It is no longer simply business as usual for hotel owners and operators. There are disruptive forces at all levels of business, from labor challenges and rising HR costs to rapidly evolving technology, changing guest expectations and new distribution demands. This year’s Washington Lodging Convention will arm you with the latest intel and fresh strategies for weathering the challenges that are coming your way.

Here’s a preview of the speakers who will take on the disruptions in the economic, consumer and market climates:

Glenn Haussman, Hotel Management magazine and Rouse Media

As an editor-at-large at Hotel Management magazine, lodging trends expert, featured keynote speaker, and consummate traveler, Glenn Haussman lives and breathes hospitality. He’s been closely observing how the traditional rules of hospitality are morphing in response to radical changes in the hospitality ecosystem, yet despite all of the potential pitfalls, Glenn sees this as an era of unprecedented opportunity. At the convention, Glenn will debunk commonly held lodging industry myths and provide a clear path through marketplace changes that can lead to future success.

Gary Hernbroth, Training for Winners

A sought-after speaker, trainer and performance coach, Gary Hernbroth spent 18 years in the hospitality industry before launching a career helping teams re-tool for success in disruptive times. He knows the ins and outs of hotel operations and sales, and hoteliers value the straight-talking, real-world approach he brings to his trainings. He’s helped an A list of hospitality clients master difficult market challenges, and he’ll help you rethink what you do to motivate team members to deliver results.

Eric Swenson,  Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council

As senior economist at the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, Etic Swenson’s job is to look into the future and predict what economic activity in Washington state will look like over the next five years. He and his team need to get it right, as the forecasts they develop are used to build the state’s budgets. At the Convention, he’ll update you on where the U.S. and Washington economies are heading and what they may have in store for Washington’s hospitality businesses.

Irvin W. Sandman, Sandman Savrann PLLC

Irv Sandman, attorney at law, returns to the Convention to lead the ever-popular Owners Forum, a discussion with industry leaders about the challenges, opportunities, and strategies impacting hotel portfolios. He’ll be joined by Yogi Hutsen (president & CEO of Coastal Hotel Group), Shaiza Damji (principal and managing director of 360° Hotel Group), Murray Dow, II (president and CEO of The Dow Hotel Company), and Jeff McKee (co-founder and managing director of Premier Capital Associates). Irv is a recognized authority on hotel law and the hotel industry, the editor-in-chief of the Washington State Hospitality Law Manual, Third Edition, and a co-founder of the Northwest Hotel Investment Forum.

Greg Duff, Garvey Schubert Barer

Greg Duff is chair of Garvey Schubert Barer’s hospitality, tourism and travel group, and his legal practice is directed at the variety of operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality and travel industry clients. He also serves as counsel and legal advisor to AH&LA and HSMAI and is frequent speaker on national distribution issues. His presentation at this year’s Convention will deepen your understanding of distribution to help you position yourself to better weather the changing world of distribution.

Catharine Morisset and Davis Bae, Fisher Phillips

Fisher Phillips employment law attorneys Catharine Morisset and Davis Bae will deliver a timely presentation on what you need to have in place when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrives at your door. You’ll learn what you need to do to mitigate the potential fallout from an ICE investigation, including legal fees, lost productivity, steep fines, and the possible expansion into other workplace compliance issues. 

Catharine is a partner in the firm's Seattle office and represents employers in state and federal courts, on appeal, and also before the EEOC and similar state agencies in all aspects of workplace law. 

Davis Bae is a regional managing partner and focuses his practice on providing effective immigration solutions for companies in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Julie Eisenhauer, Clark Nuber PS

Julie Eisenhauer is a shareholder at Clark Nuber and co-leads the firm’s hospitality practice niche. She focuses on working with her clients to provide high quality financial information to owners and investors, including evaluating their internal and administrative controls. She also consults with family and closely held business on governance, leadership transition and succession planning, and business strategic planning.  She will joined by Gregor Hodgson (VP at Parker Smith & Feek, Inc.), Scott Warner (Owner of Garvey Schubert Barer), Peter J. Henley (Chief Information Officer at Clark Nuber) and Brandon Thompson (Risk Manager at Noble House Hotels & Resorts).

Joseph G. Marra, Davis Grimm Payne & Marra

Mr. Marra is a managing partner and shareholder at Davis Grimm Payne & Marra where he represents employers in all types of employment litigation and provides advice on a wide variety of employment matters. His practice focuses on management advocacy in private and public sector labor and employment law, including negotiating collective bargaining agreements; advising and representing employers in all areas related to union relationships; responding to unfair labor practices and union organizing campaigns; defending against claims of wrongful discharge, discrimination and sexual harassment; defending class actions; wage/hour law compliance and litigation defense in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. 

Julia Gorton, Washington Hospitality Association

Julia Gorton leads the state advocacy program for the Washington Hospitality Association and is the point-person on several issues, including the Retrospective Rating program (RETRO) and the continued debate surrounding the state’s evolving liquor privatization issue. She is the No. 1 resource for members in the ongoing discussion with the Liquor Control Board on liquor pricing for restaurants and hotels. Julia obtained her B.A. in political science and social studies from Western Washington University in 2006 and has been a member of the WA Hospitality’s Government Affairs team since 2007. During her time at the Association, Julia has grown and strengthened the Grassroots Network. Julia also established the Association’s Ambassador training program, which gives members tools to communicate with their elected representatives.

John Lane, Washington Hospitality Association

John Lane is the Association’s first Director of Local Government Affairs. He steps into this new role after managing our local GA efforts for 18 months, working first on the Seattle Office of Labor Standards Enforcement Ordinance as well as restrictive scheduling and the city’s hotel initiative. He has a law degree from Seattle University and has extensive public policy experience, including serving as a Washington state assistant attorney general and as the Office of Financial Management’s legislative and legal counsel. John has also served as a senior policy advisor to Gov. Jay Inslee on public safety and government operations and as the executive policy advisor to Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Rani Hong, Rani's Voice

Consultant, speaker and trainer & Special Advisor to UN.GIFT

Rani Hong stands in the shoes of victims & survivors of slavery worldwide. She leads the collective voices of those who have been sold into slavery, sharing from her first hand personal experience. In this unique space Rani has created a global network of survivor’s voices from all forms of human trafficking to help inform international decision makers, coalitions & alliances in the anti-trafficking movement. Rani brings a story that is at once personal, and at the same time represents thousands of people who have been coerced into forced labor in the United States and abroad. Rani's Voice facilitates information sharing, networking, and dialogue with interested partners to jointly increase knowledge and awareness about the societal costs of human trafficking and our personal responsibility to combat it. Rani shares her story because there are millions of others like the little girl she was; imprisoned, enslaved, and silenced, unable to tell their stories. Come listen to Rani and find out how to combat trafficking in your organization. This will be a powerful presentation about an issue that the hospitality association has said clearly, “Not in Our House.”