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Learning and Networking at the Phoenix Lodging Conference

Two hospitality business students, Kirby Homer (BA ’19) and Lauren Trumbull (BA ’18) recently attended the Phoenix Lodging Conference at the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Resort. With an introduction from alumnus John Pharr (BA ‘69), scholarship support from LaTour family travel scholarship, and courtesy of conference organizer Harry Javer, each was able to attend one of the largest and best known Lodging Investment Conferences.

The conference featured over 800 hotel industry developers, lenders, investors, brokers, franchise and hotel management companies. On the first day of the conference, they attended the Speed Networking activity, where nearly 100 executives sat around a long table and participated in the marketplace’s version of “speed dating.” During this activity, Kirby and Lauren had three minutes to network with the person in front of them, exchange business cards, and talk about themselves.

The General Sessions were very interesting and informative as well as many of the Concurrent Think Tank Sessions including Hotel Valuation for Owners & Investors, Asset Management to Maximize Value, Historic Building Conversion, Beyond Hospitality: What We Can Learn from Other Industries, and Trends in Hospitality Real Estate Development. The “Think Tank” sessions provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about the terminology that’s commonly used in real estate such as PIP, cap rates, and tax credits.

According to Dr. A.J. Singh, Director of the Hospitality Business Real Estate Investment Management program, they gained valuable experience and confidence — particularly by attending these sessions.  Most importantly, several alumni met with both Kirby and Lauren — including Gary Finnell (BA ’79) and Susan Bachman (BA ’86) from Hilton; Matt Wechsler (BA ’08) with Highgate Hotels; and Carolyn Fisher (BA ’16) with Arizona Biltmore.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to attend the Phoenix Lodging Conference.  It truly had an impact on my understanding of the industry and potentially my future career. Thank you for this opportunity!”
-Lauren (BA ’18)

“The opportunity I had to attend the Phoenix Lodging Conference will help me grow and develop as a student and future leader. I did not stop learning the entire duration of the conference. Thank you to all who helped in providing this opportunity to us.”
– Kirby (BA ’19)


Eli Broad College of Business

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