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HSMAI Special Section: Letter from HSMAI's President and CEO

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April 04, 2016
Robert A. Gilbert

What is at least 50 football fields long, has 340,000 square feet, is as busy as Times Square on New Year’s Eve and could take weeks to view? The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas at the Sands and Las Vegas Convention Centers, not to mention additional events at Aria, Bellagio, Venetian and the Wynn, among other locations.

HSMAI, as part of its Executive T.H.I.N.K. program, arranged a curated tour of the show. I had the pleasure to attend along with HSMAI Americas Board of Directors Member Dr. Lalia Rach, who offered these observations on what we learned:
5-G (5th generation of wireless networks) is around the corner with faster data speeds to 10 GB per second (40 times faster than 4G), ability to send packets of data in a millisecond, and expanded bandwidth for the expansion of the Internet of things (IoT).
The euphemistic “last mile” is about to be conquered which means at the neighborhood level the signal carrying issues will be solved with the advent of 5G. Practically this means better streaming and delivery of information insuring the advancement of smart home technology and the adoption of gizmos we didn’t know we couldn’t do without such as Ultra HD and 3-D video.
It was readily apparent that the connected era is in full swing. Today homes have an average of 15 connected devices and soon there will be hundreds if not thousands of connected objects assisting us with everyday life. In no time we will take for granted such advancements and expect that what we experience at home will exist everywhere.
This is the year virtual reality (VR) becomes a mainstay, with its relevance growing exponentially over the remainder of the decade. Brands must decide their place in the adoption life cycle. Relying on what your customer needs and wants will answer this question.
Presently technology is user engaged, think asking Siri or Echo a question. The advances in sensors and connectivity will add another dimension as technology will initiate engage-based learning about the user’s environment (water sensors in your lawn connected to NOAA adding another layer of information) and habits (alarm times Monday to Friday, versus the weekend).
This was a singular experience, a rare opportunity to think differently about change, technology and the hospitality industry. Perhaps the greatest benefit for those who participated will be the ongoing moments of connectivity they will experience in meetings and conversations when traditional thinking dominates. They will be able to present ideas and knowledge based on their exposure to future reality!
So what is going to allow you to think differently about the future? The articles in the HSMAI section of this issue of Hospitality Upgrade are sure to keep you on top of your game. Kelly’s McGuire’s article on “Thriving in a Digital Economy” is a must read for anyone in the hotel business today. Max Rayner provides us a deeper dive into “Content Creation Strategy.” Rajesh Rajan illustrates that technology can help us “Breaking Down Silos” in sales, marketing and revenue management and Scott Duty reiterates the importance of recognizing and acting upon your “Sales Technology Lifecycle.” Kurien Jacobs has great insights into “A Revolution in Revenue Management” and Cindy Estis Green keeps challenging the industry as a whole with new perspectives on “Next Generation Revenue Performance Benchmarking.”
We hope that the clustering of these related articles are helpful to you and that it represents a whole section you can easily share with your sales, marketing and revenue management colleagues. If there are ideas for additional topics you’d like addressed, let Geneva (geneva@hospitalityupgrade.com) or myself know (bgilbert@hsmai.org).

Robert A. Gilbert | President and CEO
Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International
©2016 Hospitality Upgrade
This work may not be reprinted, redistributed or repurposed without written consent.
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