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Technology Vision, Strategy, Tactics: Top Hotel IT Leaders to Share at HTNG's Conference

Thursday, March 15, 2012  

Week of Events Celebrates HTNG's 10th Anniversary in Chicago

CHICAGO (March 15, 2012) – A stellar cast of hospitality industry technologists, including many hotel company CIOs and CTOs, will gather at the Four Seasons Hotel here from April 2-5, for four days of diverse events designed to help attendees enhance their effectiveness, collaborate on new technology solutions, and interact with industry leaders. The events are organized by Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), the global trade association dedicated to fostering the development of better technology for hospitality.

As an organization run by top hotel IT leaders for the benefit of the hospitality industry, HTNG understands the issues that challenge hotel IT executives. This year’s conference agenda provides keynote presentations and panel sessions on vexing hospitality technology issues such as social media/networking, sustainability, entertainment systems, cellular coverage, future trends, and dealing with mobile devices. A special 10th-anniversary session will feature many of the individuals who founded the organization, sharing its original objectives, assessing the progress made towards achieving them, and outlining their hopes and expectations for the future. Sessions currently scheduled include:

  •  A New CIO’s View: Making Technology Work at Marriott: Having just completed his first year as Global Chief Information Officer of Marriott International, Bruce Hoffmeister will share his views on his role as an IT leader, his observations from his first year in the CIO seat, and on selling IT projects to the business and to the CFO.
  •  Hotel Technology: The Long Term Perspective: How has technology involved in our industry over recent decades, and what can we learn from the successes and failures from that evolution? How will the macro trends that shape our industry interact with the rapid advances in technology over the next twenty years? What types of business models are likely to be most successful? In his first major conference speaking engagement since retiring as CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Nick Price will return for the 10th anniversary conference of HTNG, an organization he helped to found and shape.
  •  In the Trenches of Hotel Sustainability: We’ve all heard the pitch: implementing sustainability in hotels (or anywhere) is a “win-win.” You save money, improve customer service, and protect the planet. Well, if that’s true, how come we’ve made so little progress? The short answer is that implementing energy efficiency and other environmental programs is less like surgery and more like trench warfare. It’s brutal, messy, sometimes a total failure, and occasionally embarrassing. But it can also be fun, and it’s certainly worthwhile for a range of important reasons. In this talk, Auden Schendler, Vice President, Sustainability for Aspen Skiing Company and author of the book, “Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution,” will discuss how to implement sustainable business practices.
  •  IT Leadership Panel: What are the hottest topics on the mind of top hotel IT leaders in 2012? From data security to bandwidth to distribution to guest-room systems and more, this is the session for you to find out and ask your own questions. Panelists will include Mike Blake, Chief Information Officer of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts; Vineet Gupta, Senior Vice President of Technology for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International; Kevin Quinlivan, Chief Information Officer at Delaware North Companies; and Markus Satterfield, Vice President and Chief Technology and Security Officer for Hilton Worldwide.
  •  Make Social Media Rock in 2012: Hotel technologists will eventually (if not already) be supporting social media activities from their marketers. This session will arm you with insider knowledge, culled from doing business in North America as well as Asia, so that you can be prepared to handle the global social media revolution with the right technology and analytics best practices. Our speaker, Morris Sim, Co-Founder and CEO of Circos Brand Karma, who works extensively in both Asia and the United States, is uniquely positioned to help you understand the social media phenomenon in both the West and the East. With more Asians expected to travel in the upcoming years, he will compare and contrast the use of social media amongst the different segments in shaping purchase decisions.
  •  Impact of Mobile Devices on the Hotel Wireless Network: 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. Tom Duke, Chief Technology Officer of iBAHN, will share the latest research into guest behavior as well as expert forecasts of the future, and learn what hotel systems can do to prepare to meet future guests’ expectations.
  •  Meeting Guests' Voice & Data Expectations: Wired, Wireless, Cellular, and Beyond: Hoteliers are already reeling trying to meet the traffic demands that today's guests are placing on their data networks. At the same time, the nature of data communications is changing dramatically, as waves of new mobile devices surge into hotels. What do hotels need to do to adapt, and what's the downside of staying with the status quo? Are the carriers a help or a hindrance as they try to offload mobile traffic onto hotel WiFi networks? Are there viable business models to help hotels fund the necessary investments? Will mobility spell the end of older communication technologies such as PBXs? This panel session will bring business issues into focus as it explores these questions and others related to the sea change that's taking place in guests' expectations for data communications. Speakers will include Chris Farrar, Senior Analyst at Windrose Analytics and Russell Vest, Executive Director of Business Development at ExteNet Systems, Inc.
  •  New Frontiers in Guest Entertainment Systems: Few areas of hotel technology are seeing more changes than entertainment systems: high-definition early-window content replacing adult; reduced head-end footprint; interactive program guides; more channels; control via mobile apps; mobile device pairing via Airplay, DLNA, WiFi Direct; cloud content via NetFlix, Pandora. Where will it end? This session will help hotels navigate in this brave new world, where the only thing constant is change itself! This session will feature Brennan Gildersleeve, Director of Property Technology at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide as moderator, with panelists from major suppliers of entertainment systems, content, and equipment, including Fred Crespo, Director of Technology and Business Development at Samsung; Paul Johnson, Vice President of Product Management at LodgeNet Interactive Corporation; Vanessa Ogle, President and CEO of Enseo; Mike Olson, Vice President of Commercial Products and Vertical Markets at DirectTV; and David Simpson, Executive Vice President of Video Propulsion.
  •  HTNG Vision: 10 Years Later: In 2002, HTNG was founded based on a vision that hoteliers and vendors could work together cooperatively to design and deliver next-generation solutions for hospitality, and unlock data that had previously been stored in silo systems that couldn't talk to each other. As we celebrate HTNG’s 10th anniversary, five of HTNG’s nine original founders will take the stage to look back on the original mission, to discuss its changing relevance over time, to comment on what the organization has - and has not - accomplished so far, and to give their views on where HTNG should go for the next 10 years. Moderated by long-time HTNG volunteer leaders Monika Nerger (CIO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group) and Neil Schubert (Vice President of IT Strategy at Marriott International), participating founders will include Dan Connolly, Associate Dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver; Ted Horner, Managing Director of Australia-based E. Horner & Associates Pty. Ltd.; Jon Inge, President of Jon Inge & Associates; Nick Price, former CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and now President of NetSys Technology; and Douglas Rice, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of HTNG.

The Conference starts with a10th anniversary celebration on the evening of Monday, April 2 and continues through Wednesday, April 4, including full-day general conference sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 25 sponsors and tabletop exhibitors will showcase innovative products from across the entire range of hotel technologies. Registration for the conference is open to all hotel technologists who hold membership in HTNG; the membership requirement is waived for IT staff employed by hotel companies. For technology vendors, memberships are required, and are available starting at $3,750 per year, and conference registration at $850 per person.

While the Conference is the best-known event of the week, other activities make this a powerful week for hotel technology leaders. These activities include:

  • On Monday, HTNG’s forums and most of its active workgroups will hold face-to-face meetings to further their collaborative efforts on to address technology problems as diverse as cellular coverage, network infrastructure, payment system security, dynamic packaging, customer profile management, folio detail, point-of-sale connectivity, and guest device connectivity.
  • Wednesday afternoon will feature the announcement of the winners of the 3rd annual “Most Innovative Hospitality Technology” award. Twenty innovative contenders are vying for the title this year, to be decided by HTNG’s hotelier and consultant members.
  • Thursday morning features the inaugural Hotel IT Leaders’ Roundtable for the North American marketplace. HTNG’s highly acclaimed roundtables, previously held in Europe in Asia, have quickly become a “must attend” activity for many hotel companies’ senior technologists, because they facilitate the sharing of common solutions to shared problems. The Roundtable is fully sponsored by HTNG, which means that qualifying senior hospitality technologists can attend the Roundtable for free (a maximum per company applies). Roundtable attendees will determine the agenda from amongst their greatest challenges in managing hotel technologies.