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The Ninth Annual Resort Conference Decides to Go Virtual, No On-site Conference in 2009;
A Webinar Series Will be Offered Free to the First 100 Qualified Resort Professionals
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MCLEAN, VA (April 1, 2009) – It's no secret that the resort community has been hit particularly hard during the current economic downturn and in the aftermath of the incentive travel backlash. Many of HSMAI's members and operations professionals in this segment are finding it increasingly difficult to leave their properties to attend educational seminars or meetings.

Because of this, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management at the University of Denver have decided to adopt a virtual format for the Ninth Annual Resort Conference this year. The 2009 Annual Resort Conference was scheduled to take place May 3-5 at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 

The virtual conference webinar series will be offered free to the first 100 resort professionals registered for each session thanks to the generous support of a coalition of industry partners, including American Express, Fareed Zapala Koepke, Cendyn, ClickSquared, Dana Communications, E-proDirect, ICE Portal, Incite Response and PAR Springer-Miller Systems. Additional registrants can attend the webinars for a nominal charge.

“At the request of resort executives who wanted to attend the meeting but could not allocate the time this year, HSMAI and the University of Denver have committed to making the content available to a much wider audience through the virtual format,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “Excellent content has already been developed for this year's Resort Conference and is designed especially for executives dealing with the current economic environment.”

The virtual conference webinar sessions include:

The Voice of the Customers. Do you know what your customers are really thinking?
May 4, 2009
Moderator: Robert A. Gilbert, President and CEO, HSMAI
Panelists: Brenda Anderson, CEO, Site; Bill Connors, CTC, Executive Director and COO, National Business Travel Association (NBTA); and Katie Callahan-Giobbi, Executive Vice President of MPI Foundation and Chief Business Architect. Attendees will take part in this spirited discussion with current and potential clients representing group, incentive, and leisure markets.

The Case for Innovating Now 
May 6, 2009
Speaker: Scott Anderson, President, Hospitality and Real Estate, Kohler Company
Anderson will provide information, insight, and inspiration for companies to “Innovate Now” and emerge faster, stronger and better than their competitor.

Emerging Lifestyles and Travel Trends: Implications for Resort Marketing
May 11, 2009
Speaker: Peter Yesawich, President and CEO, YPartnership
Attendees will hear highlights from the 2009 National Leisure Travel Monitor, a national survey of the travel habits, preferences and intentions of Americans that is now in its 17th year.

Contract Renegotiation in Turbulent Times
May 13, 2009
Panelists: Steve Kinsey, Kinsey and Associates; Steve Rudner, Rudner and Associates
Kinsey and Rudney share strategies attendees can use to protect their hotels as they revisit existing agreements and discuss options to field cancellations and requests to renegotiate existing contracts. 


Registration details and a complete program offering can be found online at www.resortconference.com

Special thanks to conference sponsors and, in particular, to the PGA National Resort, which will be the host property for the 10th annual conference in the spring of 2010.

About HSMAI
HSMAI is the hospitality industry source for knowledge, community, and recognition for leaders committed to professional development, sales growth, revenue optimization, marketing, and branding. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, and bringing together customers and members at annual events, including HSMAI's Affordable Meetings®. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. For more information on HSMAI, contact the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, Va. 22102; (703) 506-3280; fax (703) 506-3266, or visit the website at www.hsmai.org.

About HRTM
Established in 1946, the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM), part of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, prepares both graduate and undergraduate students for senior management positions in the fast-changing and competitive hospitality industry.  As one of the most prominent hotel programs in the nation, the HRTM program enjoys a superb reputation for innovative educational programs.   The student-oriented faculty members are internationally recognized for their contributions to teaching, research and publications in various hospitality fields.  For more information on the HRTM program, visit www.daniels.du.edu/HRTM.aspx or contact Barb Pemble at (303) 871-4473 or e-mail: bpemble@du.edu.

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Contact:

Rachel Rosenberg
404-832-7711
rachel.rosenberg@edelman.com

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