Americas Lodging Investment SummitStudents in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University traveled to San Diego, CA to participate in the Americas Lodging Investment Summit from January 24 – 26. The annual conference, known as ALIS, is widely considered to be a pivotal event for top executives in the real estate and investment segment of the hotel industry.

ALIS is the largest of several such conferences offered around the world by Burba Hotel Network (BHN), led by School alumnus and Hall of Fame member Jim Burba (BA ’77). This year’s conference featured general program sessions covering a wide range of current topics; networking events; plenary sessions; awards presentations; and a keynote address by Sir Richard Branson.

Traditionally, select students enrolled in The School’s Real Estate and Development Specialization travel to ALIS as part of a student volunteer program coordinated by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), conference co-sponsor. This year, Garrett Ross (BA ’11), Michael Moriarty (BA ’11), Garrett Smeltzer (BA’11), and Genna Panagopoulos (BA ’11) represented MSU and participated with other students from hospitality schools such as Cornell University, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Penn State University, and the University of Delaware, among others. The students had an opportunity to network with many hotel brokers, asset managers, financiers, operators, designers and others affiliated with the industry.

Dr. AJ Singh, associate professor of International Lodging, Finance and Real Estate in The School, also attended, and served as the moderator for a standing-room-only, in-depth session on sustainable design practices.

Alumni of The School who attended the conference reconnected with each other at the 4th Annual Alumni Reception organized by Ryan Meliker (MBA ’05) and sponsored by Davidson Hotel Company.The mood at the conference was upbeat, and the students returned with several
employment prospects and lasting personal connections with industry leaders. Each year, ALIS serves an invaluable gateway for students to learn more about and enter the professional world of hospitality business investment. Moreover, their experience bolsters the missions of The School’s expanding Real Estate Investment Club and its Real Estate and Development Specialization.