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Association Updates: AH&LA

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October 01, 2014
Association Updates
Mike Dickersbach

When you have relationships with the many industry associations, it is nice when the relationship goes both ways. Our readership continues to grow because of the associations' willingness to help us get our magazine into their members' hands, while we like to help them spread their news. Since this is our last issue of the year we asked AH&LA, HFTP, HSMAI and HTNG  to share with our readers what has happened in their worlds in 2014 and what lies ahead for 2015.

AHLA Tech Committee 2014 Update
As I look at the calendar, a lot of things come into question. The first being, where does the time go? It’s been a full year since I took over as the chairperson for AH&LA’s Technology and E-Business Committee, and it’s been filled with many positive changes. Aside from getting married myself, there has been a new marriage of sorts within the AH&LA – a reorganization of the committees and bringing together the best people in the industry to help hoteliers with their needs, questions and concerns.

With the change in the AH&LA structures since I took over as chairperson, the committee has been heavily engaged with the greater AH&LA body in assisting with various issues that face hoteliers across the country. One of these issues was in relation to 911 and being able to dial it from a guestroom without a prefix. The issue was brought to light due to events that occurred in Texas, and this really became an eye opener for the committee on how to best assist in these matters. The committee was able to successfully work with and help educate the AH&LA body on what exactly transpires within the hotels, why things had been set up the way they had been, and what impacts changes would make on the operation of the business.

Over the past 12 months we have grown our Technology Committee membership with talented industry professionals from brands and independent hotels alike. We committed to continuing the education of our AH&LA community on the needs, wants and questions in relation to technology within their environment. Since last I wrote, we have had several successful webinars with another final one for the year scheduled in November. The webinars are conducted by members of AH&LA with hotel, operational and technology expertise. Everyone is encouraged to sign up and ask questions. The webinars are interactive and the more questions you ask the more you can get out of the presenters’ vast knowledge.
This November, the committee will host a meet and greet with a “you ask, we answer” session. Look for us at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in New York, where you will have a chance to ask our talented committee of hoteliers and technology professionals anything you like. If you need to know what the next big trend will be or how you will achieve a better ROI on your website, come find out. Please visit the committee website for more details.

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) remains a large focus of the committee. Since last summer, AH&LA has now become involved with several workgroups that encompass major corporations within the United States. These work groups were formed to combat an ever-growing cyber risk.  Several of our committee members have participated on these national monthly calls to help inject nuances that are specific to hospitality with the hopes of aiding our industry in the long run.

The final major initiative for us this year is a survey. In an effort to better help you, the members of the hospitality community, our committee has launched a survey to better understand your work environment, and how we can better assist you in the future. Should you receive an email on this survey, please take the time to fill it out. It will be distributed via the AH&LA email system.

As a reminder, we are here to assist, whether in advocacy, mentoring or education; we serve you, the operators.  Assistance is a two-way road, the more feedback we receive from the communities, the better we can focus on the topics that matter. When I visit HITEC or speak publicly on a topic, I often hear feedback that ranges in degree from simple how-to questions, such as what type of cabling should I be using, to the more complex questions of what type of property management system (PMS) should I buy. As a committee, we are here to address the needs of the community by clarifying complex systems, or providing training on various topics. Even if your hotel is branded and all the technology flows to the large IT funnel of the corporate headquarters, all are welcome to participate. From general managers, operations managers, directors of finance, chief engineers and asset managers in the a corporate office, we welcome and encouraged participation within the committee.

 Written by Mike Dickersbach

© 2014 Hospitality Upgrade
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