Harry Javer Celebrates 25 Years of The Lodging Conference

The Lodging Conference is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new venue and a whole lot to look back on over the last quarter of a century. The conference, which founder and producer Harry Javer calls “an upscale event where hotel owners, brand leaders, investors and senior-level industry executives come to gather information, discuss strategy, do deals, and relax,” has attracted tens of thousands of attendees to the Arizona desert each year.

For the past 20-plus years, hotel owners, executives, and hospitality professionals have come to the conference to do just that. It’s a laid-back, luxurious conference where people go to network, hear perspectives and ideas from standout names in the industry firsthand, and make business connections.

What Makes The Lodging Conference Stand Out

But it’s not just the high-powered names that make The Lodging Conference one of the top conferences in the industry. What makes the conference so unique is the atmosphere. Javer wanted it to be a casual environment where professionals could come to network and get insights into the industry, but also have fun, kick back, and relax with their peers.

In addition to the insightful speakers and training sessions, there is no shortage of social events and networking opportunities at the conference. The agenda is full of fun events to enjoy, like the morning yoga classes or hikes, and opportunities for some friendly competition with a golf or basketball tournament. In the evening, you can sit back and watch fireworks or some live music, where you might even get to play a song with the band. Plus, the food is hard to beat – Javer likes to warn guests that they can probably expect to gain a few pounds while they’re at the conference. While there are plenty of gourmet meals made by the on-site culinary team, the conference also has food flown in from top restaurants around the country, such as Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous Ribs (out of Memphis, TN), Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, Maurice’s BBQ (out of South Carolina), and more.

And what’s more – Javer also tells attendees to pack for “resort casual” attire, no suits and ties allowed.

How Harry Javer Got His Start

Javer discovered an interest for event production while he was a college student at Stony Brook University in New York. While he was a student there, he worked alongside other students to produce music events for some of the greatest musicians there are, such as James Taylor, U2, Joan Jett, and dozens more. After college, he went on to work as the National Program Director at The Learning Annex alongside Bill Zanker. The Learning Annex is the largest event production company in the country, producing over 6,000 seminars, workshops, expos, classes, and more every year. During his time there, he produced events for some of the biggest speakers and entrepreneurs in the world, including Sir Richard Branson, Magic Johnson (pictured with Javer below), Donald Trump, Joe Montana, and more.

Javer with Magic Johnson, who he worked with during his time as National Program Director at The Learning Annex.

Javer with Magic Johnson, who he worked with during his time as National Program Director at The Learning Annex.

His experience in event production ultimately inspired him to start his own event, and he found his home in the hospitality industry when he started The Lodging Conference in 1994. The same year, he also founded the New York Speakers Bureau, also called The Conference Bureau, which produces dozens of conferences and events every year.

What Can We Look for Next at The Lodging Conference?

Part of The Lodging Conference’s 25th anniversary celebration includes a move to a new location. For the last quarter of a century, the conference has taken place each year at the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, in Phoenix, Arizona. This year, the event will be held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, also in Phoenix. “We loved being at the Biltmore all these years, but we needed a slightly larger venue with more sleeping rooms, meeting space, restaurants and exhibit space,” Javer shares about the move. Though it is a little bittersweet to be leaving the venue The Lodging Conference has called home all these years, Javer, his family (wife Elizabeth Wolff and son Jack Javer), and the rest of the team are excited for the transition and what it means for their event.