Les brings 30+ years of experience as a Fortune 200 IT executive, an entrepreneur, and a creator of several of the travel and entertainment industries’ most game-changing technologies. He’s been lauded by top executives at many of the world’s most respected technology companies including HP, Microsoft, Google, Dell, and Cisco as the best CIO they have ever seen and he’s earned the distinction of a top 50 CIO by CIO Magazine.
After earning his MBA in Internet, Information Technology Strategy from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Les joined Holiday Inn Worldwide as their Director of Emerging Technologies where he planned, developed and implemented the hotel industry’s first web-based, Internet travel reservation system for the company in 1994. Les then joined Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 1996 as their Chief Technology Officer where he built the industry’s first Internet-based system for the travel industry. In 1999, Les Co-Founded AgentWare where he designed and developed the first and most comprehensive Meta-Search Engine for the travel industry, and he then licensed it to Kayak.
Over the next 10 years, Les founded and grew two more tech companies – INTENT MediaWorks, a file-sharing content Management & Distribution platform in the entertainment industry, and PLAT4M, where he built highly scalable SaaS applications for the Web 2.0, Media and Travel Industries.
Most recently, in 2013, Les returned to the corporate world as Global CIO & Chief Innovation Officer for the Las Vegas Sands.
The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference will be the industry’s first large event to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta event will be a hybrid format of in-person and virtual access, also an industry first. Lee Hunter, chairman of the conference, knows the level of expectation is high among other conference planners as well as industry professionals eager to network after more than a yearlong hiatus. Episode 316 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Hunter as he tells what it takes to re-launch the industry’s conference circuit amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The coronavirus crisis has dramatically altered the traditional competitive set most hotels use to benchmark their business performance. During the pandemic, properties have reduced services; they’ve closed either permanently or temporarily; or they’ve transitioned to alternative uses by contracting out to essential travelers or social agencies in search of housing. Episode 315 explores the genesis of the hotel industry comp set and how the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the strategic business tool. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.