July 26, 2018
LBBA 2018 Annual Conference at Houmas House
Posted by: Mae Mayeux
Some are calling it “the best conference yet”! The 2018 Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Association’s Conference held at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens in Darrow, Louisiana, on July 18th and 19th was a memorable one for many reasons. The schedule was jam-packed with speakers from various aspects of the bed & breakfast and tourism industry. Several vendors attended with offerings to innkeepers, and with the support of sponsors, it was truly a great conference!
On July 17th, the evening before the conference, a fabulous dinner was enjoyed by many of our members and others at Carriage House Restaurant in Houmas House. The offered entrees were a thick, juicy melt-in-your mouth steak dinner or a tasty fish dinner – so good they were the subject of conversation on the next day!
The actual conference began on Wednesday, July 18th, with a welcome by the LBBA President, Carol Aucoin of LaBelle Riviere Bed and Breakfast, Kevin Kelly of Houmas House Plantation, and Kylie Gravois of the Ascension Parish Tourism Commission.
The first speaker was Ben Lloyd of Odysys on the “5 Best Practices for Booking Online”. The next speaker was E. Scot Fuller-Beatty of Think Reservations on “The Five Star Experience: Elevating Guest Communications”.
Attendees were delighted to welcome Lt. Governor William “Billy” Nungesser who informed us about the Louisiana Office of Tourism programs and opportunities being offered in the state!
After lunch, Bryan Fontenot of Brown & Brown Insurance spoke about “The State of Louisiana Insurance Update”. Following were Laurens Ball and Spencer Howell of Booking.com on “Online Presence: How to Maximize your Opportunities”. The final speaker was Charles Waltman of the Louisiana Travel Association with the latest information on "Louisiana Travel Trends”.
The evening was not over yet! Innkeepers, vendors and speakers met at Mike Anderson’s Restaurant in Gonzales for a delicious meal, visiting friends and networking.
This particular conference stretched into a second day of presentations. During a fabulous breakfast served in the Carriage House at Houmas House, E. Scot Fuller-Beatty of Think Reservations explained and demonstrated how to use the online booking software of Think Reservations.
Sponsors for the conference were Houmas House Plantation and Gardens (host site), Booking.com (Major Conference Sponsor), Think Reservations, Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, Odysys, Ascension Parish Tourism Commission (Lunch Sponsor), and Brown & Brown Insurance. Exhibiting at the conference were Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau and Louisiana Travel Association.
There’s no doubt that everyone learned new things about the bed and breakfast industry and tourism and went home with ideas on how to improve their guests’ experience. However, one of the best take-aways from all of our conferences is the networking experience. Innkeepers learning from innkeepers!
It was wonderful to see so many friends, meet new friends and welcome some of them into our organization. We look forward to next year’s conference and seeing all of our members.