HT-NEXT 2021 Presents: Real-Time CEO Perspectives

This must see panel discussion will feature the CEOs of Apple Hospitality, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and Choice Hotels International.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
Michal Christine  Escobar  profile picture

HT-NEXT is thrilled to present a must-attend closing session, as CEOs from across the hotel industry take the stage. Led by AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers, attendees will get a fresh perspective from CEO hotel leaders on today's most current topics including each brand's six month outlook, the labor shortage, what each brand's new traveler looks like and how they're converting them into loyal guests, the return of business travel, as well as thoughts on what will be the next big technological innovation in hospitality. 

Mark it on your calendars for Dec. 16 from 9AM - 10AM local time at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Register now to reserve your seat in the room!



a man wearing a suit and tie

Justin Knight, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc.

Apple Hospitality REIT is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns one of the largest portfolios of upscale, rooms-focused hotels in the United States. Justin has led the various Apple REIT Companies for almost twenty years. Within the industry, he currently serves on the Marriott Owners Advisory Council, as President of the Residence Inn Association Board, and as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and a member of its Executive Committee. He is also very active in supporting the community, serving as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Marriott School at Brigham Young University (BYU) and the Board of Trustees for Venture Richmond. Justin holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Marriott School at BYU and a Bachelor of Arts degree, Cum Laude, from BYU.

Larry Cuculic

Larry Cuculic, President & CEO, Best Western® Hotels & Resorts

Larry Cuculic was appointed to the position by the company’s Board of Directors in October 2021 and assumed office in December. Cuculic leads the parent company, BWH Hotel Group®, which is comprised of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, SureStay Hotel Group®, and WorldHotels™ Collection. He oversees the company’s global portfolio of 18 dynamic brands, which boasts approximately 4,700 hotels across all chain scale segments. He continues to drive the organization’s impressive financial success – with a RevPAR Index reaching a new record level in 2020 of 113.9 – and achieving industry-leading guest loyalty and hotel satisfaction.

Cuculic’s vision is to lead through collaboration with the company’s Board of Directors, hoteliers, executive leadership, and associates. He recognizes the greatest strength of this global powerhouse brand is its organizational structure, which is founded on empowering the voice of its members. Through this thoughtful, deliberate, collaborative approach, Cuculic is focused on driving the development and execution of BWH Hotel Group’s vision, mission, strategic initiatives, policies, and programs.

Cuculic is an active member of hospitality associations and currently sits on the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AHLA) Executive Committee and serves as a Director on the Board of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association. Under Cuculic’s leadership, BWH Hotel Group will continue to be actively involved in supporting and participating in global industry associations and events. He has made a commitment to build on the company’s strong relationships with partners such as AHLA, the U.S. Travel Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, and the Global Business Travel Association, among others.

Since 2009 Cuculic has served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for the company. In this role Cuculic was responsible for all legal and governance matters, including serving as counsel for the Board of Directors. Cuculic was also responsible for leading the company’s Human Resources team and the brand’s Call Center.

Before joining BWH Hotel Group, Cuculic was Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for Lafayette, Ind.-based Wabash National Corporation (NYSE: WNC). Previously, Cuculic served as Vice President Legal and Corporate Secretary for American Commercial Lines, Inc. in Jeffersonville, Ind., and was a partner in the law firm Gambs, Mucker & Bauman. Before retiring from the U.S. Army and being awarded the Legion of Merit, Cuculic served as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps officer in various legal positions, including appointment as a military judge. His military awards also include three Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Parachutist Badge.

Cuculic received his B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School. He also earned an LL.M. degree from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School in Charlottesville, Va., and graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. Cuculic is licensed to practice law in the Supreme Court of the United States of America and the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana.


a man wearing a suit and tie sitting in a chair

Patrick Pacious, President and Chief Executive Officer, Choice Hotels International, Inc.

Throughout his 15-plus years of leadership in increasingly senior roles at Choice, Pacious has revitalized legacy brands, launched new brands, and acquired a brand that is the fastest growing in its segment, as well as led enterprise-wide technology transformation initiatives. He has improved business delivery to hotel owners and advanced a corporate culture focused on diversity, equity and belonging as well as performance for Choice associates. In 2020, he successfully navigated the company through the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and delivered results that outperformed the industry. Throughout the pandemic, he also led advocacy efforts with Congress and the Administration to drive assistance for small business owners and the company’s franchisees, helping to ensure that their needs would be addressed in the economic relief bills enacted during the crisis. Before becoming CEO in 2017, Pacious was the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Pacious served as a U.S. Navy officer after earning his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and went on to earn a master’s in business administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. In 2020, Pacious was named one of the "Top 50 Best CEOs of Large Companies" by Comparably for a second-straight year, as determined by employee ratings, ranking No. 7 overall. In 2019, he received the inaugural Veterans in Business Award from the Washington Business Journal for his work to help veterans in the workplace and beyond. Pacious is currently a member of the board of directors of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Chip Rogers wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera

Chip Rogers, President and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)

In his role as President & CEO, Chip has led the AHLA team and the lodging industry to achieve tangible results for AHLA members. Subsequently, he has received numerous awards and has been recognized as one of the 25 most influential by Business Travel News, one of the most influential people in Washington D.C. by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Most Influential Leaders in Hospitality, USA, and Global by Hospitality Index, a Freedom Award recipient from ECPAT-USA and twice as a top lobbyist by the Hill newspaper.

Prior to joining the hospitality industry, Chip served in the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to office six times and was unanimously elected twice to serve as Senate majority leader.

Chip earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and his MBA from Georgia State.


Hospitality Technology (HT) and Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) are collaborating for the fifth year in a row to host HT-NEXT 2021, a unique conference for the hospitality technology industry. HT-NEXT 2021 will take place Dec. 13-16 at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Az.

HT-NEXT ( brings together hotel technology solution providers with leaders and influencers from leading hotel companies spanning IT, finance, marketing, distribution and operations. The event typically attracts nearly 500 hospitality professionals. After the event, 87% of attendees say they meet a valuable new contact at the show, and 97% of attendees say they brought back a specific idea to implement at their organization.

HT-NEXT features emerging trends and the ability to dig in to work together to solve current industry problems. The program will feature thought-provoking keynotes, diverse educational sessions, HTNG workgroups and a technology exhibit hall for attendees to discover cutting-edge solutions. The Hotel Visionary Awards and the HTNG TechOvation Award are also presented live during the event.