Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Heckaman

David Heckaman

Vice President of Technology Development, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

David Heckaman has been engaged in the technology and hospitality industries for the past 20 years. He is able to leverage his extensive operational experience to remain focused on the hotel guest and the staff that have to service them. Mr. Heckaman earned his undergraduate degree in Hotel Management and Development from the University of Central Florida. His early operational career had taken through the hotel operational management path. He had worked for Guest Quarters, DoubleTree and independent properties in these roles. Mr. Heckaman's technology path started with Storemont Trice Hotels where he was a regional technology manager and participated in hotel development and project management of large technology deployments. He later joined Crestline Capital in Bethesda, MD to assist in the creation of Crestline Hotels & Resorts and the interconnection of newly acquired properties and deployment of back-office systems. In 2001, Mr. Heckaman joined Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to lead the technology development aspect of their North American flagship property in New York City. The development of this property placed Mandarin Oriental as a clear international leader in the area of lodging technology. There were numerous technologies that were presented to the world for the first-time when the Mandarin Oriental, New York opened in November of 2003. The list of these technologies that were successfully deployed include some of the following highlights: - Fully Converged IP Network - Full VoIP PBX including VoWiFi - High-Definition Video Distribution - Stored and Broadcast Content - Multi-Carrier Broad-Frequency Distributed Antenna System (DAS) - WiFi Distribution over DAS - Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Television Deployment - Dedicated fiber-optic broadcast cabling infrastructure Mr. Heckaman has held his current position with Mandarin Oriental since 2005. In this role he oversees new hotel development, new technology direction and physical infrastructures. The development projects that have occurred under his watch include the following: - Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC - Mandarin Oriental, Riviera Maya - Mandarin Oriental, Boston - Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas at CityCenter - Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona - Mandarin Oriental, Paris Mr. Heckaman also is the Principal Consultant of Heckaman Group, LLC which is a consulting company created to provide technology guidance, project review and vision clarity to technology vendors as well as lodging operators. Mr. Heckaman also is the co-owner of Structurewide, LLC that operates as a low-voltage engineering and design firm serving primarily North and South Carolina. He has been a charter member of Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) trade organization. He currently co-chairs the HTNG Infrastructure and Device Forum. Mr. Heckaman has held the following certifications Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA)

Mr. Heckaman can be contacted at 803-627-8886 or dheckaman@mohg.com

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.