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From CES, Something to THINK About

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March 26, 2018
Bob Gilbert - bgilbert@hsmai.org

On the show floor at CES, you can see a little bit of everything or a lot of anything – just like an issue of Hospitality Upgrade, which you can read as deep or wide as you like. During HSMAI’s Executive THINK program at CES 2018 this past January, we split the difference, offering a curated VIP tour that covered major trends as well as individual innovations.
Afterward, we debriefed everything we’d seen and learned. Our group concluded that there is a lot more the hospitality industry should do to accelerate adoption and better leverage technology to solve problems, advance guest loyalty and build greater financial success. The three key trends with implications for hospitality include:
1. Evolution of 5G. The fifth generation of wireless networks will fully usher in the Internet of Things (IOT), upending every industry – from agriculture to healthcare to, yes, hospitality – as the speed of information transfer becomes more reliable and consistent.
2. Digital assistants. Siri and Alexa were just the beginning. Embedded voice technology is coming to household products and business equipment in every sector – and raising consumers’ expectations that they can interface with their environment in any situation.
3. The value of data. Advances in technology require data – and hotels collect relevant, timely, comprehensive, unique, functional bits with every encounter. But all too many hotel owners and companies are hesitant to spend money on the necessary infrastructure.
In the HSMAI section that follows, you’ll find a similarly forward-looking, thought-provoking assortment of articles: Ron Hardin on guest engagement solutions, from mobile apps to in-room touchpoints; Brandon Ehrhardt on a new report from Oxford Economics that debunks some of the myths about OTA guests; Neal Fegan on maximizing revenue while managing – not minimizing – risk; John Burns on HEDNA’s 2018 Global Distribution Conference; and Cindy Estis Green on the evolution and expansion of third-party involvement in group business.
So much of what we do involves not just finding the next big thing, but figuring out how to use it. I hope these articles help you with that – until CES 2019, when we’ll start all over again.

Bob Gilbert

Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, is president and CEO of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

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