The HITEC Conference Kicks Off Today
HITEC (The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference) is the largest hospitality technology event that begins today and takes place over the course of 4 days. HITEC gives industry leaders the opportunity to discuss new technology with hospitality technology experts and to discover ways to utilize technology to meet the changing expectations of guests.
The past year has led to unprecedented changes in the Hospitality Industry and the pandemic has accelerated the use of contactless technology. Technology that was seen as an option has now become an essential part of the guest experience. HITEC will expose attendees to new technologies that will allow them to better meet guest demands of a more seamless hotel experience.
HITEC will address major industry topics such as, emerging technology in F&B, decentralized ID, direct distribution vs. third-parties, hyper-personalization, defining a digital hotel, ethical conundrums in technology, pressing cybersecurity threats and more. There will be over 250 solution providers offering attendees the opportunity to learn about creative solutions for the Hospitality Industry. HITEC is co-located with the HFTP Annual Convention, which will focus on financial management topics for clubs and hotels, along with complementary subjects such as tax law, human resources, leadership development and technology. Attendees will be exposed to numerous educational opportunities across technology and finance and can expect an informative experience with the opportunity to learn and to discuss major topics affecting the Hospitality Industry.
“The hospitality industry is starting to build back business as restrictions are lifted and people are ready to travel again; but this does not mean business as usual.” said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE. “Rather hospitality organizations over the past year-and-a-half have made numerous updates to their business models, implemented new technology and are challenged with changing guest expectations. HITEC will be a great opportunity to come and see how these have been addressed and hear first-hand on what has and hasn’t worked.”
The conference has also taken steps to ensure that safety is a priority, as we are still in the midst of the pandemic. Attendees can expect the following safety measures during the event:
- Daily sanitization of the meeting spaces, exhibit halls and common areas
- Face coverings are required
- Social distancing in all meeting spaces
- All host hotel staff will be masked
- Minimization of touch areas and products for attendees
- Unique design of the HITEC trade show floor, including 20-ft. cross aisles
- Two on-site first aid centers and an isolation area in case of illness
- Welcome Reception will be in an indoor/outdoor space
Rundown of First Day Events from HITEC
HITEC kicked off today in Dallas, Texas with the registration process where attendees who pre-registered were required to display QR codes or to display printed copies, on-site registration was also available. Attendees also had access to the HFTP/ HITEC Events mobile app, an interactive tool that allows attendees to organize their event experience. The app allows attendees to connect with other participants and exhibitors through the in-app correspondence capabilities. The app allows attendees to register for each event, it also enables messaging, meeting requests and enables the sharing of contact information.
No More Nightmares: How to Budget Technology Expenses
This was an interactive session that addressed the purchase and implementation of new software and hardware on property. Attendees received guidance on the technology implementation process in order to minimize effort and experimentation and maximize outcomes. This lecture gave attendees a greater understanding of existing technologies and their processes.
- Attendees reviewed the request for proposal (RFP) for technology projects and the costs associated with RFP completion such as PMS implementation.
- Attendees learned how to include technology costs in the RFP, including the total cost of ownership and capital versus subscription models
- Attendees learned how to identify ancillary expenses when moving toward cloud computing and weigh the pros and cons of cloud-based technology.
- Attendees explored cost specifics of emerging technologies, ancillary expenses to technology, and bandwidth.
- Attendees examined interfacing, integration and software upgrade best practices.
Decentralized Identity: Whose ID Is It Anyway?
This session provided attendees with an overview of Decentralized Identity and the underlying theme of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI). Lecture participants reviewed key applications that would be beneficial to hotels and learned how to launch a Decentralized ID project in their own hotels. The lecture was primarily devoted to how hotel enterprises would benefit from embracing new technology that empowered the individual.
- Attendees learned about Decentralized Identity (ID) and Self-Sovereign Identification (SSI).
- Attendees got an understanding of the social and business drivers that propel these technologies into the marketplace.
- Attendees gained knowledge on how Decentralized ID benefits both the consumer and the merchant, especially a hotel company.
- Attendees learned which underlying technologies are required and how they must be orchestrated.
- Attendees learned how to launch a Decentralized ID project in their own hotel company.
The Next Wave in Hotel Development: What Is a Digital Hotel – and Are They Hiring?
This session addressed key questions about the rise of digital hotels. Many digital hotels claim to deliver a tech-forward, mobile-first guest experience. This lecture gave attendees valuable insight into the Silicon Valley hotel business, their investors and what they are doing differently compared to others in the hotel business.
- Attendees learned how to define a digital hotel.
- Attendees learned how to identify some of the infant brands that fit the description of a digital hotel.
- Attendees got an understanding of how these hotels differ from the big box brand type of hotel.
- Attendees explored how and why sophisticated investors from outside the hotel industry are buying into these disruptors, and what can be learned from them.
Enseo’s Benefit Concert
Enseo’s benefit concert took place in the evening and featured Texas fare food trucks, drinks and live entertainment. The concert is in support of Get Shift Done, a local North Texas non-profit that connects the affected hospitality workforce with local non-profits to serve and provide hunger relief to communities.
TraknProtect’s Real Time Location Platform at HITEC
TracknProtect displayed its real time location platform at HITEC. The location based technology is designed to help hotels operate more efficiently during employment shortages by integrating location data into their safety and operations systems. As a result of the pandemic, less employees are doing more but that does not have to take away from the guest experience.
TraknProtect’s Inventory Tracking Solution
The TraknProtect’s inventory tracking solution lets hotels keep track of and know the exact location of guest requested items such as rollaway beds, refrigerators and cribs.
TraknProtect’s Room Tray Tracking Solution
TraknProtect’s room tray tracking solution allows hotels to offer room service but eliminates the clutter of room trays in the hallways. The room tray tracking solution uses Bluetooth Low Energy tracking to keep hotel corridors and public spaces free of clutter. This eliminates the need for hotel employees to walk through halls to locate used room trays. The tray tracking solution automates the process by sending an alert when trays are in the hallway, allowing staff to remove it quickly.
TraknProtect’s TraknKleen System
The TraknKleen system monitors housekeeping progress through location data that shows the date, the time and the duration of cleaning and helps hotels to identify available rooms and rooms that required additional cleaning. TraknKleen keeps track of which areas were cleaned and the duration of the cleaning, hotels can utilize the solution to improve housekeeping in guestrooms, elevators, hotel gym and lobby areas. Users can record notes and take pictures directly through the TraknKleen app. The solution is designed to share real time access to cleanliness protocols and relevant information to reassure guests of the hotel’s commitment to a clean and safe experience.
TraknProtect’s Employee Safety Buttons
As a result of the pandemic, hotels are operating with fewer staff and staff that are working alone, which has the potential to create an unsafe environment. TraknProtect’s safety button/ panic buttons are designed to provide alerts when an employee requires immediate assistance. Panic buttons show the employee’s precise location and sends real time updates in the event the employee’s location changes. Panic buttons help hotels to better ensure the safety of their staff and also to adhere to panic button legal requirements that many states and cities have put in place.
Hub OS at HITEC Dallas
Many solution providers were on hand at HITEC to display their solutions designed for the Hospitality Industry. Seidor and Hub OS joined forces to create a solution to aid in the industry’s recovery. Hub OS is an automated platform that maximizes the hotel operations performance, in areas of Housekeeping, Maintenance, Food and Beverage, Quality, Energy, Engineering and Construction (E&C) for openings and renovations, Guest in Touch and Corporate. Hub OS offers 8 solutions in 1 platform that can be implemented in as little as 2 weeks. The solution can be integrated with PMS and is also available as a mobile app that works seamlessly on smartphones and tablets.
According to Alex Garcia, CFO and Business Unit Leader at SEIDOR USA, “there is no better place for hoteliers in the search of cost-effective ways to improve their hotel operations, access to top hospitality technology industry experts, tech talks, resources and more than at HITEC in Dallas – all together in one place.”
Alex Ridaura, CEO at Hub OS, said: “it’s been an amazing year for Hub OS around the world. From Spain and Australia to United Arab Emirates and America, we are now delighted to have the opportunity to showcase our platform with Seidor at the HITEC event in Dallas. Stop by our booth and let’s talk about all things you need help in your hotel operations. We’re excited on getting you on board as we already do with 600+ hotels in 30+ countries.”
Hub OS Solution Highlights:
· Maintenance: management of preventive and corrective maintenance of the hotel
· Housekeeping: task allocation, attendant management, and productivity control
· Quality: improve the guest experience and minimize repeated complaints
· E&C Openings & Renovations: snagging list and the technical audits of the equipment
· Guest in Touch: contactless communication between the guest and the hotel
· F&B: manage bookings of the hotel outlets and the entrance to the breakfast service
· Energy: analysis of Energy KPIs for a proper efficient management and decision making
· Corporate: management of contracts, suppliers, orders and capex at a corporative level
Virgin Hotels and Virdee’s Self Check-In at HITEC Dallas
Virgin Hotels partnered with Virdee to implement a virtual reception solution that allow hotels to offer an enhanced digital check-in experience. Virdee kiosks aims to create a seamless hotel experience with the option for an expedited and efficient check-in. The solution works in conjunction with Virgin Hotel’s mobile application “Lucy” and enables guests with options to check-in with their mobile devices or with the kiosks.
On arrival, guests can access their reservations through the Virdee Identity, which can utilize either the advanced biometrics solutions or through the two-factor authentication. Guests can make payments, sign terms and conditions and make special requests through the kiosks. The kiosks also allow guests to complete transactions through the one button remote assistance feature. Once transactions are completed, keys are dispensed for guests to access guestrooms. The solution allows members of Virgin Hotel’s loyalty program to automatically match and retrieve their information and provides non-members with a simple sign-up experience.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Virdee to provide all hotel guests the option to securely check-in on the device they feel most comfortable with,” said Denise Walker, VP of Information Technology at Virgin Hotels. “With recovery under way and in the era of ‘contactless everything,’ it’s imperative that we continue to prioritize our guests’ safety. Virdee’s solutions allow us to bring a personalized, fully digital check-in experience ensuring each visitor has a tailor check in process.”
“We are proud to announce this partnership with one of the most innovative and cutting-edge hotel brands in our industry,” said Virdee Co-Founder Nadav Cornberg. “As Virdee and Virgin Hotels continue to grow their partnership, we’ll debut advanced technology features that will push the industry forward, helping reduce operating costs while improving the guest experience.”