Chip is a hospitality veteran and he’s been serving the industry for more than 30 years. He’s done it all – from washing dishes, to the front desk, Assistant GM, General Manager, Sales Manager, COO, CDO, VP and more. For over 20 years, Chip served America’s Best Franchising as the brand grew from just a few properties to a portfolio of nearly 300. After ABF was acquired by Vantage Hospitality a couple years ago, Chip began his hospitality consultancy, and he has helped multiple development and management groups not only grow profits, but identify key areas for improvement.
Eric Danziger is the chief executive officer of Trump Hotels, the world-renowned luxury hotel brand and management company, and is responsible for the strategic direction, growth and performance of the business.
With more than 45 years of experience in the hotel business, Eric, who started as a bellman at The Fairmont San Francisco at the age of 17, has served as the head of several of the industry’s leading hotel companies. He joined Trump Hotels following roles as President and CEO of Starwood Hotels, President and COO of Carlson Hotels Worldwide and President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group.
Kelly Harvel, CHA is a life long hospitality professional with experience in all levels of the lodging industry, from local operation to national branding. He currently serves as President/COO of V&S Hospitality Management – a Full Service Hotel Management Company with a focus on operational customer excellence based in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Dina Patel, CHO was born in Bardoli, India, and immigrated to USA with her family in 1988, when she was 10 years old. Two years later, Dina’s parents bought their first independent motel in San Antonio, Texas. From day one, Dina helped out in every part of the motel.
Dina earned a BBA (magna cum laude) with a minor in Spanish from the University of Houston in 1999, then began her career working as a System Analyst for Hanover Compressor Company. Several years later, Dina left the corporate world to pursue her dream of business ownership and in 2007, she and her husband opened their first hotel, a brand-new 35-room Scottish Inn and Suites. Keep Reading
Martin Owen joined the industry as a travel agent specializing in corporate travel, before working in reservations and sales for an international airline. He moved back into agency management eventually managing a chain of travel agencies in London.
In 1983, he joined Travelbag, a small company of 12 people selling discounted air tickets to Australia. He was part of the ownership team that grew the company to 400 people as a major long-haul tour operator. Travelbag also ran its own charter flight operation with daily flights to Australia from the UK, and owned a tourist ranch and hotel in Central Australia.
On selling his stake in Travelbag in 1996, he established a Tourism Consultancy, Owen Organization. The consultancy assisted in air and land product purchasing for a major tour operator; technology management for an international travel agency group; technology consulting for Sabre/American Airlines in Europe; establishing travel industry distribution for Serviced Apartment rentals worldwide; and developed a travel agency specializing in international travel for dogs among other projects.
Erik is a hotel technology marketing specialist, with deep experience across global markets with solutions such as revenue management, online distribution and property management. Erik started his career in hotel management, then shifted to technical roles in solution consulting and delivery, before specializing in sales and marketing leadership.
Jan Edwards is the founder and CEO at Paving the Way, an organization committed to ending sex trafficking in the U.S. through education and empowerment. Jan spent over 25 years in sales and marketing working with big names like Time Warner, Bright House, the UN and other international organizations, before taking on the worldwide initiative to prevent children from become victims of this silent crime.
She is the writer and producer of the award winning film; Trapped in the Trade that is used globally in business and educational programs across the country and believes this endeavor must start in our neighborhoods.
Atul G. Patel, CHO is a second generation hotelier. He and his family moved to the United States in 1979 and settled in Tifton, GA, where his family bought their first independent hotel. After learning the trade in the family business, Atul went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Emory University, and a Master’s Degree in Finance Georgia State. He now has an interest in seven properties, and he and his partners manage a portfolio of five.
Amanda is an entrepreneur, speaker and consultant who helps corporations develop strategies around attracting, retaining and engaging top millennial talent. She has spoken to Millennials over 800 times in the last 5 years. In fact, one group of college students dubbed her the “Millennial Translator” after speaking to them, so clearly she understands, and knows how to connect, with this generation.
Luis Fernandez, and his wife Yanin, own and operate two restaurants located in Historic Downtown Norcross, Georgia. In 2008, they opened their first restaurant, Mojitos Cuban American Bistro, offering authentic Cuban cuisine in a casual 50’s atmosphere. In 2014, they opened their second restaurant, The Crossing, in the more than a century old Norcross train depot. The casual, fine dining establishment offers steaks, chops, and a contemporary American menu. Both restaurants deliver amazing cuisine, great service, and quality live music.