Hoteliers are resilient


By Teague Hunter

The power of social media and technology is stronger than I could have ever imagined. I cannot remember a time when the thoughts and opinions of so many could be so widely spread as it can be now. Beyond the factions that may take exception to the positive advancements, we cannot deny the technologies at hand that have allowed us to remain connected these past 12 months. In April 2020, Zoom Video Communications, Inc., posted on their site blog that they had surpassed 300 million daily meeting participants, a staggering multiplicity from their reported 10 million in December 2019. The hotel industry is included in those millions.

The dozen flights I would jump on in a month dwindled to none and we all found ourselves involuntarily having traded our frequent flyer miles in for meeting IDs and passcodes. While myself and our team on the HUNTER Advisors side were grounded, and my brother, Lee, was having to quickly pivot and make some tough calls regarding the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference that was to happen in late March 2020. Together, we made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the conference with high hopes for a 2021 gathering. Layered into the burdens of canceling a major event, both the Advisors and Conference teams felt a need for us to provide a space to connect, commiserate, and share what is going on in the industry. What did the team propose? Bringing the day-to-day conversations with industry colleagues from behind the curtains.

The first Teague Talks was an informal dialogue with my good friend and colleague Mit Shah, CEO of Noble Investment Group and long-time AAHOA Member. From April 2020 to where we are standing now in the first quarter of 2021, we have recorded and shared almost 40 one-on-one Zoom conversations with leaders throughout the hotel industry. The positive feedback we received from the hospitality community reaffirmed to us to keep it going. What has been the most rewarding outcome of ague Talks so far has been the opportunity to hear firsthand the powerful stories of true leaders who care deeply about their organizations and people.

Every organization has its methods in recruiting the best and brightest to join its teams. For myself, I have had an opportunity to continue to build on the family business but also reimagine what is ahead for us at HUNTER. When it comes to the frontline of what we do, I believe you’ve either got it or you don’t. There is a certain amount of training and time to adapt for each position, but the intuitive connection that a person must make in the first few minutes to gain trust and confidence in carrying out business takes character.

I have always had a curious mind and affinity for others. Even at a young age, I knew that my emotional intelligence and ability to genuinely connect with someone was a gift. My brother, on the other hand, has a keen attention to detail and the capability to manage a national-level conference. The balance of our leadership styles has shown me the value of gaining perspective beyond my own. What does that look like? At HUNTER, teamwide discussions take place before important decisions. Group thinking is valued, and intentionality is a must.

This current generation of leaders has faced unforeseen hardships both personally and within their organizations. We are juggling our company, community, families, and most important assets – our people. The pressure of such responsibility is heavy. Though most of us have all gained some new muscles, the road ahead is what we are training for. For all that is to come, we need good people to run with us. We have a fiercely loyal group of people who love our industry, and we must do all that we can to protect it.

For HUNTER, we found our way to trek forward and will continue to discover opportunities to stay strong together. In the meantime, we are excited to welcome you to join us at the 32nd Hunter Hotel Investment Conference (again) this May 10-12, 2021, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Yep, in person.


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