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The Top 7 Hospitality Conferences and Trade Shows of 2018

The hospitality landscape is constantly changing, and it’s important for hoteliers to stay on top of the latest trends, ideas, and services. One of the best ways to do this is attending conferences. At these events, hotel professionals have the unique opportunity to learn from top industry leaders, build connections (and friendships) with peers from around the world, and have fun. Not all conferences are created equal, so we’ve outlined our top picks for the rest of 2018. Enjoy!

EyeforTravel Digital Summit

When: April 9-10

Where: San Francisco

Although not exclusively for the hotel business, the EyeforTravel Summit, held at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, provides an excellent opportunity for hoteliers, especially in the areas of tech and digital. The summit will center around five themes, including: Digital Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Mobile and Tech Strategy, Understanding Emerging Travel Tech, and Data Driven Personalization. Over 45 experts from the tourism and hospitality industries will be in attendance to help your hotel adapt to the ever-changing hospitality technology landscape. One thing that sets EyeforTravel apart from other conferences is its focus on real-world case studies. With 30% of the agenda informed by these case studies, attendees can be sure that they are getting the most actionable, practical, and tested tips and strategies. On the agenda are major hospitality players like Issac Collazo, VP of performance strategy and planning for IHG, and Christine Kettmer, Marriott’s Senior Director of Customer Experience and Innovation.

HD Expo

When: May 2-4

Where: Las Vegas

The Hospitality Design Exposition and Conference, hosted by Hospitality Design Magazine, is the best place to find design inspiration for your hotel. This Mandalay Bay event features the latest and most design-forward products and services, as well as classes and conference sessions led by hospitality industry thought leaders from across the globe. If you’re a hotelier looking for design inspiration, HD Expo is the perfect place to connect with over 800 providers that can help make your ideas a reality. In fact, over 97% of last year’s attendees reported finding a new product for their hotel at the exposition. If you’re looking for a fun conference, HD Expo boasts some of the best networking functions, including an nighttime indoor golfing event and a pool party on the rooftop of the Cromwell Hotel, with views of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Boutique Hotel Investment Conference

When: June 6

Where: New York

If your hotel is boutique, you may feel that large hospitality conferences just aren’t the right fit for your unique needs. That’s why BHIC was started in 2010 as the only investment conference in the world catering solely to boutique hotels. The one-day event, run by the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association, is geared toward hoteliers that want to make connections in the industry, and gain unique insight into the operations, design, and marketing of boutique hotels. Attended by hotel owners and CEOS, developers and investors, and designers and architects, this conference is the place to meet big players-and potential partners-in the boutique hospitality world. BHIC is known for being a launchpad for up-and-coming brands, as well as for its incredible lineup of speakers (think Arianna Huffington and Ian Schrager).

Hospitality Minds

When: June 13-14

Where: London

Hospitality Minds, held in London this June, features insights from over 50 leaders in the hospitality space that span a variety of backgrounds, roles, and perspectives. These speakers have a wide range of knowledge to share, from hotel finance expert David Lund to Kim Matlock, VP of Digital Strategy for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. The theme of this year’s conference is “Logging On & Checking In: Future of the Hospitality Business.” Other topics include hotel design, sustainability, technology infrastructure, and catering to the digital traveler, among many others. There is also a high-quality selection of networking events, including Digital Influencer Speed Marketing, “Consult the Expert” discussion groups, and Lunchtime Round Tables.

HiTec Houston

When: June 18-21

Where: Houston

Perhaps the most well-known hospitality technology show (and the largest in the world), HiTec is guaranteed to give you many new insights to your hotel’s operations. The four-day event provides education sessions led by industry experts, paired with an exposition of the latest hospitality products and services from over 365 companies. Four whole days of education opportunities allows the conference to delve into a wide range of topics, including “What Makes a Perfect Hotel Room,” “Trends in Payment Systems Around the World,” and many more. The areas of focus addressed by HiTec’s expert speakers very current, covering everything from targeting millennial customers to the role of blockchain in hotels. In addition to its strong educational programs, many industry leaders attend HiTec for the amazing number of new products on display, as well as the daily networking events. Note: If you’re interested in international events, HiTec is holding other events this year in Amsterdam (April 11-13) and Dubai (December 5-6).

Women in Tourism and Hospitality Conference

When: June 24-25

Where: Toronto

Presented by Women in Tourism & Hospitality, and made possible by Hotelier Magazine and Sequel Hotels & Resorts, this Toronto event is the most comprehensive of its kind for women in hospitality. Although on the smaller side (for now), WTHC is an amazing opportunity for female players in hospitality to make important industry connections, and to attend top-notch professional development sessions. Keynote speakers by powerful women in the industry cover areas like leadership, equality, career development, and the future of women in hospitality. There are also personal development sessions which, at last year’s event, included mindfulness meditation and a lecture on cultivating confidence, among others. WTHC is sure to be a powerful experience for women hoping to advance their careers and push for equality in the hospitality industry. An added bonus: the conference works with charities Worlds Collide Africa, Special Needs Dreamworks, and the Tory Day Fund, so attendees will be making a difference in the world while they learn and connect.

Hotel Experience (HX)

When: November 11-12

Where: New York

Hotel Experience is the largest hospitality show in North America, and the place to be for important discussions about the future of hospitality. With over 72,000 attendees from across the world, along with more than 30 conferences, HX is the ultimate networking and professional development opportunity. This year is especially exciting, with HX unveiling the first ever “HX360° Innovation Zones”- three full floors that showcase the latest in Lobby & Bar, Food & Beverage, and Spa & Wellness. Another highlight is the “HX: Tech Innovations” area featuring the latest in hospitality tech, as well as live demos with innovative new products and services. Attendees will also have an opportunity to explore the co-located Boutique Design Trade Fair, which showcases products targeting boutique hotels.