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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: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

07/10/2015

The more things change, the more they stay the same! That old saying rang true in Austin at HITEC. So many companies that used to exhibit and have the biggest stands are now gone… divested, acquired or broke. And so many new dewy eyed hopeful companies pop up to replace them  yet it seems cyclical so in a lot of ways nothing has changed. Weird.
 
Several key things stood out at HITEC this year. I saw senior people we used to see at one company in new roles at smaller startups or working on projects that they could not talk about without a confidentiality agreement. These are exciting times and it seems some really good people are doing some really good things for our industry. 

Another standout was it seemed at long last that there were more women. I will make this disclaimer first! Although HER Consulting ‘sounds like’ it’s a girls club, it’s simply the acronym for Hospitality E Resources (HER), so please let me put that into context. The following comment does not mean our company is focusing on female empowerment. Having said that, I think it is fair to say that many colleagues have observed over the years that “at times” the hospitality technology space we walk in can feel a bit too much like the old boys club – let’s call a spade a spade. There have just not been too many of us women at the technology and financial table. This year, as last we observed more female industry colleagues are now heavy hitters making waves and like last year, we salute them!

Moving on… Innovation is always the holy grail in our industry each year we walk the aisles asking who is really innovating and who is just “ummm…reinventing the wheel?” There were some really neat concepts and companies who shall remain nameless because at HER we don’t want to imply our blessing or endorsement, but, trust us, we came away feeling that although many are targeting innovation, a chosen few are really achieving it.

Innovation made headway in Big Data, which by the way was a term that was so last year and yet, oddly enough, still so very timely. It is now an integral and deeply accepted part of our lives so instead of evangelizing a la John the Baptist that it is the coming savior (the next big thing) or, as this writer often does, worrying that it’s really a bit too Big Brother for our tastes, we actually left Austin thinking that innovation was actually part of the Big Data discussion... we saw exhibitors who are at long last able to illustrate how it can actually be used to generate increased revenue. That is the real innovation. Instead of telling us that it can be done there are companies who are doing it! We can now actually track the campaigns, all the touch points leading to the sale and figure out how to turn all that information into something actionable that is shown to drive increased dollars? We absolutely saw that with one big exhibitor. 

But I digress… Security and compliance is no longer the latest topic. It is the ONLY topic. No matter who you talked to or what kind of product we saw the security component was the big buzzword… Yes, I write about security so maybe my radar was attuned more than others, but in all fairness, it was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. In fact, it actually annoyed me after a while that so many people bandied about terms that in some cased seemed like they were just trying to sound good without  knowing the real story but in the end it was more than acceptable. Why? Because the big message is being shouted out loud – better security helps the bottom line. Similarly, better BI drives increased revenues. Put the two together and the message was use Big Data (BI) right and keep it safe and secure. If you do both then you have a home run!

About The Author
Marion Roger
VP Business Development
Hospitality E Resources


Marion Roger, vice president of Hospitality E Resources (HER Consulting), is a specialist in the hospitality supply chain landscape who is currently leading an industry initiative to support guest data security and has developed a hotel-focused training curriculum on PII protection. With a speciality focus on electronic reservation systems, payment technology protection and data security, Marion is a regular on the speaker circuit and contributor to Hospitality Upgrade on these key topics.

 
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