LONG BEACH, CA: With a theme like "Honoring
Generations, Uniting Families, Celebrating
Cultures", the LPS annual convention
held at the Long Beach Convention Center
on March 1-2 was deemed a smashing success.
On March 1, over 150 youths, 18 years
and over were treated to a three-hour
cruise with Indian food and entertainment.
Due to limited capacity on the cruise,
an overwhelming number of youths were
not able to join their friends. LPS officers
have taken note of this and will hire
a bigger boat in the future. Others enjoyed
a welcome reception with dinner and entertainment
on March 1 at the above venue. Unfortunately,
there were no activities planned for young
adults between the ages 15-18.Sunday March
2 was an important day for Leuvas from
Surat, Navsari and Valsad districts of
south Gujarat, as they gathered in business
attire to witness the lamp lighting ceremony
and opening of the general session.
Harshad Patel, Chairman and Hasubhai Patel,
Co-Chair of the convention welcomed all
and thanked all the silver sponsors, namely,
Aahoa, Accor, Guest Supply, Haven Trust
and State Bank of Texas. They were also
very happy to see over a thousand people
attend this two-day convention and said
that LPS is heading in the right direction.
Hiten Bhutta, CEO, CGS Infotech, who has
thousands of clients in 40 countries,
gave a powerful presentation of Technology
Plus - Role of Technology in Hotel success.
He spoke in Gujarati and first explained
what LPS means to him: "Love, Power
& Service. Most management theories
about hospitality will say that Customer
is King and, therefore, treat the guest
like king," said Bhutta. He discussed
techniques and tools to create and implement
winning technology strategy.
However, very few hoteliers understand
the enormous impact of Internet and emerging
technology on their success. In his lecture,
Bhutta discussed three major technologies
that will impact the hotel industry. They
are: SEO, PPC & Email Marketing; Social
Media Optimization; Second Life and Hotels
in virtual world.He showed a PowerPoint
presentation of the importance of the
internet to the hotel industry citing
that over 86 percent of all travel and
vacation research is now done online and
over 50 percent of all travel reservations
are done online and there are three main
opportunities that online sales present:Incremental
revenues, reduced cost of sale, enhanced
brand loyalty and client relationships.
He emphasized that reviews written on
properties should be taken very seriously.
These Travel-Generated Content (TGC) refers
to all travel-related and blog entries
posted on the Internet for fellow travelers
to read. Reviews are permanent and negative
reviews should be taken very seriously.
Experts agree that the content is not
only being read, but it also has become
a trusted resource that travelers rely
on during their purchasing process.
TGC is more trusted than professional
travel reviews and these reviews create
a brand, not a franchisor. Also, all hotels
should create their own review section
on their hotel website.Niraj Baxi introduced
the next speaker - Babu Suthar - eminent
educationalist - Univ. of Pennsylvania.
Suthar spoke in Gujarati about what forms
a language. "It is spoken, understood,
written - languages of the world are dying
and Gujarati needs to survive" said
Suthar. With a PH.D in Gujarati, he has
published a literary magazine in America.
Hindu philosopher, spiritual leader, motivational
lecturer, author of motivational books,
Munelal Maharaj of Trinidad was called
upon the stage to enlighten the audience.
He is a familiar face to many as he has
addressed at other LPS gatherings. Munelal's
advice to all was to be humble, simple
and to be a person that god wants you
to become. Meditation is important in
one's life and explained what spirituality
is and how to differentiate spirituality
and religion. Going to temple does not
make one a spiritual person.
He said that smiling is a way of expressing
spirituality. "Start your day with
positive feelings and don't compare yourself
with others. You're unique and dynamic.
To be spiritual is to be humble. Help
others progress and make time for yourself.
Harmonize with your family and remember,
meditation prevents medication,"
said Munelal.AAHOA board member Dharmesh
Patel of Atlanta introduced AAHOA Chairman
Dilip "Danny" Sardar. Sardar
elaborated on this year's theme. He said
LPS is our forefather's gift and how this
generation should unite and make it stronger.
"We should protect, promote and preserve
our assets and our culture" said
Sardar. He also pointed out that networking
is important and for all to get involved
with LPS.Last speaker of this session
was Sitanshu Yashachandra, winner of the
Padmashree, highest Indian civilian honor.
He echoed the same thoughts as other speakers
and urged all to preserve the Gujarati
language and culture.Following a scrumptious
lunch prepared by Jay Bharat, the adult
Leuvas dispersed to attend the breakout
sessions which included topics like:Yoga
and improving Life - presented by Munelal
Maharaj Ayurveda - The road to perfect
health - by Kanuja Champaneri, Legal and
tax service tips - by The Chugh Firm;
Preserving, Protecting, Promoting family
wealth - by Mayur Dalal of Legacy Group;
Young Leuvas had sessions catering to
their needs such as: University Admission.
SAT, Essays, University Prep Preparing
for College, Young adults Mixer for ages
18-28 onlyMany decided to check out the
tradeshow, which had over sixty vendors
showcasing hotel goods to jewelry and
Children were treated to a clown show
and a magic show.Evening's program, emceed
by Kalpana Patel and Hasubhai Patel, started
with cultural dances performed by young
Leuvas. Also, the new LPS board of directors
and the new executive committee was announced.
For a list of this, log on to leuvapatidarsamaj.com.Outgoing
President Bhagubhai Patel, gave his final
address by first inviting all the volunteers
on stage. He lauded major LPS milestones
accomplished in his tenure.
These includes, establishing a Call Center
and an Educational Foundation in public
charity, holding successful golf tournaments
in Atlanta, GA and Baha, Mexico, a Volleyball
tournament in Houston, TX, having two
regional conferences in India and over
seventeen in the US, adding 300 plus lifetime
members and 800 plus annual members, reopening
the LPS office in Nashville, TN, which
had been shut down for the past four years
by appointing Ravindra Dave as the National
LPS Manager and making the Leuva community
magazine (Leuva Connection) the best magazine
ever for this community generating maximum
revenue in his tenure of 18 months.For
incoming President Dahyabhai (DV) Patel,
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