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Rich's Publishers Letter

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November 19, 2021
Publisher's Letter
Rich Siegel

A million years ago when we launched Hospitality Upgrade we decided to publish three times a year. There was a reason behind this. Since technology changes so quickly each issue we can recap what happened over the past few months. Of course, for late breaking news we have our e-newsletters, website and Hotel Online for daily news. I bring this up because back when we started who could have imagined we would experience a pandemic that is now extended past 18 months. This is our third issue of the year and what a year it has been. I have always said I would rather be lucky than smart and when we decided in February to hold our Executive Vendor Summit in June instead of the traditional March we got lucky. The pandemic was becoming less of an impact and the variant hadn’t kicked in yet. We had 103 attendees from our vendor partners and what a great experience it was for everyone. Fast forward three months — as you can see from the issue cover, we held our 19th CIO Summit during the first week of September. After 19 summits I don’t think there was one previous that we were prouder to have pulled off. Attendance was amazing, many first timers joined us this year and the program absolutely fit the times. Starting on page 50, Jeff Parker does a remarkable job sharing the experience with you. You feel you are actually there. The one thing we don't share in great detail is what was discussed at the CIO Roundtable, this year led by Scott Strickland, CIO of Wyndham. It is an open forum, and an opportunity for everyone to share what they have gone through during the pandemic — mistakes that were made (and there were many), the sad days experienced, and then what was learned and how the CIOs adapted. The roundtable is always an extraordinary hour and this year many thought it was the highlight of the summit. To all our attendees, thank you for traveling through all sorts of challenges to be with us, and afterwards for thanking us for pulling the event together. We were told by many we should be proud that we pulled it off so well. We are proud but we couldn’t have achieved the great week without the strong speakers, the support of our sponsors and the CIOs. Read Jeff’s review of the CIO Summit. You will thank me.

Exactly three weeks after the CIO Summit it was a very unique HITEC. Just about Exactly three weeks after the CIO Summit it was a very unique HITEC. Just about every exhibiting vendor described it like this: The crowd was light but it was all about quality. Those who attended were the right people, and they came with a purpose. The education sessions were well attended and though there were fewer evening parties, those we attended were fun. This is an amazing industry and the one thing everyone experienced at HITEC was the realization just how we missed each other. It sounds silly, but for those of us who have been in the industry for a long time it is not uncommon for business associates to also become true friends. Many of us just missed seeing our friends. Congrats to HFTP for pulling off a very successful event. It was great to see so many smiling faces. Everyone who was there will always remember HITEC 2021! Check out some great pictures on page 116.

Kim and Geneva do a great job highlighting this issue on page 8. Don’t miss John Bell’s article on page 30. It's regarding "Warning Signs" that you will be a victim of ransomware. This was a big subject at the CIO Summit and we kicked off the event with an amazing session by Rachel Ratcliff from Straz Freidberg, an Aon Company. I doubt it shocks anybody how many victims there are in our industry.

Lastly, I must thank you our reader. It is amazing how the viewership of Hospitality Upgrade has grown, both digitally and continuously in print. It was 1992 when I launched a 20-page newsletter on bright, yellow paper. I bring this up only because of my fear of what to expect next February. It makes denial of getting older a bit of a challenge. Then again, what is life without challenges? 2021 is ending — for many of us, not soon enough. The feedback from the industry is there are challenges ahead, but the worst is behind us. It’s about time!


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