Somewhere on the globe, a door latch was just locked, pharmacies and grocery stores are probably a bit more busy, stock markets might be preparing for an unexpected downturn and some people may even cancel travel… All because the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just confirmed America’s first Ebola case.
Would I fly into Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Today? Absolutely! Would I visit Texas Presbyterian Hospital where the patient of the confirmed case of Ebola is being treated? Sure. Am I crazy? Sometimes, but not on this issue! WHY? Because in spite of the sensationalism of the press and the human nature tendency to panic when something unexpected happens, Ebola is VERY difficult to catch. It can only be spread through direct contact and it is not spread through the air, water or in general food. The only way that Ebola is spread is through direct contact with blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola (sex, excretion, vomit); direct contact with items (like needles or syringes) that are contaminated with the virus; direct contact with infected animals (apes, monkeys and gorillas are thought to be responsible for transmitting the disease to humans); and in Africa, as a result of handling bush meat.
It has been reported that the person in Dallas infected with the virus had returned from Liberia, an African country. Little details are known if the person was a rescue worker or volunteer helping fight the virus there. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Liberia has a very weak health care system. But even travelers to Liberia are told by the U.S. Government that the risk of traveling there and contracting the disease is low and Americans have been traveling there since 1976 when the disease was first reported.
It will be easy over the next few days, weeks or maybe even months, to get caught up in all the media hoopla over Ebola. There might even be an additional case or cases which the media will talk about in every news break, ticker tape or tweet that they possibly can. While their goal is not necessarily to create hysteria, they do want to sell views and good news does not make the news.
Please forgive this former Health Educator for being a bit graphic in the ways to contract Ebola. But it is important that all of us in the hospitality industry and your guests understand that Ebola is not a contagious disease like the common cold.
Frank Wolfe, CAE, is the CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and an inductee into the International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and a Paragon Award winner. He often speaks on hospitality and travel related issues. He is an author, speaker and an advocate of careers in hospitality technology or finance. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @frankwolfe. Or Facebook: Frank I. Wolfe
For the longest time, the running question for late night TV viewers was “Are you Leno or Letterman”? For me it has always been Letterman. Don’t get me wrong, Leno is great – but there was always something about the Top 10 list that I looked forward to. It is in that spirit, but with far less tongue in cheek humor, that I share with you 5 (or so) things I found pretty cool at HITEC this year. Warning – some of this is just for fun!
- Robert Irvine – I love the Food Network – and if you know me – I love food. I heard he was at the Comcast Business booth a couple of times. That would have been almost as cool to see as Warren Moon was in Minneapolis!
- Intello – This is a company that had a start in HSIA with our friends north of the border and is bringing a seriously compelling and affordable product to the market of digital signage. Cloud based and cost effective on the hardware and services side, I will be getting to know this company much better. They could bring affordable digital signage to hotels that previously would have never considered it. Read More »
Glass has come a long way. The current “Explorer” version ($1,500) feels weightless and can record video for one hour. Of course the price and performance will continue to improve.
Glass makes it easy to take video and pictures and share them. This isn’t different than a phone really, but Glass makes it virtually friction-less to do this: no phone to pull out, no app to open. When recording video you don’t need to look away from what you are recording. Read More »
I have to admit that as a product of the 80’s I really liked all those 80′s movies. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Risky Business, Star Wars sequels, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters and The Terminator were among the favorites. Not that I am opposed to John Hughes movies – that just tends to be more my wife’s style. One of the best parts about all of these movies were the great one liners:
“I am your father,” “I’ll be back” and “…when this baby hits eighty-eight miles an hour…” have all become classics. As I have worked my way through the last couple of days, I have had to balance a lot of time in the office with HITEC. So naturally – another 80’s quote came to mind – “balance is key Daniel-san.”
One of the challenges I think we all face coming to HITEC is how to manage our “day jobs” while we are here. For vendors, I wonder sometimes if it is a bit easier – after all we’re all here (name that movie paraphrase!). While not everyone of their customers is onsite, a large number of them are. Do their mailboxes slow down, or like many an attendee, do they continue to pile up? Read More »
It is really exciting to be in Los Angeles for this year’s HITEC and so far so good. Monday evening’s opening party at the Belasco Theater was quite sensational. Good music, good food and drinks, and good conversations. Not to mention the elegance of the venue.
HITEC itself has been running quite smoothly. The registration and badge pick-up processes have been less cumbersome this year, thanks to the producers, HFTP. I was unable to attend Monday’s opening keynote. However, Tuesday’s keynote session on “The Collaborative Economy” presented by Rachel Botsman was very good. If you’ve never heard Rachel speak, you should check out her presentations on TedTalks and YouTube. You’ll not be disappointed. Read More »
That was funny, right? At this time, please visualize Monday’s keynote Douglas Merrill raising his hand (an inside joke if you weren’t there).
Tuesday’s keynote, Rachel Botsman, knocked it seriously out of the park (while scaring the pants off us). I will stop short of saying that by itself it justified the trip, but hearing speakers like her is why you should be here, if you aren’t (yesterdays L.A. HFTP Chapter/IBS party at Lucky Strike Lanes being another).
Ms. Botsman talked about the emerging (heck, it’s here) Collaborative Economy. Read More »
The first session of the day was also my favorite, “Building a Better Hotel Infrastructure” led by Robin Koetje, Ken Barnes and James Lingle. It was the sort of block-and-tackle information that I come to HITEC for. Here are a few of the many great points made:
- You’ve got to start with the environment. what are the brand standards and other decisions that are already made for you? What is the owner’s vision and mindset? Are they in it for the long haul, or to flip? Do they want to push the envelope in terms of technology and guest services, or play to the low denominator? What are the local requirements; for example is water abundant or scarce? Read More »
I know it is early, but I am already hearing the same question I hear every year, “What do you think about the traffic on the show floor?” Everyone seems concerned about how many people are walking around at the show. I know it matters, but I have to wonder if it matters as much as we think. After all, the show floor is sold out and attendance seems strong from what I can see, even in the educational sessions.
Sometimes I think we judge the success of a show by how many people we have to squeeze past as we try to get to the next appointment. Do we take into consideration the size of the hall or the time of day or the people who are trying to get out early (we know who we are!) Read More »
HITEC is here again and this year we are heading for the City of Angels. If you’ve never visited Los Angeles, then this might also be a good opportunity to see what the city has to offer. I’ve been told that it’s an exciting city, but don’t ask me. Apart from a short flight change years ago, I’ve never spent time in L.A., so this trip should be interesting!
I assume that those of us attending HITEC 2014 are looking forward to interacting with exhibitors and expanding our knowledge through the educational sessions – all in an effort to discover what the available technology, new or old, can do for us. Some may also be excited about opportunities to network with peers, explore new business partnerships, or the chance to catch up with friends and colleagues. Hopefully, this year’s event will be exciting, interesting, and fruitful for all of us! Read More »
There are a lot of reasons to attend HITEC. For some, it is about the exhibit hall – the opportunity to address an issue or to see what’s new and exciting in the industry. For others, it is a social occasion – time to meet industry friends we see all too infrequently or have a blast at that big vendor bash. When I was on the hotelier side, it was my opportunity to meet nearly every vendor I did business with in one spot – I just expected them to be there (let’s face it – sometimes you can be more noticed by your lack of participation than the size of your booth). Read More »