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Travel And Hospitality Industry’s Global Challenges – Finding Solutions Together

2020 started strong. Despite macro-economic tensions, both recreational and business travel was experiencing steady growth around the world, fueled by low prices, more accessible information about destinations, and increasing disposable income in the developing world. But by March, the COVID-19 pandemic had changed everything and the travel and hospitality activity came to a grinding halt.

While the process of re-opening after a long shutdown has begun, progress has been slow and with government subsidies running out, the industry is even more challenged, with no clear short-term relief in sight.  The COVID-19 crisis will continue to profoundly impact how hospitality and travel-related businesses operate in Florida, the United States, Europe and across the globe.

The EACC Florida invites you to sit down to its Table-Topics to discuss some of the key issues affecting this industry and share ideas about how the industry is addressing its many current challenges. During this EACC Florida event, participants will have the opportunity to join any two of eight Table-Topics, interactive moderated conversations among small groups of industry colleagues from around the world.

Join the discussion and start networking!



10.00 AM – 10.10 AM EDT I 3.00 PM – 3.10 PM CET                        Welcome and explanation of the format

10.10 AM – 10.40 AM EDT I 3.10 PM – 3.40 PM CET                        Table-Topics Session 1

10.40 AM – 10.45 AM EDT I 3.40 PM – 3.45 PM CET                       Transfer to Session 2

10.45 AM – 11.15 AM EDT I 3.45 PM – 4.15 PM CET                         Table-Topics Session 2

11.15 AM – 11.25 AM EDT I 4.15 PM – 4.25 PM CET                          Conclusions


What are table-topics?

Table-topics are interactive conversations about general themes of interest to the travel and hospitality industry facilitated by a moderator. Conversations take place in groups of up to 10 like-minded professionals led by an expert in the field.

The “table-topic” format allows you to introduce yourself and exchange views with the other participants. At the conclusion of the event, participants will be offered the opportunity to have EACC connect you with anyone who attended your session.

There will be 4 concurrent 30-minute table-topic discussions in each time slot and participants will be able to participate in 2 table-topics during the program.

How do I register?

Have a look at the table-topic descriptions and select your 1st and 2nd choice for each session during the Registration process. You will only be able to participate in 1 table-topic per session. Table-topics will be filled on a first-come first-served basis.

What happens on the day of the event?

On the day of the event, after the introductory remarks, you will automatically be placed in the room of your 1st or 2nd choice table topic. At the conclusion of the first session, after a short break in the main room, you will automatically be placed in the room of your second table-topic (1st or 2nd choice).




Session 1 – 10.10 AM – 10.40 AM I 3.00 PM – 3.10 PM CET             

TT-1 –       A Deep Dive into the Future of Travel

Despite macro-economic tensions, travel had been growing across the world. Global international (overnight) tourist arrivals rose by 6% to 1.4bn in 2018. The World Trade Organization forecast in 2010 that arrivals would reach 1.8bn by 2030, but growth rates had exceeded that trend rate. Increased travel in the developed world is driven by a number of socioeconomic factors, notably cheaper travel, more accessible knowledge on where to go, social media, improved safety and demographic changes that favor traveling more. In the emerging world, travel growth is being driven by increases in incomes as more consumers move up into the middle class and are able to spend more on travel.

But COVID-19 changed everything. Join me for a Deep Dive into the Future of Travel where we will discuss where we go from here.

Topic leader:     HSBC (tba)


TT-2 –     Present and Future Local Market Activity

As the economy is trying to recover in a Market where tourism represents the main revenue stream, where is Miami right now, and where and how can the Travel and Hospitality industries move in order not only to sustain but to increase their affluence considering the new safety precautions necessary to their re-opening? Please join us at this table where we will share best practices on the current market activity and where it is going as well as how the national and international market affects it.

Topic Leader:  Lizbeth Alvarez, Global Director – TMF Group


TT-3 –     Working with lenders, suppliers and unions to survive until a return to some form of normalcy

The last 6 months have seen your industries face unprecedented disruptions not only for your businesses but for your necessary constituencies. How can companies navigate through all this to achieve mutual gains for all. The table talk will look at those and related issues as we consider the dynamics and examples of union, lender and vendor relationships.

Topic leader:     Jon Sulds, Shareholder – Greenberg Traurig


TT-4 –     Safety protocols and return to work for transportation providers and/or hospitality industry

Discuss some of the key issues to have in mind in relation to safety protocols and return to work for transportation providers and the hospitality industry. Issues to consider include:

  • Return to Work protocol/best practices
  • Reopening staffing issues/challenges
  • Shifting business models
  • Lending, finance, insurance
  • Non-stimulus related internal “Policy” issues
  • Contract cancellations (to be added)

Topic leader:    Jennifer M. Taylor, Member – Cozen O’Connor

Session 2 – 10.45 AM – 11.15 AM EDT I 3.45 PM – 4.15 PM CET

TT-5 –     Alternative Revenues Sources for the hospitality industry         

What works and what doesn’t? Exchange views on some of the options used successfully (or not) to create alternative sources of revenues for the hospitality industry.

  • Expanded take-out and room service options?
  • Creating outdoor spaces for dining and events weather permitting?
  • Shift to long-term stay contracts requiring fewer transient guests?
  • Use of large assets like cruise ships in warm storage to house corporate meetings in a manner that can enforce with social distancing?

Topic leader:   (tba)


TT-6 –    Alternative Revenues Sources for transportation providers

What works and what doesn’t? Exchange views on some of the options used successfully (or not) to create alternative sources of revenues for transportation providers.

  • Shifting assets to support burgeoning e-commerce deliveries?
  • Repurposing passenger-carrying assets for cargo use?
  • Contracts with government or social service agencies to provide relocation of large groups of personnel, troops, refugees?
  • Converting excess assets to a higher-value premium experience with greater passenger distancing and more luxury amenities?

Topic leader: (tba)


TT-7 –    Innovation in Hospitality

Innovation in the hospitality industry, especially in these uncertain times, is paramount for survival.  Technology and hygiene, and in some cases a mixture of both, have come to the forefront of guest comfortability and safety.  Please join us to discuss viewpoints and ideas on this exciting topic.

Topic leader:  Charlie Grappone, Team Leader – Sales – CitizenM Hotels


TT-8 –    Innovation for Transportation Providers

Innovative use of technology to reduce human contact in transportation transactions and services

Topic leader:  (tba)



Lizbeth Alvarez is the Global Client Director for TMF Group leading the strategy for a global base of Multinational Corporations located around the world.  She holds and Executive MBA from FIU in Miami. Born in Mexico City, she moved to the US 17 years ago. Considered a bicultural-bilingual executive, sales, senior account manager with more than 20 years of experience impacting corporate performance for organizations across multiple verticals. She led the Latin America and Canadian team of Client Directors for SAP Concur for 6 years, focusing on the strategy and the travel and expense impact for the largest accounts in 25 countries. She specializes in travel, hospitality, software and telecommunication industries.

With 15+ years hospitality experience, Charlie Grappone has worked in a variety of operational and sales roles within some of the most well-known global hotel chains, ranging from IHG, Marriott, Starwood, Hilton and Millennium Hotels. Starting in hospitality as a bellboy for a small Hampton Inn in 2005, Charlie progressed to working as a Night Manager, Sales Coordinator, Sales Manager, Director of Sales, and Area Director of Sales, leading up to joining CitizenM as the only global salesperson located in the USA at that point, in 2017.  Recently being named Team Leader – Sales, Charlie and his team are responsible for the corporate sales success of all CitizenM hotels worldwide.

Jonathan L. Sulds is a Shareholder at the Greenberg Traurig Office in New York. He has been representing leading employers since 1974 in virtually every aspect of their engagement, protection, management and reward of workforce resources. He is a member of the Hall of Fame of American Labor and Employment lawyers established by Lawdragon and Human Resource Executive magazine. They also have named him both one of the Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Lawyers and as one of the Nation’s Top 20 Lawyers in Traditional Labor and Employment Law.

Jennifer Taylor is a Member at the Cozen O’Connor Law firm in Miami. For over 20 years, her focus has been on representing management in all facets of labor and employment law including labor and employment litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor. She has considerable experience advising clients on all aspects of employment law compliance, including employee leave issues and accommodations, wage and hour audits, internal investigations, hiring and termination decisions, workplace policies and employee privacy issues. Jennifer is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section. Since 2008, Jennifer has served as a regional co-chair for the section’s national student trial advocacy competition. She is also a member of the section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee and currently serves as the management co-chair of the committee’s ethics subcommittee. Furthermore, Jennifer is a frequent author and lecturer.