Written by: Artak Gevorgian, CHAE, MBA — Official HITEC® Minneapolis 2019 Guest Blogger
You can have the greatest ideas, methods and talent — but if your event (from organizers to exhibitors) cannot deliver a quality guest experience, people will not come back. More than 6,000 people attended HITEC Minneapolis. Superior event arrangements can help to ensure more predictable attendance and productive experiences (the freedom of interacting and connecting), but also help make future event promotions less dependent on heavy advertising, and more on positive word-of-mouth and networking (which is priceless).
When you interact with exhibitors, you help them maximize their marketing dollars and prevent throwing hard-earned cash down the drain by identifying the rate of return on their marketing investments. Within the week following HITEC, I received follow-up emails offering demo version introductions from more than 12 companies with different hospitality IT solutions and products. I had stopped by these booths during HITEC and had my badge scanned or exchanged business cards. This is a pretty amazing practice and a nice way to connect in an entrepreneurial manner.
At the same time, it is very exciting to see people you may have met before — either at HFTP Annual Convention or by business your companies were doing together at some other point in time.
It was of course great to see again Joshua Bergen (with Venza, a HITEC 2019 exhibitor and sponsor). I also enjoyed the interactive training session where I experienced a conversation with “unhappy guest” at front desk… Wow! I would be remiss not to mention reconnecting with Sherry Marek and Bonnie Shetters-Wise of DataVision Technologies — as well as HFTP’s leadership (Frank Wolfe and others) and devoted team members (Victoria Schaefer and others) along with young professionals volunteering at the event, helping to establish an atmosphere of #HITEC connection.
I also had an unexpected meeting with an old business colleague, Oleg Kudrin from HRS (Hospitality & Retail Systems), with whom I have not seen in about five years after I left the Eastern Europe, Russia and CIS region to the Middle East. It was truly reconnecting event for both of us.
If HITEC attendees and exhibitors did not leave HITEC as dreamers with plenty of ideas, they at least left with the entrepreneurial connections they established at HITEC that can benefit their businesses and careers moving forward. People are hardwired to pool their resources and form connections. This is human nature. New connections can help you find the answers you need or uncover new data that helps you move forward in your own business.
Connections and relationships do not develop mechanically or automatically. You must invest time and effort in connecting to other people. After returning home, attendees/exhibitors must reach out to their “connections made” regularly in order to build fruitful relationships. This requires being proactive and fearless. These sustained relationships enable entrepreneurs to benefit from multiple aspects of the #HITEC connection.
Artak Gevorgian is multi-property director of finance, W Muscat and JW Marriott Muscat with Marriott International in Oman, Middle East. He is an official event guest blogger for HITEC Minneapolis 2019, taking place June 17–20 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA. Check back on HFTP Connect for more of Artak’s experiences at HITEC this year.