For us being a company involved in Hotel IT and headquarterd in Europe today was a quite exciting day: Global HFTP President Lyle Worthington and Carson Booth chairman of the advisory council opened the first European HITEC in Amsterdam. After a full day of various Keynotes, Sessions, Panels, walking the Show Floor and many conversations at our booth it is quite clear that such an event was really missing and everybody seems to be convinced that this was the first step of an ongoing success story.
For me two things stand out. First, the buzzword these days is “Disruption”. From Virtual Reality to Artificial Intelligence to Robotics – all what is evolving in Technology in general was part of many conversations and predicted as being disruptive. And while this is very fine and exciting and will change many things (not only) in this industry in more ways many imagine today, there is also a certain discrepancy here with reality. This reality was exactly the second most mentioned topic, namely why especially the Hotel industry is by almost all benchmarks among those industries spending the least on technology, being one of the most restrictive ones when it is about deploying new technology or changing processes. Of course – and thankfully – there are exceptions, and they certainly will lead the way.
The second thing is, that – finally – it gets more and more common understanding that IT is no longer a closed “department”. When through room management systems a not working curtain all of a sudden is an IT issue it is clear that there are no useful clear boundaries between engineering and IT anymore. So it was part of the discussions how to make these two departments cooperate better in the future since there have some “sensitivities” developed during the last years. I was joking with a colleague, that giving them the marketing department as a common enemy might work but of course this was just sarcastic. But it demonstrates somehow the point: technology is an ever more important part of every aspect – be it marketing, guest experience, back of house, supply chain, you name it – that it is very vital to establish really good relationships between IT and all this departments. While they can bring ideas and business cases to the table, IT certainly knows a lot about how to accomplish these while having an eye on security at the same time.
Looking forward to day two and all the best HITEC Europe for a successful future.