May 20, 2009 - An interesting panel of speakers, the relevance of the
topics discussed, the economic climate, increased interest in the role
of technology in the hospitality industry – all contributed to make this
year one of the most successful forums at HOFEX.
Held on May 7th - the second day of HOFEX, the Forum attracted more
than 130 registrants from home and overseas. The house was full for both
the morning and afternoon sessions, and every so often with standing room
“To give these sessions a wider audience and to share the wealth of knowledge
being exchanged, we covered the entire proceedings on video, and they can
be found at: http://vimeo.com/pertlink
Ronson adds. A record of the day’s events have also been captured on stills.
These are available on Flickr and various other popular websites.
|Co-located within the HOSTEC Marketplace,
the event was staged in a dedicated space at the rear of the Technology
Pavilion affording attendees easy access to the Forum, and also the chance
to enjoy the numerous technology exhibits on display. Two networking breaks
allowed great opportunities for the audience to meet panel members and
share knowledge and experience. The full day program with its six sessions
spanning a wide variety of subjects had something for everyone. Many had
remarked that the sessions were relevant – no matter what part of the business
you are involved in, you came away with a lot of useful knowledge. The
added bonus – it didn’t cost anything as admission was free. The majority
of sessions were made up of panels comprising industry experts, with one
very special presentation on Guestroom 20x.
“Normally, these types of events are not so interactive”, said Terence
Ronson, Managing Director of Pertlink the main organiser of the forum,
“this time around the audience were in overdrive asking question after
question, and often challenging statements made by the panellists - it
was wonderful”, Ronson added. This was the fifth time Pertlink had worked
with HOFEX on staging Technology related forums.
Terence Ronson, Managing Director of
Pertlink the main organiser of the forum
Although the event attracted some sponsorship, ground rules were in
place to prevent sessions becoming sales oriented. The day was primarily
designed for information sharing.
HOFEX as a whole attracted a record number of visitors, and there was
a lot to see spread across various halls. The Technology section took place
in Hall 1 which was just opened after a major extension took place at the
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
|Moderator: Jules Sieburgh, President, Hospitality Financial
and Technology Professionals with panelists - Benjamin Chien - Principal,
Customer Intelligence, SAS Hong Kong; Maunik Thacker - Executive
Director - Revenue Management - Venetian Macau; Henri Roellings
- Publisher - HSYNDICATE; Graham Tate - Managing Director Asia Pacific,
IDeaS a SAS Company
|CIO Panel - This panel featured two home-grown chains (Langham
and Mandarin) plus a Macau element with Galaxy entertainment. How to get
owners to buy-in to technology, dealing with GEN-X and the older generation
were also covered. Using technology as a marketing tool and part of customer
service delivery was discussed, and there were some technical aspects touched
upon in regards technology vision and what type of wireless networks to
deploy. Other tech areas included energy and analytics. View
|GR20x - Jules provided background on Guestroom 20x - previously
known as Guestroom 2010. Some of the technology showcased: Reality Goggles,
Room Service tray detection, Near Field Communications, digital door viewer,
PC-in-a-desk, power charging modules, cable management, smart mini bars,
OLED TVs, voice activated alarm clock, bluetooth enabled pillow, mattress-less
bed, motorised drapes, smart toilets, smart baths and scenting, The next
showing of Guestroom 20x will be at HITEC - [Orlando], June 2010. View
|Going Green with Technology - Rob and Andrew were guided along
the green path by Mark. Green initiatives and how Green is implemented
into businesses were two of the main topics covered. Robert elaborated
that climate change and energy consumption are the number one environmental
issues being addressed today, and Andrew detailed how his role involves
operating environmentally friendly resorts. Bio-fuels and recycling waste
water were touched upon, and how the smaller hotel seems to be doing a
better job at being green versus the major ones. View
|Putting the “I” into Hospitality - Doug steered this lively
session that encompassed three “I’s” - infrastructure, i-generation and
integration. The panel touched upon technology buying trends of hotels
and demands placed upon them by customers. Some of the questions fielded
by the panel: What changes have been seen in the guestroom, and what changes
are there in guest buying patterns, if looking twelve months ahead would
you install wired and wireless internet access, what is happening with
telephony, and where are the new revenue opportunities. View
|F&B Technology - Grant, Fritz and Norman shared a diversified
wealth of knowledge about the F&B business. Using technology as control
systems and also for marketing purposes were introduced by the panellists.
The process of how to select and purchase systems was one of the big subjects
covered as was how operators need to find their way through the technology
maize, embracing what technology is out there, and what it can do for the
business. Marketing to include customer retention and CRM also factored
into the very interesting discussions as did the use of the internet and
availability of various web based tools. View
|Optimizing Customer Experience and Revenues - A Look at 2010
and Beyond - A unique group made up of user and vendor, Jules maneuvered
the panel to cover such important subjects as a market segment of one,
and how to look after the guest and deliver what they really expect. Revenue
systems exist to handle this, and web technology can address this through
targeted promotions with customer specific offers. Maunik from the Casino
world elaborated how they are already doing this, and the hotel industry
needs to get on board and understand how to better deliver the customer
experience to help drive revenues. View
HOFEX is biannual, and the Forum was almost a year in planning. “Getting
together such an all-star international cast is not an easy feat”, Ronson
states. “I was extremely fortunate that all my A-Listers accepted the invitation
first time round, and with just two exceptions, all turned up for the day.”
Unfortunately, at the very last minute, Gerard Du Bois of Le Rose Noire
lost his voice while Frank Wolfe of HFTP had to stay back home in the U.S.
A good event needs not just good speakers and panel members, it also needs
a wonderful audience, and the Technology Forum @ HOFEX 2009 was no exception
to that rule. Every panel attracted multiple questions, often time stimulating
the discussions between audience and panelists.
Jules Sieburgh [USA] pulled a double. As as well as moderating the
session Optimizing Customer Experience and Revenue - a Look at 2010, he
also kindly stepped-up for Frank, and gave the Guestroom 20x presentation.
Norman Lee [HK] of Infrasys, stood in for Gerard on the IT Trends
in F&B panel. And, I must also thank Mark Ozawa [USA] of Accuvia
for moderating the Going Green with Technology panel.
Douglas Rice [USA] of HTNG did a great job moderating the Putting
the “I” into Hospitality panel, and Henri Roelings [Netherlands]
of Hsyndicate gave his global insights as part of Jules’ panel.
Thanks also need to be extended to Maunik Thacker and Ian Farnsworth
for making the trip over from Macau. Whilst not too far away geographically,
there are definitely a different set of rules to which they play by. We
thank the two gentlemen for making the journey and sharing their insights.
Grahame Tate [Australia] flew in for the first panel, as did Gordon
Brown[UK] who joined Wang Swee Lee [China] for the first session
after lunch, and then there was Andrew Jones [citizen of the world]
who participated in the penultimate session.
All attendees to the Forum received a souvenir program which listed
out the days events, pictures and BIOs of the speakers, and of course,
credit to the sponsors.
Other participants although being primarily Hong Kong based, are extremely
busy, and our heartfelt thanks go out to them for taking time out from
their often hectic schedules to participate.
Both morning and afternoon sessions were rounded off with Lucky Draws,
and the day end featured a Grand Prize Draw with a MAC MINI being the star
prize. A lucky winner who specially flew in from Thailand for the event
came away with the cherished gift. Knowing the winner, I’m sure he will
put it to good use.
Two Networking breaks were arranged so that the participants could meet
up with speakers and fellow attendees. Some even used this opportunity
for one-on-one discussions.
The Lunch intermission gave more time to walk through the various exhibits
adjacent to the Forum and meet other exhibitors. And, since HOFEX ran from
May 6th - 9th, there were three more days to enjoy the rest of the trade
show made up of 1,800 exhibits spread across 44,000 m2 of exhibition space.
A total of 32,479 Trade Buyers attended HOFEX. For more general information
about HOFEX, please visit: www.hofex.com
With over 100 people attending the Forum, we had an eclectic mix made
up of operators, academics and some vendors. Most of them came with the
objective of learning something new, and the chance to meet up with others
from the industry. I would say that in the majority of cases, these we
fulfilled. Of course the day was not all serious business talk, there were
definitely some lighter moments, interspersed with spontaneous bouts of
Making new acquaintances and renewing old ones, is frequently the case
at such events, and when people have such busy schedules, often spending
more time in airplanes and hotels than they do at home, the Forum is an
ideal place to play catch-up.
“We’ve had t remendously good feedback since the Forum took place”,
said Terence Ronson,“ and I’m very confident this will be reflected in
the web based survey that has been sent out to all attendees.” The results
of the survey will help shape future Forums and not only for Pertlink to
improve the design and program, but also for the HOFEX organisers to better
understand the needs of show attendees. “As a service industry we rely
upon customer feedback, and the Forum is no exception”, Ronson adds. “We
have to consider ourselves as one team, and we do this for the betterment
of the industry as a whole.”
TERENCE RONSON - MANAGING DIRECTOR - This is our 5th time to
work with HOFEX on such an event, and I’m delighted that we were asked
back to help out. Sure it’s a lot of hard work putting together the program,
getting the word spread throughout the industry that it will take place,
and having as many seats filled as we can. Logistics can sometimes be a
nightmare, especially when there is so much else happening in the world
around you, but on the day, all the pieces seemed to slot together very
nicely, and it was a tremendous success. I now look forward to the challenges
of HOFEX 2011 and doing it all over again.
PHOTOGRAPHER - ANAT GIVON - Recording and sharing the events
of the day are an important element of its success and so we recruited
the talents of a professional photographer. Her work helps bring to life
these pages, and by looking at our Flickr page, you will see and experience
many more examples.