy.
School alumnus Jonathan Zink (BA Hospitality Business ’04), with Burba Hotel Network, was effusive about the students, saying, “It was a pleasure having MSU involved for the first time ever in the leading hotel investment conferences in Miami for Latin America and the Caribbean. As valuable extensions to our team, Amy and Alis represented the School with flying colors, and we appreciate their ambition and hard work. Also, the collaboration event between MSU and EHL at the EAST Miami Hotel was an excellent milestone to build the relationship between two of the oldest hotel schools in the world.”