Historic Hotels Annual Conference


Monday, November 14, 2022

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.        History Tour of Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (built 1847)

           Location: Bucky’s Birdcage


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

 8:15 – 11:45 a.m.    Member Refresh, Update, and Briefing for owners and senior leadership as well as hoteliers new to their historic hotel or of hotels newly inducted into Historic Hotels of America. Learn about the latest digital marketing, website, PR, revenue, and strategic partnerships, initiatives, and programs and how to maximize your many benefits from your historic hotel’s membership in Historic Hotels of America.

Location: Grand Ballroom South

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.      Historic Hotels Annual Conference Hospitality Desk

 Location: Grand Ballroom Foyer


2:00 – 3:30 p.m.        History Tour of Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (built 1847)

           Location: Bucky’s Birdcage




  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.       Grand Traditions Welcome Reception - Sponsored by Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Location: Magnolia Ballroom

Attire: Resort Casual

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

7:00 – 8:05 a.m.        Breakfast & Tradeshow, Sponsored by Grandin Hood Publishers

Location: Grand Ballroom South


  8:10 a.m.                  General Session, Sponsored by GCommerce

Location: Grand Ballroom North


Welcome Larry Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide 


Opening Remarks and Welcome Scott Tripoli, Chair of the 2022 Host Committee, General Manager of Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (1847)


Opening Remarks and Welcome – David Clark, President & CEO, Visit Mobile


Board of Advisors Greeting Joseph J. Vezzoso, Chair, Board of Advisors; Vice President Resort Operations and Sales at French Lick Resort/ French Lick & West Baden Springs Hotels


Opening Remarks and Welcome – Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO, Preferred Travel Group, Inc.


Welcome – The Importance of Historic Hotels of America to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Matt Montgomery, Chief Marketing Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation


Keynote Speaker Urgency for the AHLA to Win More Federal, State, and Local Tax Support for Hotels, Chip Rogers, President and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways:

  • Which priorities have become more urgent for the AHLA in winning more federal, state, and local tax support for hotels?
  • What you can do to be more effective locally with your elected representatives
  • Why it is urgent to speak up in your local community and to your elected representatives
  • Learn what you can do to convince elected representatives that have never made a payroll to support legislation that helps the Hospitality and Tourism industries


Sponsors and Exhibitors IntroductionsStephanie Calhoun, Director, Member Services & Support, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide


9:45 a.m.                  Networking Coffee Break & Tradeshow Sponsored by Corsicana Hospitality

Location: Grand Ballroom South


 10:15 a.m.                 General Session Sponsored by Down Etc.

                                   Location: Grand Ballroom North

                                   Keynote Speaker The Historic Hotels of America STR Forecast 2023-2025 
Vail Ross, Senior VP, Global Business Development & Marketing, STR

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways:

  • Will RevPAR for historic hotels continue to grow at a compound average annual rate, which is greater than the rate of RevPAR annual growth forecast for the nation’s upper upscale hotels and luxury hotels?  
  • Will annual occupancy levels for hotels that are members of Historic Hotels of America continue above the national average occupancy level through 2022?
  • What other economic surprises should historic hotels consider in their long-term planning?


Keynote Speaker Develop a Successful Culture of Innovation, Overcome Barriers to Innovation While Making Lots of Small Bets - Fail Fast, and Innovate – Dan McCoy, Former Chief Innovation Officer, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways:

  • 40% of a CEO’s time must be on innovation to stay ahead
  • Develop a Culture of Innovation so Innovation can happen at any level
  • Form LIFT Cells (Base Specific Innovation from the Air Force) and allow problem owners to own innovation
  • Foster Disruptive Innovation (Netflix DVD to Streaming)
  • Adapt to a Mission Model Innovation approach
  • Achieve, Measure, and Report - OKR – Operational Key Results (Google)


Keynote Speaker The Traveler’s Gift, Seven Decisions that Work 100% of the Time

Andy Andrews, New York Times Best Selling Author

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways:

A fast-paced exploration of The Seven Decisions that determine personal success. These life-changing truths are based on extracts from his international bestselling book, The Traveler’s Gift. In this address, Andrews pokes fun at our perception of ordinary themes and explains these seven principles in a way you have never heard before. He doesn’t merely encourage you — he clearly paves the way for the inner change we all long for. The power of this presentation is in the indisputable proof Andrews provides … these seven decisions will work in your life 100% of the time.  Time permitting, he will cover What To Do… When You Don’t Know What To Do: Overcoming Inactivity Once and for All


12:30 p.m.                    Welcome and Celebration of New Members Lunch Sponsored by Coca-Cola®

 Matt Coletti and Julie Stoltz, Historic Hotels of America

                                     Location: Magnolia Ballroom


1:45 – 2:25 p.m.           Academies Select one from Academy #1, #2, #3 or #4  

 Our Culinary Curriculum is sponsored by Steelite


Academy 1:

Location: Magnolia 1

Community Marketing - Using Data Insights and the Sweet Science of Storytelling to Build Fierce Brand Communities

Scott van Hartesvelt, Founder, GCommerce

Chris Jackson, President & Chief Evangelist, GCommerce

Marketing is always in a state of flux, but every decade or so brings a more turbulent change. We’re currently at one of those moments, so it’s time for us to figure out what’s next and avoid being left behind. Consumers are starting to value deeper, more intimate brand relationships with more unique messages. Marketing tools are offering more ways to target engaged, loyal audiences instead of focusing on massive, broad reach. In this session attendees will learn:

What you will learn:

  • How marketing is shifting and what consumers value the most
  • How to create a higher focus for marketing based upon lifetime value
  • How to invert your conversion funnel
  • How to create deeper and more authentic communication to drive loyalty


Academy 2:

Location: Magnolia 2

On the Lookout - Group Culinary Trends 2023 and Beyond

Cory Garrison, Executive Chef, Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Michael Wehner, Executive Sous Chef, Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Culinary and Pastry “trends” in our banquet and catering departments can be as fluid as our clients’ needs. Flexibility and our ability to deliver the visions are always considered. For us we are adjusting to a new “guest/client”. We redesign our banquet and catering menus annually to keep up the date with the culinary curves.

What you will learn:

  • Group dynamics and how they affect the experience
  • Procrastination of meeting planners for menus and guarantees
  • Know your limits- deliver their experience
  • New type of clients- Boomers, Xers, Millennials, and Z’s
  • Different expectations- more experience driven rather than cost conscious
  • “Train” the clients
  • Loyalty- in the x and z 
  • New set styles
  • Better blend of flavors (remove boring- add in creative and thoughtful)
  • Dietary Choices/ Food Allergies
  • Small plate presentation on its way back  


Academy 3:

Location: Magnolia 3

If You Do Not Continually Innovate, Your Competitors Will   

Dan McCoy, Former Chief Innovation Officer, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

What you will learn:

  • How to develop a culture of innovation with limited resources
  • Proven innovation techniques – Act Fast, Lots of Small Bites, Fail Faster, Act Fast
  • Recognize you are in the business of making guests happy – everybody innovates
  • Build on the many ways you and your team innovated through the Pandemic


Academy 4:

Location: Beachside

The Next Wave of Revenue: How Retailing is Changing the Industry

Burl Hutchinson, Solutions Engineer, Sabre

Hospitality is creating moments that remind guests why they travel. What if you could create personalized guest experiences by selling anything? Selling more relevant ancillary products has been shown to drive higher booking conversions. For hoteliers, having a successful retailing strategy results in higher guest satisfaction, greater revenue, and strategic differentiation from competitors in an evolving industry. Every property has something special to offer. What will you create?

What you will learn:

  • The evolution of traveler's expectations for a tailored experience
  • How hoteliers can expand growth through new levers
  • Shifted trends in traveler shopping and booking habits
  • Enable choice by selling anything and accelerating revenue
  • Changing your mindset to define a retailing strategy

2:25 – 2:30 p.m.         Switch Academies Transition from Session 1 to Session 2

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.         Academies Select one from Academy #5, #6, or #7


Academy 5:

Location: Magnolia 1

Culinary - Now and the Future - Developing the Next Generation of Chefs

Bill Hendrix, General Manager, The Hotel Hershey and Mario Oliverio, Executive Sous Chef, The Hotel Hershey

This Culinary Academy is focused on the need to retain and hire the ever-challenging day of hotel kitchens: cook progression, recruiting ideas, and overall best practices. In this session you will obtain some helpful guidance from several chefs on how they currently work/live in the world of Hotel Culinary. As the phrase goes “Too many cooks in the kitchen.” Well, that is not the case in hotels in our perspective!

What you will learn:

  1. Retention and recruitment tools and efforts
    1. Involvement with area culinary schools
    2. Referral Programs and Retention Bonuses
    3. Cultivating next generation of Chefs through Apprenticeship programs, Co-ops, and Externships
  2. Culinary Cook’s Progression
    1. Training the next generations of Chefs with outlined skills set
    2. Evaluation/testing process with measurable methods to select candidates
    3. Promoting skills/ experience vs. seniority in a union-based environment
  3. Find the best work/life balance now and the future.
    1. Balancing the needs of employees and business needs
    2. Seek to understand needs of team members
    3. Development and Cross-Training to give more scheduling flexibility


Academy 6:

Location: Magnolia 2

Commemorating Historic Milestones   

Rik Blyth, Vice President and General Manager, La Fonda on the Plaza

Britta Andersson, Director of Marketing, La Fonda on the Plaza

La Fonda on the Plaza holds a coveted place in a rich tapestry of hospitality that predates American independence. City records indicate that La Fonda sits on the site of the town's first inn, established when the city was founded by Spaniards in 1607, making La Fonda the oldest hotel corner in America. Vibrant and eclectic, and a proud member of Historic Hotels of America, La Fonda's history can be traced back 400 years. In 1821, Captain William Becknell and his party found their way to La Fonda during the maiden commercial route across the plains from Missouri, establishing the Santa Fe Trail as well as La Fonda's reputation for hospitality. Throughout the 19th century, La Fonda quickly became the preferred lodging option among trappers, soldiers, gold seekers, gamblers, and politicians. The adobe structure changed hands several times as the years progressed, enduring milestones such as the Civil War, railroad expansion and New Mexico statehood, while maintaining its status as a Santa Fe landmark. 

The hotel’s current structure celebrates 100 years of hospitality.  To mark the occasion, La Fonda rolled out a series of festive events and initiatives that engage the local community and visitors alike.

Talking points at this academy include logo development, public relations, advertising campaign strategy, digital marketing, social media, commemorative documentary video production, celebratory gala planning, launching an annual speaker series, developing promotional gifts and more!  

What you will learn:

  • How to plan and execute the celebration of a Major Milestone – Hotel Anniversary (100 years, 150 years, or more)
  • How to honor an historic milestone


Academy 7:

Location: Magnolia 3

Guest Communication: How to Create an Email Strategy That Connects With Guests Throughout Their Stay

Rick Sousa, Director of Sales, Jonas Hospitality

Learn the Art and the Science of why guest messaging needs to be a key focus of every historic hotel. The guest journey starts long before check-in: it starts the moment a guest confirms a booking. Leverage automated email marketing to increase up-sell opportunities, encourage loyalty and streamline arrival and departure – without significant staff resources or time investment.

What you will learn:

  • How to personalize every guest’s experience with limited resources
  • Proven strategies to drive additional revenue from pre-arrival emails
  • How to turn marketing opportunities into operational efficiency


3:15 – 4:15 p.m.         Networking Coffee Break & Tradeshow Sponsored by WIPFLI

Location: Grand Ballroom South


5:45 – 9:00 p.m.         Dinner - Grandeur, Grit and Glory since 1847

                                   Sponsored by Sabre

Special Reception and Ceremony at Cannon Park at 5:45 p.m.   

Grandeur, Grit, and Glory since 1847 is the signature event that is unique to Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa and showcases the GRAND brand. Join “A tribute to the History & Traditions of the Grand Hotel. Honoring its ties to American Freedom, the Grand’s unique history is celebrated each day with a procession that culminates with a Civil War replica cannon firing on the edge of Mobile Bay at Cannon Park. In Grand Tradition, we will join Grand Hotel for its daily ceremony that proudly honors our military with a resounding salute in honor of the invaluable contributions of our military men and women, veterans, and their families.   


Thursday, November 17

7:00 – 8:15 a.m.          Breakfast & Tradeshow

Location: Grand Ballroom South


8:15 a.m.                    General Session, Sponsored by Wasserstrom

Location: Grand Ballroom North


Welcome Larry Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide 


Keynote Speaker The Five Essential Laws of Hospitality (to build Loyalty, Retention, and Revenue) Bob Pacanovsky, Creator and Founder of The Black-Tie Experience and Customer Experiences that are Rememorable, Remarkable, and Referable

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways:

  • Answering the question- would you like to be the best or the favorite in the eyes of your clients?
  • And just as important, is why? -What are concepts that you can implement from each of the 5 Laws that will separate your hotel from others in your community?
  • -Discovering the 3 areas of focus to engage and empower employees to deliver these laws of Hospitality. This is called the "Hat Trick" of employee training, and the benefits can be increased engagement and retention, and less turnover.
  • The 5 Essential Laws of Hospitality are - The Law of Connect, The Law of Engagement, The Law of Trust, The Law of Appreciation, The Law of Wow


Keynote Speaker – The Essence of Storytelling on Film and Video, Why Documentaries Continue to Grow in Popularity, Greg MacGillivray, American film director, cinematographer, preeminent storyteller, pioneer of the 70mm IMAX film format, Academy Award Nominee, and passionate ocean conservationist

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways:

          • Write the Story you want told before hiring a photographer or videographer
          • Your stories are the best form of advertising
          • Ways to leverage the many facets of your historic hotel on video – an ideal set


10:00 – 10:25 a.m.       Networking Coffee Break & Tradeshow, Sponsored by ROOMNET              

 Location: Grand Ballroom South


10:30 a.m.                    General Session, Sponsored by PTG Consulting

 Location: Grand Ballroom North


Keynote Speaker, Lessons to take back to your hotel and community from a discussion of the preservation of African American historic sites in Alabama, the legacy of African American travel and recreation in the state, and how these places are telling a fuller American story while supporting state-wide heritage tourism efforts. Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Tiffany Tolbert, Senior Director for Preservation, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways

  • Learn about the efforts and ways to connect visitors and guests to the diverse stories in their communities.
  • Explore the evolving role many historic hotels played in the past from upholding segregation to today’s connection to the African American community to
  • Consider the role African Americans historically played in supporting the services offered at historic hotels


Keynote Speaker, Surviving Clotilda, Truth and Reconciliation, We have a long way to go . . . , Ben Raines, Environmental Journalist and Filmmaker and Darron Patterson, President of the Clotilda Descendants Association

Keynote Talk Key Takeaways:

  • Give your travelers another reason to come back to your destination
  • Reconcile the stories of your hotel’s past with the expectations of today’s guests
  • Turn Stories into Guest Experiences
  • You can’t airbrush history, but you can provide an interpretation
  • Make local mysteries an authentic attraction


12:20 p.m.                   Historic Milestones & Celebrations Lunch, Sponsored by Standard Textile

Julie Stoltz and Greg Lienweber

                                    Location: Magnolia Ballroom


1:45 to 2:20 p.m.         Academies Select one from Academy #8, #9, #10, or #11


Academy 8:

Location: Magnolia 1

The Power of Metasearch - Bringing Marketing Optimization to Metasearch

Chris Jackson, Principal & Chief Evangelist, GCommerce

Metasearch is one of your best tools for increasing direct traffic and recapturing market share from OTA’s, especially if you’re optimizing your metasearch advertising campaigns. Earlier this year, GCommerce polled several thousand hoteliers and learned that very few were aware that metasearch advertising campaigns can be managed and optimized similarly to paid search campaigns. In this session you will learn how to harness the power of metasearch advertising to support your property’s direct demand capture needs and walk away empowered.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to ensure your metasearch connections allow for strategy and optimization
  • Bid modifiers and how to use them
  • How to harness your first party data to create custom audiences on Google to enhance the targeting capabilities of your metasearch marketing campaigns
  • How to harness the power of affinity audiences & in-market travelers


Academy 9:

Location: Magnolia 2

Winning Your Traveler Market Share

Dominic Donatoni, Senior Enterprise Client Sales Consultant, Revinate
Courtney Witherspoon, Director of Solutions Engineering, Revinate

After years of pent-up demand, travel is normalizing and creating an excellent opportunity to recapture existing business while attracting new guests. Every traveler is going somewhere; make sure your property is one of their destinations. Learn how to harness the power of guest data and fulfill the expectation of personalization to maximize your traveler market share.

What you will learn:

  • Tips to taking a proactive approach in initiating the guest booking journey
  • Strategies for using your guest data to send targets and personalized communications to the right guest at the right time
  • Best practices for initiating, re-engaging, and building guest loyalty


Academy 10:

Location: Magnolia 3

How Iconic Cocktails and Specialty Liquor Collections Can Drive Your Branding and Marketing

Joseph Micallef, Forbes Columnist and International Wines and Spirits Judge

What you will learn:

Historically, in the 19th century, a hotel bar was an important marketing tool for driving occupancy. As American cocktail culture spread, European hotels installed American-style bars to differentiate themselves from competitors and attract customers. The first American-style bar in London was at the Savoy Hotel, appropriately called The American Bar. Ditto for the Ritz in Paris. In this Academy, you'll go back to the hotel industry's roots and learn how to develop and use an iconic cocktail menu to drive branding and marketing, and how to leverage your bartending staff's knowledge to create signature events that make a hotel's bar a destination rather than an afterthought. We'll also explore how to prepare for Gen Z's low alcohol/no alcohol preferences.

  • How to develop a culture of innovation with limited resources
  • Iconic Cocktails: A Branding Tool to Reinforce Historical Roots
  • Martha Washington's Cherry Bounce: A Case Study
  • Specialty Bar Collections As A Destination Driver
  • Bartending Staff's Spirits Knowledge As A Marketing Tool
  • No Alcohol/Low Alcohol Cocktail Menus: Getting Ready For Gen Z Consumers


Academy 11:

Location: Beachside

Branding and Marketing Forever Forward: Premium Operations Win. Period.

W. Chris Green – Divisional President - Remington Hotels  and Raul Moronta – Chief Commercial Officer – Remington Hotels

What you will learn:

In a sea of mediocrity – you can shine. We will explore the often minor and unattended operational and commercial efforts that separate the good and the great. How the net effect of intentional effort focused on your primary performance building blocks creates throughput to success. You will hear key evolving strategies with the largest (and quickest) returns for you, and you will see why the “Reverse Mullet” is king for performance and asset value.

What you will learn:

  • A LA CARTE – not just for F&B
  • TECH or DIE - driving performance in a fragmented economy
  • STARPAR - Winning the talent battle
  • The “REVERSE MULLET” strategy for Historic and Independent hotels
  • WHAT THE SELL – why some assets are still bringing huge per key pricing.


2:25  p.m.       Switch Academies Transition from Session 1 to Session 2


2:30 – 3:15 p.m.         Academies Select one from Academy #12, #13, or #14


Academy 12:

Location: Magnolia 1

History of the American Cocktail

Daniel Fuernrohr, Director of Event Operations, Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Cocktails are an American cultural icon. Join us as to discuss how the American cocktail culture evolved as our young country developed. Sample curated cocktails and distilled spirits as we navigate our way through the years beginning with the earliest American settlers all the way through the emergence of the craft cocktail with the dawn of the new millennium.  

What you will learn:

  • The introduction of Spanish sugarcane in the late 1400’s
  • The explosion of rum distilleries pre-Revolutionary War
  • The development of rye whiskey that preceded the Bourbon boom
  • The effects of Prohibition in America
  • The digression of classic cocktails in the 1970’s
  • Craft cocktails and present-day mixology


Academy 13:

Location: Magnolia 2

Demystifying the New Visual Narrative for Hotel Photography With Insights Specifically for Heritage Hotels

Michelle Chaplow, Founder, Hotel Essence Photography 

There are important changes afoot in the field of Historic Hotel Photography. Ask yourself: Does your hotel imagery show the grandeur and opulence of your hotel, does its show what distinguishes your hotel from other hotels? Can you sense the fresh air? Does your hotel look like a place that you would like to work in? These are important questions. Hotel photographers must anticipate the challenges facing hoteliers right now. It’s a fact that guests can check out of your hotel before they have even checked in based purely on the quality of your hotel photography.

Learn about new up-to-the-minute worldwide trends and tendencies in historic hotel photography. We will guide you through the new visual narrative for historic hotel photography with easy-to-understand advice specifically for heritage hotels.

What you will learn:

  • Valuable information that every heritage hotel needs to know right now about current trends and tendencies for historic hotels photography
  • How you can attract new staff to your property with visual engagement
  • How to make your historic hotel visually irresistible to the media
  • Utilizing the history of your hotel to create an emotional connection with your guests
  • A guide to the new visual narrative for historic hotel photography with easy-to-understand solutions for heritage hotels


Academy 14:

Location:  Magnolia 3

New Resources and Programs from Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide

Matt Coletti, Julie Stoltz, Will Steele, Greg Leinweber

Is your 2022 marketing budget stretched? Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide offer many opt-in marketing campaigns and media programs that will gain extra exposure for your hotel throughout the year, often at no additional cost. This overview will introduce you to the resources and opportunities available to you through the year from your historic hotel’s membership including historic hotels website and digital marketing, email campaigns, promotions with partner organizations, revenue enhancement, content published for media use, special savings from alliance partners, and full connectivity solutions.

What you will learn:

  • Best Practices for achieving stellar media exposure from your Milestone Celebrations
  • Reach the media through the Top 25 Lists published by Historic Hotels of America
  • Expand the reach of your social media
  • Document your culinary recipes and traditions.


6:00 p.m.                    Cocktail Reception 

                                   Sponsored by Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (1847)

Location: Grand Ballroom Patio


7:00 p.m.                    2022 Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence Ceremony and Gala Dinner

Sponsored by The Hershey Company | Molton Brown | Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (1847)

Location: Grand Ballroom North

Attire: Cocktail


Friday, November 18


Departures at Leisure