Written By: Katerina Berezina, Ph.D., CHTP, CRME
Many of us grew up learning about and experiencing the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall and winter. I was never interested in this topic so much, but ever since I moved to Florida I often hear people around me talking about how they miss “the seasons.” But what is so special about them? I think that the progression of seasons symbolizes the circle of life for people, the change, the rejuvenation and innovation, the moving forward. Every season covers a certain period of the year and comes with specific weather, but also with things that we do during that time and like about that season. As we move through our lives, we may observe that there are other seasons in a year that may not be recognized by everybody, but are very special for us. I think that for those in the hospitality technology field HITEC may very well be the fifth season of the year.
HITEC comes with unbelievable energy. Just like we recognize the beginning of a spring, we always feel when HITEC is coming. HITEC starts with an incredible movement of ideas, people, shipments and everything that comes together to produce this event. It is always so exciting to read in the e-mail or a social media post about the keynote speakers, educational sessions and vendors coming to HITEC. As the largest hospitality technology show in the world, HITEC brings together hospitality professionals, vendors, consultants, professors and students to share the knowledge, learn, build professional networks and collaborate on the future hospitality technology developments. In order to have the best experience during the HITEC season and get the most out of it, you should prepare well. The HITEC schedule is already available. It is a great idea to preview the sessions’ schedules in order to select those that are of most interest to you. And, with several concurrent sessions, very often the choice is tough! Also, you may want to take a benefit of scheduling your meetings in advance – with that incredible energy everyone’s schedules at HITEC fill up pretty fast.
And, what about the weather during the HITEC season? Well, good news is that HITEC is always hot! Similar to this year’s host city, New Orleans, HITEC is always hot with the latest information technology trends and innovations. HITEC offers something for different tastes and interests: payment security, big data, revenue management technology, entrepreneurship and investment in technology, and so much more. Personally, I am looking forward to learning more about robotic technologies and insightful data visualization. Also, you will always learn a lot just by walking on the exhibit floor, talking to vendors and other professionals. Last year, I enjoyed a Tech Tour that allowed me to learn about several technologies in a guided tour with a small group. In order to maximize your HITEC 2016 learning experience you should install the HITEC 2016 mobile app (you may download it from Apple Store or Google Play). Please take advantage of this app to stay on top of your schedule during HITEC. When you set up your profile, you will have a choice to receive notifications about the educational sessions, downloadable session materials, overall conference events and participate in the Scavenger Hunt happening at HITEC.
Just like any other season, HITEC also brings us some leisure time and favorite things to do. Every year I am excited for HITEC not only because of educational opportunities and new technologies that I am about to see, but also because of the chance to see the HFTP family. HITEC is put together with the hospitality at heart. This year stop by the HFTP booth to meet the symbol of hospitality – the Pineapple! Also, there will be time to catch up with old friends, make new ones, relax at the HFTP lounge, play the Scavenger Hunt, unwind at the Opening Party and experience New Orleans.
This sounds like a very good season to me. So, get ready, HITEC is coming!
Katerina Berezina, Ph.D., CHTP, CRME is an official 2016 HITEC Guest Blogger, and an Assistant Professor in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Leadership (CHTL) at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM). She also serves as a Coordinator of the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation. Her industry experience includes working in travel agencies and hotels in Russia and the United States. Follow her on Twitter at @KateBerezina.