So HITEC 2013 is in the can. I can comfortably say that for me, this was the best HITEC in many years. I figured I’d close out the year with a few topics that sprang forth from my brain post show, in no particular order:
Sessions and Keynotes
This year, the session and keynote topics converged very tidily with my own personal interests. It was actually pretty easy to put together a full palette of educational panels and presentations to fill each and every day. In the past, it’s been a challenge for me to fill my days without just mindlessly wandering the show floor looking for something to do or someone to chat with.
Take it for what it’s worth, but I actually extended my planned stay and put off a day of vacation to attend a session on in-room technology the last morning. That’s good planning and I, for one, hope it continues!
The Old Guard
The old guard companies were represented in force as usual. It was good to see that the whales aren’t resting on their laurels; they’re pushing forward with new products and improving the robustness and stability of current offerings. This hasn’t always been a given year over year. While I’m notionally a vendor by trade and not an hotelier, I think this is a great thing for hoteliers, a trend I hope continues. … Frankly, it’s refreshing.
I was also pleased to see some newcomers to the party. I don’t have any statistics to back this assertion up, but it seemed to me that there were more young and innovative companies on the floor than in years past. The innovation wasn’t always well directed, as I’ll discuss later, but I think there are more than a few industry segments ripe for disruption, or at least a good shake.
Sounds silly, but the Cisco provided public Wi-Fi in the lobby area really made a positive impact on my show experience. As a guest blogger, I needed reliable access to the interwebs to research my victims, as well as keep up with my day-to-day responsibilities running Atri Leo.
I can’t claim full credit for this one. It’s the byproduct of a conversation I had with fellow HITEC guest blogger Neil Foster on the floor. We were chatting and trying to characterize the floor experience this year, and Neil described it as full of “white noise.” I agreed and nodded sagely.
The innovation represented on the floor this year was great to see, but I kind of wonder if companies aren’t developing new products with a drunken monkey throwing darts at a watermelon covered in buzz words. Vendor offerings were figuratively all over the map, both in terms of problems solved and methodology.
To be completely fair, most of these vendors are looking to solve problems that we as an industry have been unable to clearly articulate. They’re trying to find solutions for problems that sound like “bring your own device,” “bring your own content,” “digital guest experience,” and “mobility.” We know only vaguely what these terms mean, because our guests haven’t clearly articulated their wants and desires … yet.
Over the next few years, I expect our customers to start to narrow the field and help guide us into the future. Our job will be to listen and translate those wants and needs into a few major product sets, or so it seems to me.
This is kind of a personal thing being the father of two daughters. It’s time for the practice of hiring booth spokesmodels to die at HITEC. If you have young, fit, attractive staffs who can speak intelligently about your product and look great in a suit or skirt, by all means, dress ’em up and trot ’em out.
But can we agree to stop hiring temporary help whose sole job is to put on a borderline appropriate outfit and (hopefully? pathetically?) try to grab the attention of passersby with the sole purpose of handing them off to a company rep? Just my personal opinion here, but we just don’t need that in our industry any longer.
Thanks to the great team at HFTP for both putting on a great show and for giving me the opportunity to write about it once again. I enjoy the opportunity to rant on a bit, share my thoughts and to work with HFTP’s truly professional PR team. If they’ll have me, we’ll do it all again next year in LA. See y’all then!
Brad More is a former Naval Aviator who stumbled into hospitality technology and found a home. He is co-founder and president of Atri Leo, a new company focused on the practical application of technology to hospitality. Follow Brad on Twitter@brmore or e-mail him for more information.
The content published in this section was provided by HITEC Guest Bloggers. The information is the view/opinions of the Guest Bloggers and not of HFTP, nor of any person or organization affiliated or doing business with HFTP.