This year marks the fifth year of the region’s renewed and reinvigorated premiere networking and solution-sharing event, and we’ve updated and enhanced the program to ensure it’s our best event yet. Bill Clegg shares his thoughts on how the event has evolved and how members can maximize on their participation.
CHIEF is in its fifth year, what is the biggest change that you see in CHIEF this year?
CHIEF was introduced as a regional networking, education, and best practice sharing event to offer Caribbean hoteliers tips on “saving money, making money, and operating more efficiently.” Over the years, we’ve offered many sessions on these topics, focusing on track-based education on operations, sales & marketing, technology, and sustainability. This year, in keeping with our theme of “Vision 2024,” we’re diving deeper into forward-looking topics including evolving guest expectations; opportunities and expectations around staff and guest diversity; distribution strategies for maximizing ROI, what’s hot and trendy in F&B; and even a session that touches on both cannabis tourism and cryptocurrency! Following general sessions on these topics, with ample time for Q&A and attendee engagement, we offer smaller follow—up sessions for attendees who wish to continue on these topics, drawing from presenter and colleague input.
What is the biggest takeaway for hoteliers and allieds attending CHIEF based on attendee feedback?
“I wish I’d known about CHIEF sooner!” Each year, we’re overwhelmed with feedback from attendees who say they wish they’d known about CHIEF in previous years, and that they plan to attend again the following year, bringing others with them. They tell us they’ve come away with immediately-actionable ideas. Allied members appreciate the smaller venue, where they can engage one-on-one with owners, managers, and other stakeholders in a position to purchase their products or services.
Why is CHIEF important to me as a member? CHTA directs resources towards this event but we need the support of our members.
While the Caribbean is a region of 33 nations, in many ways, it operates as a small, close-knit community. While the beaches, nightlife, and culture may vary from island to island, we’re all faced with the same challenges, opportunities, and desire to grow our businesses. CHTA members benefit in many ways, from regional marketing to advocacy support, purchasing discounts to annual engagement and marketing conferences, virtual and live educational events that are not available anywhere else. CHIEF allows us to come together and meet face to face, in formal and informal settings, to support one another and share best practices. And, when our hotel and tourism members attend, our allied members, who bring valuable and innovative goods and services, also attend. In many ways, our members can’t afford not to attend!
As an allied member, how can I maximize my CHIEF experience?
CHIEF is one of CHTA’s many avenues for buyer engagement, and likely the most beneficial. Attending CHIEF to display your goods or services, step forward to shake a hand, and attend the educational and social events side-by-side with prospective buyers are ways to ensure your prospects are engaged with you and your company.
What is the benefit of bringing additional team members to CHIEF?
The collaborative, educational, and best practice aspects of the sessions are wide-ranging. Just as your hotel or tourism business can’t be operated by just one person, the takeaways from CHIEF are best captured and applied by a team. With concurrent sessions, bringing one or two additional members of your team – those in leadership roles, or up and coming stars of your organization – allows them to experience the event, participate in the thought-provoking discussions, and help operationalize the ideas when you return home.
You attend other industry conferences, how does CHIEF compare to similar forums, understanding that CHIEF is Caribbean specific?
CHIEF is unique! Yes, we share operations and revenue challenges with hospitality businesses in other regions – staffing, distribution, sustainability, guest satisfaction, and so forth. But just as our region is unique on the world stage, so are our opportunities for addressing our opportunities. CHIEF is a conference established to dive deeply into best practices, revenue and operations opportunities for hotels operating in this region we call “Paradise.” That said, you’ll find the same depth of discussion, the same penchant for finding solutions, and the same industry networking opportunities of the larger conferences – only more intimate, and much more Caribbean-focused! The renown annual CHIEF Awards will provide best-practice examples that you likely won’t find elsewhere. We look forward to seeing you there.