News and Views (Lots of Views) from the Publisher

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July 19, 2011
From the Publisher
Richard Siegel

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© 2002 Hospitality Upgrade. No reproduction without written permission.

Goodbye to AH&LA
April 3-4, Philadelphia, Pa.
I guess the good news is that I can say I attended the last tradeshow ever at the AH&LA Annual Conference. AH&LA decided that there just wasn’t a market for this event and instead of having it waste away they decided to beef up the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show they are doing in Las Vegas the week before HITEC. Their theory to have another show to complement the IH/M&R Show that we have been going to for a million years in New York every November makes sense. But they obviously don’t plan on doing much with the June show as far as technology goes holding it a week before HITEC. Again, the concept of two shows, one in the West and one in the East, makes sense. I wish them luck.

The PhoCusWright Travel Technology Conference
April 15-16, Atlanta, Ga.
I enjoyed this show. It was intimate, but educational. There was a great deal of mingling at this conference with the exhibitors actually being in the same room as the presenters of the educational sessions. They used an interesting format with the presenters; the presenters presented then the audience was allowed to beat them up. There was no blood anywhere to be found, but it was a unique concept. I spent time with those exhibiting and it was cool to see IBM coming up with a novel approach for the travel industry with their IBM TripWorks solution. The key to IBM TripWorks is its use of sophisticated business-intelligence tools—technologies that enable travel companies to access, analyze and distribute customer information electronically, across organizational functions. It was an impressive demo with their solution addressing every phase of a customer’s journey. TripWorks is compromised of best-of-breed solutions and services from IBM and leading independent software vendors. The PhoCusWright Travel Technology Conference was the first of three addressing this market with the other two, the Travel Commerce Conference & Expo and ResExpo, happening in June after we went to the printer with this issue. I will let you know in our next issue what I thought of all three.

National Restaurant Association Show
May 18-21, Chicago, Ill.
It was weird walking around this show knowing I was going to be back at this same venue in a month for HITEC. I talked to many, many exhibitors at NRA and uniformly they all said that the amount of leads being generated was way ahead of last year. Way ahead. I do believe we are in the throes of a true recovery and the feedback I received at this show seems to confirm that. Of course, we are talking about the restaurant industry, but shouldn’t that be an indicator that lodging is not far behind? I don’t know why NRA insists on trying to include hotel and motel in their title. No one from the hotel industry attends or exhibits at this show and no one refers to this event as anything but the NRA show. Those marketing types really crack me up.

Upcoming, June 25-27, HITEC—
30 Years and Still Counting

You are probably reading this right around HITEC, hopefully at the show or right before it so I will hold off on any detailed comments. I know HFTP did once again sell out all their booth space, so let’s hope that they were also successful at attracting attendees. For those of you who are attending HITEC, let me say one thing: GO TO THE CIO PANEL GENERAL SESSION ON THURSDAY. I truly believe that this will be one of our most successful CIO Panels ever with a mix of international, gaming and large hotel operators. I hope my surprise comes out OK, but if not, isn’t that one of the things that makes the unknown so much fun? Kudos to HFTP for successfully pulling off their Restaurant Row, which seems like a natural addition to this show. Those that stand still often get passed and it seems like HFTP will not let this happen. Just because they made it 30 years doesn’t mean that they should stop improving and more importantly, continuing to create, especially if they want to make it another 30 years.

The Big Event—The CIO Summit
I hate writing things like this because I feel that I am going to jinx myself. Plus, I get embarrassed when people tell me how smart I am (if only they really knew). But, if one more person says to me, it is about time! or you are the perfect person to be doing this, I am going to be sick. It reminds me of my very first issue of Hospitality & Automation, the 20-page newsletter that I previewed at HITEC in 1992. So many people came up to me and said that they were thinking of doing the same thing. A couple of times were nice, a few more was encouraging, but when 10 people said it, I realized I was on to something. Of course, I didn’t know it was going to take six years and two business partners to finally become a sound business. What is the expression, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? I hope lightening will strike twice for me.

This September, we here at Hospitality Upgrade are putting together the industry’s first CIO Summit. We have invited the top 25 CIOs to attend this two-day event and thankfully it looks like they will all be there. There is a very important issue that the hotel industry is facing today — privacy and security, especially when it comes to the guest data that everyone is collecting and using. There are many lawsuits pending from guests, from franchisees and the actual hotel and/or management companies. Thanks to the resources brought to the table by KPMG, these and other issues will be addressed at The CIO Summit. We will also be doing a roundtable, which from early feedback should be a pretty lively session. I know most of these CIOs very well and they are two things, very smart and very opinionated. This should be a very, very interesting exchange of what we do right and where we are lacking in the world of hotel technology.

If you are a subscriber to Hospitality Upgrade — thank you. If you are reading someone else’s copy or picked up this issue at HITEC, please send us your completed reply card included in this issue or go to our www.hospitalityupgrade.com Web site and click on register. We are going to dedicate much of our fall issue to what gets covered at The CIO Summit. I am unbelievably excited and feeling the same way I did 10 years ago when I did my first issue of what eventually became this magazine. It is so cool to do something that no one else has done before. I just hope it is a success the first time around. The publishing journey aged me terribly.

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