HTNG's Second Annual Conference Draws Record Attendance of Industry Leaders
Thursday, March 16, 2006
CHICAGO (March 16, 2006) – 250 hotel technology leaders gathered in Dallas last week for the second annual conference of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG). They celebrated the accomplishments of HTNG’s workgroups, assessed its priorities for the coming year, and enjoyed the first in a series of Thought Leadership programs for hospitality technology. The record attendance included more than 100 “C-level” executives from both hotels and technology vendors, and represented a 55% increase in attendance over 2005.
“The 2006 HTNG annual conference was the best and most useful hotel technology conference I have been to in several years,” said attendee Les Kornberg, Vice President of Technology Strategy and Architecture for Hilton Hotels Corporation. “Not only is HTNG ‘spot on’ in where we need to take hotel technology, but the addition of the Thought Leadership concept to their conference adds even more value.”
Updates on Workgroup Deliverables
HTNG’s four active workgroups provided updates of their progress, focusing on the business value they are delivering to hotels. The Property Distribution Workgroup highlighted the progress they have made in the implementation of common, OTA-compliant, “plug-and-play” specifications, and charted their plans to be launching a branding and certification program for their specifications around mid-year. The Property Web Services Workgroup highlighted several new initiatives it is developing to show at HITEC 2006 in Minneapolis, and the In-Room Technology Workgroup outlined their specification design for a converged set-top box device and mobile device docking, and updated the group on their progress in media content, IP telephony, and wireless infrastructure. The newly launched Architecture Workgroup also provided an overview of their efforts to create a common roadmap for the hospitality technology space.
Robert Bennett, Chief Information Officer of Ginn Clubs and Resorts, said “the recent HTNG annual conference reconfirmed my belief that HTNG is making a valuable contribution to the hospitality industry by producing tangible and beneficial products that no other organization or supplier could do alone.” Yvette Vincent, Manager of Internet and Information Management at Delaware North Companies, Inc., said “HTNG participation is radically changing the way hoteliers think about the products they buy. We no longer have to wait to see if vendors will create something we need, rather, we are working with our vendors to drive the changes we need in a holistic manner.” Industry consultant Jon Inge, President of Jon Inge & Associates, said “I was impressed with the organization, teamwork, and progress of the workgroups.”
The HTNG conference drew nearly three dozen international attendees. Fraser Hickox, General Manager of Research and Technology for Peninsula Group, was one of nine attendees who traveled from the Asia-Pacific region in order to attend. Hickox said “I am convinced that HTNG is becoming an important forum not only to share views with vendors, but fellow hoteliers.” Australian consultant Ted Horner, winner of the 2004 HFTP Technology Hall of Fame Award, said “I attend a lot of events around the world and have to say that HTNG Conference was brilliant – excellent sessions with good speakers and content. It was well worth the time and cost and I will definitely attend next year.”
HTNG also announced that it would hold its first European conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, October 11-13. “There is a great deal of energy among HTNG’s European members, and the time is right to establish a local presence in that market,” said Douglas Rice, HTNG Executive Director.
HTNG recognized six individuals with Leadership Awards for their roles in the three workgroups that were active during 2005. Juan Gasparini of IDeaS received the 2005 Director’s Leadership Award, presented by the HTNG Board of Directors to the single individual who, during 2005, most exemplified the spirit of HTNG’s cooperative efforts. Two leadership awards were also made for each workgroup, one to a hotelier and one to a vendor, based on voting by the members of the workgroup. The awards were presented by HTNG President Nick Price, CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group; by HTNG Vice President Barry Shuler, Senior Vice President and CTO of Marriott International; and by HTNG Executive Director Douglas Rice.
- Yvette Vincent of Delaware North Companies and Sophie Grigg of PAR Springer-Miller Systems were recognized for their contributions to the Property Web Services Workgroup.
- Robert Bennett of Ginn Clubs and Resorts and Angela Landon of Cisco Systems were cited for their leadership in the In-Room Technology Workgroup.
- Alex Lee of Hyatt and Juan Gasparini of IDeaS were honored for their role in the Property Distribution Workgroup.
Thought Leadership Program Introduced
At the conference, HTNG unveiled its new Thought Leadership program. Douglas Rice, Executive Director of HTNG, said “Our board set out the objective of creating a program that would challenge the status quo in thinking about new technologies. Recognizing that the vendors are often the ones with the best technical expertise, we created a structure that ensures that our Thought Leadership program and its speakers are selected based on merit, innovation, and technical leadership, and nothing else.” HTNG engaged a senior, independent council consisting of current and former CIOs and CEOs, to oversee this program and to select topics and speakers.
Monika Nerger, Vice President of Technology for The Americas for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, said “the addition of the Thought Leadership Program to this year’s conference was truly invaluable. To listen to the top leaders of Intel, Siemens, PBS, and others share their thoughts on the future shape and direction of technology was extremely insightful. The guest of the future will drive the hotel room of the future in ways that we cannot yet imagine.”
The theme of the first Thought Leadership program was centered on wireless technologies and building management systems. A panel moderated by Tom Murphy, Senior VP & Chief Information Officer of AmerisourceBergen, and keynoted by André Mendes, Chief Technology Integration Officer for Public Broadcasting Services, laid out future technology trends and how they would impact hotels. A panel consisting of representatives from the Baby Boomer generation, Generation X, and Generation Y highlighted the behavioral differences of the people who are now entering their prime traveling years, and the technologies that hotels will need to adopt in order to meet their expectations.
Top technology experts and strategists from Siemens, Tridium, and Intel outlined the next generation of wireless technologies, many of them emerging from the building controls arena, and discussed their applicability to the hotel industry. Finally, a panel of hotel CIOs and business strategists addressed the barriers to achieving business value when technology needs to be funded in hotels that have diverse, and often competing, interests among the brands, the managers, and the owners. Commenting on the program, Jon Inge said “the thought leadership sessions were outstanding, with some provocative and challenging ideas.”
About Hotel Technology Next Generation
The premier technology solutions association in the hospitality industry, HTNG is a self-funded, non-profit organization with members from hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, and other industry members including consultants, media, and academic experts. HTNG’s members participate in focused workgroups to bring open solution-sets addressing specific business problems to the hospitality market.
Membership in HTNG is open to hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, consultants, academics, press and others. Currently, nearly 300 organizations and 1,000 individuals are active HTNG members. Workgroup proceedings, drafts, and specifications are published for all HTNG members as soon as they are created, encouraging rapid and broad adoption. Specifications are released to the public domain when the workgroup has completed its work, typically after no more than 18 months. For more information, visit www.htng.org.