September 28, 2021

HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum to Provide Smart Restart

(McLean, VA, Sept. 28) HSMAI is looking forward to gathering in-person with sales professionals for the Sales Leader Forum in Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 26. This exciting HSMAI Commercial Strategy event advances the hotel sales discipline by elevating the knowledge and skills of off-property sales leaders by sharing important trends, critical insights, and best practices, and what it means for leading hotel sales teams in today’s landscape.

The Sales Leader Forum is designed for off-property seasoned sellers who want to fuel, update, and/or reinvigorate their career in sales or sales leadership, as well as 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 directors of sales who oversee multiple properties.

“As the hospitality industry continues to go through a period of rapid change, the skills required of sales leaders are evolving as well,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “For all these reasons and more, HSMAI is excited to champion the Sales Leader Forum and provide the education, networking, and resources that today’s hospitality sales leaders need to succeed in this environment.”

HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum will focus on how to have a Smart Restart and feature some of the most influential leaders in the sales industry. Dr. Lalia Rach, Executive Managing Director, Associated Luxury Hotels International, will give a keynote address on
The World Around Us: The Outlook for Sales” and Cindy Novotny, CHSE, managing partner at Master Connection Associates will give a keynote address on “Leading Sales into a Post-Pandemic World.”

The agenda will include strategic conversations and tactical solutions sessions that are designed to build business acumen to elevate the sales discipline as a whole. Key topics will include:

  • A View from the Top: Chief Sales Officer Panel with Asad Ahmed, SVP, commercial services Americas, Hyatt Hotels, Kaaren Hamilton, CMP, vice president, global sales, Sonesta and RLH, and Staci Olney, Vice President National Sales, Red Roof
  • Demonstrating the Value of Sales with Amy Infante, CEO and visionary, GitGo
  • Recruiting and Retaining Sales Team Talent with John Birch, vice president, SearchWide Global
  • Doing More with Less with Kemp Gallineau, CEO, Groups360 and Raghav Puranmalka, Manager, ZS
  • Deep Dive on Strategic Issues, an open exchange of ideas and experiences
  • Leverage Strengths, Not Skills to Drive Results from Your Team with Katie Davin, associate professor, Jonson &Wales University Providence, Allison Handy, SVP sales, marketing, and revenue optimization, Prism Hotels & Resorts, and Eric Kreins, assistant managing director, sales, Hilton Worldwide Sales

In addition to the educational sessions, HSMAI will recognize the newest recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Sales, Michael Dominguez, president and CEO at Associated Luxury Hotels International (AHLI) and Sales Professionals of the Year Cory Hagopian, vice president, entertainment and executive at Accor and Kim Lowe, complex director of sales at the Woodland Resort and Hotels (part of CoralTree Hospitality) at a sales award dinner following the Sales Leader Forum.

The Sales Leader Forum is supported by silver partners IDeaS Revenue Solutions, and Ivvy, and bronze partner Knowland.

HSMAI will also be hosting two roundtables on Oct. 27, the Chief Sales Officer Executive Roundtable and the Hotel Management Company Sales & Marketing Executive Roundtable (both by invitation only).

Based on the latest guidance from the CDC for indoor gatherings, HSMAI will require masks to be worn throughout all indoor events in Charlotte regardless of attendees’ vaccination status. While we would all much rather operate with no limitations or protocols, our industry must lead by example and demonstrate how to safely bring large groups together.

More information is available on the Sales Leader Forum website. For media inquiries and additional questions, contact Kaitlin Dunn, For partnership inquiries contact Elise Rheinhart,