MILESTONES . . .
Wow, I’m still reeling from our 21st CIO Summit in Austin, Texas! It was our best to date, bringing together friends and colleagues from around the globe for an exceptional few days of learning and fun. It’s hard to believe we held our very first CIO Summit in 2002, the same year my daughter was born, which naturally got me thinking about milestones.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few similarities between the two experiences. As any parent will tell you, bringing a child into the world is both exciting and overwhelming, exhilarating and exhausting, challenging and rewarding. It’s the same with the CIO Summit. During the course of 21 years, we’ve gone through more than a few growing pains, we’ve adapted with the times, and we’ve matured into a well-rounded and highly respected entity.
This year’s Summit featured an amazing program, including three sessions on artificial intelligence. The buzz around AI continues to grow, making national headlines (almost daily, it seems) and changing our industry at lightning speed. In an interesting session titled ‘The Age of Digital Disruption and the Economics of Hotels,’ Cindy Estis Green of Kalibri Labs, talked about how hotels can meet the challenges of a rapidly expanding digital marketplace. And more, she predicted that the major players of search, ecommerce and content (Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple) will increasingly assert control in this space and their depth of resources make them formidable competitors of the traditional hotel distribution networks. Attendees also enjoyed teambuilding activities, educational mini-sessions and networking events. Check out pages 52-65 for Jeffrey Parker's article on the entire CIO Summit line-up.
After each summit, I try to capture the highlight. This year, it has to be the City Scavenger Hunt. Making its third CIO Summit appearance, the popular event saw seven teams of highly creative CIOs locked in a fiercely competitive search for hidden items in downtown Austin. Although screams of ‘CHEATER’ are still echoing in my head, everyone had a great time. We put a lot of effort into each year’s program and activities, and there’s nothing we love more than happy attendees (pages 64-65).
Our fall issue is packed with great content, including the second annual Gaming Technology section on pages 106 - 118. Although written for the casino industry, it’s filled with information that is useful to hoteliers as well. We hope you enjoy all the articles in this issue, and we encourage you to share this free subscription with a colleague at www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe.
Since my last column I’ve been traveling quite a bit—to West Point for a graduation, Philadelphia to visit family, New York City for BLLA, Toronto for HITEC, and Austin for the CIO Summit. Apparently, I’m not alone. Airports and planes were packed, and the crowds overwhelming. Everything took far too long—from TSA prechecks to customs screening. Travel is challenging, to be sure, but that’s okay. It’s always an adventure (right?!?!), and the places you see and people you meet make it all worthwhile.
Wishing you a happy fall!