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Press Releases: Press Releases

HTNG Announces Speakers for European Hotel Technology Conference

Wednesday, September 23, 2009  

4th Annual gathering will provide expert practical advice, discussion sessions, and unique vendor - hotelier interaction in a collaborative environment.

CHICAGO (September 23, 2009) - Participants attending the annual European conference of the nonprofit trade association Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) will learn from top industry names about changes in hospitality technology. HTNG conferences help members capitalize on such advances to improve their operations.

Technologists will learn more about centralizing PMS and CRSs, implementing entertainment systems, leading-edge practices in distribution management, and emerging standards in consumer electronics and environmental controls. They will see practical examples of how to efficiently develop and deploy a variety of hospitality technologies. This will all happen at HTNG's fourth annual European Members' Meeting and Conference in Lisbon, Portugal the 19-21 of October, 2009.

This year's event will be preceded by an exclusive, hotelier-only roundtable that will bring senior hotel technologists together to share experiences and perspective on the greatest challenges facing their hotel IT teams. The Hotel IT Directors' Roundtable will convene on Monday afternoon, just prior to the HTNG conference.

The agenda for the main conference includes sessions led by some of the industry's leading technology names from the hotel community, technology vendor community, and industry associations. These distinguished experts will lead attendees through sixteen unique sessions regarding the benefits and best practices of new technologies and improving existing technologies. Sessions on the schedule include:

  •  Centralizing Hotel IT will elaborate on the many potential advantages and also many challenges for hotel companies that have been considering a move to centralization of IT systems. Carson Booth, Vice President IT, EAME for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Thierry Guiraudios, IT Director for Louvre Hotels will share the their first-hand experience as they have embarked down the path of centralization. Nick Price, the CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, will moderate an ensuing discussion that will provide critical guidance to companies considering whether, how, when, and what to centralize.
  • Entertainment Systems and Broadband Trends: In-room entertainment systems will undergo massive change in coming years as guests increasingly move to on-demand, Internet-based content that will strain any hotel's bandwidth. What are the implications for a hotel's IP infrastructure? Topics will include trends in bandwidth requirements, the impact of IP television and video streaming by guests, the migration to guest-supplied content and what it means for network infrastructure. A presentation on trends by Tom Duke, the Chief Technology Officer for iBAHN, will precede a panel moderated by Wibecke Vinke, IT Consultant. Panelists will include Duke as well as Marc Budie, Technology Director for Quadriga Worldwide; David Chevenement, Key Accounts and Marketing Director for Locatel; Alistair Forbes, CEO for Acentic GmbH; Antonio Spera, Business Director for VDA, and Rick Stertnitzke, CTO for Swisscom Hospitality.
  • Beyond Best Practice in Distribution Management: What are the industry-leading companies doing to retool their hospitality distribution practices in an era of lower demand, more web-savvy buyers, and social networking? This market relevant session will briefly review and acknowledge today's best practices in distribution management and then elaborate on the leading edge thinking for distribution management. A panel of industry experts will debate whether these select leading practices will become "must haves," best practice in their own right, or perhaps disappear as quickly as they came. The panel will be moderated by Mark Hoare, Principal at The Prism Partnership and will include Clive Taylor, Vice President-Operations, Easy (EZ) Revenue Management Solutions; Gerry Samuels, Founder & Executive Director, Mobile Travel Technologies Ltd.; and David Ohandjanian, Senior Director of Internet Marketing Services, TravelCLICK.
  • Managing the Impact of Social Media on Hotels: When guests consider a property, a friend's recommendation is more convincing than any travel agent proposal and user generated content is better than brochures. Customer reviews can be more effective than advertising, but all of these mean that hoteliers are no longer in control of the reputation of your service. The travel industry has to deal with Social Media, and deploy consistent strategies in marketing and technology One of Europe's leading social media experts, Marco Tosi, Managing Director at LBi IconMedialab will discuss the latest developments in this area.
  • Successfully Securing Hotel Data: Growth in cyber-crime, and recently publicized theft of credit card data from numerous merchants including hotels, has raised the profile of security as a key IT function. This practical session, delivered by Francois Stäubli, a former hotel CIO who now runs a company that provides security consulting services to major hotel groups, will focus on the key aspects of securing your sensitive data, including network security, legal aspects, guest satisfaction, cost containment, and securing data that travels outside hotel systems.
  • Mobile Applications for a Mobile Staff: Hotels are highly mobile environments and mobile applications are fundamentally changing the way that staff and guests interact with the hotel, systems and each other. How can hoteliers capitalize on the power of mobile technology to improve the bottom line and delight guests? Stephen Burke, Vice President of Product Development, Knowcross Solutions Pvt. Ltd will "mobilize" attendees of this session.
  • In addition to those sessions, attendees will get the benefit of experience from several key players across a number of upcoming communications technologies that have the potential to redefine the future of hotel communications and connectivity. These include:
  • HDMI Update for Hospitality: With more than 800 manufacturers adopting HDMI for connecting high-definition consumer electronics and PCs, HDMI has become the global standard. Steve Venuti, President of HDMI Licensing, LLC will share how hotels can benefit from this standard, and about the potential of the HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) specification to create a next-generation remote control device that can improve the guest entertainment experience in hotels.
  • Wireless Mesh Networking Standards: Wireless mesh networks hold the promise of intelligent coordination of guestroom devices, switches, and controls, without the need for expensive wiring. These low-power, low-bandwidth networks are perfect for connecting light switches, outlets, actuators, sensors, door locks, and other devices to each other and to hotel systems. This session will explore some of the emerging standards for wireless mesh communications and their applicability to hospitality. The panel session will be moderated by Fraser Hickox, Managing Director, Hospitality Laboratory Limited and benefit from the knowledge of Jim Gist, Vice President of Global Hospitality at Control4 speaking on the ZigBee standard, Graham Martin, Chairman of EnOcean Alliance on the EnOcean standard, and Bent Sørenson, Director of Sales for Zensys AS, speaking about ZWave.
  • Near Field Communications (NFC): This session will help hoteliers navigate the complex maze of NFC and understand the buzz about NFC, which offers much more than guest-room locking systems. Cathy Zatloukal, CEO of MobileAccess, will review how NFC technology is evolving and discuss how it compares to RFID. She will discuss current barriers to wide-scale adoption and how to leverage NFC to offer differentiated guest services, to improve staff productivity and to enhance the guest experience.
  • In addition to these unique sessions, members will receive real-life implementation examples demonstrating the many benefits of deploying standardized technologies across a wide range of hospitality systems already in place. Updates from HTNG's workgroups will brief attendees on the latest specifications from the 2009B certification cycle in September 2009, and will provide notice on what's next in property technology, payment systems, guest-room systems, distribution, and architecture.
  • These sessions provide hotel managers and technologists with leading-edge knowledge on technology best practices, improving the guest experience through faster and more robust deployment of technology, and increasing the overall effectiveness and efficiency of hotels. For more details about the conference itself, specifics on the sessions, the Hotel IT Director Roundtable, or registration information, visit the European Members' Meeting web site.


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 to market open solution sets addressing specific business problems. HTNG fosters the selection and adoption of existing open standards. Where necessary, it also develops new open standards to meet the needs of the global hospitality industry.

Membership in HTNG is open to hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, consultants, academics, press and others. Currently more than 400 corporate and individual members from across this spectrum, including most of the world's leading hotel companies and technology vendors, are active HTNG participants. HTNG's Board of Directors alone represent more than 1.9 million guest rooms. 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 as they are ratified by the workgroup. For more information, visit