2019 Annual Conference and Gala - Thank you for #JoiningtheCaravan!
November 25-26, 2019

conf 19 4November 25th and 26th OHLA held its 2019 Annual Conference & Gala at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Sandusky, Ohio. OHLA invited hoteliers, Allied Members, industry partners, speakers, students, and educators to #jointhecaravan to the Northwest Ohio property and enjoy a 24-Hour Experience which included education, receptions, & our coveted Ohio Stars of the Industry Gala. There was truly something for everyone with over 30 industry experts, 20 educational opportunities, 50+ vendors, and topics ranging from Tea Service to marijuana legalization. Over 375 industry professionals got to “Experience the Magic” of the best OHLA speaker lineup yet with the Founder of Eleventh Candle Company, Amber Runyon, “Ex-Disney Guy” John Formica, and the comedic & nerdy stylings of Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend.

One of OHLA’s initiatives has always been to aid the fight against Human Trafficking so it was onlyConf 19 1 fitting that we have Anti-Human Trafficking Champion, Amber Runyon of Eleventh Candle Company speak to attendees about her personal experiences as a hospice nurse turned social entrepreneur. Amber shared how she turned her desire to help bring hope to women into a business whose purpose is to redeem, restore, empower and equip those vulnerable to human trafficking.

Our Keynote & closing session speaker John Formica, The "Ex-Disney Guy," shared with us what it would be like if “Disney Ran Your Business” and how to “Dream, Dare, Believe & Do” through the eyes of Walt Disney himself. A truly dynamic speaker he made his way up and down the aisles of tables, gave out prizes, and kept the audience engaged throughout both of his highly reviewed presentations. He left the audience with the tools to create a Disney-like experience of customer service in their own property. Just like Walt he really did “plus everything by 1”!

Conf 19 6Keeping the energy flowing into day two Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend took the stage at our Luncheon sponsored by Spectrum and gave us a look into “A Day in the Life of a Nerdy Hotel & Lodging Professional”. Attendees learned how a professional nerd solves a security crisis before 10 a.m., to make more of a lunch hour with an extra set of virtual hands, to save money on software before the staff meeting, and to bring the team together online before the day is done. Beth kept the atmosphere light and humorous while giving the audience ideas about how they can use technology to make their day easier.

The pinnacle of every year's event is our Annual Ohio Stars of the Industry Awards Gala in which we honor those who really do help “Chart the Course” into the future of lodging and go the extra mile to help their properties, colleagues, & guests. This year was no different with a total of 19 awards given to well-deserving individuals. Nominations from peer, industry professionals and partners ensure that the high level of service and quality from our industry and its people are noticed.

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Congratulations to our 2019 Ohio Stars of the Industry Award Winners!

Ohio Textile Service Ohio Housekeeper of the Year 
 Sonya Spikes, DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown Lakeside

SEL Ohio Textile Service Ohio Housekeeper of the Year 
 Regina Westerbeck, Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati - Mason

PeopleReady Ohio Server of the Year 
 Vickie Baber, Hyatt Regency Columbus

SEL PeopleReady Ohio Attendant/Host of the Year 
 Sandra Gallegos, Hilton Garden Inn Columbus Polaris

Ohio Front Desk Associate of the Year 
 Kwasi Afreh, Hotel LeVeque, Autograph Collection

SEL Ohio Front Desk Associate of the Year 
 Kelly Thompson, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cincinnati - Blue Ash

BMS CAT Ohio Supervisor/Manager of the Year 
 Tina Howell, Marriott at the University of Dayton

SEL Ohio “Jack of All Trades”
 Charday Orr, Courtyard by Marriott Springfield Downtown

Ohio Engineer of the Year
★ David Argento, Hyatt Regency Columbus

SEL Ohio Engineer of the Year
★ Reginald Cavor, Holiday Inn Express Cleveland Downtown

Anonymous Insights Ohio Service Superstar of the Year
 Carl Dowdell, DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown Lakeside

OHLA Volunteer of the Year
 Steve Van Sickle, Sauder Heritage Inn & Campground

Allied Member of the Year 
 Towne Park

HSMAI Signature Worldwide Sales Leader of the Year 
 Brad Russell, Canopy by Hilton Columbus Downtown Short North

Plunkett’s Pest Control Unique Lodging of Ohio Property of the Year, Under 20 Rooms
 Chateau Lake Logan

Plunkett’s Pest Control Unique Lodging of Ohio Property of the Year, Over 20 Rooms
 Mills Park Hotel

SEL TravelHost Ohio General Manager of the Year
 Judy Miller, Red Roof Plus Columbus Dublin

TravelHost Ohio General Manager of the Year
 Lisa Garner, Marriott & Residence Inn Columbus University Area

CareWorks Ohio Managed Care Hospitality Leadership Team of the Year 
 Courtyard by Marriott Youngstown Canfield


Monday, November 23, 2020

12:00 PM  Registration Opens
1:30PM Exhibitor Load-In
3:00 PM Take off with Tech
  • The Musts & Benefits of Having a Digital Marketing Plan to Succeed in Lodging
  • How do You Hire? Make the Shift
  • Are You Hackable?
4:00 PM
  • New Member Program - All are Welcome
  • “Ready to Launch” – The ULO Website Reveal
  • Owner / Mgmt Company Program - Invite Only
  • WIL: The Path to Professional Empowerment - All are Welcome
  • Exhibitor Experience
6:00 PM Cocktail Hour in Exhibitor Experience
7:00 PM Ohio Stars of the Industry Gala Dinner 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

7:30 AM Registration Opens
8:15 AM
  • Exhibitor Experience & Silent Auction Open
  • Annual Meeting/ Opening Session
9:15 AM Exhibitor Experience Break & Attendee Brunch
9:45 AM Student Session Roundtable
9:50 AM
  • A "Hire" Perspective: A Panel Discussion
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: What is it & why does it matter?
  • Service to a "Tea" - ULO Recommended Session
 10:40 AM Exhibitor Experience Break
11:05 AM
  • Resources: Modern Thinking & Instruction For Your Staff       
  • Negotiating Value - HSMAI Sales Recommended          
  • This Session is "Dope"! - ULO Recommended
12:00 PM       Exhibitor Experience Break
12:20 PM Luncheon - "A Day in the Life of a Nerdy Hotel & Lodging Professional"
12:30 PM Silent Auction Closes
1:15 PM
  • Customer Experience & Innovation: A Beta Test
  • Prospecting & Making Your Pipeline - HSMAI Sales Recommended
  • Work with what you got! Generating additional revenue in the space you have - ULO Recommended
2:10 PM General Session: Dream, Dare, Believe, & Do!
3:00 PM Auction Payout at Registration


2020 Annual Conference & Gala Sessions




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Exhibitors at the 2020 OHLA Annual Conference & Gala


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