Boasting its largest trade show ever and a number of new initiatives, AAHOACON ’23 promises to be “historic on a number of levels” when it kicks off next week in Los Angeles, according to AAHOA (The Asian American Hotel Owners Association) President/CEO Laura Lee Blake.
Presiding over her first AAHOACON after taking the helm of the association in May of 2022, AAHOA’s Blake told LODGING that the 32nd annual event—which takes place from April 11-14—is poised to make an impact.
“For a lot of us It’s the first one coming out-of-the-box and so I directed the team that we have to make this one spectacular. I can assure you that it appears that we are accomplishing that goal,” she said, explaining that there are several new team members and associates who have been promoted into new positions.
Blake pointed out there are a handful of first-time events and initiatives as part of the conferences that are generating excitement. For starters, she noted the association is announcing the launch of its charitable foundation, which will be a 501-c3 non-profit arm of AAHOA.
In addition, for this event AAHOA has partnered with Covenant House in Los Angeles and will have a section available where members can donate money and help pack care boxes for teens.
“Because we do care for people living on the streets and we do care about this homelessness crisis in Los Angeles we are doing something special this year,” she noted.
For the first time, AAHOACON will also include a PAC reception for any AAHOA members that have donated $1,000 or more to the PACs (Political Action Committees). The reception will be joined by several members of the U.S. Congress who will be speaking.
Meanwhile, within the trade show, Blake called out a new feature called the AAHOA Garage, which offers members an opportunity to learn about everyday maintenance projects and more. Each demonstration will showcase essential services designed to drive members’ success.
“It’s an opportunity for some of our vendors and industry partners to get up there and talk about how to do things yourself. I anticipate that should get a lot of attention,” said Blake.
Blake also noted the event will showcase the first-ever karaoke contest as part of a complete entertainment lineup, which includes a number of spiritual and inspirational speakers, as well as Bollywood entertainers.
There are also some notable educational sessions, according to Blake, who noted she is “particularly excited” about the CEO Panel that will take place on Wednesday. Moderated by Anthony Melchiorri, the session will feature Geoff Ballotti, CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Larry Cuculic, President/CEO, Best Western; Julie Arrowsmith, President/CEO, G6 Hospitality; George Limbert, President, Red Roof; and Keith Pierce, EVP, president of franchise and development, Sonesta.
Blake also called attention to two women’s luncheons on consecutive days. Wednesday afternoon will feature a Women’s Hotelier Session and Luncheon, while “Women Own The Room” is scheduled to take place on Thursday and is sponsored by Wyndham.
Finally, Blake noted that she expects AAHOACON ’23 to attract some 8,000 attendees.
“We are so excited to be coming to Los Angeles, the city of angels, for AAHOACON ’23. It is designed to be spectacular. We are looking forward to an action-packed week with all types of amazing activities. We are setting records and we’d love for everyone to join so that they can see it for themselves first-hand,” she concluded.