Where ideas take flight and inspirations land

A week ago, I was in Austin, Texas.

Hospitality Upgrade EVS Austin, TX, 2019

Hospitality Upgrade hosted their annual Executive Vendor Summit for the 15th year in a row.  Since its inception, The Summit has been an invitation only event. This was my first time. And what an honor it was to be asked to attend; not only becauseGo Moment was invited as a hotel technology company on the rise. Friends and colleagues always talked of The Summit as an important one in the industry events calendar.

This year proved to be no different. The speakers lineup included Dave Berkus (Managing Partner, Wayfare Ventures), Michael Levie (CEO, CitizenM), Carlos Flores (CEO, Sonesta Hotels), Mike Cowles (CEO, Rainmaker) and Luis Segredo (CEO, Data Travel) – veterans of the hotel and the hotel technology industry. What’s more is that the event was organized by Hospitality Upgrade (Rich Siegel, President) and HFTP (Frank Wolfe, CEO). Consequently, the presentations, discussions and networking events were of stellar quality because of the group’s experience and expertise.

Key learnings

A week later, I find that I’m still mulling over these:

Dave Berkus at the Executive Vendor Summit, 2019
  • The insights I gained from Dave Berkus’ sharing about building businesses, valuations and exit scenarios. With 100+ investments in ~40 years, Dave’s experience is unparalleled in the hotel tech industry.
  • Michael Levie and the innovative success that is CitizenM. They’ve perfected the process of manufacturing of prefabricated rooms in Europe. Once done, they shipping them over for assembly, keeping the builds modular and the costs down. This was innovation in an unexpected area. Unsurprisingly, CitizenM has grown from a single Schiphol Airport hotel to 30 hotels with 7,000 rooms across three continents.
  • Carlos Flores’ experience as a web designer and “IT guy” resonated with my own deep experience with these elements. His logical approach to financial management has seen Sonesta growing to a reported 77 hotels in 2018 within a decade.

I know now why folks have attended the Executive Vendor Summit for 15 years in a row (I’m looking at you, Luis!).

For everyone at Hospitality Upgrade, well done and thank you.

(And if you’re wondering about the photograph of me in a helmet, Hospitality Upgrade hosted an indoor skydiving experience at The Summit.)

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