HITEC 2016: Remembering What You Are

And What All Those Acronyms Represent

By Bernard Ellis President & Founder, Lodgital Insights LLC | July 17, 2016

My 25th HITEC is done and dusted. For the uninitiated, HITEC is HFTP's annual "Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference," attracting over 5000 buyers, sellers, and a growing number of innocent bystanders who seem to genuinely want to learn. The event has grown too large to lend itself to a concise recap, and whether it was busy or a bust, a boon or a boondoggle, revolutionary or repetitive, laborious or leisurely, will depend on each person's unique experience. Here are the themes that emerged for me.

Acronym Acrimony

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll fess up that I wasn't fully confident that I remembered what HITEC stood for when writing the intro paragraph. Was it Hospitality Information Technology, or Hospitality Industry Technology? How could I not know that? Twenty-five exposures isn't enough to get a clue? I was always taught that the first time you use an acronym, it's mandatory to spell out what it stands for, and if you don't, the reader won't be impressed with how smart you are, but rather, by how inconsiderate you are. "Calm down," many of you might be thinking. "Why get so worked up when the term HITEC seems to be marching down the path of becoming one of those acronyms that has become so old and familiar that people forget what it stands for, if they even knew or cared it was an acronym in the first place? Don't you have bigger things to worry about?" I do, and it actually took more digging to find the answer than you might think. But I still needed to know for sure. I'm sure that sounds pretty pedantic, but there's no denying that acronyms are a very pervasive aspect of technology culture.

How Did it Start?

No one seems to know for sure. Some say it began with the need to confidentially refer to weaponry during WWII, while others say it simply began as a way for socially awkward techie geeks to have their own club and language that only privileged insiders got to understand. Either way, it sounds like the creator of the acronym doesn't actually want everyone to know what it stands for, yet I still take no comfort. You see, acronyms have been a third rail for me since my very first job out of school.

A Long History of Acronym Acrimony

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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.