The highlight of the conference was the election of the new Executive team for the next term of office, i.e. the President and the two Vice-Presidents, as well as the Boards of Arbiters and Auditors. Johanna Fragano, Hotel Quirinale, Rome (National Delegate for Italy & Malta) was elected President of the Association, whereas Peter Bierwirth, Golden Tulip Hotel Frankfurt Airport, Ruesselsheim (National Delegate for Germany) is the First Vice-President, and Manuel Otero, Hotel Inglaterra, Seville (National Delegate Spain), is the Vice-President.
Each year the Association's General Meeting is given a different theme. In 2007 in Munich it was "Brain & Soul in hospitality", which in fact represents the marks of success in the deluxe hotel industry: professional knowledge combined with experience in being the perfect host to your guests. Exceptional and well known representatives coming from the economic sector, as well as from that of science, politics and hotel trade underlined the social importance of this memorable event, which registered a record attendance.
This year's leadership education included presentations by Sir Rocco Forte (keynote speaker) who talked about his visions and goals not only in relation to his own company, but also looking at the future of the hotel industry in general; of Prof. Tom Cullen of Cornell, with an inspiring speech on the general theme of the meeting, i.e. both the Brain and the Soul in the industry; of Nick van Marken of Deloitte who spoke on developments and trends in the industry (benchmark study 2006); Kathryn Pretzel-Shiels of American Express with a study on changing trends in the perception of luxury in the 21st century; of Ramsey Mankarious who informed the audience on what today's shareholders expect from a General Manager of deluxe properties; of Thomas O'Dwyer on preventive security, crisis management and analysis in the industry; as well as a panel discussion on controlling and benchmarking with financing executives of important hotel chains, and finally Prof. Tom Kline of Cornell on "Learning that works".
During the Gala Dinner that closed the 2007 General Meeting, the "European Hotel Manager of the Year Award 2006" was conferred to Jean-Louis Leimbacher, General Manager of the historic Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France for his high profile and outstanding professional career.