More than 80 guests headed to Denver this past weekend to attend Interior Design’s annual Hospitality Giants of Design conference, a three-day event that hosts the principals and executives from the top hospitality firms in design. Guests arrived late Sunday afternoon at the Halcyon Hotel and prepared for two event-packed days ahead, with an agenda that included exciting speakers, tours of local landmarks, and dinners at leading Denver restaurants. Guests gathered for a welcome reception that included a question-and-answer session with Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen and AvroKO Design Director Andrew Lieberman, who designed the Halcyon Hotel, followed by dinner at the hotel’s CC.Kitchen.245 restaurant.
The conference kicked off early Monday morning with a presentation of new Hospitality Giants research by Interior Design’s Publisher Carol Cisco, and presentations by guest speakers: Lauren Rogers, founder and CEO of tourism marketing agency Recreational Embassy, and BC Biermann and Chris Nunes, co-founders of cutting-edge augmented reality studio Heavy. Rogers, who has 15 years of experience in marketing strategies for luxury hotels, gave a presentation on how hotels can find opportunities and create buzz via the new cannabis consumer. Biermann and Nunes spoke about using art and artificial intelligence in hospitality.
Greg Chase, Chief Thought Provoker & Founder of boutique consulting group Experience Strategy Associates, then joined Allen for a Q&A on future hotel trends and enhancing the guest experience through technology. The morning wrapped up with Toronto-based Chef Sang Kim, an award-winning chef and author (his “Sushi Making for the Soul” is a popular workshop), speaking about happiness in the workplace.
After the morning session wrapped up, participants hopped aboard buses to enjoy lunch at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, followed by early afternoon tours of the landmark open-air music venue, including its backstage area and dressing rooms that have been used by many famous musicians over the years. Next, everyone had the option to tour Union Station or head to a pair of breweries: Blue Moon and Great Divide. The jam-packed day concluded with a dinner at Quality Italian.
Attendees awoke to a surprise snowstorm on the third day, which added an extra layer of excitement to an already lively and engaging conference. The morning began with Helene Oberman, Interior Design’s managing director, conducting a Q&A with Julia Otis, director of Interior Design Operations at Sonder, a design-focused, hotel-alternative hospitality company. The two addressed how the evolution of technology is affecting the way we look at hospitality design. The presentations concluded with SANDOW’s own Amanda Schneider, president of ThinkLab, offering research insights during ThinkLab in Session, an interactive workshop.
A very special thanks to our sponsors for making Hospitality Giants possible: