Written By: Kara Heermans, an official guest blogger for HITEC Houston 2018
I hope you have not forgotten the excitement of HITEC® Houston already — but I know how quickly returning to a large inbox and a pile of to-do items can cast aside your intentions for all those good ideas garnered from the conference. While it is tempting to throw a couple new pens in your desk drawer, entertain your kids with the blinking fidget spinners, and let the stack of business cards start to gather dust until HITEC next year… DON’T!
Especially those “aha” moments that gave you an inspiration or aspiration to do something more – those are the ideas that can give you a competitive advantage. Maybe it’s an integration that provides extra delight for your guests. Or perhaps it is time to upgrade that old legacy software that has been making life difficult for your staff. Let’s not let these inspirations be swept under by the daily grind!
I had several inspirations of my own at the show from listening to dozens of hoteliers, executives and technology partners. On the show floor this year, that spirit of collaboration I mentioned before seemed to combine with an attitude of ‘We could really do this.’ It was moving to see what began as justifiable skepticism around new technologies shift to acceptance, then a pilot, and now to commercialization. I am energized to implement many of the ideas my team gathered so that we can be back in a year with more progress to show to our customers.
Grab that pile of cards and start evaluating carefully. Will this partner solve a problem or improve a service issue at your property? Would investing in this product be a band-aid, or a go-forward future-proof solution? Is the product in pilot or a production-ready stage? In-room tablets, for example, were a common theme – How are guests using them, can they be monitored, and most importantly, are they right for your brand experience?
And do not let dollars scare you. If you saw something you would like to have at your property, but know you don’t have the budget yet, it is still a good time to talk with the solution provider. Be upfront and realistic about your timelines. A quality partner will be willing to provide the detailed information you need to plan for the future and there may be options to phase in a solution incrementally or provide financing. These kinds of conversations should put you at ease and give you confidence in selecting a vendor who can be a trusted partner understanding your needs today and tomorrow, and start to realize those inspirations as real-world results.
Need to refresh your memory? The HITEC Houston website is still a great resource or visit #HITECTX to relive some of the highlights. Let’s connect, and be responsive. Find each other on LinkedIn, have more conversations, and keep the ball moving. But don’t wait to get started. One thing that was obvious at HITEC Houston: tomorrow’s technology is already here, and the industry is presently seeking out what’s next. I look forward to seeing many of you along the way and again in Minneapolis next year!
Kara Heermans, vice president of product management and user experience at Sonifi Solutions, is an official guest blogger for HITEC® Houston 2018, held June 18–21, 2018 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas USA.