Why HITEC Matters

When asked to comment on HITEC, I generally attempt to do so not from a consultant's, vendor's or speaker's perspective but from that of a hotelier. For hoteliers, HITEC is a once-a-year opportunity for a quick and intensive update on property technology. It is the chance to see and hear about new options, new enhancements and new plans. It is often the only opportunity for hoteliers to chat with the staff of vendors on whom they rely for all manner of services. The HITEC trade show is the industry's best opportunity to do this — a day on the show floor may well be the best hotel systems update opportunity in the world.

A hotel manager or executive also needs to be familiar with the technology-related developments that do — or may — affect them either positively or adversely in the coming months. The HITEC educational sessions go some distance to achieving this goal; room remains for improvement. The challenge of devising, staffing and coordinating tightly focused sessions that address the needs of users with differing levels of expertise is difficult. Smaller is better in these sessions, though not always practical. More case studies where hoteliers could hear their peers describe real-world challenges and the ways in which they confronted and overcame (or didn't overcome) them would be a valuable addition to the program. What about roundtable discussions with attendees able to suggest topics in advance and moderators present to facilitate but not lead the discussion? Maybe this is a possibility during an early breakfast time slot; it's something for HITEC sponsor Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) to consider.

This year's program also includes the Revenue Management Strategy Conference presented by HSMAI's revenue management special interest group. Both the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association and HFTP deserve credit for working together to dovetail these complementary sessions. Are more, similarly beneficial, special-interest sessions possible as well?

I also look forward to the Guestroom 2010 exhibit. Kudos to Frank Wolfe and HFTP for this move from relatively passive event organization to more active participation in promoting, and with the aid of Doug Rice and Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) arranging, the thought-provoking discussion and action that must accompany this vital aspect of hotel operations.

HITEC 2006 promises to be a great conference and trade show. With HFTP's help, the food at the lunches will continue to improve still more. See you at HITEC!

John Burns is president of Hospitality Technology Consulting. Call Burns at 480-661-6797 or e-mail john@burns-htc.com.

SALES AND CATERING Integrated Trace and contact history Mailing engine Corporate account consolidation Remote access Auto. gen.: contracts, banquet/event orders, other Group rooms blocking Group history Function book PMS Interface Central database Distributed at property level Web/browser-enabled Lead exchange-Internet Multi-property functionality E-proposal Single-image database integration to property/group modules Room diagram integration Transient business Property /Corporate Reporting Contact management F&B management Other
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INTERNET TECHNOLOGY High-speed Internet access via CAT5 High-speed Internet access via xDSL, HPNA or similar High-speed Internet access via wireless Integrated voice/data lines Proprietary ISP PMS interface High-speed Internet via CAT3 Participation in a wireless roaming network Bandwidth shaping tools Intrusion detection services Other
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