Friday, December 10, 2010

A night out with the Dallas Stars!

Since there is no educational program in December this year, we're doubling up on the activities we are offering! In addition to the December 8, 2010 Social at Kenichi, we're gonna hit a hockey game too!

Join HSMAI DFW and the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 to watch our boys take on the Montreal Canadiens at 7:30pm.

Register at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Practice that holds rates steady among hotels, travel sites coming under fire

Congrats to our HSMAI DFW president, Kimberly Hutcherson, for making quotes for this article in the Dallas Morning News!

09:38 AM CST on Tuesday, November 16, 2010
By KAREN ROBINSON-JACOBS / The Dallas Morning News

If you were looking to book a room last weekend at the Grand Hyatt D-FW, you would have found a rate of $169 a night on Southlake-based

The exact same rate appeared on And on Dallas-based

It's no coincidence.

For years, major hotels and the online travel websites so crucial to putting heads in beds have performed a dance known in industry circles as "rate parity."

That means the hotel agrees not to let any website charge less for a room than any other website, including the brand's own site.

Sites are free to charge more, but in a down economy there's been little appetite for that.

The effect, with a few exceptions, is that the online price for a room in a given hotel on a given day is the same no matter which major website you check – an approach that runs counter to the way most bargain shoppers use the Internet.

Now the owner of a tiny discount travel website in the U.K. has persuaded the country's Office of Fair Trading to look into rate parity. The move by the U.K.'s chief antitrust enforcer is expected to bring scrutiny to major hotels and websites, including many based in the United States.

Experts in the U.S said they know of no such inquiry here, and federal regulators aren't talking.

Many in the hotel industry say rate parity is needed to keep online sites from undercutting hotels' own prices. But the British discounter calls the program noncompetitive. He and others argue that consumers would be better off if parity perished.

"I don't know that there's been enough public questioning of this practice," said Ashwin Kamlani, founder of Hotel Internet Help Inc., which helps independent hotels get more sales via cyberspace.

"It's such a commonly accepted practice. I don't know why it hasn't reached a point where it's become a government issue."

$28 billion business

Booking hotels online is a roughly $28 billion business, said Carroll Rheem, director of research for PhoCusWright, a Connecticut-based travel research firm.

About 60 percent of online bookings are done directly with hotels, with the balance falling to online travel agents.

Rate parity, launched as a defensive move by hoteliers as online travel sites began gaining clout, dates back nearly 10 years, according to Hotel, a trade website.

Now, most major online travel sites have contract language that guarantees them rates as low as any online competitor. And they use website-scouring robots to make sure everyone toes the line.

The uniform requirement does not apply to special deals for rooms paid for in advance or for membership discounts with AAA or AARP. And it doesn't apply to so-called opaque sites, such as Hotwire, where the consumer agrees to pay a rate before knowing the name of the hotel. Some in the travel industry say the practice helps consumers by reducing time spent cybershopping.

"This is a standard industry practice," said Nancy St. Pierre, a spokeswoman for Sabre Holdings , which operates

It's done in part "so that the customer can have the confidence that they will get the best rate, that they don't have to go on 18 different sites," she said.

Kimberly Hutcherson, director of sales at the Hampton Inn Dallas-Irving-Las Colinas Hotel, calls herself a "believer in rate parity."

"If you're selling a product that's worth it, you need to stick to that price," she said. "It leaves the brand with the control of the rate."

Complaints to site

Championing the opposite view is Dorian Harris, director of, based in Brighton in the U.K. He likens the practice to price fixing.

Harris said that in the last year, he has received up to 10 irate phone calls or e-mails a day from hotels complaining about his online discounts.

He said he ultimately pulled the hotels off his site, dropping the number of properties available for booking from 65,000 to about 40,000.

Critics note that Skoosh has been subject to consumer complaints. Harris said the complaints, many related to reservation problems, are "very few in proportion to our business."

Beyond that, he said, "this isn't Skoosh's case. No one is particularly interested in Skoosh as a company per se, least of all the Office of Fair Trading."

To Harris, the issue is how parity undermines his ability to undercut competitors.

"When I go shopping online, I don't expect to see the same price everywhere," Harris said. "That's the reason I shop online."

St. Pierre was aware of the British probe but said her company had not been contacted.

A spokesman for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission declined to comment. The antitrust division of the Justice Department did not respond.

St. Pierre disputed the notion that the practice amounts to price fixing and stressed that hotels are not required to participate in rate parity.

"That's purely a business decision on their part," she said.

Lower on list

For hotels that do not agree, "you will be ... lower in the search [results] list than hotels that do want to offer" parity, she said. Like Google, online travel agents use search engine technology to control where a property pops up on the search results list.

And back-end placement, Kamlani said, can be the kiss of death, since consumers usually choose from the top of the list.

"The hotels enforce rate parity because they fear the consequences of not maintaining rate parity," he said. "They fear having their hotel dropped to page 6 or even pulled off their largest producing [online travel agents] sites, which translates into a potentially significant loss of revenue."

Kamlani doesn't think rate parity is going away, at least in the U.S. But he also doesn't think the "burden" of enforcing it "should fall on the shoulders of the hotels."

Imagine if every computer maker that also sold directly to consumers had to make certain that Wal-Mart did not undercut Target.

Others argue that hotels should enforce the policy because they benefit and they set the rates.

Even with most hotels and most major websites backing rate parity, there are still deals to be found, said Chicke Fitzgerald, chief executive at Solutionz Holdings, a travel consulting firm specializing in the use of technology.

"They intend for there to be rate parity," she said of hotels, but there are still "a plethora of [discounted] rates for a given property that blows that argument pretty much away. It's not as neat and clean as that. It's so hard for the hotels to control."

From a profit standpoint, Fitzgerald said rate parity has helped the hotel industry avoid deep online discounting that has been so damaging to the airline industry.

"If I need $80 or more [per room] just to break even and I let Expedia sell at $75, I may never be able to sell" at $80, she said. "I would have to shut my doors. And that's not good for the consumer either."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Annual CVB Panel Discussion

October 21st marks the time for our annual CVB panel, a long-standing HSMAI-DFW tradition. Representatives from area convention and visitors bureaus will join us to highlight all of the exciting happenings in their respective cities. We will be informed and updated on current and future projects in development, industry events hosted by the area, new hotels and centers, including redevelopment projects and the latest news on the Super Bowl.

This year’s CVB panel will be hosted at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel and sponsored by PSAV. The Rosewood Crescent is ideally located in the heart of Uptown Dallas offering chic, contemporary styling, a serene spa and dining options ranging from Nobu to Starbucks, Rosewood Crescent Hotel offers discreet, professional service with Texas charm.

Our panel will consist of:
Jay Burress, CTA, President & CEO, Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Casandra Matej, CTA, Senior Vice President of Sales & Services, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau
John Cychol, FCDME, CTA, Vice President of Meeting Sales, Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau
Bruce Dalton, Director of Sales, Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau
Mark D. Thompson, CTA, Vice President of Marketing, Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau
Moderated by Steven G. Foster, CMP, CTA, Managing Partner, Circle R Ranch

Valet Parking is on us this month!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 Chinese Auction-Year of the Tiger

2010 HSMAI Chinese Auction Promotional Video with BJ Cleveland from HSMAI DFW on Vimeo.

Join us on August 20, 2010, for the 9th Annual HSMAI DFW Chinese Auction being held where Lonestar Legend meets Four Diamond Hospitality - The Adolphus Hotel.

HSMAI DFW invites you to join us for an evening of fun, food and excitement where you’ll have the opportunity to win fantastic auction items for a “drop in the bucket.” This year’s event will benefit HSMAI DFW, HSMAI UNT Chapter Student Scholarships and Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship. Space is limited and only a select few will be able to attend this coveted event so please respond below if you are interested in attending or becoming a sponsor and ensure your seat at the Auction!

The Year of the Tiger meets Imperial European Charm. We'll kick off our evening with passed Hors d'oeuvres in the Century Ballroom and guests can end it with special sleeping room rates of $99.00 and join us for the "unofficial" afterparty at the Walt Garrison Rodeo Bar and Grill after we close the auction down!

Special Valet rates of $12.00 event and $20.00 overnight parking are being offered. Book your sleeping rooms now by calling the hotel and asking for the HSMAI Chinese Auction Room Block.

If you would like to make a donation, have questions about sponsoring or would like to know more about this year’s event, contact VP of Fundraising Kristie Vento at or 214.886.6953 or our VP of Special Events Marsha Staroverova at or 469.831.8863.

See you all there!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What's really going on with social media anyway? How can I use it professionally?

Social media is all the rage these days and if it’s got you completely baffled, you’re not alone. Fortunately, with the help of the Hotel Association of North Texas, we’ve assembled an all-star panel of social media experts for one of the most comprehensive (and affordable) opportunities to find out everything you wanted to know about social media.

Join us for our first ever HSMAI-HANTX Luncheon at the Westin Galleria on May 20th sponsored by PSAV and Inman Promotional Team, where over 200 North Texas hospitality industry professionals will be networking, dining and learning all about social media. Our panelists include:

• Moderator: Gordon Liametz, Revenue Performance in Orlando
• Panelist: Regina Caffey: Wave Integrated Marketing Solutions
• Panelist: John Hagan: Sarles Law (to give a legal perspective)
• Panelist: Eve Mayer Orsburn: Social Media Delivered
• Panelist: Tina Winslow: The Satori Group, Social Media Expert

Optional Social Media Workshop Immediately after the Luncheon:

Gordon Liametz will be offering a 1.5 hour workshop immediately after the luncheon for those who are interested in getting more in-depth instruction on social media. The workshop is available by registration only and costs $75 for members and $85 for guests (luncheon included).

The Westin Galleria

The Westin Galleria Dallas is the gateway to all points north, south, east and west in the Metroplex and features 35,000 square feet of meeting space. Located within the impressive Galleria shopping center with over 200 shops, restaurants, and attractions all just an elevator ride away.

When Thursday, May 20, 2010 11:30 AM -3:30 PM

Where The Westin Galleria
13340 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75240

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Want to be a certified tour ambassador? Take a CTA class at UNT Saturday, April 24th at 9am. Email Ms. Blair Garner, HSMAI president for the UNT Collegiate Chapter, at for more details.


Monday, March 29, 2010


Check out our March luncheon pictures @ III Forks!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Want to network with the best?

Did you know that HSMAI is comprised of nearly 7,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide? Join the DFW chapter today and be able to network with sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry!

HSMAI-DFW from HSMAI DFW on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Join us for our 1st Annual Industrywide Hospitality Golf Tournament

Join us for our 1st Annual Industrywide Hospitality Golf Tournament at Cowboys Golf Club on Friday, April 9, 2010.

It's guaranteed not to be dry, maybe a little stirred, and definitely with a twist this year, as we shake it up with DFWATC and TxACOM for an afternoon of fun in true to hospitality form.

11:00am Registration
12:00pm Lunch
1:30pm Shotgun Start
3:30pm-5:30pm Golf Clinic-Learn from a Cowboys Pro
5:30pm Dinner Reception and Silent Auction

$155/player or $595/4some - before Feb 15
$165/player or $630/4some - after Feb 15 through March 31
$175/player or $660/4some - the week of event
Lunch only - $25 per person
Dinner only - $35 per person
Lunch & Dinner only - $50 per person

Golf includes:
o round of golf with GPS golf cart
o all on-course food and non-alcoholic beverages
o lunch and dinner reception
o passed hors d' oeuvre reception and unlimited practice range access
o Green Fee, Cart Fee & Unlimited Range Balls,
o Pre-Staged Golf Carts & Registration Tables
o Curb-side Bag Drop Service
o Fully Equipped Golf Carts with Cooler, Towels and Tees
o Personalized Scorecards, Cart Signs & Rules Sheets
o Leader board Scoring
o Mango Towel Service on the course

Cowboys Golf Club
1600 Fairway Drive
Grapevine, TX 76051


TOURNAMENT FIRST: GOLF CLINIC! Cowboys has offered Hospitali-Tee a Golf Clinic-$125.00 per person (from seasoned golfers to beginners - everyone is welcome)-includes an hour and a half of instruction plus after-golf reception and all non-alcoholic beverages during clinic

For all questions or suggestions, please contact tournament co-chairs:
Kristie Vento, inChorus Marketing: 214.886.6953 or
Marsha Staroverova, Executive Coach: 214.492.1300 or

Where Cowboys Golf Club
1600 Fairway Drive, Grapevine, TX 76051

Saturday, February 27, 2010

March Monthly Meeting

Be sure to check out our upcoming March 2010 program which will be at III Forks restaurant on March 18, 2010 starting at 11:30am (registration) and luncheon and program to begin at 12:00pm. Our March program will focus on Event Planners and will feature a panel of experts and moderated by the one and only, Ms. Colleen Rickenbacher. Please visit our website at for additional information or to register. Its going to be another stellar program...we hope you can join us!Rickenbacher. Please visit our website for additional information or to register. It’s going to be another stellar program! See you there!Rickenbacher. Please visit our website at for additional information or to register. Its going to be another stellar program...we hope you can join us! Rickenbacher. Please visit our website at for additional information or to register. Its going to be another stellar program...we hope you can join us!