By Frank Wolfe, CAE
While HFTP has seen remarkable growth during the past six years in member benefits, resources, research and professional development events — we have been proud to maintain our membership annual dues at the same rate since 2013. However, with new initiatives and benefits — and simply, with time — comes a rise in costs for the association.
And so, the HFTP Global board has agreed the time has come to adjust HFTP membership annual dues accordingly, by voting in favor of a modest 11 percent increase in membership annual dues. In an effort to give our HFTP members as much notice as possible, we are making this announcement before its effective increase date of February 1, 2019. The additional funds will not only help support the infrastructure and services the association has built to create today’s HFTP, but a portion will also be directed toward HFTP chapters and their leaders.
You may wonder how much difference can six years really make. At HFTP, the answer is: A big difference.
New Resources and Information Sources
Within the last several years, HFTP has built a portfolio of hospitality-focused online resources that provide quick and easy access to important information. In 2015, HFTP launched the first-ever, hospitality-specific search site, PineappleSearch®, with priority placed on informational search results. The following year, HFTP introduced an interactive, online forum Community@HFTP where HFTP members can share their professional experiences, ask questions and exchange resources with thousands of other HFTP members, all in one place.
With a business environment continually in flux, HFTP knows the importance of keeping up-to-date on the latest industry news and trends. To help its members and the industry stay informed, the association introduced a suite of news sites featuring aggregated content, including news, research reports, blogs, feature articles and more from across the globe. Each of the sites is segmented, and include: HFTP News, HITEC Bytes, HFTP Finance Bytes, HFTP Club Bytes, F&B Bytes and GDPR Bytes.
The association has also drawn from its Research Centers and advisory councils to develop guidelines that assist in the workplace. One example is the recently published sample hotel and club job descriptions for finance and IT positions.
As HFTP has added to its growing resources, it has also strengthened the infrastructure to support these services. The association integrated the Your HFTP online account portal on the website that individuals can use to check membership status and register for educational events. The ProLinks webinars, offered for free to members, have been moved to a feature heavy program that keeps a two-year archive of webinars, which you can access at any time and earn much-needed CPE credits.
New Global Ventures: HFTP around the World
HFTP has made significant strides to impact the hospitality industry globally. It has made a successful expansion of HITEC® to Europe and the Middle East, has introduced European- and Asian- focused webinars and established the HFTP Asia and Middle East Research Centers.
Last year, in rapid response to the implementation deadline of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), HFTP developed a wide portfolio of GDPR resources under the advisement of a council of experts. Available in multiple languages, the resources include: a vendor compliance query template, standardized HDPO job description and hospitality organization data flow charts.
New Opportunities for Education and Networking
In 2018 HFTP launched its new Certification Advisory Program (CAP) to help CHAE and CHTP certification applicants achieve their designation by partnering them with an experienced advisor. HFTP continues to maintain a strong focus on providing benefits in a format that aligns with modern business practices, and so the certification review series are now available online in webinar format. Coming next year, downloadable podcasts will be made available to help designees study valuable exam content “on the go.”
This past year was also a big year for club professionals. HFTP introduced two club-specific events: the Club Summit (for club professionals to receive education at an advanced level) and the Club Forum (for club executives to share ideas and discuss hot topics).
And to bridge the new generation of professionals with experienced members, HFTP has just launched the Young Professionals Mentorship Program. This pairs a mentor and mentee for a six-month guided program for a personal professional development experience.
New Ideas and a Strong Focus on the Future
Each year the HFTP Board reviews and approves a budget that balances providing benefits to enrich its members professionally with building a steadfast information source for the evolving hospitality industry. That is why in the immediate future HFTP is placing focus on supporting and growing its network of chapters and reinforcing its research arm to develop and maintain industry guides.
Within the next year, HFTP will be directing greater support to chapters through increased funds and leadership training. The investment at the local level will make a tangible difference for numerous members, as HFTP chapters are where their connection to the association is strongest. HFTP is extending this familial style of networking to new regions, with local meetings in Germany and London.
As your networking base continues to build, HFTP is structuring itself to provide important resources that are referenced industry-wide. The association is placing greater emphasis on its three Research Centers, with specially-commissioned projects to help hospitality companies make informed business decisions. Aligned with this goal, the association has recently purchased the copyright to the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI). The resource has been connected to HFTP since its beginning, and with this shift in ownership, HFTP plans to lean on its resources as an international organization to drive greater global adaptation.
At the heart of it all, HFTP remains true to its core purpose: To lead and advance the hospitality profession by providing a forum for continuous learning and knowledge sharing. Thank you for your valued HFTP membership — and we look forward to continuing to help you grow in your career as we grow in the industry.
Frank Wolfe, CAE (firstname.lastname@example.org) is chief executive officer of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.