Five Advantages to Attending a Virtual Conference

The year 2020 saw a rapid shift of networking conferences, concerts, award shows, trade shows and association gatherings from in-person to online, and HFTP-produced events are no exception. The North American edition of HITEC (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference) has pivoted from an in-person to a virtual program, the world’s first Cyber HITEC — but still retains the full-breadth of features and expertise HITEC is known for. In addition, the event planners are including programming and features from the HFTP Annual Convention, offering a two-for-one opportunity.

As an association that is one-half technology, this shift is being embraced as an opportunity rather than an unforeseen hardship. It means the introduction of new, value-added benefits that would not quite work for the traditional, in-person HITEC experience that we have all known and loved for the last 48 years.

For everyone — from those who have customarily attended HITEC for years, to anyone who has always wanted to attend but never had the chance — Cyber HITEC has five unique advantages for attendance.

1. Attend from anywhere (with Internet connectivity).

The traditional HITEC experience has always involved the extra costs of booking flights, hotel stays and time away from family. Cyber HITEC allows you to immerse yourself in the unparalleled HITEC experience, all from the relatively cost-saving comfort of your home office.

Stepping into the virtual event, a participant will encounter education planned and presented by industry insiders, virtual exhibit booths from top technology solution providers, and a variety of meet-ups and opportunities for one-on-one connections. 

2. Save money.

Aside from saving on travel-associated expenses, you can also take advantage of discounted registration fees. Registration to access all Cyber HITEC events is offered at just $99 USD for HFTP members and $149 USD for non-members — a significant reduction from the traditional HITEC experience.

As always, HITEC offers its complimentary Qualified Buyers pass for access to the virtual exhibit hall only. Visit the Cyber HITEC registration page to find out who qualifies for this free exhibit hall pass, and how to apply.

3. Never miss a session.

Registrants will have access to an education program featuring over 25 sessions, offering much-needed discussion on the unique issues the hospitality industry is currently facing. In addition to the presentation, the speakers will be available to participants for Q&A during the live portion of the event. Visit the Cyber HITEC website for an evolving schedule of events.

You should plan to attend sessions at their scheduled time so that you can engage with the expert speakers in the live Q&A. However, if you miss a session, you will have access to recordings until November 25, 2020, so you can always go back and watch it at a later date and time.

To provide the best possible options to the industry, the HFTP Annual Convention (which was scheduled as an in-person event for October) will also be held under the Cyber HITEC banner and attendees will have the opportunity to attend education sessions for both events.

The education offered at Cyber HITEC remains a valuable way to earn up to 14.1 continuing education credits for professional certification maintenance. Email certification@hftp.org for more information.

4. Social distancing does not apply to the Internet.

One of the most important aspects of attending HITEC is the ability to forge valuable connections with like-minded professionals who come together from across the globe to share ideas, concerns and best practices. HITEC will still offer a variety of networking meet-ups and opportunities for one-to-one networking connections with fellow attendees, industry experts and technology solution providers throughout the virtual event. While the pandemic has prevented us from being able to meet together in person, it does not mean that we still cannot meet in a supportive online setting.

5. You can still check out the industry’s latest innovative products and services in a HITEC virtual trade show.

For nearly 50 years, HITEC has been home to the world’s largest hospitality technology exposition, which will now be virtual for 2020. It will feature virtual exhibit halls and exhibit booths, wherein companies can showcase their products through multi-media tools such as video, photos and more. Company representatives will also be available for one-on-one interaction. Even after Cyber HITEC Live has concluded, virtual booths will remain intact and available to the public to view and interact with. 

This level of access to many of the hospitality industry’s latest innovative products and services can be invaluable at a time when the pandemic has created monumental shifts in operations and the guest experience. It may require investment in new technologies and services for hospitality businesses to meet evolving customer expectations.

Register to Attend

Registration for Cyber HITEC is now open. HFTP is working daily to deliver a memorable virtual experience this October. This includes integrating topics of discussion and solutions that are responsive to this unique situation the industry is in. For information on the education program, exhibit and sponsorship opportunities and more, visit cyberhitec.org.

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About the Author: Briana Gilmore

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