HITEC Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary in a Big Way

  • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP)
  • 07.06.12
The hospitality technology community came together in a big way last week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®). In attendance were over 5,200 hospitality professionals from 45 countries, a gathering HITEC hasn’t seen since 2008 in Austin, Texas. The conference addressed important issues, including social media, accommodating for mobile technology, data security and PCI compliance, HSIA and more.

HITEC 2012, a service of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), was held June 25–28 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md. 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.

"In 1952 the HFTP leadership had the foresight to see the value of integrating developing technology to improve hotel operations,” said Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO of HFTP. “As an association designed to be an educational resource for industry professionals, HFTP hosted a technology users conference that year in Dallas to explore this growing segment, with 38 professionals in attendance. Well, the outcome of this year’s HITEC demonstrates the strength of that idea. Four decades in, and this annual event continues to be an annual highlight for this industry to discuss trends and developments."

The HITEC exhibit hall featured hundreds of exhibitors announcing new products and showcasing their signature technologies. Details on participating exhibitors and their products and services are available via the online HITEC Buyer's Guide. Also on the exhibit hall floor was the brand new version of the hands-on exhibit GUESTROOM 20X, illustrating the possibilities for the guestroom as it evolves with the growth of technology integration. This newest version takes lead with travelers' increased use of personal electronic devices and the Internet as a central resource for entertainment and information.

“As hotel guests increasingly rely on emerging technology to enhance their travel experience, GUESTROOM 20X provides a vision for the future of guestroom and hotel technology, transforming the way guests experience a hotel property. The time for hoteliers to start planning for tomorrow’s hotel is now," said Antonio DiMilia, industry director of hospitality and travel at Cisco, the patron sponsor of GUESTROOM 20X.

HITEC's education program officially began with the Opening Keynote from Gary Loveman, president, chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment, who presided over one of the most successful loyalty programs, Total Rewards. Tuesday's Keynote Session featured professional hacker Josh Klein, who covered some of the most ridiculous attack attempts in the new social media age and provided tips on how to avoid infiltration. To close on Thursday afternoon, Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas discussed how technology is part of every challenge in the world, and how it should also be part of every solution.

Recognizing innovation in the hospitality technology industry, HFTP inducted Douglas Rice, executive vice president and CEO of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), into the International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. Rice was recognized for his hospitality technology industry influence and his leadership with forming HTNG.

In addition HFTP recognized three industry pioneers with the Award of Merit; each was selected for having made a significant innovation or breakthrough that established a path for others in hospitality technology. Recipients were the Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, chairman of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd.; Warren Markwart, president of MK2 Hospitality Advisors; and Kemmons Wilson founder of Holiday Inn.

Photographs from HITEC 2012 are available on www.HITEC.org. HITEC 2013 is slated for June 24–27 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

HFTP, Austin, Texas, USA and Maastricht, The Netherlands, founded in 1952, is the 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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