When HITEC takes place on September 27–30 in Dallas, it will have been 27 months since the last in-person HITEC.  For many, this annual event offers the opportunity to visit with most of your current vendors in one location.  It also creates an opportunity to meet vendors offering creative solutions you have been searching for.
The pandemic has been a challenge for all of us, and it has driven many to rethink how we do business while meeting heightened guest expectations.  The technology vendors are at the forefront with a variety of changes to meet these new expectations.  Why would you miss an opportunity to see all these changes in person?
More importantly, the number of changes in the technology space since HITEC 2019 has been significant.  There have been countless mergers and acquisitions, some of which sound like matches made in heaven.  Someone should build a guide for any vendors from 2019 that are here in 2021, but under a different company logo.
Aside from the trade show, there are numerous educational opportunities for key members of your team.  HITEC and HFTP's 2021 Annual Convention are taking place at the same time in Dallas, which doubles the opportunity for educational sessions crossing technology and finance.  Look at the sessions being presented before deciding to register for an exhibits-only pass.
Plan your time well at the show and consider bringing others in the organization to help divide and conquer.  Here is a short list of who could benefit from attending:
  • Corporate leadership – CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CROs, CMOs, CCOs
  • Property leadership – GMs, DOF/Controller, DOS, etc.
  • Department Heads and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts)
Your group may leave with a short list of items worthy of including in the 2022 budget.
The show floor will be full of vendors offering all kinds of software, hardware and services.  Below, you will find some helpful tips on how to evaluate just the software side of the show’s offerings.  The most dramatic changes have come courtesy of the continued migration of legacy apps to the cloud, joining the onslaught of new cloud-only applications. 
One way to prepare is to stand back and assess your technology solutions across the enterprise.  Do you have a current list of all applications in use?  If not, you should.  It will likely show a few you have never heard of, and other applications no longer needed.
You may not be able to change a few things i.e., chain-mandated central reservations and property management systems.  But everything else should be a candidate for review, especially considering changes over the past two to three years.  You may find one vendor’s solution taking the place of two or three currently deployed.
I find it useful to separate the primary applications into three categories.  I included a few of the common applications under each category.
  • RMS – Revenue Management Systems
    • RMS, PMS, POS, S&C, CRM and all those tools used for online marketing, benchmarking, and data intelligence.
  • EMS – Expense Management Systems
    • Inventory management/COGS, WFM (time and attendance/labor management), preventive maintenance/asset management, HCM.
  • FMS – Financial Management Systems
    • General ledger, accounts payable, payroll, treasury management, FP&A. 

In upcoming pieces, I will delve deeper into each of these categories and some recent developments to consider.  So much has changed and more changes are on the horizon.  Keeping up can be a challenge but hopefully these tips will aid you in focusing on what is important.
This will be my 25th consecutive HITEC, when you include 2020’s Cyber HITEC, and 38 years since my first HITEC in 1984 held in Hyatt Regency Chicago’s exhibit hall.  My memory of that event was checking in to the hotel using an NCR kiosk, only to stand in line at the concierge to pick up my electronic key.