HTNG’s First Asia-Pacific Conference to Highlight Future Trends and Asian Issues

August 25, 2008 - Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) announced the program for its first Asia-Pacific Members’ Meeting and Conference, to be held on September 22 and 23, 2008, at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.

“Asia is the biggest growth market for hospitality today, and we have many active members from the region,” said Douglas C. Rice, executive vice president and chief executive officer of HTNG.  “At the same time, technology in Asia poses major challenges for global and regional hotel companies trying to meet the rapidly changing technology needs of Asian hotel guests.  Additionally, many technology providers struggle to adapt their products and services to the nuances of Asian markets, making it more difficult for hotels to acquire what they need.  Our first Asia-Pacific conference will introduce the Asian hospitality market to the processes and tools HTNG has used to address many of these problems.”

Active HTNG members from the Asian hotel technology community will lead many of the sessions.  “HTNG has had enjoyed great leadership from Asia-based hotel companies on its board of directors, so we are able to put together a program that is largely by and for Asia-based hotel technologists and their vendors, and that integrates the relevant work that HTNG has accomplished in North America and Europe,” said Rice.

Some of the planned sessions and featured speakers, include:
  • Matthew Muta, formerly industry director for hospitality at Microsoft Corporation, and now director of technical strategy for the company’s envisioning team, will discuss the social and economic shifts that will help drive emerging technologies mainstream in the next five to 10 years.
  • Australian consultant Ted Horner will moderate a session on the guestroom of the future, focusing on how tomorrow’s guest rooms will differ from today’s and how hotels can future-proof their investments.  Panelists will include Fraser Hickox, recently retired as general manager of research and technology for The Peninsula Group; Geoff McClelland, vice president of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group; and Tony Yeoh, vice president of information technology for InterContinental Hotels Group.
  • Alan Lubitz, chief technology officer of Planet Payment, will lead a session on credit card processing in Asia.  He will cover: the expanding use of online credit card processing in Asia that is being challenged by data security standards from the credit card industry; the requirements, just now coming to the forefront in Asia, that have already been deployed in North America and Europe, at great expense to hotels; and what Asian hoteliers can learn from the American and European experiences to minimize the impact of these changes.
  • Hong Kong-based consultant Terence Ronson of Pertlink, Ltd. will moderate a session on the migration of hotel technologies from the mechanical engineering world into the realm – and responsibility - of the information technology department.  Environmental controls, televisions, telephones, door locks and other systems that were previously stand-alone and mechanical- or analog-based, are increasingly becoming digital devices that are integrated into a common network infrastructure.  Ronson will discuss the implications of this for design, construction and operation of hotels.
  • Dr. Ruxiang Jin, international telecommunications expert and former professor of Zhejiang University, will present a session on the benefits of deploying converged networks, and the practical steps hotels can take to deploy them.  Several companies are also working together to provide a live demonstration of a converged network in action.
  • Nick Price, CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, will lead a participative session designed to launch a new, ongoing effort to provide a stronger Asian voice in the design and deployment of hospitality software by vendors based in North America and Europe.  These vendors often struggle to understand the nuances of the different Asian countries, and this effort will organize information that will help them design products that better meet Asian needs.
  • Several leading Asian hotel IT executives will join together for an IT leadership forum, discussing the critical issues of the times and their own companies’ approaches to addressing them.  Moderated by Shane Izaks, general manager-information systems for The Peninsula Group, the panel will feature Andre Baljeu, director of field technology for Marriott International; Tom Dillon, vice president of IT for Asia for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, operator of The Venetian hotels; Tristan Dimacali, CIO of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts; and Nick Price, CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental. 
  • There will also be briefings on HTNG’s active working groups, describing the tools and standards that they have built – and are building – to help hotels build and deploy better technology.
  • Las Vegas Sands Corporation, operator of the host hotel, will provide back-of-house IT tours of the hotel, which is reported to be the world’s third-largest building.

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