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Publisher's Letter Summer 2021

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Publisher's Letter
Rich Siegel

Moments. I have always been a believer that life is about moments and hopefully lots more good ones than bad. Back in February we had to make a decision regarding our 16th Executive Vendor Summit. We decided with HITEC in September we would plan our event in June. Did we really know where travel would be in June back in February? We rolled the dice and we won! Our EVS normally will have 55-60 attendees to this invitation-only event. This year, we had 88 representing the vendors, six CIO and technology leaders from Marriott, Hyatt, Wyndham, Loews, Ambridge and Highgate with us. We had the leaders of HTNG, HFTP and HSMAI also join us and with other speakers and staff we had a crowd of a 103 people. The first night together we tried one of our craziest icebreakers ever – 103 people smiling, laughing and singing together – that was a moment. We were thanked by everyone attending EVS for bringing the industry together and kickstarting the recovery that we are now experiencing. We all learned how important being together is, especially after what we have all gone through the last 15 months. Doug Rice does a fantastic job sharing what happened in Nashville in the EVS review. Please visit our website, www.hospitalityupgrade.com, and check out the videos. You might never see a happier group of terrible singers in your lifetime. Such fun, what a moment!

 I promise you are going to love this issue. The hotel industry is struggling with a labor shortage, what role is technology playing to help the industry through this? Was there a tougher job the last 15 months than being a revenue manager? What revenue? Looking ahead that job now will be a lot tougher. Why are there so few women in key technology spots in the industry? Hotel tech leaders talk about the changes that happened because of the pandemic and what changes are here to stay. What is covered in this issue of Hospitality Upgrade is extensive. Our contributor’s pages will highlight what you can expect in this issue, please take a moment to read the update. I think you will find it amazing. This is our 29th year and Geneva has been with me for 26 of them. Ask her about her shoutout at EVS. I love embarrassing people since I do that enough to myself at every event I attend. I bet she will say it was for her, a moment

When the pandemic started it was a very screwy time. Nobody knew what the future held but we all knew there were tough times ahead. I believe what we are going through right now is a lot screwier. We are starting a recovery, but nobody truly knows what lies ahead. Leisure travel is gangbusters right now but what happens when summer ends? Can anyone be sure today when business travel will recover or is everyone guessing? Everyone seems to have an opinion. I believe it is simple–when groups and conventions return and people start attending events again then the recovery kicks into high gear. I bring this up because our EVS was beyond expectations, and we expect the same to happen when we have our 19th CIO Summit September 8-10. Hopefully, all those who always attend from outside the U.S. will be able to travel and attend again this year. Hospitality Upgrade is based in Atlanta, and we have never had a CIO Summit in Atlanta. It is time. Who knows what to expect but considering how many tech leaders had been asking nonstop where the CIO Summit is going to be held, I would say it is going to be a record crowd. Let this recovery continue without any surprises unless they are positive ones! 

The travel and hotel industries have had their challenges over the years but nothing like this. Historically we always come back stronger. We shall see how this plays out. For those in the tech space who buy, sell or are involved in technology a true measure of where we are, will be known in Dallas on Sept. 27 when HITEC and ROC happen. Hospitality Upgrade will be at both industry events, and we hope to see you there. We need more great moments!

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