Cybersecurity, Privacy Concerns and Latest Tech on Minds of HITEC Attendees

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of emails from Hotel Business featuring coverage of this year’s HITEC. 

MINNEAPOLIS—Thousands of attendees are here at the 2019 edition of HITEC at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and Hotel Business spoke with a number of them to find out why they are attending the show and what they are looking for in the latest technology.

“The conference is a great annual opportunity to reconnect in person with many industry peers, get updates on current trends in the industry and to hopefully discover a new product or service that will enhance our hotel assets,” said Jim O’Hara, CFO, PM Hotel Group. “The areas that I will be focusing on are cybersecurity/PCI compliance, products that help reduce margin erosion by controlling costs and products aligned with the new brand standards in in-room guest entertainment.”

Diane Fox, SVP, CHMWarnick, is also interested in data privacy and regulation, a topic she said is of high importance to owners.

Business intelligence and Artificial Intelligence are also top of mind for her as they’re areas of focus for the company. “We’ve recently invested heavily in developing an asset management technology platform called Proph+IT, which allows us to harness the power of big data from an ownership lens to optimize hospitality investments,” she said.

Gustaaf Schrils, chief information officer, White Lodging, has a number of categories on his radar here at the conference. “This year, I am looking for IoT integration, meaning all of the devices, systems and applications that can leverage the hotel network to increase both guest satisfaction and employee efficiency,” he said. “I am also interested in keeping up with brand standards surrounding the TV in the guestroom, from casting and streaming to content management and delivery, and am very anxious to see what the vendors have to showcase.”

Attendees are expecting to come away from this year’s edition with new information and ideas, as they have done in previous years. “I have implemented several systems after visiting HITEC,” said Sam Johnson, VP of operations, The Hotel Group. “The most memorable for me was being an early adopter of the portable power Kube systems. This was a game changer for us, especially in our F&B outlets, where we had limited access for guests to be able to plug in and charge their devices. This has now been a long-standing relationship, and we just installed one of their in-room solutions in our hotel that opened last week.”

Johnathan Capps, VP of revenue, Charlestowne Hotels, has gained a great deal from attending previous editions of the show. “One of our larger PMS vendors was discovered at HITEC many years ago, and in most recent years, we’ve used HITEC to have a second or third review of a product that we were looking to test, which includes an IT vendor and a hotel operations platform,” he said.