91st Annual Hotel Ezra Cornell to Discuss Emerging Consumer Trends in Travel, Threat of Cybercrime

Dec 04, 2015

Contact: Ben Pilosof, HEC 91 Director of Communications, 818.610.9701, bmp78@cornell.edu


Ithaca, NY, December 4, 2015 - The students behind the 91st Annual Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC 91) at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration (SHA) are excited to host two dynamic panels that will dive into important issues giving rise to “the new normal” in hospitality: evolving consumer behavior that has resulted in the emergence of new travel trends, and the imminent threat of cybercrime that every business now faces in this digital era. On March 18, 2016, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Kelly McGuire, MMH '01, PhD '07 (director of hospitality and travel global practice, SAS) will moderate a panel of hospitality leaders as they discuss the future of consumer travel. On March 19, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Jules Sieburgh '72 (principal, Jules A. Sieburgh LLC) will moderate a discussion among leading technology professionals concerning issues of cybersecurity. Both panels will be held in Statler Auditorium in Statler Hall on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca.

Consumer behavior has changed dramatically and rapidly in the last several decades with a new digital economy, impacting the way consumers research, buy, and experience travel. In this panel, leading hospitality and travel companies will describe how they stay on top of trends in consumer behavior, identify opportunities for innovation, and evolve their organizations to remain ahead of existing players and new market entrants. Moderator Kelly McGuire pointed out that "each of the companies represented on the stage was either formed or transformed as a result of some change in consumer behavior or market opportunity facilitated by technology."

The speakers for this consumer trends panel include Wrede Petersmeyer, NYC city manager, Airbnb; Francis Davidson, CEO and co-founder, Flatbook; Kit Pappas, COO, Capella Hotel Group; Hari Nair, MMH '02, vice president and general manager of Orbitz and CheapTickets, Expedia; and Kevin Jacobs '94, executive vice president and CFO, Hilton Worldwide.

Cybersecurity is becoming a more widespread and serious concern, as this issue poses a major threat for the hospitality industry, especially with the new focus on digital consumer trends. Not only are individual hackers a threat, but so are organized groups such as nation states, countries, terrorist organizations, and more that are attacking corporations. This panel will discuss the ways in which leadership can train employees in best practices so that they help protect the company and customer information within their direct roles and functions.

The speakers for this cybersecurity panel include Dave Hogan, executive director, Heartland Payment Systems; Alexander Stout, associate, Latham & Watkins LLP; and Amitava "Chats" Chatterjee, MMH '00, director of travel, hospitality and leisure, Deloitte Digital.

Please visit www.hotelezracornell.com for more information about the program and other conference events. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About Hotel Ezra Cornell
Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC) is a weekend-long business conference organized and executed by students at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. The conference boasts a series of educational seminars, food-and-beverage events, and leisure activities to generate thought-provoking conversation about the industry and build long-term relationships. A 91-year-old tradition of the school, HEC year after year has given students the opportunity to practice skills they learn in the classroom and showcase their talents to the conference's attendees: Cornell alumni, faculty, staff, and industry professionals from around the globe. For more information, visit www.hotelezracornell.com.

About the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University
The School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University is shaping the global knowledge base for hospitality management through leadership in education, research, and industry advancement. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the school provides management instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines, educating the next generation of leaders in the world's largest industry. Founded in 1922 as the nation's first collegiate course of study in hospitality management, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration is recognized as the world leader in its field. For more information, visit sha.cornell.edu.