But the merger proved a perfect spot for a competitor to step in, he said, explaining how he got an email from Hyatt the week the merger was announced, offering him the same diamond-level status he has with Starwood. He says he thinks that is typical for the industry, but a lightbulb went off for me upon hearing about it for the first time.
At one point during the morning, each table had 15 minutes to discuss predictions made by Franklin and come up with their own unique prediction for 2016 to present to the entire group at the conclusion of the breakfast. It was a format that proved particularly engaging, and no two tables presented the same idea.
This exercise got me thinking: How productive could it be to host a similar group-brainstorming event at the end of conference education sessions? Instead of only taking in what the speaker has to say, what else is there to learn from your peers at the table? How is each person interpreting the information differently, and how can you benefit from seeing different points of view?
I experienced many learning moments during this event, but beyond The Economist-esque topics—such as how much India’s GDP will grow next year, or how emerging markets may be losing their grip in the economy—my key takeaway was people always have an opinion about hotels. Travel is one of the few subjects on which you can always find common ground, and for that reason, we’re all pretty lucky to never be at a loss for words.