How HFTP Discourages Pirate Exhibitors at HITEC

HITEC exhibitors invest a lot of time, money and resources to come to HITEC each year and share their products and solutions with the hospitality industry. Because of this, HFTP (the producers of HITEC) protects the investment of the vendors that support HITEC.

Celebrating 40 years, HITEC is considered to be the hospitality technology industry’s must-attend event, annually gathering many influential industry players. It is an opportune time for vendors to gain a significant audience, leading to numerous satellite events and promotions hosted by exhibitors and non-exhibitors alike.

One way HFTP maintain the show’s high value is by doing all it can to educate constituents about pirate exhibitors and this practice. Companies, non-exhibitors, that attempt to circumvent the system should be on notice that HFTP will do everything it can to protect the integrity of HITEC.

And how do we do that? Well, we start with educating everyone on what to look for.

What’s a pirate exhibitor?

I know that sounds funny and can be confusing. I mean, it’s not like you will see people in pirate outfits walking around the show. So how do you know if someone is a pirate exhibitor?

Well, sometimes even pirate exhibitors don’t realize they’re pirate exhibitors.

But basically, any vendor not exhibiting at the show but trying to do business at or near the convention center is considered a pirate exhibitor.

Some approach you in the exhibit hall aisles to talk about their product.

Some give product demonstrations in common areas of the convention center (like the food court, Recharge Zones and other seating areas).

And some invite you to a separate hotel to give a demonstration of their product.

To help you easily identify HITEC exhibitors, we now have colored badges. Official HITEC exhibitors will be wearing yellow tinted badges. It will be easy for you to know if you are doing business with an official HITEC exhibitor.

You can also familiarize yourself with the HITEC exhibitors — all listed in the HITEC Buyer’s Guide.

What else does HFTP do to discourage pirate exhibitors?

HFTP is enacting measures to discourage pirate exhibitors, including rules prohibiting unofficial companies from associating themselves with HITEC, stepping-up security and increasing awareness of the issue among HITEC constituents and official HITEC hotels.

Some techniques we employ are:

  • Vigorous promotion of the official HITEC exhibitor list, hotel room blocks and allied organizations;
  • Increasing security at HITEC 2012;
  • Attendee and exhibitor awareness of the issue;
  • Aggressive defense of HITEC and HFTP service marks;
  • Attendee volunteers who provide show organizers with copies of product demonstration invitations; and
  • Increasing cooperation from the official HITEC hotels to notify HFTP of meeting space requests.

As a result of HFTP’s continual pirate awareness campaign, attendees in the past have notified the association of non-exhibiting vendor events. In response, HFTP contacts the event’s hosts to inform them of their violation and its negative impact on HITEC.

While some pirate exhibitors know they are participating in an unethical practice, many non-exhibiting, new industry players don’t realize that such actions devalue the show for exhibiting vendors.

What can you do?

If you believe you see something suspicious or you’ve been approached by non-exhibiting vendors with invitations to attend product demonstrations, please contact HITEC show management. You can e-mail us at or you can go to the onsite Registration Desk in Pratt St Lobby of the Baltimore Convention Center.

We appreciate you helping to keep HITEC as the premiere hospitality technology show and look forward to seeing you in Baltimore soon.

Jennifer Lee is the director of marketing for HFTP.

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