I thought I would take this opportunity to update you on a few initiatives that the ICHRIE Board has been working on as of late and to provide you with a little information on what to expect at this year’s conference. First and foremost, I want to take my hat off to Maureen Brookes and her Strategic Planning Committee. They have done yeoman’s work on the 2020 strategic plan and, all being well, this will be shared at this year’s conference. To this point the Strategic Planning Committee has surveyed the membership on the currency of the existing plan, vision, mission, values and goals and are in the final stages of developing the first draft on the direction we will take as an association over the next five years. Feedback on our various strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for developing more timely and cutting edge products and services for the membership featured significantly in the feedback received and we are all hopeful that the new plan will be viewed as a positive step forward. Closely aligned with this planning exercise is a new member value survey which will hit your in-trays soon. Please keep a close eye out for this survey.
The Marketing Committee has determined that it would like to dig a little deeper in terms of understanding the real drivers behind member value and they will be writing out to you all soon in relation to same. I encourage you all to take the time to complete this survey and once again let your voice be heard when it comes to determining your future as a member of ICHRIE.
I am always happy to report that we are still financially sound. Budgets are never easy but we seem to be hitting our targets and we are looking good moving towards conference. So good in fact, that the Financial Investment Subcommittee has just issued an RFP to select an investment advisor to assist with investing a certain amount of our reserves and monies from our CHRIE FutureFund™. The CHRIE FutureFund™ monies would remain as official CHRIE FutureFund™ monies but, would be included in this income producing initiative with proceeds from earnings being shared proportionately. The goal here is to better utilize funds in an accrual sense as opposed to simply banking them. The Board will have a recommendation on an appropriate Investment Advisor for our May meeting. Hats off to Stephanie Hein and Bob Bosselman for their leadership here.
I would also like to report that the Membership Committee has been very busy developing a “one of a kind” mentorship program that aims to cultivate a rewarding and developmental relationship between the mentee and her/his mentor. This program will be rolled out at this year’s conference.
It has also been a busy period for the Research Committee who are charged with finding a new editor(s) for the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, developing a set of ethical publication guidelines pertaining directly to all ICHRIE journals and continuing to leverage inter-Federation research collaborations beyond annual and regional conferences.
Looking towards conference I am pleased to report that our program is almost set. Thanks to Jeff and his team we have had around 175 full paper submissions, with most submitted to the Tourism track followed by Marketing and 117 poster submissions, most again submitted to the Tourism track. As always, Chad Gruhl and the Conference Committee have been fantastically focused and very timely in their approach. At this point papers have been reviewed and decisions communicated. Additionally, guest speakers have been confirmed (Harris Rosen, President and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts and Dave George, President of Olive Garden) and the Career Academy (Leadership, Research and Teaching) as well as specialized Industry sessions have been set.
This year’s Leadership and Teaching Consortiums will address the sustainability theme as it pertains to academic program viability and both offer very inviting schedules. Industry focused sessions will follow on from last year’s theme – what do our graduates think of us? This is a follow-up to a survey sent to hospitality/tourism graduates conducted by Smith Travel Research in collaboration with members of the HIPSIG committee. Based on the comments/suggestions from 2014, a new survey is being initiated and results will be discussed in Orlando.
The second Industry Session will feature industry partners discussing trends in the industry, the impact upon their organizations and their response to same. A few of the trends that will take center stage are brands and technology strategy. This year’s event will also have a stronger focus on two-year schools and member interests. Of particular note will be delivery or a two year oriented CHIA program by Smith Travel Research. This was discussed during last year’s two year round up and I am happy that members will have this opportunity at this year’s conference.
This year’s Deans and Directors event promises to be inspiring with Mr. Gerry Fernandez, of the Multi-cultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance serving as the featured speaker. Gerry will be speaking on his recent work on the diversity of our industry. I am happy to report that this event will be hosted by the Rosen School of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, who will also be hosting a wonderful Welcome Event at their campus on Thursday July 30th – more details to follow.
So there you have it! I can safely say that folks have been very busy as of late and there will be much to share at our event in Orlando. Until next time and in the immortal words of Leonard Nimoy, “Live long and prosper”!