HFTP Connect is featuring four guest bloggers throughout HITEC 2012. The bloggers will be providing you their insights on all things HITEC. Before we get to Baltimore next week, get to know our guest bloggers.
First up is Brad More.
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.
What is your specialty in hospitality and why do you enjoy your job?
I consider myself a practical technologist and an integrator. I don’t particularly like to build fancy new infrastructure systems with the latest buzzies, but rather leverage existing systems to do new things in a practical, sustainable and maintainable way.
For me, the absolute best part of the job has very little to do with the nuts and bolts of technology. I really enjoy sitting down with people and guiding them from the kernel of an idea, a glimmer of a notion, through a process of discovery that ends with a clear path to move forward.
What is your favorite part about HITEC?
I love to cruise the outliers, the young start-ups who just got into hospitality. You know the folks; they usually have a simple, stock 10 x 10 booth back by the food court or near the bathrooms.
These folks are the future of our industry, and the ideas they have will set the tone and direction for years to come. Sure, many will crash and burn under the first hint of scrutiny, or worse under the dread hammer of some corporate risk department report, but a few — a lucky few — will find a big outlet for their ideas and change the world.
Name three areas within hospitality technology that you think are evolving the most.
- Mobile. I think we’re just scratching the surface here. The proliferation of commodity devices is truly astounding, and so far I think all we’ve collectively done is fumble around trying to do old things on new screen sizes. Something big is coming; I have no idea what it is, but there’s just no way some little team somewhere isn’t pounding away in an airplane hangar somewhere trying to knock our socks off.
- Discovery. I’m not so sure this is an evolving field, perhaps more of an emerging. With travel dollars so short, especially in the leisure space, folks are looking to maximize their experience. They’re investing much more time in “looking around” at where to go and what to do. While certainly there’s a traditional marketing aspect to this process, I think that there is an opportunity for someone to come up with interactive and social tools that help travelers engage in the “act of discovery.’
- Cloud. There surely is a lot of buzz around “it,” but not much understanding of “it.” The Cloud isn’t a single thing, but rather an enabling technology that really does allow the benefits of technology but without the headache of your very own server closet and a requirement that your maintenance guy to know how to reboot the interface server every day.
Since you’ve been in the industry, which technology do you think has changed hospitality the most?
Off the beaten path a bit, but I’m going to say OTAs, or online travel agents. OTAs darn nearly predate the web, with CompuServe allowing access to Sabre as far back as the 80’s. It’s truly remarkable to think about the power and leverage the OTAs, as a group, have claimed over even the most major of hospitality brands.
Figures vary, but as a consequence of the booking density being provided via OTAs today, hospitality managers are in a tricky spot. For a variety of reasons including costs and branding, they’re trying to bring those bookings back in house but have to avoid offending the companies that are their life blood. That’s the very definition of disruption, and the OTAs have done a great job of changing it up.
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