I've said it before and I'll say it again: HITEC is the key one-stop shop for hoteliers eager to absorb, inspect, discuss and, perhaps, buy the latest in technology. That's technology as in hotels, of course. It's the gadgets and software that help you run your property better by making guest services more transparent, streamlining your operations and growing your profits. It's the software that runs those gadgets, too.

The 34th annual Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center June 19- 22. The exhibition — the real reason some 5,000 hoteliers, vendors, corporate managers, IT professionals and buyers come — opens June 20.

This edition of the Handbook spotlights a feature on a high-tech Westin and an overview of the latest business-center technology by LH Editor Ed Watkins. It also serves up perspective pieces by Jon Inge and John Burns, long-time LH contributors and hotel technology specialists joining the HFTP Hall of Fame this year. Gregg Hodges of iBahn covers the cost-savings waterfront, delivering timely tips on keeping costs down while ramping up your technology. Finally, Randy Moore discourses on the many factors involved in buying high-definition televisions.

One exhibit I'm particularly eager to experience is Guestroom 2010, a new venture for Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals, HITEC's sponsor. Frank Wolfe, HFTP's executive vice president and CEO, doesn't want to give much away about this globally solicited collaborative display.

But he does say, “there will be some unusual items in the room but nothing that is so far out there as to be fantasy.”

At the same time, Wolfe says “there is one item that is so unusual that it took days and numbers of conference calls to get it the correct import classification as it did not fit ‘traditional’ molds of a product of this nature.” One can only imagine. One thing to look for — and at: a new kind of art in a new kind of display.

Intrigued? I look forward to meeting you at Guestroom 2010 — and to walking the HITEC floor.

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