Written By: Joshua Bergen, CHAE, CHTP
After a short 4-hour direct flight from Florida and a quick “ride share” to Caesars Palace, I was ready to jump into the sessions early Wednesday morning. The best part about the convention is the amazing educational line up. The worst part about the convention is that you can’t attend all of them at the same time. What I do, is I plan out my schedule on my flight and then change my mind hourly! But it works.
One tradition at the event is the CHAE and CHTP exams. I was able to take both exams at different HFTP events and now I am able to attend the conventions for my CPE credits. You can watch a recorded session online to prepare you for the exam. You can buy the study guides/books or download the Power Point presentation from the HFTP website. Many different options for you to prepare. I love hearing from my ever-growing HFTP friend circle as they pass the exam and join the elite group of members with the certifications.
WWJD? What would Josh Do?
It was a tough decision, but I went with the session titled “Business Intelligence and Total Revenue Optimization.” Now that my career has shifted direction into the hotel world from the timeshare world, I wanted to see what tips and tricks they can offer me for the hotel industry. I like the longer sessions (aka Workshops) because you can ask detailed questions and you not only hear advice from the presenters, but the other 100++ leaders in the industry participating and offering advice and sharing experiences. It is the best way for me to gain 20+ years of experience when I have only one year of working in hotel accounting.
After a quick lunch, “Beyond Budgeting” was the session that got my attention. How timely as we are working on our budget this month. Because it is a workshop, it has more flexibility and not 100 slides in a Power Point, but an actual fluid and interactive discussion. It was good to hear about how clubs and hotels are also doing forecasts differently, the tools they are using and then meeting up on the break to share phone numbers with someone I just met so we can set up a call to help each other on an idea that was presented. That is the way to learn and share knowledge.
I met a few “First-time Attendees” and shared with them some of the stories of the past. They also went to a special session just for them to help orient them on HFTP overall and the convention. I know it is great to meet a few people on your first day so you have someone you can meet up with and chat. I went to my first convention as a student member and didn’t travel with anyone. However, I was able to meet up with a few people from my local chapter and they introduced me to the HFTP family.
To wrap up day one, we had a great opening keynote speaker on Cybersecurity followed up by an Opening Party! Great sessions, great friends and a great party! That is the way to start your convention. On to day two.
Don’t forget to post on social media #HFTPinLV and @HFTP.