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Darrin Pinkham

Darrin Pinkham

Chief Technology Officer, Loews Hotels at Universa
What are some of your responsibilities?
Providing strategic technology direction and managing a team of 13 technology professional within our 2,400 Room Loews Hotels at Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida. Consisting of four properties; the Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Royal Pacific Resort, and our Regional Support Office (Lakewood), which is where all of our support departments are located and support this entire complex; human resources, finance, accounting and administration, laundry, security, engineering, telecom, technology and central reservations. We run about 50 different software applications across our four properties here in Orlando, and have about 1,000 network devices and some 1,500 users on our systems to support.

What do you like most about your job?
Working with a highly focused and talented group of executives, management staff and employees. Also, I get to implement technology solutions that provide the highest quality of guest satisfaction and it’s effectiveness in delivering on this challenge to each and every guest, which also provides us through the utilization of technology solutions to meet these initiatives and stronger return on investment opportunities.

What do you like least about your job?
That I can’t always get everything that everyone wishes in the way of their technology solution needs, because we still need to maintain an extremely profitable venture and business, as well as, providing service levels to out guests that are the highest standards possible, and having to say “No” to a great idea…sometimes, because it just doesn’t have the potential ROI for our business model.

Did you go to undergraduate school? Where? What was your major?
Yes, I attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and Denver. My major was Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance and Accounting.

What is your favorite movie?
"Somewhere in Time" with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour.

What is your favorite song?
"Rock The Boat" by Aaliyah

What is your favorite line from a movie or song?
"Show me the money!" Jerry McGuire

What was your first job?
I worked at Bob’s Fruits and Vegetables in Denver (Colorado) after school when I was a sophomore in high school, along with having a paper route in all my other spare time.

What was your most interesting day at work?
When I was walking a customer out to her car with some groceries, a service that we would offer to all our guest’s at Bob’s Fruits and Vegetables, and she slipped a tip deep in my front pocket, and she mentioned that there could be more of that if I played my cards right. I quickly turned around and walked…no ran back inside quickly…because I was totally shocked and she was a little too old for me.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would still keep working, and start up my hospitality consulting practice again, so I could travel the world and do some really cool technology endeavors. I have always wanted to live and work in Europe, Asia, South America, and Saudi Arabia, doing specialized hospitality technology consulting for larger sized properties or with multiple property environments.

When you are not working what do you enjoy doing?
I love to spend time with my fiancĂ©e Nicole. We love to go out to dinner at nice restaurants, go dancing, shopping, and to movies on the big screen, walking our dog, and just hanging out to people watch around Florida. We both love Tivo, because it makes our time watching TV so much more productive, and we don’t need to worry about watching any commercials, or when an actual show is scheduled on. It just records various shows we like and have interests in, and then we watch them whenever we have some free time in our schedules. We also, really love having my children come down from Pennsylvania to visit with us, because they love Florida and the weather down here.

What is the next technology to impact the hospitality industry?
I feel it will be the convergence of technology in our lives and in the guest rooms. Example: guest PDA/cell phones that are integrated completely wirelessly to the world and to our internal systems. So we know when guests have arrived by proximity sensors, and we can greet them by name and welcome them back again, so they become fully checked into our property system, along with our systems being updated in real time with their preference profiles from these units, so we know exactly what they desire and if their needs have changed.

In the guest rooms, we will see fully interactive high definition panels that will be for video content, computer and Internet connectivity, personalized to all their favorites, and again based on this personal most current profile preferences. Some guests might have several profiles, depending on whether they are on this trip for business, pleasure or some other reason.

I see that we will utilize more wireless devices to manage our business to make things easier for our guests and employees, e.g. wireless housekeeper handhelds to monitor room status, mini bar status, engineering needs and updates from the rooms, all in real time back to the PMS and rapid response systems. Also, wireless handhelds for all touch point activities, e.g. wireless POS service terminals, table management in restaurants, greeting and check-in PMS terminals for anywhere at our properties.

We all talk about CRM, but who actually utilizes all this type of integration to make the guest have a truly memorable experience, and then captures this data from all these various touch points to anticipate your next need, desire and expectation. Also, just to knowing something special about you each time you visit, so each and every stay really feels like you have come home again, and that you are being treated with the best hospitality service delivery every time.

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