HTNG Draws 160+ Attendees to First Annual Conference; Luke Mellors Elected as Director
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
CHICAGO (May 4, 2005) -- Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) announced today that more than 160 leading hotel technology executives, technology vendors, consultants, and other interested parties gathered in Las Vegas for HTNG's first Annual Conference, held on April 20 and 21. Attendees included 20 CEOs and 23 CIOs/CTOs; senior managers accounted for well over half the audience.
"We are delighted to see so many industry technology leaders coming together to help build tomorrow's technology," said Nick Price, CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and President of HTNG. "For so many senior people to take time out of their busy agendas for a first-time meeting reassures us that we are on the right track."
Highlights of the conference included presentations from nearly 20 different individuals involved in HTNG's three active workgroups, talking about their progress to date, discussing future directions, and previewing concepts under development for HITEC 2005. Among the presenting companies were Center for Marketing Excellence, Cendant Travel Distribution Group, Cisco Systems, Delaware North Companies, Guest-Tek, Hospitality Technology Consulting, Hyatt International, IDeaS, The IDT Group, Kaba-Ilco, KoolConnect Technologies, LodgeNet Entertainment, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Microsoft Corp., Mitel, Outrigger & OHANA Hotels & Resorts, PAR Springer-Miller Systems, Paradyne, and Percipia Networks.
The General Session featured a panel session of hotel CIOs and CTOs from HTNG's Board of Directors, who explained to the audience why they had decided to invest their own time, as well as their company's financial and human resources, in HTNG's efforts. The panel included Barry Shuler, Senior Vice President and CTO of Marriott International (HTNG Vice President); Bob Bansfield, Assistant Vice President of Information Technology for Hyatt Hotels; Glenn Bonner, CIO and Corporate Vice President of MGM Mirage; and Michael Hwu, Vice President of Information Systems for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. The panelists echoed the theme that their companies needed technologies that work together, and said they saw HTNG as a vehicle for bringing hotels and vendors together to address the challenges.
Members also heard from Douglas Rice, Executive Director of HTNG, about the progress of the organization in achieving its objectives over the past year. Rice reported that membership had grown from 15 companies to more than 200 in the prior twelve months, including significant numbers of members from Europe and Asia.
Jane Durment, CIO of The Marcus Corporation and an HTNG officer and director, briefed the membership on the HTNG Branding and Certification Program, currently under development in cooperation with The Open Group. This program will enable technology vendors to certify the interoperability characteristics of their software against published HTNG specifications, and will allow hotels to access a database to determine whether and how particular products conform to HTNG specifications. Paul Hickey, Director of The Open Group for the Western United States and Asia Pacific, highlighted the experience of The Open Group and the role it plays in various certification efforts around the world. HTNG expects to formally announce this program in June, for launch during the summer 2005.
Several HTNG board members presented new workgroup ideas that had been identified during recent months, and invited HTNG members to suggest additional ones. A "straw poll" was taken to assess member interest, with the top ideas including the following:
- Integration of building control systems with hotel systems, and with each other
- Joint support models for multiple vendors who provide interoperable products to hotels
- Payment systems integration and security
- Meeting room services
- Project management, management, and communication best practices for successful technology implementations
- Assessment of guest value by tracking activities across multiple systems
- Group billing reconciliation
Luke Mellors Elected to HTNG Board of Directors
Strengthening its leadership base in Europe, the HTNG Board of Directors elected Luke Mellors, Director of IT (CIO) at The Dorchester Group, as its newest member. The Dorchester Group manages five luxury hotels, including The Dorchester in London, the Beverly Hills Hotel in California, the Hotel Meurice and Plaza Athenée in Paris, and the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan. Mellors was recently honored by the UK Technology Innovation and Growth Awards as "CIO of the Year" for 2005.
"I am honoured to have been elected to the Board of Directors of the HTNG," said Luke Mellors. "The transformation of hotel technology to a business- and customer –centric approach has finally arrived. HTNG is shaping and steering this far overdue, yet paradigm-shifting revolution. As a Board member I hope to assist in this drive and be a spokesperson for both European interests as well as those of smaller growth companies whose reliance on appropriate technology is so great."
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 more than 200 companies and individuals from across this spectrum 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. For more information, visit www.htng.org.