Education and Technology Combine at the 2013 HITEC Conference
Educational sessions, both on and off the showfloor, were a common sight at the 2013 HITEC conference in Minneapolis, Minn. This year’s show focused on the combination of digital technology and engagement with hospitality clients on all levels, from bookings through check out.
And, with more than 700 booths and 275,000 square feet of space, the exhibitors certainly matched this theme to engage the nearly 5,000 attendees.
This year’s show ran June 24-27 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and looked at new and innovative ways to incorporate technology to impact the bottom line, without impacting the client experience.
“Consumers are getting savvier, and the hospitality industry has to keep up,” said Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO of Hospitality Financial & Technology professionals, which runs the show.
He added, “The HITEC conference is a great venue for education and technology to come together for that endeavor. We had a record number of attendees last year, and are set to hit that same number this year, which demonstrates the commitment of the attendees to learning about new technologies from some of the top leaders in the industry.”
HITEC is a valuable platform to showcase not only new products and services, but also make announcements regarding companies in the industry.
There was a big unveiling of the rebranded Sonifi, formerly LodgeNet, on the first day of the show.
“We knew the best place to do our rebranding was at HITEC,” said Roland Alonzi, vice president account director. “We set the stage at HITEC for our new chapter, to announce both our new name and commitment to our customers. Announcing at HITEC just made sense to us, combining our exhibit with the unveiling of our new brand.”
There were some new ways to interact, engage and learn at the show this year. Tech Tours allowed attendees to interact with specific exhibitors before the show officially opened for the day, and Tech Talks provided lightning fast educational sessions on the show floor.
“The industry has changed so much over the last 20 years, and HITEC has done a great job of keeping up with those changes,” said Mark Pate, Sr., assistant controller/IT at High Pointe Hotel Corporation. “Both the Tech Tours and Tech Talks on the show floor allowed the education, and the conversation, to continue in a unique format.”
HITEC also introduced a gamification piece to the puzzle, using the gaming platform from SCANVenger Hunt to educate, provide questions to promote interactions between exhibitors and attendees and to encourage the attendees to have some fun at the show.
As a first time attendee, Anthony Maggio, director of business development at CheckMate, said the super sessions were beyond impressive.
“I attended the talk on the Rise of the Metamediaries with a panel of speakers that was fantastic. Room 77, TripAdvisor, Facebook Travel, Google Travel: such great discussions and insight into where the industry is headed. We came to just attend, but exhibiting at next year’s show is a definite possibility,” he added.
“This is a great venue for learning, exploring new technology, and coming together to showcase the great things happening in the hospitality industry,” said Steven Stout, CAE, director of Meetings and Special Events, HFTP. “We are already looking forward to next year.”
Next year’s show will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center June 23-26.