Development Community Gathers in Chicago

The hotel development, financial and branding community will gather this month in Chicago for the inaugural Midwest Lodging Investors Summit. The Summit, which will be held July 14-16 at the Sheraton Chicago, will bring together owners, investors and operators from all segments of the real estate industry to discuss the critical topics affecting the lodging business, especially in these uncertain economic times.

A full range of general sessions and panel discussions will tackle issues ranging from development and construction to financing and operations. A full track of panel sessions will focus on industry segments, including extended stay, limited service in the Midwest, indoor waterpark hotels and lifestyle brands.

Lodging Hospitality and Penton's Commercial Real Estate Group are producing the Summit, while The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University is an academic partner. In addition, more than 30 corporate sponsors are supporting the event.

Two powerful keynote speakers will serve as bookend highlights of the event. On Tuesday, July 15 at lunch, hotel industry veteran Laurence Geller will deliver an address that looks at the near- and long-term prospects for the lodging industry. Geller, who is president and CEO of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, is well known for his blunt assessments of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Geller never holds back in his opinions.

Hotel industry marketing guru Peter Yesawich will give an equally compelling presentation at lunch on Wednesday, July 16. Yesawich is chairman and CEO of Ypartnership, an Orlando-based hospitality advertising and marketing firm. Dr. Yesawich's forte is keeping tabs on the attitudes, actions and aspirations of America's traveling consumer. His fast-paced presentation will provide a snapshot of the coming trends in hotel marketing, product design and service.

The Summit kicks off on Monday, July 14 with an opening reception. Following opening remarks by Lodging Hospitality Publisher Gary Dietz and Director of The School of Hospitality Business Ron Cichy, the Tuesday morning program begins with back-to-back general sessions. In the first, Mark Lomanno of Smith Travel Research, Hans Detlefsen of HVS Global Hospitality Services and Mark Eble of PKF Consulting/PKF Capital will examine the state of the hotel industry, including operations, new development and acquisitions. Next will be a no-holds-barred Meet the CEOs panel featuring chief executives from companies spanning many segments of the business. Moderated by former Choice Hotels CEO Don Landry, CEOs on the panel include David Kong of Best Western, Roger Bloss of Vantage Hospitality, Peter Strebel of Wyndham Hotels, Paul Kirwin of Carlson Hotels, Tony Farris of Quorum Hotels and John Russell of NYLO.

Two additional general sessions are scheduled for Wednesday morning. First up is a provocative session, Franchisees Speak Out, in which four hotel company leaders — Mike Marshall of Marshall Management, Jay Patel of LHS Companies, Fred Cerrone of Hotel Equities and Jeff Good of Good Hospitality — discuss the pros and cons of the current franchise environment. Following that panel will be the Financing Panel: Where's the Money. Three leaders in the lending community — Thomas Hazinski of HVS, Reginald Heard of Bankers One Capital and Joe Epstein of First American Realty Associates — will identify the best sources of money for all segments of the hotel industry.

In addition to the segment reports track, MLIS attendees will be able to attend panel sessions in three other tracks:

Hotel Development/Construction Track

These sessions will look at many of the nitty-gritty issues involved in hotel development. Topics include how to choose the right management company, what to build and where to build, choosing the best flag and how to develop a successful vacation ownership project.

Hotel Operations Track

These sessions will be of interest to both hotel GMs and owners. Panelists will tackle how to keep a lid on operating costs, how to plan and execute a successful renovation and keys to profitable green hotelkeeping.

Hotel Financing Track

This track may prove to be the most popular of the Summit. Some of the best finance minds in the industry will look at these topics: sourcing debt and equity, how to finance a mixed-use development, the outlook for acquisitions and how to work with a broker.

A hotel investment conference is only as good as the networking opportunities it provides, and they'll be plenty of time to network at MLIS. Attendees can visit with sponsors in the exhibit hall from 10:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Other networking opportunities will be during the evening receptions on Monday and Tuesday. The Hilton Family of Hotels is hosting Monday's party, while Starwood Hotels & Resorts is sponsoring the event on Tuesday night.

In addition, several 30-minute networking breaks are scheduled on both days. And with the Sheraton Chicago's convenient downtown location, attendees can meet and socialize at the area's many restaurants and clubs.


What: The first Midwest Lodging Investors Summit, sponsored by Lodging Hospitality and Penton's Commercial Real Estate Group. The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University is the Summit's academic partner

When: July 14-16

Where: Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers

Cost: $795

Travel: A room block has been set aside at the Sheraton Chicago for MLIS attendees



  1. To get up-to-minute intelligence on the state of the hotel industry throughout the U.S.
  2. To find new sources of financing and to better understand the current terms and rates for debt and equity
  3. To discover the latest lodging industry opportunities from top brand and franchise company CEOs
  4. To learn how to choose the right management company and brand for your new-construction or conversion property
  5. To determine which industry segments — extended stay, limited service, lifestyle, indoor waterpark hotels and others — will be most successful in the near-term and long-term
  6. To listen to the philosophies and strategies of one of the industry's most successful owners and developers: Laurence Geller
  7. To hear a fast-paced, entertaining and informative presentation by Peter Yesawich on current consumer travel trends
  8. To learn the keys to profitable green hotelkeeping and how to plan and execute a successful property renovation
  9. To visit with more than 30 sponsoring companies in disciplines ranging from branding to timeshare to financing to brokerage and more
  10. To have fun and share a meal or drink with your industry colleagues

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