HFTP Announces Plans to Protect HITEC 2007 Attendees and Exhibitors From Pirate Companies

  • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP)
  • 04.27.07
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) announced that it is taking several proactive measures to protect attendees and exhibiting companies of the 2007 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) from pirate companies.

HFTP has rules prohibiting unofficial companies from associating themselves with HITEC, whether they pose as an exhibitor of HITEC or as a hotel-booking company for HITEC. To reduce the nuisance, HFTP is stepping-up security and increasing awareness of the issue among HITEC constituents and official HITEC hotels.

“HFTP is doing everything it can to educate attendees about the unethical behavior of these companies and will continue to promote official exhibitors and events associated with HITEC to avoid any unfortunate occurrences,” said Frank Wolfe, CAE, HFTP’s executive vice president and CEO. “Companies who try to circumvent the system should be on notice that HFTP will do everything it can to protect the integrity of HITEC.”

Currently, HITEC exhibitors are being solicited by service providers not affiliated with HITEC who are peddling computer rentals, audio visual rentals, carpet rentals and other booth-related rentals. These unofficial companies will have limited, if any, access to the show and will not provide onsite support for the duration of the show. It is recommended that exhibitors use the list of official providers, which can be found in the exhibitor service manual, for HITEC rentals to avoid any complications.

Also common are outboarders, suitcasers and pirate exhibitors, names used for companies that choose not to exhibit at a conference or tradeshow, but plan product demonstrations and similar events, to steal attendees from conference organizers and supporters. These companies often roam the convention area promoting their events hosted away from HITEC at off-site locations. This kind of action leads some attendees to believe these unauthorized companies are a part of HITEC when they are not.

A housing pirate is an unauthorized housing provider that often claims a vague affiliation with a conference and offers reduced rates to attendees. The only housing bureau associated with HITEC is the one located on the HITEC Web site. HITEC has negotiated reduced room rates with the official HITEC hotels and will provide a complimentary shuttle between hotels and HITEC for only those staying at these hotels. Those that do not use the official housing bureau risk having extra restrictions and few or no safeguards, including overbooking and cancellation issues.

HFTP has had rules prohibiting these unethical practices for a number of years; however, HITEC attendees and exhibitors indicate these practices still exist. In response to this, HFTP will use a variety of techniques to protect HITEC attendees and exhibitors, including:

  • Vigorous promotion of the official HITEC exhibitor list, hotel room blocks and allied organizations
  • Increased security at HITEC 2007
  • Attendee awareness of the issue
  • Aggressive defense of HITEC and HFTP service marks
  • Attendee volunteers who provide show organizers with copies of product demonstration invitations
  • Increased cooperation from the official HITEC hotels to notify HFTP of attempts by non-exhibiting companies to gain meeting space

Attendees approached by a hotel company other than the HITEC housing bureau or non-exhibiting vendors with invitations to attend product demonstrations or similar events at HITEC are asked to e-mail pirates@hftp.org in order to notify HFTP.

A complete list of exhibiting companies is available on the HITEC Web site, along with the official housing bureau, online registration and a detailed schedule of educational programming.

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