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HITEC Edition: Newsletter #28

HITEC Edition: Newsletter #28


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In Newsletter #28: Highlights from HITEC, including recommended vendors, the best panels and speaking engagements, and other HITEC recaps from around the web. 

What a week... 7 days later and all the email follow ups are in full flow now and deservedly so - this was yet another record breaking attendance for HITEC. We ourselves only have last year to compare to, but with the conference sharing the New Orleans stage with IPW it felt like the entire industry was in one town networking night and day.  Big thanks to HFTP - what a success it was, busy from the minute it opened until an hour after it closed. Even Thursday was a demo-full day this year on the floor.

We saw a lot of the usual suspects and a few new faces. This industry is truly as it is named, hospitable, from the hoteliers taking time out of their busy schedules to help mentor the E20X startups to the fun that Triptease were having with their t-shirts and, hysterically passing around a life size cutout of their VP of Partnerships (who'd have thought a card board Ricky would do more business than the real thing?). 

One thing we noticed was a change in the tone of the vendor side around partnerships. Everyone is opening up their platforms and more open to working together than last year. This is a big positive for the industry and nice to see HFTP hosting a panel on Open APIs.

Check out the tech highlights and talk highlights from our team below. 

We'll save all the Brexit implications for the next newsletter as it's 4th July, so only fair to celebrate independence this weekend. 

- Alex Shashou


Judges for the second annual Entrepreneur 20x pitch competition annointed Hello Scout and Daylighted winners. Our CTO, Dmitry Koltunov, far right, was honored to join the panel.  






A BIG congratulations to Hello Scout and Daylighted, winners of Entrepreneur 20x - HITEC's second annual pitch competition.

ALICE CTO Dmitry Koltunov joined other industry leaders to judge this year's competition. Hello Scout is a chat-based personal travel assistant company. Daylighted transforms places like restaurants and art galleries into digital art galleries.



1. hospitalityPulse - is applying machine learning to optimally matching rooms to guests who are checking in, based on things like guest preference, room availability, and housekeeping status. The company was founded by a former Micros and Nor1 product leader. We like that they are solving a real and very specific problem that affects the guest experience (room type request fulfillment can be as low as 60%) and has, until now, not received much attention.
2. StayNTouch - are not new at this point, but we like that they are innovating in the PMS space by untethering the the front desk agent from the desk. It's a solution that solves many of the same problems as mobile check-in, but without sacrificing the human touch - the best of both worlds! We can't quite vouch for their PMS yet, it's simply too early, but the PMS overlay is a nice product and one that should get a deserved amount of attention.

3. IReckonU - are creating an enterprise service bus that allows for the connection of disparate systems within the hospitality technology stack. Closed department-specific systems, living in silo'd environments, are creating operational burdens on the hotel staff; making it harder to focus on delivering an exceptional hospitality experience. 



Session: Keynote Session Entrepreneurial Fire: Think & Act Like A Startup (Even if You're Not)
Speaker(s): Josh Linkner, entrepreneur, CEO at Hyper-Growth, innovation and creativity expert
Why: It was overall a great presentation, full of interesting insights and practical advice on how to create a culture of innovation. Josh used various real world examples to make his argument.
Theme: Innovation
Learning: Innovation is a mindset and requires five simple steps: Get Curious, Crave "What's Next," Defy Tradition, Get Scrappy, Adapt Fast. Even large companies can innovate by asking why, ideating and envisioning what is the next big idea, standing against the traditional ways of doing something, getting more scrappy and original as well as quickly adapting to changes in the industry.

Session: Super Session: Guest Facing Technology
Speaker(s): Nancy Wolff, VP of hotel systems at Jumeirah Group; Brian Garavuso, executive VP and CIO with Diamond Resorts International; Scot Campbell, VP and Chief Architectural Officer of IT with Caesars Entertainment Fraser Hickox, GM with The Concept Group;
Why: Great discussion on topics like iPad in the guest room, mobile keys and in-room controls
Theme: Guest Engagement and Mobility
Learning: Being the first to deploy a solution is not necessarily the best. There is a race currently in the industry to put the latest technology first in but it is not proven to be effective or to generate ROI. It is more about ego. The real value of an iPad in the guest room is for digital signage. Also, everyone is experimenting with keyless entry (mobile key) but no one wants to introduce another app for their guests.

Session: Exhibitor Tutorial Session Using Science to Outperform the Competition: How to Hire Smarter
Speaker(s): Jill Strange, Director of Science and Development for Infor.
Why: Very interesting approach to hiring (and talent management as a whole). The use of behavioral analysis combined with workforce data points creates a powerful quantitative tool with a proven ROI (Jill shares various results achieved in different companies/departments) to make better decisions on who we should hire, promote, fire go, etc.
Theme: Hiring
Learning: Using a quantitative approach to hiring and managing your talent can yield numerous results for your business: candidates that are a better fit for a job as well as identify coaching/training opportunities for your current employees.

SessionEmbracing Innovation
Moderator: Michael Levie, CitizenM
Speaker(s): Alex Shashou, ALICE, Alice Dixon, iSeatz, Craig Hulford, New Orleans Hotel Collection
Why: An engrossing and provocative discussion on where innovation is happening in hospitality, and what hinders it. Michael and the panelists engaged the entire audience in an effort to understand the subject.
Theme: Innovation
Learning: The biggest learning came, in fact, from our very own Head of Design and audience member, Maria Paula Saba, who suggested the hotel industry is limited when it comes to innovation, because it does not know how to ask the right questions of its users. Asking guests what they want and using those answers is not innovation because those answers are typically hamstrung by the familiar. In practical terms, don't ask your guests how their stay was, but push for the "whys" and the "whats." Open-ended questions will give you insights that can be acted on.
  • Hotel Management: The 4 Biggest Trends From This Year's HITEC Show Read
  • Hospitality Technology: HITEC 2016 Recap - Record Breaking Attendance and Tech to Watch Read
  • HFTP: HFTP Celebrates Record Breaking Conference Attendance at HITEC 2016 Read
  • Lodging Magazine: Tech Trends Emerge at HITEC 2016 Read
  • StayNTouch: Best of HITEC 2016's Hospitality Solutions Read
  • Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: What We Learned at HITEC 2016 Listen


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