HITEC 2009 Addressed Difficult Hospitality Technology Issues

  • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP)
  • 06.29.09
The 2009 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) was attended by over 3,700 hospitality professionals.

The conference addressed important hospitality technology issues, including the economy, social media, green practices, convergence and more. The conference, a service of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), was held June 22-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. It offered a one-stop shop for essential education, access to experts and hospitality technology vendors, networking with top leaders in the industry and the resources to find cost-effective ways to improve company bottom lines.

"I feel very positive about the overall outcome of HITEC 2009. While attendance was down 28 percent from last year, I heard many comments that the quality of attendees was high," said Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO of HFTP. "In comparison, other industry trade shows have been down by 40 percent this year. It is a testament that technology investment is still a priority for companies and HITEC is held in high esteem by industry professionals."

“Before the show, I was pessimistic about the level of business we would encounter because of the economy. But, I am surprised by the quality of attendees we’ve met with. It’s probably been our best show of the last four years at HITEC,” said Neil Widdicombe, business development manager for Moreton Bay Technology, a HITEC 2009 exhibitor.

The HITEC exhibit hall featured hundreds of exhibitors announcing new products, showcasing their signature technologies and discussing the future of hospitality technology. Also on the exhibit hall floor were two special pavilions. The Club Technology Pavilion was a display dedicated to the latest in emerging club technologies. The HTSIC (Hospitality Technology Strategic Initiatives Council) Pavilion included representatives from various associations involved with the new council.

“This is our fourth HITEC and we continue to come because those attending are hospitality industry leaders, individuals important to meet to build our business,” said Jay Williams of Clear Sky Software, a HITEC 2009 exhibitor. “Because of the impact of the economy, we’ve found that those who attended this year came with a clear purpose to buy, and our prospects have been high quality.”

HITEC's education program officially began with the founder of Travelocity, Terry Jones, discussing the importance of digital relationships. He emphasized the multiple channels and opportunities that are available to build a relationship and ultimately capture customers. Tuesday's General Session included a panel of hospitality technology experts discussing how they are using technology to battle the tough economy. The panel was asked a number of questions regarding their current projects, what they are doing to budget their IT projects and what technology they are most enthused about. HITEC 2009 closed with IDEO's Chief Technology Executive Doug Solomon explaining how design thinking in problem solving can be applied to the hospitality industry. He explained that design thinking starts and ends with people. The key is to take an ethnographic approach and look at behaviors, motivations and cultural environments.

New this year were the HITEC Roundtables, where attendees were able to share their thoughts, exchange ideas and listen to what others are experiencing. Roundtable topics included Twitter/Web 2.0, PCI compliance, mobile technology, maximizing revenue during touch economic times and more. Key points from each roundtable discussion will be posted on HITEC.org following the conference.

Recognizing innovation in the hospitality technology industry, HFTP inducted Cindy Estis Green, managing partner of The Estis Group, and A.L. (Tom) Giannopoulos, chairman, president and CEO of MICROS Systems, Inc. into the International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. HFTP also honored Kjell Olsson, CHTP, area director of IT for WHM, LLC, as the 2009 CHTP of the Year.

Photographs from HITEC 2009 are available on HITEC.org. HITEC 2010 is slated for June 21 – 24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

HFTP, Austin, Texas, USA and Maastricht, The Netherlands, founded in 1952, is a global professional association for financial and technology personnel working in hotels, clubs and other hospitality-related businesses. HFTP provides first class educational opportunities, research and publications to more than 4,800 members globally, including the premiere hospitality technology conference HITEC, founded in 1972. HFTP also awards the only hospitality specific certifications for accounting and technology — the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designations. HFTP was founded in the USA as the National Association of Hotel Accountants.

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