Student-Run Conference at School of Hotel Administration Focuses on Tough Issues

Oct 27, 2009

Contact:  Jessica Rubin '10, communications director of HEC 85, 845.642.4237,

Ithaca, NY- In its 85th year, Hotel Ezra Cornell will focus on how the hospitality industry has discovered and capitalized on unique opportunities to innovate its way out of the recession. Through discussing stories of success, failures, and lessons learned, the conference hopes to provide insight into the best strategies and most innovative practices hospitality professionals have implemented as the industry manages up and out of the down economy.

For over 80 years, the students of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration have collaborated to invite hundreds of hospitality leaders to this unique conference.  The conference—to be held April 8-11, 2010, in Ithaca, New York—is designed to showcase student talent, demonstrate education and learning at the school, and provide an opportunity for executives to ask hard questions and discuss important, and sometimes sensitive, topics within the industry.

Among the broad range of programs at HEC 85, are the following:

▪ The Hospitality Industry Update. Where have we been and where are we going?  Listen as Doug Holtz-Eakin, renowned economist, and Mark Lomanno, president of Smith Travel Research, discuss the current economic situation and its effect on the hospitality industry.

▪ The Importance of Branding. Join us as Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, moderates a panel of experts—including Art Adler, CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle Americas—to discuss the importance of brand names and the implications branding has on financing in today’s tight market.

▪ What Guests Want.  Howard Nusbaum, president of the American Resort Development Association, will speak about how to manage the balance between changing consumer needs with providing services they really want.

▪ The Price is Right. How are heads getting into beds?  Learn how hotels have turned lemons into lemonade, saved money, yielded a profit, and even grown their portfolios in tough times when the economy has severely impacted rack rates and discounting strategies.

▪ Standing Out in a Down Economy.  How can hospitality companies continue to differentiate themselves in the current economy?  Discover how food service companies—from fine dining to independent restaurants to fast casual operations—are strategically positioning themselves in the current economy.

“As students, we are excited to showcase how the industry has progressed through the tough economic situation, so we can best learn and prepare for the future,” said Cathy Popp ‘10, managing director for Hotel Ezra Cornell 85, “We look forward to providing our guests with an exciting program and awe-inspiring culinary delights, all prepared by our very own students!”