HSMAI Sales Leader Forum

The HSMAI Sales Leader Forum Will Next Be Held in October 2021. Details and registration will be available shortly.

Please visit the HSMAI University page for the latest information on upcoming sales, marketing, and revenue optimization programs. 

New in 2019, the HSMAI Sales Leader Forum is a unique event that advances the hotel sales discipline by elevating the knowledge and skills of off-property sales leaders when it comes to important trends, critical insights, and best practices…and what it means for leading hotel sales teams in today’s landscape.

The Forum is organized by HSMAI’s Sales Advisory Board.

“The hotel industry is changing at a tremendous rate. That means that the needs of hotels are constantly changing, which in turn affects the skills required of sales leaders to manage those demands. HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum is the place for sales leaders to get critical insights on important issues.”
–Eric Kreins
Managing Director, Strategic Accounts
Hilton Worldwide Sales

Who should attend?

  • Off-property seasoned sellers who want to fuel, update, and/or reinvigorate their career in sales or sales leadership
  • Sales professionals from Brands, Management Companies, and Independent hotels and resorts who are leading teams and impacting front-line sellers – from corporate leaders who support on-property teams to regional DOS who oversee multiple properties
  • Examples of attendee titles include Group & BT:
    • national sales director
    • strategic account director
    • key account director
    • area director
    • regional director of sales

“The more informed your sales leaders are, the better results you will achieve. That’s why IHG is sending some of our top performers to HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum in November.”
–Jonathan Kaplan
VP, Global Sales Strategy

Detailed information on each session, including speaker information, is updated regularly.  Check back often for the latest details.


  • The agenda will include strategic conversations, tactical solutions sessions – all designed to build business acumen to elevate sales as a whole.
  • Cindy Novotny: An icon in the hospitality industry, Cindy is the original founder of Master Connections Associates and is an internationally renowned leader in sales, leadership, and customer service. Cindy will emcee the day, and deliver a compelling and powerful keynote.
  • Scott Edinger: Executive Advisor, Consultant, and Author of “The Hidden Leader: Discover and Develop Greatness Within Your Company,” will close the day with a thought-provoking and inspiring talk.

Topics on Tap

  • Using Data to Drive Decisions around Talent, Deployment, Resources, and More
  • Improving Interactions with Asset Managers
  • Leading a Sales Culture
  • The Role of Data Analytics in Hotel Sales
  • Coaching a Team for Strategic Selling
  • Retention Strategies for Sales Professionals that Work
  • Intermediaries: Should they be managed like a key account?
  • Social Selling
  • Making Your Sales Team High Tech
  • Selling Up and Around: Proving the Value of Sales
  • Building Business Acumen
  • Everybody Sells, Everybody is a Seller: Driving a Sales Culture Throughout the Organization

Events In Conjunction With the Forum

  • HSMAI’s Chief Sales Officer Executive Roundtable will be on Tuesday, November 5 from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (by invitation)
  • HSMAI’s Hotel Management Company Sales & Marketing Executive Roundtable will be on Tuesday, November 5 from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (by invitation)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

6:30 pm ♦ Sales Awards Dinner & Networking Reception

Celebrating and elevating the sales disciple, we’ll recognize HSMAI’s newest recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Sales and the Sales Professionals of the Year. Attendees will include guests of both the CSO and Hotel Management Company Sales and Marketing Executive Roundtables, and attendees from the Sales Leader Forum taking place on Wednesday, November 6.

Attire is “festive business casual.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

8:00 am ♦ Partner Showcase & Networking Breakfast

8:30 am ♦ Keynote: Sales Imperatives for Today’s World

Our business has changed…and it is EXCITING! It is vastly more complex, sophisticated, and nuanced – which provides more opportunities for sales leaders to learn and grow, and demonstrate their value.

Acclaimed hotel sales guru Cindy Novotny will prepare you to embrace the change and the opportunities it brings, and arm you to secure the value proposition for sales leadership in the future.

  • with Cindy Novotny, Radical Mentor, and internationally known leader in sales, leadership, and customer service

9:15 am ♦ A View from the Top: The Chief Sales Officer Panel

This panel of leading hotel chief sales officers will bring their diverse perspectives to bear on current events in the hotel sales landscape, what the future holds for selling hotels today and in the future, and other important issues affecting the industry today. It is a candid conversation with actionable insights that you’ll only hear at HSMAI – the industry’s only organization committed to fueling sales, inspiring marketing, and optimizing revenue for hotels and their partners.

  • Meenaz Diamond, SVP Global Sales, North & Central America, AccorHotels
  • Kevin Ruhman, Head of Hotel Sales, OYO Hotels (USA)
  • Daniel Surette, SVP of Sales and Marketing, Omni Hotels & Resorts
  • Moderated by Cindy Novotny

10:00 am ♦ Partner Showcase & Conversation Break

10:30 am ♦ Opportunities & Threats: Strategic Issues for the Short- & Long-Term

  1. The Convergence of Sales with Marketing, Revenue Optimization, Distribution, and Operations…with Holly Zoba, CHDM, Principal, Influencer Sales, and immediate past chair of HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board | 80% of the sales cycle is complete BEFORE the customer ever talks to a traditional salesperson. That significant shift in the buyer’s “Path to Purchase” means that our organizations need to evolve in order to keep up. By understanding how each discipline contributes to the buyer’s experience, sales, marketing, and RM can align goals and performance expectations to engage the right prospects earlier, build better relationships, and close more sales.
  2. Strategic Recruitment & Talent Management…with John Brich, Vice President, SearchWide Global | The issue of talent acquisition and retention continues to be a significant and never-ending concern in the hotel industry – from the corporate executive level through the property level. Talent, both quantity and quality, has been an issue for Sales for over two decades and while there are examples of success, it remains a foundational problem for the discipline with a “one step forward, at least a half step back” reality. What can sales leaders do about it?
  3. Data & Analytics for Sales Leaders…with Dr. Kelly McGuire, Principal, McRevenue, LLC | The analytics tsunami has engulfed Sales with no signs of stopping. It is especially impacting lead generation, business qualification, benchmarking, reporting, and performance analysis With the sophistication and adoption of analytics – from data mining, machine learning, and more – growing tremendously, sales leaders must evaluate their own analytical capabilities (organizational and individual), and map out how analytics can make the biggest impact for you and your team.

12:15 pm ♦ Lunch & Partner Showcase

1:00 – 2:50 pm ♦ COLLABORATE: Deep Dive Discussions on Strategic Issues

Industry experts and well-known keynoters offer lots of takeaways and insights, but HSMAI also believes that it is important to make time to allow attendees to learn from one another.

This portion of the program will spark attendee conversation, engagement, and peer-to-peer learning, taking advantage of the collective brain power at the Sales Leader Forum.

Deep dives will focus on the day’s three big issues that are teed up in the morning:

  1. The Convergence of Sales with Marketing, Revenue Optimization, Distribution, and Operations
  2. Strategic Recruitment & Talent Management
  3. Data & Analytics for Sales Leaders

It will be an open exchange of ideas, experiences, and insights that leverages the talent in the room, and leaves you with new connections and knowledge that you can use to immediately impact your business.

3:00 pm ♦ Headlines and Headwinds for 2020: Legal Issues for Sales Leaders’ Radars

Legal issues that sales professionals need to be aware of in the travel landscape change daily. Steven Rudner, Founder and Managing Partner of Rudner Law Offices, and one of the top legal minds in the hospitality industry, will share his list of the most pressing and controversial issues he sees from his point of view. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask him specific questions about the topics of interest to them.

  • with Steven Rudner, Founder and Managing Partner, Rudner Law Offices

3:40 pm ♦ Closing Keynote: Would Customers Pay for Your Sales Calls?

Sales experience, based on a lot of research, constitutes about 25 percent of business decisions. The sales experience is incumbent on the individual seller to create value in the sales process that customers are willing to pay for. It’s not enough anymore to simply be a talking brochure.

Our old vision of selling is to be articulate and charismatic about the features and benefits, but people don’t care anymore, because they can get all of that information from the internet. Scott will identify five strategies for creating value, because it’s not about what you sell, it’s about how you sell it.

4:30 pm ♦ Go Forth & Conquer!

Registration includes the Sales Awards Dinner on Tuesday, November 5, the main education program on Wednesday, November 6 including breakfast, lunch, and breaks, and a complimentary subscription to Selling Power magazine.

Early-Registration (through October 2, 2019)

  • Hotel/Associate* Member = $895 (the 2nd registration from the same company saves $300)
  • Hotel/Associate Non-member = $995 (the 2nd registration from the same company saves $300)
  • Partner/Supplier** Member = $1095
  • Partner/Supplier Non-Member = $1195

Regular Registration (after October 2, 2019)

  • Hotel/Associate* Member = $995 (the 2nd registration from the same company saves $300)
  • Hotel/Associate Non-member = $1095 (the 2nd registration from the same company saves $300)
  • Partner/Supplier** Member = $1195
  • Partner/supplier Non-Member = $1295

* Individuals who are directly employed by hotel brands, management companies, ownership groups, independent hotels and resorts, DMO’s, restaurants and attractions.

** Individuals from direct supplier organizations who market to hotel/associate professionals.

The official room block at the Westin Stonebriar is now closed. Rooms are still available directly at the hotel, and at a number of other hotels that are very close by including:

  • Sheraton Stonebriar
  • Courtyard by Marriott Dallas Plano/The Colony
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Dallas Plano/The Colony
  • Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel

Become a Partner

Learn about Partnership Opportunities:

HSMAI Sales Leader Forum Prospectus 2019

Contact Elise Rhinehart @ erhinehart@hsmai.org

Tickets for the Sales Awards Dinner on Tuesday evening, November 5, are available for $125 per person.