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From Before the First Click: The BNP Hospitality & Tourism Industry Leaders Forum

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February 28, 2024

ILF - Hospitality & Tourism

Operators, marketers and decisions makers came together on February 22nd at the Hospitality & Tourism Industry Leaders Forum for a conversation on Travel Tech: Emerging trends for today’s hospitality experience.

The importance of Western New York’s hospitality and tourism sectors cannot be overstated, with travelers spending $3.4 billion in our region in 2022, according to Oxford Economics. Even on the heels of a global pandemic, traveler spending increased by 20%, year over year. No one takes this multi-billion-dollar economic impact for granted and our hospitality and tourism sector leaders are using technology to create meaningful relationships with potential visitors, as soon as possible.

An impressive group of expert thought leaders provided insights on how digital innovations are shaping the guest experience well before they even book their trip or make reservations.

ILF - Hospitality & Tourism2

Brian Higgins, the new President & CEO of Shea’s Performing Arts Center, gave his perspectives on the future of the tourism industry and the importance of protecting cultural assets.

John Percy, President & CEO of Destination Niagara Falls USA, discussed how data aggregation can lead digital marketing campaigns, from the first ad-click through the complete travel itinerary.

Patrick Kaler, President & CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, discussed how a full and updated digital platform can help the region, and individual businesses/attractions, build awareness and drive more revenue.

Gary Siddall, President & CEO of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences and Tifft Nature Preserve, discussed the balance between digital marketing and the creation of unique cultural and natural experiences for visitors and locals.

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The application of tech will be the primary theme of all ILFs in 2024. Tech constantly evolves, affecting every industry and business. The hospitality and tourism industry is no exception. Buffalo’s regional tech hub designation, the health of our start-up ecosystem, how we market ourselves to a global audience, AI and e-commerce are the topics of the moment. Industry changing tech is not coming, it is here, and the application of innovation will drive the decision-making process for all leaders.

In 2024, the ILF will continue to be a place for leaders to come together to problem solve around common industry challenges and strategize around the local, national and international trends and external factors that impact everyone.

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The BNP is proud to welcome in Bank of America, and Merrill, a Bank of America Company, as the Title Sponsor for the 2024 ILF. Chris Mueller, Merril Lynch Wealth Management Market Executive, kicked off the February 22nd meeting.

The Hospitality & Tourism ILF is also fortunate to have Visit Buffalo Niagara and Destination Niagara Falls USA as strategic partners, helping us drive our conversations in the most useful direction for these industries.

Learn more about the BNP Industry Leaders Forum  here.

Title Sponsor


Presenting Sponsors

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Supporting Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors ILF

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