Press Releases: Press Releases

HTNG Announces Details and Speakers for European Hotel Technology Week

Monday, October 17, 2011  

CHICAGO (October 17, 2011) – Participants attending the annual European conference of the non-profit trade association Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) will benefit from the real-world experience of top industry experts about planning and deploying a wide range of technology advances in hospitality. Topics on the agenda for the event in Berlin starting 14 November include a keynote about the global travel market as well as sessions covering above-property systems, data security and PCI compliance, open-source software, environmentally friendly hotels, entertainment systems, and more.

As part of an annual event planned by hospitality technologists for hospitality technologists, HTNG’s conferences are renowned for providing unmatched thought-leadership sessions that have brought together the top technology minds in the industry for six consecutive years, and created the largest conference in Europe dedicated to hospitality technology. To expand on this mission and ensure the greatest benefit to the industry, HTNG has this year opened up the event, which was formerly limited to HTNG members, to all hoteliers – members or not (vendors are still required to be members). In addition, the association has significantly reduced the registration fee for hoteliers, to only €100 for the entire two-day conference.

“Hotel technology executives who have attended in past years tell us this is the most valuable hotel technology event in Europe, and we want all of their European peers to have the opportunity to experience it first-hand,” said HTNG’s CEO Douglas Rice. “In addition to a best-in-class conference program, it is an excellent opportunity for hoteliers to learn about many of the ideas that HTNG members are developing to benefit the entire industry, and to learn why large and small hotel groups from around the world are joining our cooperative efforts to advance the state of technology in our industry.” Hoteliers can also view many of the latest technologies from leading vendors in the conference exhibition area. “We are extremely pleased to see the caliber and numbers of hoteliers who have already registered for this year’s event,” said Rice, who noted that this included 25 of the top global and regional IT executives from the region’s best known hotel brands, as well as numerous corporate distribution and technical leaders, IT managers at major hotels, and others.

The conference is the main event within a full week of HTNG meetings. Immediately preceding this year’s conference will be the third annual Hotel IT Directors’ Roundtable. This exclusive collaborative event is available at no charge to qualified hotel IT executives, who share experiences and perspectives on the greatest challenges facing their hotel IT teams. The Hotel IT Directors’ Roundtable convenes on Monday 14 November at noon, just prior to the HTNG European Conference. The main conference starts with a Monday evening welcome reception and continues with general sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, 15-16 November. The HTNG Infrastructure & Device Forum, where working groups of members collaborate to implement many solutions to the industry’s technology challenges, will meet on Thursday and Friday.

The agenda for the main conference includes sessions from some of the leading technology names in the hotel community, technology vendor community and industry associations. These distinguished experts and some of their unique sessions include:

  •  Keynote: A Global Outlook on Travel and Tourism - Geoffrey Breeze, Marketing Director for World Travel & Tourism Council. Budget airlines in Asia, Japan’s recovery from tsunami, the Arab Spring, environmental awareness in India, America’s homeland security, the price of oil – CHINA! What’s going on in the world that changes the Travel & Tourism business? And how are those changes impacting the hotel industry in Europe? Sixty years on from Conrad Hilton coining his motto "World Peace through International Trade and Travel," are we closer or further away from his ideal?
  •  Guest Entertainment: Challenges & Opportunities, Richard Barnes, Editor-in-Chief, Cleverdis, Panel Moderator. Few aspects of hotel technology have changed as fast in the past two years as guest entertainment. This lively panel will include two senior hotel IT executives, two senior executives from display manufacturers, and two senior executives from integrators, and will address such issues as Internet TV, whether to invest in bandwidth or content, and the changing role of the integrator in a world of IP-ready TV sets.
  •  Journey towards PCI Compliance - Christian Palomino, IT Operations, Network & Security Director, Meliá Hotels International. PCI compliance has been the biggest challenge of recent years for global hotel companies, and the need for security has never been greater. Meliá Hotels International, the largest hotel group in Spain, recently completed a major project to bring its IT systems into PCI compliance. Speakers who led that effort will describe that journey and the challenges and obstacles that they needed to overcome. They will also discuss a major industry effort being led by HTNG members and supported by most of the world’s major hotel groups, to help simplify the process of securing credit card data in hotels and removing most hotel systems from PCI scope.
  •  Above-Property Hotel Systems: PMS and Beyond - Bryan Hammer, Regional IT Director for EMEA, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Starwood Hotels & Resorts has been moving key systems above property for several years, and has recently completed a European migration of the Property Management System. This session will help you understand what they have found to be feasible and practical, as well as some of the challenges.
  •  Guest Experience & Customer Profile - Micah Friedman, Director, Hospitality Industry, Oracle. This session will define Customer Experience Management and explain how it can help you increase customer satisfaction while increasing revenues. Focusing on decomposing customers, their needs, and experiences, the speaker will identify the components of a CEM strategy and how it can help hotels keep up with changing customer expectations and create a differentiated experience. He will also highlight HTNG's new workgroup to expand and standardize the definition of customer profile, and how this will help hotels and vendors alike.
  •  Open Source Hospitality: No Free Lunches - Mark Regensberg, Director of Information Technology, Extrabold Hotel Management. The Travel and Hospitality industry have always been forerunners in the use of technology, and our reliance on technology to deliver the best guest experience possible has never been greater. The session will cover a hotel management company's use of Open Source Software in daily operations, examine open source from a vendor and support perspective and offer a view on the future of open source in the hospitality industry.
  •  Impact of Search Engines on Technology - Jérôme Destors, IT Director-Hospitality, Amadeus. Search engines have undergone massive changes in recent years as they have become socially and location-aware. Amadeus will bring its perspective, providing insight about the impact on hotel technology from these news channels (changes in search patterns and volumes’ implications) and also about the technology solutions to respond to those changes.
  •  Impact of Mobile Devices on the Hotel Wireless Network - Tom Duke, CTO, iBAHN. Guests routinely bring two, three, or even more mobile devices into the hotel, and are using them not just for e-mail and web-browsing, but increasingly to stream entertainment programming and to run video-rich applications. This trend isn’t slowing down, and will have dramatic implications for the hotel’s wireless network infrastructure. Hear about the latest research into guest behaviour as well as expert forecasts of the future, and learn what you can do to prepare to meet your future guests’ expectations.
  •  Lessons from the Leading Edge: Technology in New Opening Hotels - Mark Campbell, CIO, The Dorchester Collection. New 5-star boutique hotels can be a great testing ground for new guest-room technologies. There are many new opportunities to deliver superior guest service, but integration is always a challenge. 45 Park Lane is one of the newest high-end boutique hotels in London, and has implemented some of the latest ideas. This session will highlight both the successes and challenges of getting systems to work together to serve the guest.
  •  Mobility: A Multifaceted Impact on Hotel IT – Daniel Krisch, Director Client Services, H2C Consulting. Not a day goes by in the life of a hotel IT executive that something new isn’t happening in mobility. Mobility is changing distribution, the way guests interact with the hotel, the way they entertain themselves while at the hotel, and the way that hotel staff receive and act on information. This session will explore the nature of these changes and help IT executives and software vendors cope with the rapid pace of change.
  •  Using Technology to Save the Environment - Michael Zetterlund, Project Manager IT Development, Nordic Choice Hotels. Nordic Choice Hotels has always been at the forefront of energy efficiency in its hotels. In recent years it has implemented numerous energy-saving measures based on technology, including some that required modifications to its PMS that have not been implemented at other hotel companies. With energy being the second-largest controllable cost at most hotels, this session will provide you with practical ideas for using technology to reduce the carbon footprint of your operation, without inconveniencing guests or staff.
  •  Leveraging HTNG Efforts to Benefit Your Hotels Several short sessions will highlight industry efforts led by HTNG, which can help you better meet the needs of guests, staff and owners – while saving money.

 The association’s Executive Vice President & CEO, Douglas Rice, will also provide an update on the HTNG’s most recent accomplishments in meeting the association’s purpose and share plans about its future direction.

In all, the meeting will provide hotel technology experts with leading-edge knowledge on technology best practices, improving the guest experience through faster and more robust deployment of technology, and a better understanding of gains to be made by upcoming enhancements in hospitality technology. For more details about the meeting, specifics on the sessions, the Hotel IT Director Roundtable, or registration for any of the week’s events, visit http://www.htng.org/europe.