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Lodging Leaders

Business & Economics Podcasts

Lodging Leaders is an award-winning weekly podcast that examines news and topics trending in the hotel industry, shared through engaging stories told by co-hosts Jon Albano and Judy Maxwell, and amplified by interviews with hospitality experts and other thought leaders.

Lodging Leaders is an award-winning weekly podcast that examines news and topics trending in the hotel industry, shared through engaging stories told by co-hosts Jon Albano and Judy Maxwell, and amplified by interviews with hospitality experts and other thought leaders.


United States


Lodging Leaders is an award-winning weekly podcast that examines news and topics trending in the hotel industry, shared through engaging stories told by co-hosts Jon Albano and Judy Maxwell, and amplified by interviews with hospitality experts and other thought leaders.




(404) 594-4484


317 | Together Again: U.S. hotel industry begins to see return of small meetings

Ginny Morrison of Evanston, Illinois, is a 33-year veteran of Spire Hospitality, a hotel management company with a portfolio that spans coast-to-coast. As vice president of sales and marketing, Morrison saw the coronavirus pandemic decimate the meetings business. More than a year later, she’s witnessing a comeback as small-meeting planners are actively booking events for the last half of 2021 and beyond. As public health agencies expand COVID-19 vaccination programs across the U.S. and...


316 | Pandemic Trailblazer: Hunter Hotel Investment Conference leads lodging industry’s 2021 event circuit

The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference will be the industry’s first large event to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta event will be a hybrid format of in-person and virtual access, also an industry first. Lee Hunter, chairman of the conference, knows the level of expectation is high among other conference planners as well as industry professionals eager to network after more than a yearlong hiatus. Episode 316 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Hunter as he tells what it...


315 | COVID Comp Sets: The pandemic has dramatically altered hotels’ playing fields

The coronavirus crisis has dramatically altered the traditional competitive set most hotels use to benchmark their business performance. During the pandemic, properties have reduced services; they’ve closed either permanently or temporarily; or they’ve transitioned to alternative uses by contracting out to essential travelers or social agencies in search of housing. Episode 315 explores the genesis of the hotel industry comp set and how the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the strategic...


314 | No Discounts Available: Smart rate management keeps hotels afloat amid COVID-19 storm

More than 1,760 hotels or 5 percent of U.S. room inventory have permanently or temporarily closed since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first gripped the country, reports Kalibri Labs. Though last year was the worst on record for hotel business performance, the reason behind the change in the metrics is different than in previous economic crises. The shuttering of hotels as well as government restrictions on travel are skewing national averages in key performance indicators,...


01 | First But Not Last

NextGen in Lodging launches its inaugural program with an episode featuring three self-starters carving unique paths in the hospitality industry. Their ventures encompass hotel investment, management and education. The entrepreneurs tell how they altered business strategy and professional goals amid the coronavirus crisis. NextGen in Lodging co-host Davonne Reaves leads the conversation with Purvi Panwala of Panwala Property Management Corp. and CRC Construction Corp; Andrea Aguilar of Typsy...


313 | Staging a Comeback: Hospitality leader Ron Vlasic helps industry build post-pandemic revival

Ron Vlasic has held several leadership roles over the course of his 30 years in the hospitality industry. While serving as COO at Hostmark Hospitality Group, the Chicago native has answered the call to help the U.S. travel and tourism industry recover from the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. For the next two years, he will serve on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In an interview with Long Live Lodging,...


312 | Spring Breaks for Homebodies: Staycations are a growing trend amid the coronavirus pandemic

Spring breaks will be shortened or reduced as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact travel and tourism. Many schools and colleges are skipping the annual rite to party. But that doesn’t mean hotels have to give up trying to attract guests this season. Staycations are increasing as people tired of being cooped up seek a respite close to home. In this report, Long Live Lodging explores the origin and evolution of the staycation and how hotels can capitalize on people’s desire to get...


311 | Shelters From the Norm: Hotels used for hospitals and housing face unexpected problems

A year ago, Darshan Patel, CEO of Hotel Investment Group in San Diego, California, was one of the first hoteliers in the U.S. to step up and offer properties to overwhelmed hospitals seeking places to care for COVID and non-COVID patients as well as vulnerable populations. As the crisis eases and Hotel Investment Group works to return the hotels to business, Patel is negotiating with local governments to pay for the wear and tear on the properties. Patel is not alone as many hoteliers are...


310 | Hotels Convert to Housing: Federal COVID-19-relief funds fuel transactions

Dhruv Patel, president of Ridgemont Hospitality, in October shared a bittersweet moment with his parents, Pravin and Sima Patel, when the family business sold the first motel that Pravin had built from the ground up more than 30 years ago. But they rest assured knowing it was the right decision because the 22-room property is being converted into affordable housing for military veterans at risk of homelessness. The transaction is among hundreds taking place across the U.S. as state and local...


309 | ‘Stay the Course’: Kathleen Bertrand recalls hospitality career focused on growth through diversity

Kathleen Bertrand believes Atlanta is a city where dreams can come true. A jazz recording artist, she served at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau for more than 30 years, finding new ways to promote to the world the best things about the city she calls a “melting pot” of races and cultures. In Episode 309 of Lodging Leaders podcast Bertrand gets vocal and tells her story of rising through the ranks as one of the few Black women in leadership in the tourism industry. This session is...


308 | From Guests’ Mouths to Managers’ Ears: J.D. Power study reveals what satisfies hotel customers in COVID-19 age

Crestline Hotels & Resorts, a third-party management company in Fairfax, Virginia, recently celebrated its first-place position in J.D. Power’s inaugural Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark. Long Live Lodging features Aaron Olson, senior vice president of operations at Crestline, and Andrea Stokes, who led the benchmark study at J.D. Power. They share best practices hotel managers are implementing to keep guest satisfaction at an all-time high, especially in the midst...


307 | ‘A National Story’: Black travel in America evolved with the Civil Rights Movement

Noelle Trent is director of interpretation, collections and education at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. The museum is in the historic Lorraine Motel, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The venue is hosting the Smithsonian Institution’s The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition, which tells the history of Black travel in mid-20th-century America. In this report, Long Live Lodging explores how African Americans travelers learned to...


306 | Calculated Risks: Catastrophic 2020 means higher insurance costs for hotels

Ben Seidel is founder, president and chief executive of Real Hospitality Group, a third-party manager with a portfolio of more than 100 hotels. Like most owners and managers, Seidel and his team view the coronavirus pandemic as the biggest risk facing hotel performance but acknowledge that other threats also loom large. The number and severity of climate-related catastrophes in the U.S. broke a record in 2020. As a result, Seidel has seen property insurance costs dramatically increase for...


305 | ‘Traveling on Hospitality’: Andrew Young remembers life on the road toward civil rights

Andrew J. Young Jr. became a civil rights activist 65 years ago, starting as a Baptist minister in Georgia. For more than a decade he traveled alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in pursuit of racial equality in America. Young, 88, has a storied career of public service. He served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a U.S. congressman and mayor of Atlanta. In this special report, Young shares his remembrances of hoteliers and private homeowners showing hospitality to civil...


304 | ‘This is Huge’: Choice Hotels makes history with Black-owned multi-unit deal

As a former analyst with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fred Washington knows commercial real estate development, if done with the community in mind, can change residents’ quality of life. Washington wants to do the same thing with the six hotels he’s building in Florida. A new hotel investor, Washington recently made history when he signed Choice Hotels International’s first minority-led multi-unit franchise development deal. This report kicks off Long Live Lodging’s...


303 | Hotel Tech Goes Viral: COVID pandemic forces industry to modernize operations

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing hoteliers to deploy new technology to run more cost-efficient businesses and to ensure customers that properties are safe by providing such services as contactless check in and mobile key. Long Live Lodging explores how the COVID-19 outbreak has invigorated hotels’ adoption of tech solutions and looks at what types of products owners and operators are investing in during the coronavirus crisis and for the post-pandemic era. This report is part of Long Live...


302 | Value Judgment: Hotel asset pricing in COVID-19 age is different from previous recessions

Hotel appraisers and brokers expect distressed assets to come to market as the pandemic recession continues into 2021. Analysts say billions of dollars in private equity are waiting in the wings to acquire hotels underperforming as a result of the coronavirus crisis. But pricing will be different than in previous economic downturns. While a transaction may be distressed, it will not necessarily reflect distress pricing,” said Daniel Lesser of LW Hospitality Advisors. Long Live Lodging...


301 | The Road Warrior Ahead: Business travel will come back ‘with a vengeance,’ say experts

Global business travel is a $1.4 trillion industry. The Global Business Travel Association calculates the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 resulted in a loss of $113 billion in business travel spend in hotels, airlines and other sectors of the travel industry. But all is not lost. GBTA, industry analysts and travel management companies see some green shoots of hope for 2021 as the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out and corporations put some of their people on the road again. This report is part of Long...


300 | 2020 Hindsight: Lodging Leaders reviews hot topics, gives sneak peek of what’s ahead

Long Live Lodging, an online multimedia news organization that covers the hospitality industry, found itself tossing aside its plans for news coverage late in the first quarter of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. and devastated the hospitality industry. The year turned out to be ground-breaking for Long Live Lodging, which developed the industry’s first live digital conference, and its podcast, Lodging Leaders, which increased its followers through timely, credible and...


299 | Conserve Cash, Save the Hotel: What asset managers are doing to survive the long COVID winter

The damage wrought on hotel businesses by the coronavirus pandemic is wide and deep. But the longevity of the pandemic is proving to be truly devastating, especially as the U.S. experiences another surge in the infection rate. In the early days of the crisis, owners, operators and asset managers acted quickly to prevent hotels from closing. Some advisers helped owners weigh the pros and cons of remaining open or temporarily closing. As the pandemic continues its assault, hotel operators are...