• Tuesday, May 11th

  • General Sessions – Welcome & Introduction
    Speaker: Justin Winslow, MRLA President & CEO
    A welcome from MRLA President & CEO, Justin Winslow, to outline the day for you and reflect on where Michigan hospitality has been and, more importantly, where we are going. 

  • General Sessions – Keynote: Forecast of the Second Half of 2021 and into 2022
    Speaker: Dave Lorenz, MEDC

    COVID-19 has harmed us in countless ways. It forced us to make adjustments to the way we live, work and play. As we see indications that a sense of normalcy is on the horizon, there is hope, but…it is apparent that doing things as we’ve done in the past will not be enough to get the travel industry and our entire economy, back on track.

    Travel Michigan’s Dave Lorenz will talk about the need to get used to the word “pivot” and how collaboration between government and the private sector will be the key to our future.  

    Wellness in the Workplace
    Kimberlee Vandervoorn, UnitedHealthcare
    Now more than ever, it is important to increase awareness of mental health in your workplace. Recognize the stigmas surrounding mental health and provide wellness strategies for your employees. Join United Healthcare experts for this workshop and discover new ways to support your team and create an environment for your staff to thrive.

    Tackle Sports Blocks to Score Revenue
    Sports statewide are back! How can you utilize sports as a rebounding sector of tourism to secure sports blocks and drive revenue at your hotel? Our speaker will share insight on how to appeal to these varying groups and secure more bookings.

    Driving Revenue with Social Zones
    Speaker: Tim Kelly, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Dave Dittenber, DRI Enterprises, and Kelly Allen, Adkison, Need, Allen & Rentrop PLLC
    Restaurant operators and Downtown Development experts discuss the advantages of creating social zones, how to get one if your city doesn’t have one while legal experts offer tips on how to navigate and jump through regulatory hoops during the application process.

    A Dynamic Duo: Utilizing Hybrid Events
    Speaker: Motown Digital + Amway Grand Plaza
    The term “hybrid event” has been floating around for some time now as hotels, conference and event centers work towards reintegration in Michigan and is widely understood to be the path back to event-based revenue. But what is a hybrid event, really? Amway Grand Plaza and Motown Digital will break down what you need to know and how to prepare for hosting hybrid events.

  • General Sessions – Summer Food Cost: Price Projections Insight
    Speaker: Matt Gould, ever.ag Risk Management
    Food and gas prices are on the rise. Join one of the top food commodity brokers in the country during this session to learn firsthand what’s on the horizon before you set your prices for the upcoming season.

     Telling Your Story to Build Consumer Confidence
    Speaker: Marx Layne & Co.
    Social media, news stories, communication plans, flyers, and advertising are all important parts of business operations. But how can you realistically implement these strategies to bring customers back in? Join public relations experts from MRLA Value Service partner, Marx Layne & Co., to evaluate how you can tell your business’ story to the public and generate consumer confidence post-pandemic.

    Combating Human Trafficking
    Speaker:Speaker: ECPAT International
    Grow your understanding of what makes your business vulnerable to human trafficking and how to identify the critical intervention points so that preventative measures can be put in place. ECPAT International is a recognized trainer in preventing human trafficking and a partner of the American Hotel & Lodging Association No Room for Trafficking Campaign.

  • General Sessions – Summer Food Cost: Price Projections Insight – Keynote: MRLA Legal Center Live: What Your Lawyer Wishes You Knew
    Speaker: Fahey, Schultz, Burzych, & Rhodes and Honigman Law Firms
    Join the MRLA Legal Center Law Firms for consultation on what they wish you knew before you had to call them. Get your questions answered live! Topics include: Paycheck Protection Program, vaccination policies, human resources, contracts in the post-COVID world, Employee Retention Tax Credit, calling staff members back to work, and more.

  • General Sessions – Summer Food Cost: Price Projections Insight- Collaborative Roundtable: Building Back Your Team
    Facilitated by Steve Loftis, Harbor Restaurant Group
    Come to the table with your industry peers to collaborate on how to build your teams back up. In the wake of the last year, Michigan’s hospitality industry has lost around 200,000 workers, leaving our industry scrambling to find a workforce for reopening. This session will be a time to discuss best practices on hiring, retaining employees, incentive programs, diversity and inclusion, growing your own leadership, and what she-cession means for our industry.

  • General Sessions – Summer Food Cost: Price Projections Insight- Creating Order out of Chaos: What’s Next + How the MRLA is Here for You
    Speaker: Justin Winslow, MRLA President & CEO
    The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association has been working around the clock since the onset of the pandemic to provide up-to-date resources and breaking news information while advocating for relief and answers at the Capitol. In this session, MRLA President & CEO Justin Winslow will share what’s coming next from legislative priorities, upcoming training and events, Women in Hospitality Leadership, and everything in between.