So the day finally arrived: HITEC Amsterdam. After many strategy meetings and discussions about growing HFTP and HITEC, one of the industry’s most prominent shows, on March 29, 2017 HITEC Amsterdam kicked off to recording breaking attendance. How can one say it is record breaking when it is the inaugural event? Well, as a finance and technology group there are always goals and metrics established, and while forecasting is something we do well, we exceeded our expectations. Therefore, it was record breaking!
The day prior to the official opening of HITEC Amsterdam, HFTP produced pre-conference events, including an invitation-only CIO and CFO event, which brought together top hospitality executives from the EU and U.K. to discuss pressing issues facing the industry today. To start off the discussion, Jose Medio, managing director at Privalis Group, provided an extensive overview of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which will be active on May 25, 2018. Great discussions took place immediately after in moderated breakout sessions organized into CFO and CIO groups.
Later that afternoon the Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) startup pitch competition took place. There were 12 startups all giving excellent presentations on their offerings to the industry. The expert judge’s panel selected Hyre as the winner. Hyre’s goal is to connect event organizers with event staff. They assist event venues (hotels, clubs, conference centers, etc.) in finding reliable catering staff, and vice versa, without involving a staffing agency.
When listening to Eropa Stein, founder and CEO of Hyre, explain the service during her pitch, I realized that this was something that could be applied throughout our industry no matter the sector: club, hotel, restaurants, convention centers, etc. If you have not attended one of the various pitch competitions that are held at HFTP’s HITEC, plan to attend next time; it will be worth your while. The ideas and concepts presented by these entrepreneurs opens dialogue for new ways to approach existing or upcoming challenges within our industry.
The remaining two days at HITEC Amsterdam were spent on education, visiting with the various vendors and networking. Several education sessions were repeated on the second day so that there was ample opportunity to get the most out of the educational sessions. Overall, this inaugural event was a great experience, in an amazing venue, in an amazing city. If for some reason you missed it, make sure to plan for it in your budget for April 11–12, 2018, as it is sure to be even better.
Next up, HITEC Toronto will take place from June 26–29, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada. HFTP is currently accepting applications for participants and judges who would like to participate in the E20X competition at HITEC Toronto. Startups interested in competing can apply by visiting the event website. Industry professionals who would like to apply for a spot on the expert judge’s panel can do so by emailing Charlotte Somers at email@example.com.
Arlene Ramirez, CHAE, CHE, CHIA, MBA (@) is the 2015-2016 HFTP Global president. She is principal at ADR Hospitality Consulting and on the faculty at the C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston. Ramirez is also a frequent speaker at HFTP Global events.