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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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Thoughts on HITEC 2015: Hospitality's Halley's Comet

07/10/2015

With HITEC 2015 as my assigned topic, I have little choice but to start off selfishly:  this year’s gathering in Austin was the site of my induction into the HFTP International Hall of Fame. That experience meant a great deal to me – the Hall of Fame is the honor of a lifetime for someone who has spent almost that long working in hospitality technology. That said, there is still the larger issue of what HITEC 2015 meant to me as a rank-and-file attendee. As always, this year’s event aligned rather smartly with what I think is the enduring meaning of HITEC – it’s a touchstone of certainty in an uncertain world. For example:

1. At HITEC, I know that bad things can happen to good technicians as a direct result of the plethora of vendor-sponsored social opportunities. There’s drinking with music (dancing optional), drinking without music (dancing still optional), reunion drinking, insincere drinking, competitive drinking, I-found-a-drink-coupon drinking, and, of course, the ever-popular expensive restaurant meal surrounded by vendor/client trysts at every table drinking. Technicians may not get out much but when we do, watch out… and the last one home has to wear the same outfit to tomorrow’s sessions, and go directly to item #2 below. 

2. At HITEC, there’s always a bright star the morning after. Our friends at Infor have figured out what the real basic human need at HITEC is, and have filled it by populating their booth first thing in the morning with rich coffee offerings, talented baristas and fabulous (though somewhat heavy in a tote bag) coffee mugs, all of which are available at the hospitality industry’s very favorite price: complimentary. Sometimes I can’t help but feel bad for Infor, seeing all those pie-eyed attendees in their booth first thing in the morning. Sure, they will all tell you that they will sign a big contract if you give them a tall low-fat latte with a vanilla shot, but you know that’s just the caffeine-deprivation talking.  They drink up and then scatter like vampires caught out at dawn.     

In fair disclosure I must point out that as a result of Infor’s largesse over the years, my kitchen boasts travel mugs (service for sixteen), a drawer full of branded potato chip bag clips and one extra giant Infor coffee mug that holds two dozen of their Infor pens. If I can convince them to come out with logoed silverware, I’ll have the complete Infor Kitchen of Tomorrow. Thank you again, Infor, and see you in New Orleans at HITEC 2016, first thing each morning. I promise I’ll sign a big contract then.   

3. At HITEC, it’s always Christmas in June. Giveaway goodies are everywhere – and not just at the Infor booth.  There is a sort of scavenger-hunt mentality that seems to kick in automatically, and you compulsively begin to stock up on items that serve little or no function. I’m the worst – I slip into a hoarding frenzy, as though the world were in danger of an imminent crap shortage. I came home with a set of beer coozies; I don’t know why. I have a plastic rainbow spring; I don’t know why. I have hair bandanas even though I don’t have hair; I don’t know why. I have two unidentified things that look expensive and plug in; I don’t know why. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty successful year.  

So there you have it.  HITEC is boisterous, bustling and energetic.  It gives us a chance to renew old acquaintances, make new contacts, feel the pulse of the industry and share our appreciation for this very specialized, very wonderful industry in which we work.  HITEC is hospitality’s Halley’s Comet – constant in its return, an ever-bright reminder of the possibilities outside our own finite existence.     

About The Author
Michael Schubach




Michael Schubach is a regular contributor to Hospitality Upgrade.

 
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