Exterior view of The Fairmont

In the Old Testament, Jonas learns a life-lesson in the belly of “a big fish.” Fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to grow professionally, as well as hear first-hand about the goings-on behind the political scene, by attending the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) Fall Conference, November 9-11, 2016. If you’re wondering about the biblical reference, we’re drawing a comparison between the whale and the locale of the conference. Coincidentally, Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016, and the meeting commences the following day in Washington, DC. (Yes,…DC is the fish in this scenario.)

Douglas Quinby
Douglas Quinby

Speakers are always top notch at these affairs. For example, Douglas Quinby, VP of travel research firm Phocuswright, will share industry information that you will want to immediately go home and use. He has led several seminal studies on social media and traveler reviews, travel agencies, the vacation rental markets in the U.S. and Europe, the local tours and activities market, global distribution systems and more. Douglas is a recognized expert on online travel and travel distribution and is frequently cited in leading media outlets including Bloomberg, CNN, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Andrew Busch
Andrew Busch

Andrew Busch, an expert political economist who was an outside economic advisor to the Bush (43) White House and to the McCain Campaign, will focus on future growth. He has met and advised US Treasury Secretaries including Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner. He continues to meet and advise the top staffs in Congress. While appearing on CNBC, Busch held the role of global currency and public policy Strategist for Bank of Montreal, one of Canada’s leading investment banks. He’s been an author (World Event Trading), a financial journalist (Stocks, Futures, and Options magazine) and a newspaper market analyst (Globe and Mail). As a financial expert, he testified on Capitol Hill on the effectiveness of the 2009 Obama Administration fiscal stimulus plan. (We can’t wait to hear what he says about that.)

Stuart Rothenberg
Stuart Rothenberg

Another speaker, Stuart Rothenberg, is the Founding Editor and Publisher of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, a non-partisan political newsletter covering U.S. House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, and presidential politics. He is also a national columnist for The Washington Post’s Power Post and was a regular columnist for Roll Call newspaper for 24 years. A frequent soundbite, Mr. Rothenberg has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation, The NewsHour, Nightline and many other television programs. He is often quoted in the nation’s major media, and his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers.

Anyone seeking to become better connected and to avail themselves of deeper access to the leaders in the timeshare/vacation ownership industry can easily join into ARDA’s inner workings. Simply find the Committee Meetings page on ARDA.org and plan on attending any of the open meetings. I particularly recommend the 10:00 – 11:30 am State Legislative Committee on Wednesday and the Federal Issues Committee at 1:30 – 3:00 pm later that day to find out if there are any particular challenges facing us from the legislative and regulatory front.

Each evening, you’ll join your peers for a reception in The Fairmont’s famous Colonnade Room. On Tuesday evening, the Trustees (the highest level ARDA membership available) will have their annual Foundation dinner in The Carnegie Institution for Science. At the turn of the 20th Century, Andrew Carnegie founded 22 organizations around the world that still, today, bear his name and carry on work in fields as diverse as art, education, international affairs, world peace, and scientific research. By some estimates, the value of his endowment in current terms was $500 million this particular center. The venue still houses staff dedicated to furthering the philanthropist’s mission. The Institution maintains six research departments located across the country responsible for countless contributions to various scientific fields.

What an exciting time to join your fellow industry professionals in the Nation’s Capital at a very pivotal time in our nation’s history. Added to the opportunity to get an unequalled, first-hand look into the murky backroom and often ugly underbelly of the political process, Fall Conference attendees have the best networking opportunities of any event in the industry. If your objective is to connect with the top echelon and leaders, this should get onto your calendar. (Having a great time to remember is ‘student body optional.’)