How Hospitality Technology Has Changed Since 1984

I had a nice surprise the other day upon arriving at the office.

Former HFTP Global President, Jules Sieburgh, CHTP, sent me a box of archive items from our history as an association and related events to HFTP and HITEC.

Among them was the very first issue of CKC Report…The Hospitality Technology Newsletter, published in May, 1984. It was published by Larry Chervenak, CHAE and edited by Joyce Christmas.

Both had a tremendous impact on the hospitality industry. As an International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame inductee, one of Larry’s contributions to our industry was his idea to create a conference devoted to hospitality technology – which ultimately became HITEC. Joyce wrote about hospitality technology before writing about technology was “cool” and was awarded the HFTP Award of Merit for her efforts.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a CKC Report since it was discontinued because of Larry and Joyce’s health and Larry’s passing. As I thumbed through it, I had a few chuckles and a bit of reflection on how different we are today.

Here are a few excerpts:

Hilton International: “Guided by Bob Bennett, Hilton Internationals’ well-planned approach to headquarters office automation is based on having provided 50 key personnel with IBM terminals, all linked to an IBM S/36. Individual microcomputers (Apple, IBM, Radio Shack) are also in use for special applications, such as budget, payroll forecasts, etc.” CKC did not report on how many HI microcomputers were in use but according to a 1983 survey, there were about 600 in use in the entire hospitality industry at that time.

Telecommunications: “For fast return on investment, plus a continuing revenue stream, phone call accounting systems are still the best buy in technology.”

About Modems: “Unless you have only occasional need to transmit and/or receive information, we suggest that you ignore those which transmit at only 300 baud. That can be frustratingly slow, especially since modems that transmit at 1200 baud don’t cost much more. (For the record: baud simply means bits per second).”

Word Perfect: “Excellent for complicated report formatting, especially when columns of numbers, are involved. However, don’t expect your receptionist (or general manager) to learn easily how to use it since the instruction manual reads like it was written by a lawyer.  (Requires two double-sided disc drives, and 128K memory.)”

HITEC: Known in 1984 as THE International Hotel Technology Conference, “It features three general sessions, 12 specialized workshops and 150 exhibit booths….To register, mail a check for $225 to…”  HITEC 2011 featured 52 educational sessions, more than 325 exhibiting companies, attendees could register online with a credit card and it cost a bit more than $225 for a full registration!

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of HITEC and the 60th anniversary of HFTP. We are looking forward to a lot of reflection and also making new memories.

Frank Wolfe, CAE is the CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and an inductee into the International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. He often speaks on hospitality technology through the GUESTROOM 20X program. Follow him on Twitter @frankwolfe.

***The picture in this post is from HITEC 1983 in Dallas, Texas (L to R) Ray Schultz, Larry Chervenak and John Pignataro.***

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